In 2013 Typhoon Yolanda devastated the islands of Samar and Leyte in the Visayas region of the Philippines, killing 6,000 people, leaving many homeless and destroying the local economy.
In response, the Christian community invested heavily in providing relief and development work. Six years later, many churches have been planted amongst the people in these regions.
The growth of these churches has brought the challenge of training leaders, especially amongst rural people with limited education. And so, when Langham Preaching began training in the Philippines this year, a number of people were sent from the Visayas to be equipped and to take this training back to the churches there.
Sent to train others
Over 70 preachers from across the Philippines gathered in Manila for the first level of Langham Preaching training in January. And many of these had been sent specifically to be able to train others in their own church networks and regions.
The training was characterised by typical Filipino exuberance with lots of singing, dancing and laughter even during Bible study times. It was an exciting week seeing the hunger of people to know how to better understand and teach the word of God.
Now, a few months later, already a number of preaching clubs have started meeting in Manila, Mindanao, Samar, Talac and other locations across the country. These include some people who did not attend the initial training but are keen to learn.
Impact seen already
Others have reported that the training has already had an impact on how participants are preaching. One lady said that her husband is now preparing his sermons earlier in the week, rather than starting on Saturday. And when he preaches he is staying in the text rather than moving on to other topics.
And many are taking what they have learned and training others. An OMF project called ‘Bukang Liwayway‘ plants churches in the squatter communities of Manila and provinces. They have already begun training local leaders in these churches.
A team from the Visayas is translating training materials into the local language, Waray. The plan is to run another Level 1 seminar using a mix of Tagalog and Waray later this year.
Church growing in poor urban areas
The vision of Langham Preaching is to see a movement of biblical preachers training others in their local contexts.
It is exciting to see that those who attended the training in Manila have immediately taken this to heart and are eagerly equipping others to faithfully teach and pastor their churches, especially in the poor urban and rural areas where God has been growing the church in the Philippines.
By Philip Nicholson, Langham Preaching’s Regional Coordinator for East Asia.