Preaching the gospel is elemental to the ethos of the Church. Yet in places where Christianity is new to the culture, congregational leaders often have little understanding of how to preach the Bible in their context.
Encompass’ Church Equipping Network director Florent Varak has dedicated his life to the study of preaching – known as homiletics – and now, he is bringing decades of collected wisdom to the nations.
Florent was a pastor in Lyon, France, a region known for its aversion to Christianity. There, he managed to grow his congregation to over 300 people. And as a regular lecturer at the Geneva Bible Institute since 1998, Florent is dedicated to helping people understand the power of preaching the gospel in a worthy manner.
Knowing that pastors around the world often struggle to preach the depth of the gospel in their cultural conditions, Florent has released a new reference guide for pastors, elders, missionaries, students of theology, and anyone ministering in global contexts.
The book is aptly called Manuel du Prédicateur (The Preaching Manual).
Using this preaching manual as a compass, the Church Equipping Network is helping local churches understand how to communicate the truth of the Bible in their unique cultural settings.
Florent and members of the Church Equipping Network team have crafted an interactive seminar from the book, which they are now presenting in several French-speaking countries. In Haiti and Cameroon, he has instructed many eager pastors and church leaders, and in the Central African Republic, over 160 pastors and 70 seminary students attended the seminar.
Pastor and second-year student at Bangui Seminary in the Central African Republic, Banzara Simon Pierre attended the seminar to sharpen his preaching skills. “The training helped me understand better techniques of studying a text and how I can organize it and present it well. But beyond that, Florent encouraged me to surround the entire process with worship and prayer. I feel so much closer to Jesus as I prepare my messages, and now I am able to help others experience a deeper intimacy with God.”
In Yaoundé, Cameroon, the seminar realigned seminary student Djediu Sylvain’s approach. “I realized I had been stretching the meaning of the text, and neglecting its broader context. This new method of sermon preparation has helped me to stay true to the text. The scripture now leads me as I prepare, and the people of God are blessed as the text speaks for itself.”
Florent hopes the preaching resource will bless many more church leaders in the near future.
The Church Equipping Network believes ministry leaders must be trained to view pertinent cultural issues through the lens of scripture, that they may provide sound biblical responses. It is crucial that every pastor learns how to preach in a manner worthy of the gospel, and through this essential resource, Florent is providing education in an accessible package.
Soon, the preaching seminar will be augmented with content from a new book on worship music in global contexts. Together with Florent’s preaching manual, this new resource by Kevin Stauffer (Encompass global worker) and Philippe Viguier (global partner) will encourage church leaders to learn how to offer all aspects of corporate worship in their unique cultural settings.
The Encompass Church Equipping Network would appreciate your prayers. There are several projects, seminars, and meetings that occur all around the world throughout the year. Would you consider praying regularly for these efforts?
1. Praise God for the development of the preaching manual seminar. Pray that future fruit will be made and for new seminars to be developed to fill the needs of church leaders around the world.
2. Please pray for the developments of new leaders who can join the many efforts of the project. Pray that God would raise up qualified people to fill the various needs.
3. Please pray for the work in Africa with the revision and development of a new curriculum throughout the various bible institutes. Pray that the work will be done in wisdom and dependence on the leading of the Holy Spirit.