Thank you for praying for the Ghana conferences. This was Year 2 for us in Sunyani and Ho. Overall we were encouraged by good attendance, attention and evidence of transformation.
Flying from Manchester and Dublin respectively, Daniel and I met up in Amsterdam on Monday 18th May and flew on to Accra. We were thankful that both sets of luggage arrived (unlike last year!) and it was good to renew fellowship with our PTI Ghana coordinator, Pastor Macdouglas Ampadu (known to us as ‘Mac’).
In both Sunyani & Ho we endeavoured to build on the foundation of last year as well as providing an introduction for the first time attenders. Daniel focused our thoughts on the conference theme of the “glory of preaching” through an exposition of Luke 24v13-35 and then I gave a summary of the ‘Bible to Sermon’ process that we had taught last year.
Daniel then proceeded to deliver an exposition of the prologue of Mark’s gospel which was followed up by an exposition of the 3 main sections of Mark on successive days. Each morning we also broke into smaller groups for a sermon workshop on a shorter passage from each section of Mark. In the afternoons Mac led a seminar on how the Bible’s teaching on discipling leaders needs to be worked out in the Ghanaian church context. I gave four pastoral theology sessions through expositions from 1 Timothy, Mark’s Gospel and Hebrews. For the final session of each day we split into 1st & 2nd year groups. Daniel led the 2nd years through some exciting new material that he has developed entitled ‘From Bible to Christ’ which is aimed at equipping preachers to preach in a Christ centered way. I took the first years through the Bible Overview in four sessions which was received as eagerly as last year.
The attendance was up on last year with over 60 registering and an average session attendance of around 35. Participants were a mixture of serving pastors and church members involved in various aspects of ministry including Sunday School teaching and Youth Work. A group of men stayed over in the school premises attached to the Good News Baptist Church where we held the conference. Food was prepared by the pastor’s wife and a team of ladies from the church. It was encouraging to see a good number of last year’s attendees back again. Some had travelled considerable distances including Pastor Adu (looking at the map with Daniel & Mac) who had travelled around 6 hours. He also brought another neighbouring pastor with him this year, Samuel Darko, who was 64 years old and extremely enthusiastic! It was heartening to hear from a number of the men that they had been seeking to preach systematically through the Bible and that they had preached from Ephesians following on from the conference last year. During the workshops and seminars we could see that a number of them were clearly beginning to appreciate the benefits of systematically preaching from the Bible and lifting up Christ.
The Study Bible and books were received very gratefully on the final morning of the course. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit a local chief. We had been praying in one of our workshop groups regarding a legal dispute which had broken out over land that Pastor Teddy’s congregation wanted to put up a new church building on. During our visit the chief offered to give a different piece of land to the church which was a great encouragement to them. On Sunday Daniel and I preached in two of the local Baptist churches. On Monday we flew from Sunyani back to Accra and were picked up by a taxi to drive us on to Ho.
At 8am on Tuesday morning we commenced our 2nd conference in the Volta regional capital in the building of ‘Perez Chapel’, one of the many church buildings in the town of Ho. Numbers were larger here than Sunyani with over 100 registering. Many of last year’s participants had returned and they were joined by quite a large group of first timers. The programme was similar to Sunyani and Mac was now able to lead a sermon workshop group which helped us to handle the large numbers. (We would like to develop this aspect of the conference through training more local men to lead groups and encouraging even greater participation in smaller, more manageable groups). It was encouraging to hear how a number of men we spoke to over meals had been putting into practice what they’d heard last year.
As with our visit last year we were struck by the overt evidence of lots of Christian activity but also saddened by the apparent lack of Biblical preaching. It was therefore a real privilege to have a further opportunity to give some training. Give thanks for safety and strength for the demanding speaking schedule. Give thanks for the encouraging number who attended and the good attention given.
- Please pray that this will bear lasting fruit in the lives and ministries of those who attended.
- Pray for those who struggle on with limited resources.
- Pray for Mac as he seeks to pastor a small church plant and also carry out his responsibilities as president of the Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches.
- Pray that the participants will read the books and take up the offer of the PTI mentoring scheme.
- Please pray that we will be given wisdom as we review what happened this year and begin to make plans for next year.
Thank you for all your support.