Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Mission: 12 years ago, we went to Malawi to teach Christian leaders in Africa for the good of the African Church. In 12 years at the African Bible College, we’ve taught over 600 graduates. Many of these are leaders in various fields and several are Pastors. However, the majority of teaching and preaching in the African context is done by untrained laypersons.
How do we empower the laypersons that are doing most of the teaching and preaching?
The best way to do this is to teach Biblical Theology using the Bible’s own stories. We can help strengthen the African Church by teaching a Christ-centered ‘Kingdom Biblical Theology’ to ‘oral learners’ using the stories of the Bible in the ‘Local Church’.

1)      We can empower Africans in A WAY that is true to the ‘Biblical Story’.
In Africa the gospel is usually removed from its ‘Biblical Story’; and this ‘reductionist gospel’ leaves people defined by their cultural stories. For Africans to be defined by the gospel, the gospel needs to be communicated in the context of the Bible story.  We can do this by teaching ‘Biblical Theology’ thru the stories of the Bible in the ‘Local Church’.

2)      We can empower Africans in A WAY that ‘oral learners’ can understand 
Africans learn their identity, history and values through stories. They either cannot read or they prefer to learn by oral means. Even highly educated Africa often still prefer to learn through stories. Western educators typically use highly literate, analytical methods that depend on the printed page. We can teach ‘Biblical Theology’ thru stories in a way that ‘oral learners’ can understand.

3)      We can empower Africans in A WAY that is affordable
A degree from a western-style educational institution requires a four year commitment away from family, church and income. Tuition is raised at great cost to the family or it requires a western donor. We can teach ‘Biblical Theology’ using stories in the local church at no additional cost to those preaching and teaching in the African Church.

4)      We can empower Africans in A WAY that is reproducible 
The western-style educational institutions in Africa are dependent on outside funding without which they cannot sustain themselves. For Africans to reproduce such an educational institution they will need western funding and technology. We can teach ‘Biblical Theology’ in a way that Africans can easily learn and reproduce themselves in their ‘Local Churches’.
We are not offering titles, degrees, or scholarships. We are merely teaching a Christ-centered ‘Kingdom Biblical Theology’ using a set of Biblically accurate and orally reproducible stories in the ‘local church’ and we can do this without creating a western dependency. In order to do this, we feel led to take the following steps:

i)    St. Paul’s Evangelical Church has called us to start an International Church targeting Black African students from various African countries attending the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. We will use our ‘Biblical Storytelling’ to plant the church and Edwin Mwale, an ABC graduate, will serve as the church’s Pastoral intern.
ii)        Our funding is through the African Christian Training Institute. ACTI is a legally recognized non-profit organization that has been in Africa 25 years. As an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCA), I am accountable to the Northwest Presbytery of the PCA and will be serving ‘out of bounds’ under the authority of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa.  

iii)      When the timing is right, we hope to move to the ‘Pavilion Conference Center that is to be constructed in Malawi. We would live at the Center, and teach our ‘Biblical Theology’ to church leaders and church groups from the center and out in the local Church in Malawi.  
iv)    We plan to stay participate in a ‘Storyrunners’ 5 week ‘School of Storying’ in Malawi where a Malawian team would put 42 Bible stories into indigenous languages.   

v)      We plan to put these stories into a Layman’s Biblical Theology. The book will serve as an aid to a ‘Biblical Storytellers’ to them understand how these stories fit into the ‘Biblical Story’ and are ‘fulfilled in Christ’. We have a Malawian team, including a Malawian publisher, committed to this project. 
Reverend Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms
Befriend us (Jay and or Laura Stoms) on FACEBOOK

Africa Christian Training Institute (Jay Stoms Ministry Fund).
P O Box 15621; Panama City FL 32406-5621.


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