From Pastor Purnama, pastor of the Maderi congregation’s Waimangu branch [translated to English],

As it concerns theological education in this congregation, the local churches have appointed two lay persons over this branch. Concerning their preaching ability, it is below standard in the sense that they are somewhere between understanding and not understanding the content they are teaching. They are brave to take the responsibility of leading this congregation as lay persons based on the limited experience they have. For the time being, when we are going to preach, we usually have a Bible Study. We gather materials for our sermon and besides preparing for the text, we prepare the issues and what we would like to share with the congregation. This is a small way we support these lay leaders and the elders, by preparing the text so they can study for understanding in order to share with the community in their own ways.

Of course, our hopes concerning the plans for this theological education project [with Northern Seminary’s Grow Center] are extremely hopeful. I believe it will be incredibly helpful, the theological training that is planned.  We are very joyful that it could increase the level of theological education and understanding here.

Our church, including this branch, has 1,120 members. The majority of our members are farmers, craftsmen or working odd jobs. Often in villages, people tend to say, “The pastor knows best on every issue…” whether it is theology, politics or even health matters. They first ask the pastor because it is believed that they will know better on any issue they seek to understand. However, in truth, we are also here to learn. As humans, we are called to learn together based on our mutual and shared experiences.

Thank you so much for supporting this work by bringing training to our pastors.  We want to say, on behalf of our whole congregation, “Thank you again so very much and God bless you all!”

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