Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pastors' Conference - Day 5

Most of the mission team was conducting a VBS today at Iglesia Filadelfia. So, Rafael and I were able to have another meeting with the pastors. It's a Sunday, so we needed today to be brief. We met from about 2:30-3:30.

Yesterday, I had given all the pastors a book, Comentario Biblico Conciso Holman (the Holman Concise Bible Commentary) by David Dockery. And I asked them to read through the chapter on Ephesians. So, I began today by asking them what they learned from that reading.

They talked about the similarities and differences between Ephesians and Colossians, the overall structure of Ephesians, its emphasis on agape love, and some other aspects of the book. So, I asked them more about how the Comentario might be useful to them as pastors. They all agreed they'd benefit from its information on historical and cultural backgrounds of the biblical contexts. And they'd benefit from its information on themes in the books. Ramon, pastor of Segunda Iglesia Bautista (Second Baptist), said he also read other parts of the book, and he thinks it will be helpful.

Then, I talked to them about what they perceive as their needs in terms of materials and training. Juan Bautista (Alfa y Omega) said he would really like a Bible atlas. And Ramon said he would like some more commentaries. So, as a group, we discussed what they'd like, and they came up with:
  • exegetical commentaries (They were clear they wanted exegetical commentaries that would help them get a deeper, verse-by-verse understanding of the Bible)
  • books on pastoral counseling
  • A good overview of the Old and New Testaments
  • books on homiletics (preaching)
  • discipleship materials

It has been encouraging to see how much these pastors care about good preaching.

Before the meeting started, I saw Ramon and Roberto talking to each other. So, I asked Cassidy if she'd be willing to translate for me, and she agreed. So, I asked the pastors what they think about the seminarios (seminars, as they call them) so far. They said that the seminars have been very helpful in giving them new perspectives on:
  • understanding the Bible.
  • preaching with application to the lives of their people.
  • preaching the love of Jesus.
They said the seminars have given them information they've never heard or had access to before now, and they think the experience is going to have a big impact on their teaching.

Toward the end of the meeting, I asked the pastors what they'd like to do this coming week. They decided they want to get together again on Tuesday and Thursday, from 8:00am to 12:00pm. I also gave them some choices on topics. They decided that Tuesday, we're going to study systematic theology (topics such as sin and atonement), and on Thursday, we're going to study more on biblical interpretation (perhaps parables, laws and prophecy).

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