Expanding the work in Tanzania through the BBC

Those following this newsfeed may remember the freshly minted training-of-master-trainers (TOMT) concept and its place in growing the work in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. The first TOMT event was run at Nyakato Bible College in Victoria Nyanza Diocese to serve that centre as well as the Ministry and Evangelism Training Centre in Shinyanga. Last week saw another take place at the Bunda Bible College (BBC) in Mara Diocese.

The intention was to serve BBC itself as well as for BBC to then serve as a training-of-trainers centre for BUILD programmes in the dioceses of Mara, Rorya and Tarime. The group therefore included five of the BBC faculty, including the Principal, Alpha Lugoley; four came from Mara Diocese, including their Christian Education Coordinator; another two came from Rorya Diocese, with a local-level college principal among them. A further three came all the way from Tanga Diocese, on the coast, who hope to expand the work further in Archbishop Maimbo’s diocese.

Bishop George Okoth opened the week using and explaining Mara Diocese’s trademark call and response, which stirred up all those there: “Prayer… and work!”; “Work… and prayer!”. That proved an apt reminder of the dynamic between God’s work and our work, which throughout the week underlined the challenges of training leaders and passing on the gospel.

The programme built on the first iteration of our TOMT. We went through BUILD Module One, with participants encouraged to switch between three roles at specified points in the training: first, to engage as first-time BUILD learners and to receive in that posture so as to experience the programme and its impact first-hand; then, second, to put on a trainee-trainer’s hat and to learn how best to use the course to train others; and at other points, third, to imagine themselves in the role of a coordinator or trainer of other trainers, and to consider how to develop and run a BUILD programme.

The final day was dedicated to that last role, with the focus on planning and implementation in diocesan and college groups, and sharing between those groups. The discussion and feedback was guided by the four-fold BUILD programme structure and guidelines and questions for each element. First, to consider coordination structures for the intended programme and who might fill various roles. Second, to think about the formal training-of-trainers component that would be needed to serve the new work. Third, to imagine developing non-formal BUILD groups for equipping church leaders in local areas – the business end of any BUILD programme. And, fourth, to express a vision for the wider outcomes that will result – including better preaching, teaching and pastoral care in congregations, and more effective outreach to local communities. Being able to articulate such outcomes encourages people to get involved and are important in sensitisation.

This exercise led to specific plans for individual dioceses as well as for BBC’s role in the programme. The BBC group also thought about potential ways in which the college might integrate and mainstream the training within existing programmes – both to enhance current courses and to spread the impact through the students. For one BBC faculty member that meant they are planning both to use the training during their day to day classes with students as well as to use the course to “teach the church at various points, both women and men, and the children in order to equip them to know the truth of the word of God”. They shared just how encouraged they were to have been exposed to a tool that can work in both settings, something they considered to be one of BUILD’s unique features.

A number of other aspects of the training stood out to participants. For example, the simple commitment to “discover before you declare” was eye-opening for a number of people, even those who were well-seasoned theological educators who rediscovered that “it is important to discover the meaning and purpose of a text before preaching it”. Others were renewed personally. One experienced a renewed call to “witness about Jesus Christ regardless of the challenges”. Another explained, “I was touched deeply in my faith in Jesus Christ”. And yet another left “full of encouragement, as a result of the BUILD programme”.

Finally, it was good to hear we seemed to be practising what we preach in terms of learning and teaching methods: “the full participation of each member and the facilitators struck me”; “the acknowledgement of each member’s opinion was appreciated”; and, “the facilitators were all flexible and outgoing, and each participated fully at his / her pace, which enabled the words to penetrate deep into my heart”.