Anything that I have had on my shelves that would be helpful for understanding healthy church life, church-planting, evangelism, and discipleship, I have put in one stack ["Want to Read"]. Anything that I have read from my big stack, I shift to a second stack ["Have Read"].
Then, the real work begins. In order to move a book from the second stack to the third stack, I must have had a discussion in Swahili with one of my ministry friends about the ideas of the book. Some books have taken one hour, some books several hours over multiple days. I record these conversations on my phone. Then I give the sound file to Maiwe (my office assistant) or to Mathias (a friend who is home on break from college and who is working for me), and they type up the transcript of the Swahili discussion. Then I take this transcript, give it a quick edit, and then I have been giving them to my Tanzanian ministry colleagues for comment.
Why am I doing this?
- Because I feel like I need an education in these practical matters. My seminary training was primarily focused on the theological and the theoretical. Practical issues of church life were discussed, but not to the extent and depth that I need to know and understand them for my work. 9Marks Ministries and Mathias Media have provided some outstanding resources that I am hungrily reading!
- Because there is so much practical wisdom to be gleaned from pastors and church-planters, and there are practically no resources like these in Swahili to give to my ministry friends.
- Because I am not able to simply translate these resources into Swahili because so many of the examples and illustrations given are so culturally bound. Illustrations about technology, science, media, etc., just do not translate.
- Because I want to create resources for this context and this culture, but I want to do it in partnership with my friends, so that we all own it.
- Because all of this discussion about biblical ideas engages us all in applying them to the church.
Pray that God would prosper this work to the strengthening of his church.