The second East Africa Ministry Training Academy was held on the 26 -27th July 2013 at the church building in Umoja Nairobi. Michael Burns a teacher with the St Pauls Church of Christ Minneapolis was the facilitator. He is also the lead teacher of the Upper Midwest Churches of Christ in the USA.

Ministry Training Academy (MTA) is a 6 year course designed to educate and give background training to disciples. It gives an equivalent of a biblical degree. It’s a well thought course and helps build and inspire confidence to teach the Word of God.
The first class on Biblical interpretation was facilitated by Dave Pocta a teacher with the International Churches of Christ based in S. Africa. This class realized 145 disciples attending.

The second East Africa Ministry Training Academy

The second East Africa Ministry Training Academy

The New Testament Survey is the second class of the MTA and is a comprehensive survey of the New Testament.
Each MTA class requires reading on selected materials before the class begins with a couple of reflection papers from the reading material, sixteen hours of class time, an assignment paper and exam.
Teacher Michael Burns pointed out that as the church grows, it needs to be more mature in teaching the Word of God. He noted that as 1st Corinthians 8:1 says “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up,” it is important how we handle word of God. We need to find a balance of having knowledge and being radical to the Word of Christ. The sermons and teachings should have greater depth and the scriptures taken into context.

The 134 MTA students drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi and Rwanda

The 134 MTA students drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi and Rwanda

His message during the Sunday service was “Love to the Full”. He explored different angles of loving God, loving one another and loving the world. He pointed out that each person is endowed to love differently.

He talked about the 3.45 moments in our lives drawing it from Mark 6:47-51 when Jesus walked on the water. We never really know when God is going to act in our lives and we grow weary in waiting. If the disciples would have given up, they could have never Jesus walk on the water at the fourth watch of the night. We have lots of 3.45 moments in our lives. However, like the disciples who were weary after a long day, we should not think of quitting because it is around that time that we are about to see a great miracle in our lives.

 

Berhanu and his wife Zoe shared the holy communion

Berhanu and his wife Zoe shared the holy communion

 

In John 13:1 Jesus showed the full extent of his love when he wrapped a towel around his waist and washed his disciples feet. We should be ready to serve one another whenever an opportunity arises as this shows the full extent of our Love.
He urged the congregation to stick to the call of faithfully teaching and calling people to God. John 12:48 “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”

Interestingly, this was Michael Burns first time in Kenya but his 8th visit to Africa. He had lots of words to say about his visit. “Everyone is loving, kind, warm and very encouraging. There is a lot of energy and the church is very vibrant. I have enjoyed my East Africa visit. The Church, the worship, the singing and the praying was really amazing. It is almost indescribable. It was truly amazing.”
He adds, “I always want to take home the deeper aspect of worldwide family. I came to teach and learn as much. I was blown away and I wished I could bring the song leading group to Kenya so that they could be taught how to lead songs.”

Burns with his son Pavielle

Burns with his son Pavielle

He could not hide the fact that the greatest lesson is to know why a book in the Bible was written which makes the understanding of the scriptures easier and clearer. Berhanu and his wife Zoe shared the holy communion at the Sunday service.The East Africa MTA class was truly receptive, humble, and encouraging with hunger for God’s word. A class that large can be difficult to teach if the students are not cooperative. It was a joy to teach .
His encouragement to the East Africa churches of Christ is Jesus words in Mark 4:24-25. “Consider carefully what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you-and even more; whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

Michael Burns during a break at MTA class

Michael Burns during a break at MTA class

Berhanu B. Wari who leads the Ethiopian Church of Christ says he now wants to study the Bible more thoroughly and teach the church gradually to get better from the Bible study.

Michael Burns is married to MyCresha Burns and they have two sons Pavielle 18 and Elijah 10. He has been a disciple for 14 and half years. He has served in Milwaukee Church for 8 years from 2004 and the Fox Valley Church for 5 and half years.
He also had time to visit disciples in the Eldoret Church of Christ and later flew to spend time with the church in Bujumbura, Burundi accompanied by his son Pavielle. He visited different tourist attraction sites including the parks, the Great Rift Valley and sampled different African delicacies.
He concluded by stating that the deeper we get into God’s words the more we will draw out more. It is a bottomless treasure. “We believe this is a monumental time in the East African churches to dig into God’s word together.”

The writer can be reached at ostinmoriz@gmail.com

CategoryKenya, Nairobi
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