“It was the epitome of awkward fun!” reflected Corban University Dean of Ministry Greg Trull. “White Americans tried to keep up with gifted African dancers. People gathered all around the stage to video our ‘performance’ on their phones.” The humorous scene unfolded at a 7:00 am Hope Baptist Church service in Bamenda, Cameroon. The joyful return of Corban’s School of Ministry faculty and students relieved a tense political atmosphere in Cameroon.
The nation is deeply divided between Anglophone secessionists in the northwest and southwest and government forces. The US ambassador to Cameroon has accused the government of violating due process in killings and arrests. Suspicions spread about government plots.
In protesting areas, government soldiers have entered towns, shot people and burned their houses. At least once a week, government opposition groups call on citizens to strike. No one works. All public transportation shuts down and services stop.
The government has responded by imposing a nighttime curfew. No one can be out.
This Sunday was National Unity Day, a holiday established to celebrate the unification of Cameroon in 1961. This year, though, the government prohibited public gatherings and restricted travel. A sad irony.
Amidst this context of suspicion and protest, Corban’s team of students and faculty serves alongside Cameroonian leaders to share the hope and trust of Christ. Our evenings fill with reports of people coming to Christ and believers receiving strength.
Each new believer receives visits from the planters. The planters immediately begin to disciple each one. We experienced this fruit Monday afternoon as the team joined a testimony service at Corban Baptist Church. The believers chose the name to honor our first student team who led many of them to Christ. In 2013, the team walked through an open field to share Christ with the locals. Monday, they worshipped in the church now flourishing there.
In 2013, the team walked through an open field to share Christ with the locals. Monday, they worshipped in the church now flourishing there.
Tuesday found the student team venturing to Living Sacrifice Church, a brand new church start. They worked with Pastor Austin, a graduate from our first cohort.
On Wednesday, each team member led Bible studies at churches around Bamenda.
Thursday focused on hospital ministry. The team worked with chaplains visiting five wards. These included HIV, radiology, postnatal care, surgery and hospice.
The College Board reports that the average tuition cost for a private university this past year was $34,740. Less than that pays for half of our three-year leadership certificate for all 39 of our students. On top of that, their leadership reports show that those 39 are currently equipping an additional 541 leaders. That’s a return on investment! Your financial and prayer partnership prepares more than 500 to minister the Gospel in this strategic part of the world. All of us here thank you for uniting with us to serve.
The current cohort of pastors has engaged in regular training sessions in the African Training Partnership for three years. This session is the last for this group, who will graduate Wednesday, May 30.
Seminars in Effective Contextualization
This session we have focused on maximizing training effectiveness. Greg worked through strategies for training in Bible interpretation as well as introducing the pastors to “story” approaches to evangelism and discipleship.
We worked through how to train believers to study controversial topics. As we began studying modern day prophecy, a focus of wide disagreement between our charismatic and Baptist pastors, our leading Pentecostal Pastor John stood to address the class. “I want to interrupt our process here to thank my Baptist brothers. I have studied this subject often, but today as I listened to you, I have learned a great deal. Thank you.”
He went on to detail his new insights. I choke up as I write this. Thirty-nine Christian leaders from seven denominations spent nearly two hours together studying one of the most divisive issues in Cameroon. Not one argument. The pastors filled the session with insightful questions and lively discussions punctuated with laughter. Our training program has become a place where Christian leaders cross divides to learn from each other and to serve with other to reach this region for Christ. All to God’s glory!
Thirty-nine Christian leaders from seven denominations spent nearly two hours together studying one of the most divisive issues in Cameroon.
Sam taught spiritual formation for ministry leaders. He drove home the point that our relationship with
God is not a “static possession,” but a “dynamic growth” in being shaped into the image of Christ. He also showed that each believer has a unique spiritual personality. No two believers grow in Christ exactly the same way. Leaders who understand the variety of means for spiritual growth adapt much better to aid all their believers in maturing their faith.
Tim spent a day training our pastors how to teach their people to think theologically. Two of his favorite moments came from the study of God’s glory. Bridget, one of our female leaders, shared that she had just taught lessons on the glory of God. After this session, she was inspired to redo the series by using theological thinking process with her ladies. Another, Pastor Dieudonne, a visiting Full Gospel pastor, thanked Tim for such a great session because they had just named their church Glory of Christ Church. Excellent timing!
This article was adapted from a report by Dr. Greg Trull.