ANDREW CONNALLY SCHOOL OF PREACHING ACSOP
ACSOP was established in the year 2001 for the purpose of training Africans who can take the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in to all the world. The school is holding to the motto, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2).
ACSOP began with 9 students in 2001 and has now graduated 140 students. A small room was rented and later replaced by a permanent building in the Iliboru area of Arusha. Through the providence of God, brethren purchased 19 acres in the Kisonga area of Arusha where the school is now located. The new facility has dormitory space for 48 students. The school began teaching in the English language but now offers classes in English and Swahili. The same material is taught to both classes. Students study 48 courses over a two-year period. Graduates receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies from the Bear Valley Bible Institute. Students are also able to continue their studies through the Bear Valley Master’s Program. Twenty-one have completed their Master’s degrees. This includes those who are currently working in the Andrew Connally School of Preaching and the Kenya School of Preaching.
The dream of training faithful men who can teach others is becoming a reality in northern Tanzania. The plan was to have local teachers, preachers and evangelists teach and direct the school of preaching by the year 2018. Now we have men who are in different roles here at ACSOP who were former students of the school. Michael Losotwa serves as Dean of Academics; Godfrey Mngoma serves as Dean of Students. Ahimidiwe Kimaro and Charles Heberth are Assistant Directors of the school. These are only a few of the graduates of ACSOP who are working hand to hand with missionaries to teach faithful men. Our current director is Daniel Gaines whose main focus is to continue to train the Assistant Directors so that they may be ready to fully take that responsibility.
ACSOP has been a great help to the Lord’s church both in Tanzania and East Africa. Through our graduates the Northern Zone which only had one congregation, now has more than 40 congregations. Thousands have heard the truth; many have become Christians and are faithful to the Lord. During 2014, 458 were baptized, 25 congregations established, 13 erring congregations restored, and 93 individuals re- stored.
Yes, the purpose of ACSOP is to train preachers, but it has also been able to establish several Bible Schools which have helped strengthen the Church in this area. These schools serve as an evangelistic tool for the surrounding area. The school teaches anybody who is ready to learn from the Bible (this includes pagans, Muslims, denominational people and members who cannot attend ACSOP). Many have been converted to Christ through these studies. Countless others have become more capable servants and more devoted to Christ. One of our graduates, Desdery Massawe, directs Arusha Bible School. The Kisongo Bible School is directed by local evangelists, Ibrahim Mrutu, Michael and Ahimidiwe. Classes meet late in the evenings to allow those who are employed to attend.
ACSOP has been organizing several seminars in the surrounding congregations so as to assist in their growth. Faculty members plus several graduates are going around to 13 congregations teaching a series on “Spiritual Disciplines for the Purpose of Godliness.” This series will be finished on March, 2016.
ACSOP is sending her students every weekend to local congregations to assist in teaching and service to God. This ministry benefits the church as well as the students because they are practicing what they learn in the classroom. From February of this year, 45 Bible studies have been conducted, 10 have been restored and 6 souls have obeyed the Gospel through a burial in baptism.
ACSOP is also helping the Church in Tanzania by conducting the Annual Leadership Conference on her premises. Leaders from the Lord’s Church around Tanzania and East Africa attend the conference. They are cared for physically, and their minds are sharpened so as to be better husbands, wives, teachers, evangelists and preachers. This year’s conference will be held October 8th-11th of 2015. The theme of this year is “Jesus and the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell.
Due to the fact that the Bible addresses the youths as those who have strength against the devil, ACSOP established “Future Preacher Training Camp.” Its primary purpose is to train young men from the ages of 11-22 so that they can go back to their congregations and help in conducting services, being able to prepare sermon outlines and conduct personal bible studies.
Every summer, the ACSOP conducts Gospel campaigns in the surrounding area known as “SAFARI (JOURNEY) FOR SOULS.” Visitors from America and members from the surrounding area join their efforts to reach lost souls. Hundreds of souls have come to Christ through these efforts.
Much can be said about ACSOP, but nothing could have been done if not for our brother Cy Stafford and his family who had this vision from the beginning as well as supporters and sponsors who are making everything possible for the school to exist. The daily activities of teaching and mentoring are made possible through generous donations of its benefactors. And above all, we thank the Almighty God who gives us life and strength to serve in His Kingdom. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!
Charles Heberth Mwanga
Assistant Director, ACSOP
An extension of Bear Valley Bible Institute. Arusha - Tanzania
WEST AFRICA’S MASTER PROGRAM
The Master’s Program of the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Accra, Ghana is contributing to the preaching of the gospel and strength of the Lord’s church in West Africa. Experienced gospel preachers, who have proven their faithfulness to the Lord through years of service and prior education, are further equipping themselves through a study of God’s Word. Several are themselves teachers in Bear Valley Extension in West Africa. Two of the students began their Master’s studies in Takoradi, Ghana. These brethren are thankful for the opportunity to gain a level of Biblical education available in the Western world.
I taught the courses of Old Testament Theology and Christian Apologetics. While I have taught the Old Testament course many times, this was the first time in a few years to teach Apologetics or Christian Evidences. The Old Testament course began with an expose of liberal scholarship which is critical of the inspiration of the Old Testament and the sovereignty of God. The study then continues with a look at important themes in the Old Testament and a brief analysis of the prophetic writings. I utilize a set of charts and outlines that discuss these subjects. The Apologetics course can be so vast that I centered our study on the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, the proof of prophecy, Deity and the resurrection of Christ. My appreciation for this course has increased greatly due to skepticism and unbelief. The Biblical documents themselves provide more than sufficient evidence for our faith in God, Christ and the church, He. 11:1.
My power-point was a white board. The charts and outlines are equally adaptable to blackboard, transparencies or power-point. Class discussion was rich because of the observation and questions of many of the students who have decades of preaching and teaching experience. I always consider myself first a student and then a teacher. Therefore, I was learning as well as teaching. Students know they will be graded on their notebooks, tests, sermons and research papers. Therefore, they normally pay close attention, even when the mid-afternoon lag hits them.
I had an unusual opportunity while there to attend a meeting with directors of five of the Bear Valley Extensions in West Africa. Directors and teachers included Willie Gley, Togo; Matthew Accah, Takoradi; Baah Okyere, Alex Jabado, Tamale; Seth Larbi, Accra; Makinde Ebenezer, Southwest, Nigeria. Steven Ashcraft, West Africa Regional Coordinator, planned and hosted the event. Steven recognized that directors and teachers of four of the five schools were already present for the Masters class. The central area of West Africa has experienced the most rapid growth of Bear Valley Schools of Preaching over the last several years.
Reports were presented, strategy shared, problems and successes discussed. Each director and teacher had an opportunity to speak regarding evangelistic efforts and mission methods. Obviously, the message of Christ does not change but ways of communication the gospel may. When meetings can occur on the mission field with the native men who teach and operate these schools, much good is accomplished!
The meeting was conducted at Hans Hotel and Restaurant. This was convenient for me as this is where the visiting teacher stays while teaching in Accra. It is located only two blocks from the Ghana Literature Center where the classes are conducted. The hotel has air conditioning when electricity is working. That means part of the time. The hotel had a generator, but a cranky one at that. I actually spent Sunday afternoon outside studying as the local electricity was off and the generator had blown “something.” Outside was cooler than the room. Fortunately things improved late in the day. Special experiences such as these go along with teaching God’s word around the world. However, the value is worth whatever inconvenience occurs.
THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
Ten of the eighteen Extension Schools are on the African continent. The church in Africa now is believed to have more Christians than America. This is the reason for the increasing number of preaching schools in Africa. The purpose is two-fold:
First, the need to save as many as possible, Many countries in Africa compose a receptive area. The field of souls “is white unto harvest,” (John 4:34-38). More trained workers are needed to teach a multitude of Christ and His church
Second, the need to keep them saved. The purpose of the Parable of the Sower is to show that two of the three grounds which receive the seed, the word of God, will not continue to bear fruit. The thorny ground, which represents worldliness and material things, will choke out the Word of God. Likewise, the rocky ground represents persecution and causes one to be ashamed of the gospel and therefore unfruitful. Therefore, more trained, productive Christians and more organized congregations are needed to help these new Christians to grow. Babes in Christ need to be nurtured and to have mentors and role models.
The Bear Valley Bible Institute with its allies, scores of congregations and thousands of Christians, is committed to helping people be saved and stay saved. You can pray for all those involved, those who go and those who send. You can also be one who goes or one give financially to help others to go.