Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ministry technology in Africa?

I teach a course at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver on Ministry Technologies. During this course I teach preacher students how to use technologies like PowerPoint® to improve the presentation of their sermons and Bible class lessons. We talk about website development for churches and how to use the Internet and other technologies for evangelism. But we focus the majority of our time in this class teaching them to use the Logos Bible Software. This amazing tool can transform their approach to studying the Scriptures and it excites me every time we get into the classroom with it. The power and advantages of this tool was clearly demonstrated on a recent mission trip to Tanzania, East Africa.

One of the reasons for my trip was to teach the missionaries that work at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching in Arusha, how to use the Logos Bible Software. Logos is such a perfect solution for this environment. One of the struggles missionaries have entering a foreign mission field is taking their research libraries with them. The cost of transporting several hundred volumes into the field is enormous. The weight involved and space needed to store and use these resources can pose insurmountable problems. Another problem these workers face surfaces after they get their paper based books into the field. Bugs, reptiles, dust and dirt quickly begin to erode their precious investments. Hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of paper based resources can be ruined in this harsh third world environment in a very short period of time. As a result of these challenges, many mission works suffer from a lack of study library materials.

This is really where Logos shines. I boarded the plane in the United States armed with my personal 1700 volume research library all tucked neatly into my laptop carry-on bag that fits neatly "into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of me." Can you tell I have been on a few planes lately? During the flights I was able to do extensive research in the biblical languages, exegetical work on the book of James (which I was also going to be teaching in Arusha), work on a manuscript (even citing my sources with the proper page numbers from their paper-based counterparts) and any other studies I required. All I had to do was power up my laptop, launch Logos and start working. I had access to every book in my library, searchable, hyperlinked and ready to assist me in my studies at 30,000 feet! Try that with paper based resources.

Once on the ground I was able to help teach these men how to use this impressive tool. With the help of the Scholar's Library: Gold edition, these missionaries now have the power of a research library a mouse click away. Each of these missionaries is involved in teaching courses in Bible, hermeneutics, homiletics, exegesis and much more. Now they have access to tools and information that can make them more effective teachers and better Bible students. The in-depth work that Logos allows you to do is really incredible. Two of the men I was teaching are working on advanced academic degrees with Universities here in the U.S. and now they can do the kind of research they need to while they are in the mission field. Best of all, none of their electronic books will erode over time! No reptiles, bugs or other creatures will destroy their investment.

One of the major struggles mission schools have is building good libraries for their students. Again the cost and maintenance for paper-based libraries often pose barriers that cannot be overcome. Once again, Logos can provide a solution to these problems. It is our prayer that we will be able to purchase computers and the Logos Software to equip the school in Arusha, and other such schools around the world, with the tools they need to study God's word more effectively. We currently help with schools like this in Tanzania, Ukraine, Cambodia, India, Uganda, Honduras and Guatemala. Imagine the impact these electronic libraries can have in providing tools for students to prepare themselves to teach God's word throughout the world.

I enjoyed teaching these men how Logos can help them and was reminded once again why Logos has become an indispensable part of my teaching arsenal. This is one technology that can be used anywhere in the world.

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