On Monday, Pastor Froh and I left the seminary and traveled about one hour to the Atemo Bible Center - the ELCK's Evangelist training school.
What's an "evangelist" you ask? Well, the ELCK does not have enough pastors for all their churches, so they use "evangelists" to help take care of the people. Evangelists are not as well trained and schooled as the pastors. They cannot administer the sacraments of the church. But they preach and teach the people when the pastor cannot be there - perhaps similar to "deacons" in some other church bodies. Each pastor has between 5 and 9 congregation to take care of and visits them in a rotation, administering the sacraments when he is present at each church.
So the education of the evangelists is quite important. This was a much more difficult week for me (as far as teaching was concerned) for a couple of reasons. First of all, the evangelist students could not understand my English accent as well as the pastors at the seminary, and so language was a bit of an issue. Second, their education level was not as high as the pastors and seminarians, and so it took some time to adjust to where they were at and how to teach them.
So the first day, I did the same introduction as I did at the seminary . . . and it went over like a lead balloon! They didn't understand what I was talking about at all. Pastor Froh observed this, and so followed me with a very simple presentation to try to establish some common ground, and a foundation we could build on the next day. The next day, I scaled back quite a bit and tried it again, but still couldn't make a connection with them! (Argh!) But on the third day, we finally meshed and had a wonderful class. They were able to see how God uses Law and Gospel throughout the Scriptures, from Eden, to Mt. Sinai, to the New Testament, to our current day, and both how and why this is important for our preaching and teaching. Then the next day we were able to go through the text of Jesus' birth from Matthew and talk about different ways it could be preached.
All in all, this is the week (as Pastor Froh told me) that I learned to be a teacher. Hopefully I will remember the lessons I learned this week, and be a better teacher with the folks I teach here!
Tomorrow: More Pictures from Atemo.
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