Higher things

Training local church leaders at the grassroots is BUILD’s focus. But BUILD programmes have a range of other outcomes, both those that are anticipated and some that are quite unexpected. One benefit that we are seeing increasingly is the way in which BUILD training helps churches to identify, enable and prepare emerging leaders for higher education, and to build their capacity in this vital way.

We asked a handful of BUILD learners some questions about their experience of further education and how BUILD had prepared them. Their first names, which they have given us permission to use where appropriate, are Celestine, Erick, Rodah and Sammy. Here are those questions and some of their responses.

First, to what extent did your BUILD training enable you to enter your degree course?

Celestine: “The BUILD training I received elevated my academic standards, which boosted my admission at St.Pauls University.” Similarly Eric shared, “The BUILD training was vital for my admission into Uganda Christian University for a degree program. The admission requisite was for one to have at least a diploma in any Biblical course. Therefore my BUILD training came in handy.”

Once you began your course, how did the preparation from BUILD help?

Rodah noted, “the two complement each other, the difference is the depth of the content.” Celestine added, “[BUILD] helped me understand both the Old Testament and New Testament, which helped me tackle exegesis units well; understanding the Christology and pastoral care units was simplified by the knowledge I had, and it has improved my preaching. I was very good at presentation and having ideas during group discussions.” And a comment from Sammy: “The BUILD training prepared me for the task ahead. I found it easy when I entered the university because pastoral studies, biblical studies and preaching became a walkover during my studies.”

How did you feel your performance compared to that of your peers who had not done BUILD?

One respondent thought that, “Thanks to [my BUILD trainers] and the principles we gathered through the BUILD programme, my grades at university were much, much better. Not only were my grades better but my general understanding of the Bible principles was made better.” Another concurred, “My grades were better than those who did not do [BUILD]. And my exposure due to BUILD helped me to be more informed….”

A third noted, “My level of perception increased – the illustrations that I received in BUILD class when it comes to Biblical texts helped me gain a more advanced insight.” Perhaps most importantly one added, “BUILD gave me a perfect and faithful background when dealing with the word of God; those who missed BUILD training missed the real foundation of the study.”

How might teaching others using BUILD materials have helped you in your studies?

As Celestine put it, “I gained experience and more knowledge while teaching that helped me in my studies. It kept me alert.” And Eric had been active during his BUILD course, “I was often used by lecturers in leading other students through the BUILD manuals. This helped me develop confidence in our classes [at university] I would handle the word of God before my fellow students, and later on in the Church where I served.” Rodah underlined all this: “training and teaching others using the BUILD materials increased my skills in tackling Biblical texts.”

Did you receive any comments about the quality of your work that might be traced back to BUILD?

One of the group had been seen as outstanding: “Yes, my lecturers loved my work and used me as an example to others, and in fact recommend me for further studies.” In a more reserved way another explained, “I received a few encouraging sentiments on my understanding abilities which were greatly enhanced during my training in BUILD classes. The lecturers appreciated my unique approach and view-points on various theological debates in a bid to clearly bring out biblical truths.”

The benefits of the clear focus on understanding and applying the Bible were matched by the others: “Actually my lecturers in exegesis we’re impressed with my participation in and I believe BUILD training had a hand in that.” And interestingly, “Most of the comment I received from my supervisors were when I proclaimed the word of God. [Comments such as:] ‘You have been so faithful with the text’; ‘Your introduction, body and conclusion were superb.’”

Do you have any final comments?

Erick underlined the focus of BUILD mentioned in the opening paragraph, and the difference between the types of study: “[The BUILD] programme, when compared to campus studies, is more practical and therefore better suited for training local pastors. The program receives direct feedback from the trainees who try out the lessons in the field immediately.” And for the record he highlighted his own experience of developing his preaching through BUILD: “The program helped me develop my pulpit character through in-depth sermon preparation and presentation on the study passages. This is still helpful to date as all my sermons are prepared through the BUILD structure.”

The others emphasised their enthusiasm for BUILD: “BUILD training is vital for those aspiring to be gospel leaders,” shared Rodah. And Sammy says he would “pray and urge upcoming ministers to go through the BUILD training because it’s the foundation that deepens the faith of a believer.”

A final word from Celestine: “Long live BUILD.”

Thank you all for sharing.