Dr. Douglas Jacoby was in Accra, Ghana, from January 5th - January 10th to conduct a teaching workshop. This was his first trip to West Africa. The sessions were all well attended even though they were right in the middle of the working week. The Lagos Church sent some of their staff to participate as well.
There were three daily sessions most days from Tuesday to Saturday. The morning sessions focused on the Wisdom Literature. Here the church was taken through the Psalms, Proverbs, Job and the other Wisdom books. The church learned about different types of writing and how to read different styles. There was also a session on theology -- what it is, why we study it and why it is useful.
The afternoon sessions were mainly on leadership training. The leaders (present and aspiring) had workshops on Biblical Leadership. Participants examined the book of Philemon and examined Paul's leadership style. There was also a preaching workshop (for both men and women!).
In the evenings, there was a three-day series on the Holy Spirit. This covered topics like miracles, tongues, witchcraft and superstition, and other topics that were relevant to society in West Africa.
There were also other topics covered with a class on relationships which covered marriage and parenting, singles, and the order of priorities for relationships in the church.
On the Sunday the Sermon was entitled "The Spirit's Fire". He used the analogy of Moses and the burning bush to encourage the church to rely on God for strength if we do not want to 'burn out'.
Overall the time was greatly appreciated by members of the church and their friends who attended some of the sessions. Like many other congregations in our fellowship, we have experienced a time of insecurity while trying to take steps toward spiritual maturity. Apart from the immediate benefit of being able to drink deeply spiritually, we see this as a time when we have been 'taught to fish', rather than merely being fed. We look forward eagerly to his next visit!
Here are some comments from members of the church:
* 'This is the best New Years present the church could have had.'
* 'What a way to start the year!'
* 'Although I have been a disciple of Jesus for over ten years, I feel like I have just started to open the Bible. Many of us are excited to dig deeper into our Bibles.'
* 'We learned a lot about the Wisdom Literature and how to read the Proverbs. It has been very useful to learn that we cannot read all the books of the Bible exactly the same way.'
* 'It has been great to see the difference between what are central issues necessary for salvation, and differentiate between those and important or even peripheral teachings. In the past we've often been dogmatic about even peripheral issues and matters of opinion.'
* 'Accra rarely gets visiting evangelists or teachers so it has been a special treat just to have Douglas come and encourage us.'