Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The more ‘stories’, the more ‘orthodox’! 2 Tim. 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel...
We left the western-style educational institution because we want to empower the laypersons teaching and preaching in the African church. Formal degree programs require long commitments away from family, church and income and the tuition needed usually requires a western donor.  Now we are teaching a set of Biblically accurate and orally reproducible stories in the ‘local church’.
The gospel in Africa is usually communicated apart from the Biblical story of the redemption of creation. Often, the gospel is stripped from the ‘Biblical Story’ and is reduced to a tract to believe to escape this fallen world.  Many in Africa identify with Jesus, but this ‘reductionist gospel’ often leads to a blending of Christianity with African traditional religion. Jesus becomes like an ancestral spirit who can ward off evil and move the reluctant God to bless. Faith then becomes something like magic, so if you have strong faith then you can prosper.  
Africans typically learn their identity, history and values through stories. But, western missionaries usually teach using highly literate, analytical methods that depend on the printed page. Yet, even highly educated Africans often prefer to learn through 'oral means' such as storytelling. When the gospel is presented in ‘bits and pieces’ it often leaves people defined by their cultural stories. For Africans to be defined by the gospel, then the gospel will need to be communicated in the context of the Biblical story and in ways that 'oral learners' can understand. 

We can teach a set of Biblically accurate and orally reproducible stories in the ‘local church’ in way that is true to the Biblical Story. Our set of Biblically accurate stories tells the story of creation, fall, covenant with Abraham, the Nation of Israel, the coming of Messiah, his death and resurrection, his ascension, Pentecost, the expansion of the church, and his coming again. By telling 'God's Story' using the Bible’s own stories the ‘gospel of the kingdom (Mt.4:23, 24:14)’ can be rediscovered in Africa. Moreover, as the gospel is communicated through stories then ‘oral learners’ can understand and effectively teach it themselves in their own ‘local churches’..

Reverend Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms

Here are two examples of sermons where we are preaching the Biblical Story through the stories of the Bible. http://media.cpcissaquah.org/sermons/?sermon_id=335, http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2014-07-27-pm.aspx.

Will you pray for us as we seek to fulfil the vision the Lord has given us for ministry in Africa? We plan to return to Africa in September and we need to build our team of ministry partners who will regularly pray for us and partner with us financially as the Lord leads.

Other Prayer Requests:
1) We are seeking five (5) new partnering churches and twenty (20) new families or individuals who can give just over $1 a day. 
2) That we get the permits and paperwork that we need to stay in South Africa for a few years. 
3) For the emotional and spiritual health of our family as we go through more transitions.

Contact: jaystoms@hotmail.com (Befriend Jay and or Laura Stoms on FACEBOOK). Please send gifts or monthly support to:
Africa Christian Training Institute (Stoms Family Ministry Fund)
P.O. Box 15621; Panama City FL 32406-5621.