Imagine preparing for a sermon without a Bible. Yet, sadly, many pastors don’t have access to the Scriptures, much less understand how to study it! This month we want to highlight an amazing resource, the Africa Study Bible (ASB), that helps African pastors overcome those challenges specifically in Africa—the fastest-growing region for the Christian Faith.
Watch our video interview with Dr. Matthew Elliott, president of Oasis International, to learn more about the ASB. Then learn how you can receive a digital version of the ASB via the ASB App for FREE!** Be encouraged, and learn how you can get your hands on this special resource today! A written interview is below.
Now you may not be African or serving in an African context, but the GProCommission team does have you in mind. When we feature region-specific materials, we seek to do so in a way that encourages you as a pastoral trainer wherever you are and in whatever context you serve. In addition, you may know someone in that particular region/context who could benefit from it. So please read on and consider.
Over the last 100 years, Africa has experienced the greatest church growth anywhere, going from around 10 million to over 600 million believers.* When you consider that, it is easy to see massive need for discipleship—of pastors as well as congregations. Oasis International, a publishing ministry focusing on discipleship materials for Africa, specifically developed the Africa Study Bible (ASB) to meet that need. Their attention to presenting God’s Word specifically contextualized for and with study notes relevant to the region makes African pastors feel “at home” with this Study Bible.
Pray for this resource to reach many pastors and churches. Start a conversation about “contextualization” with other trainers of pastors on GProConneXt.com. Exchanging burdens, blessings and ideas strengthens us for the high and hard work of training pastoral leaders. And please let us know about similar resources or relationships that could benefit others.
Tell us about Oasis International and its role in equipping pastoral leaders and pastoral trainers.
Oasis is a publisher for Africa that equips churches, leaders, ministries and individuals in discipleship. We provide the best contextual and relevant books to grow the Church.
How did God call and position you at Oasis?
I began doing the accounting while working on my PhD over 20 years ago and God grew me and the ministry alongside one another.
What excites you the most about what God is doing through Oasis?
The last 100 years, Africa has experienced the largest church growth in history, going from around 10 million to over 600 million believers.** Amazing! When you know that, it is easy to see the biggest need—discipleship. All those people need growth deep in the knowledge of God’s Word so they can impact their society and the world. That need is what Oasis is all about; people need Bibles and good teaching to grow, leaders need materials to lead well, pastors need study materials to preach well….
Can you share one recent testimony from a pastor that used a resource from Oasis?
Venerable Pastor M serves as Director of Mission Operations (Local and Foreign Missions) with the Anglican Diocese of Jos, Church of Nigeria. “I enjoy reading different versions of the Scripture,” he said. “I try to contextualize as I read them, and make the language simple for my people. I use observations a lot in preparing a sermon. However, it was always limited. I didn’t have many illustrations to share.” That changed when he discovered the Africa Study Bible.
“It has story-telling, incredible illustrations, wealth of insight of the commentators, ability to connect to biblical realities, simplicity, and it is African in context,” Pastor M exults. “This is the work of God. It seems people were connected divinely as they worked on this Bible.”
In fact, the ASB feels like home to him. “Gantang Tuwan is a place in our village where elders sit to tell Bible stories and tales about the village, ancient parents, hunters and heroes. Other activities include prayer, advice and correction of errors,” Pastor M said. That sounds a lot like the ASB. “I feel very much at home with the Africa Study Bible. I can hold it close to my heart,” he explained. “It is my companion.”
He has donated copies of the ASB to pastors, missionaries and church workers affected by insurgency in North East Nigeria. “We want to appreciate your effort for giving us the Africa Study Bible,” they replied. “We have found it useful. Remain blessed.”
“My heart drive is to reach the North East of Nigeria,” Pastor M explained. “Many pastors have lost their Bibles and biblical literature as a result of the insurgency. I hope to replace those losses by putting an ASB in their hands. Other things will be replaced when they read it and live it.”
He added, “If it pleases God, I also have a longing to give ASBs to traditional rulers and imams as a way of evangelism.”
“We appreciate God for Oasis International’s availability, in this generation, to reach out to Africans in their own terms,” Pastor M concluded. “They should not get tired. I appreciate those who may not be able to see physically, but have sown into the lives of brothers and sisters in Africa. Their investments are not a waste, but living investments.”
What is a challenge unique to pastors in the African region of the world and how does Oasis address it?
We could name so many! One would be single pastors who lead multiple churches. They must train elders to preach, teach, perform things like funerals and lead as they tend congregations miles apart. Our book The Multi-Church Pastor helps them navigate this heavy responsibility.
What are some goals that Oasis has over the next few years?
Our BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) is, “Equip 10 million African leaders to impact the global Church by 2030.”
How is Oasis utilizing technology to get the Bible into the hands of pastors and pastoral trainers?
The Africa Study Bible App is now free** with registration in Africa, so pastors, students and church members can have this amazing resource on their phone. It is an amazing app, with all kinds of Bible knowledge at your fingertips. It would be great if you could tell your network and help us get the word out!
What is your greatest overall challenge in achieving that goal?
Books are capital intensive, and so is setting up needed distribution infrastructure. We need both human and financial resources to accomplish the task. The great thing is that every book or Bible is sold, so revenue is part of the sustainable ministry model.
How could Oasis help pastoral trainers and pastoral leaders in the GProCommission network?
We partner with ministries, schools and denominations on special projects to equip pastors and leaders. This includes an in-depth training manual for the Africa Study Bible written by its editor, Dr. John Jusu. To access, sign up and download here to learn more.
How can pastors in Africa go about getting the ASB?
Check our web page for local distributors, or the Africa Study Bible is available as an app in both iOS and Android, and becomes free with registration (see more at www.oasisint.net/asbapp). If you cannot find a local outlet, do not hesitate to contact us through our Web page. We also run pastor’s training projects with other ministries throughout the year and you can see some of these opportunities here as well.
What if I live outside of Africa but I would like to purchase the physical Bible for myself or someone else?
How can we learn more about Oasis?
Look now at www.oasisint.net, and look again in a few months and we will have a whole new web presence launched that will be amazing!
*Please note: The ASB App is free to anyone in any country, but for those outside Africa there is a small fee for unlocking content beyond the Gospel of John.