Yesterday, our church advisory council (aka: the board) voted to authorize our missions leader, Chris Hodam (SNU grad) to begin planning a mission trip to Tanzania. Actually, Chris has already been in deep dialog with the Nazarene leaders in East Africa for several months, but now we have the go-ahead to make it public, announce the trip to the church, start raising money, and recruit volunteers.
I'm really excited about this. We'll help build a Spiritual Training Center, which will be used to train pastors in Tanzania. It will have at least 3 basic functions: convention center, extension for Africa Nazarene University (in Kenya), and site for a local church.
In Africa, when we talk about training pastors, we're not just talking about teaching them theology and the Bible and such. That's definitely part of it. But churches in Africa are leading the way in the social service fields. They are front-line people fighting poverty and AIDS and caring for people neglected by the rest of society. So churches become holistic centers of ministry with the goal of improving the health of their communities in every way. When this center trains pastors, they will be teaching them how to help their churches be centers of Christ's healing grace in places and among people desperately in need of healing.
I'm excited. More info will come soon.