Book Sets Advise African Pastors in Areas of Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on April 2nd, 2007     
Filed under: News
NAIROBI, KENYA (April 2, 2007) – Nearly 6,000 sets of books already have been distributed to impoverished pastors in Central Africa this year, equaling the number distributed during 2006, says Tom Halgren, a missionary with the Department of World Mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).

BooksHalgren works in partnership with the ecumenical organization Serving in Mission (SIM) to deliver the books as part of the Pastors Book Set (PBS) project. Each set of 60 books includes several theological reference books as well as books on counseling, Christian living, devotionals, and topics such as stewardship, leadership and discipleship.

Pastors attend four-day teaching conferences where they learn how the books can help them to prepare expository sermons, as well as provide guidance in areas of counseling and finance. Ten conferences already have been held so far this year. Last year, 18 four-day teaching conferences were held in Kenya, two in Uganda and Tanzania, and three in Sudan.

Participants pay $75 (U.S.), which is a large sacrifice for many, Halgren notes. Donors, authors, and publishers cover the remaining costs.

Covenant Pastor Don Johnson and his wife, Martha, recently traveled to Africa where he taught pastors at several conferences how to use the books to prepare sermons. “He held the participants’ interest,” Halgren says. “It made my job of trying to keep pastors at the conference a whole lot easier.”

One recent conference in Kenya attracted 485 pastors, and another drew 985 participants, Halgren says. “Running conferences of this size was taxing on the old man,” he jokes. “Our office manager prayed, ‘Thank you Lord as it is the end of the day, and we are still standing.’ I think she meant it figuratively. I took it literally.”

Just getting the books to the pastors can be a trial. Horrible roads, political unrest, and obstacles encountered in getting the volumes through customs have created difficulties at times. The books were published in Sri Lanka.

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