To assist himself and others in getting ready for ministry in Uganda, Barry McWilliams has assembled the following
Uganda Teaching / Preaching Ministry Preparations.
Sermons and Preaching: Hints
You will need a variety of sermons that can double as Seminar Topics or be used in Crusade Evangelism
o Since you will be busy inside Uganda, bring along sermons, lessons and teachings for various audiences, as applicable. Try to study Uganda before arriving, to gain a hearing and draw pertinent applications. In selecting material to take along:
- Short Simple Outlined notes preferable over manuscripts. These you can "share" with your interpreter and he won't get lost when you extemporize; or adapt your message.
- Keep it simple and short - aim for half what you normally would say. (Using an interpreter doubles the time needed for a presentation)
- Develop one idea several ways
- Repeat important information more than once.
- Favor Storytelling over abstract concepts: use the Parables, Proverbs, Short Stories
- They respond to testimonies and illustrations from personal experience over exegesis
- Use familiar objects for them for illustrations
- Avoid illustrations from American life and culture
- Alliterations, puns, flowery speech - anything dependant on the English language is worthless in interpreted settings
- Toss in a few "whims", you may be surprised when they turn out to be just what you need.
- Study and preparation time is extremely limited while "in country" - you can expect to be busy every minute! However a good study Bible (despite its weight) or at least the NIV Compact Concordance by Zondervan are valuable to have along.
A couple of evangelistic messages for crusade preaching:
- Keep these very simple and very lively
- Get fiery and turn it loose!! They like it that way!!
- Use very short phrases
- Sometimes it may be too dark to read notes or your Bible - have a good flashlight along. The best adult audiences are after dark, which falls quickly around 7 P.M.
Children's Bible stories
Be ready to tell these impromptu and off the cuff. Gathering a group of children is almost too easy. They have a sort of "radar" and whenever something is happening they will crowd around.
Teaching - Seminars
- Try to teach something you know, rather than attempt something you don't.
Practical topics are preferred:
- Christian Leadership,
- Basic Doctrines: Christ, Salvation (Grace)
- Covenant Theology
- Stewardship (Eldrbarry's bibliography)
- Christian Living and Spiritual Gifts
- Evangelism (See above) and Disciplemaking (Disciplemaker Intl's Resources)
- Marriage and Personal Relationships
- Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Peacemaking
- Work of Holy Spirit and Empowerment
- Various Bible Studies
- The "Suggested topics" are likely to change as you arrive at venues
- Handouts are good! (Bring master copies for duplication there. Be aware that the standard paper size in Uganda is about 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches - an inch longer than in the USA. Copies are inexpensive, but you will need to pay for them yourself.)
Question and Answer Sessions
- Try to answer by referring to the Bible if possible
- Expect questions on matters not even remotely related to your talks - they tend to be on practical matters or local problem issues.
- Don't hesitate to refer to your Ugandan brethren for clarification of the issues involved and for assistance in answering questions
- Sometimes it is better to have the moderator (if there is one) take several questions before you start answering them.
Taking your notes along: Some suggestions
- A lightweight multi-pocketed case to keep things organized and dry - travel considerations (size and weight) are usually a factor in whatever you take along.You might also want a lightweight clipboard for windy situations.
- Some recommend using poly page protectors in a flexible poly 3-ring notebooks especially for duplication masters and teaching.
- While you probably won't be able to bring along copies of teaching books to give out to everyone - try to bring a couple you can leave behind.
High and Lo Tech Media
- Computers are gradually becoming accessible in Uganda. There are internet cafes and many missionaries and church leaders have internet access.
- You might take along a CD-Rom with your teaching material on it - but don't depend upon accessing it. Barry McWilliams took one with all his sermons and the CCEL library on a CD-Rom as well. And have a couple of 3.5 floppy's for transfering files from one computer to another.
- Some have taken along laptops - if you want to live with the stress of keeping it both safe and the battery charged, you can take along a lot of material as well. If you wish to risk taking one, it may be a good idea to disguise them in a backpack. An extra battery is useful, and a surge protector, with power service unpredictable in Uganda. If you bring a laptop, consider also bringing a portable printer, but guard them well. They could be very useful in the jet and airport and in situations where you need on-the-spot preparations, but your laptop would need to be watched. Even Guest Houses aren't secure. Jim Sutherland writes "I hope to use PowerPoint presentations, if only from my laptop if I cannot locate a video projector. I have a small projector unit, but don't think I want to chance losing it.This combines graphics and short phrases and I think would be very novel and attention-getting."
- Blackboards or whiteboards are sometimes available, but bring along some chalk and pens. Overhead projectors generally aren't, and if you bring one be prepared to not have power (and an adapter if you do). I haven't seen flip charts or flannelboards in use - paper or poster board may be available, you may need an easel. VCR's and TV's for videos are rarely seen.
- Set up a web-based e-mail account before you leave and group your prayer support team's e-dresses for quick updates home.
- MTN Uganda - a site for sending SMS messages to cell phones. Uganda has a substantial digital cellphone network, though there are still not enough towers and SMS messaging is a main use of cellphones outside the USA.
Some Suggestions for facilitating communication:
Reading Scripture Passages:
It is better to have the interpreter read it in one solid block from a local translation after you have read the entire passage in English rather than to interpret you reading it verse by verse. Let God's Word speak without distractions or interruption. Likewise use whole verses to make it easier for the interpreter to find his place in his Bible.
Learn the basic Greetings in the local language:
It is striking how just using a few phrases in their language opens up an audience to listen to the speaker. Along with the greetings, try to learn basic phrases such as "Please", "Thank you", "No, thank you", etc.
- Learn the proper forms of address in the local language. Use of titles conveys respect for the client and demonstrates your willingness to learn about their culture.
- Learn some basic words and sentences of the client's language. Become familiar with special terminology.
For more on the Languages of Uganda:
a Lugandan Phrasebook
Sharing the pulpit with Interpreters
- Keep your points focused and to a minimum, speak clearly and straightforwardly, and keep the sermon as short as possible.
- Simple English - Short complete simple (subject - verb -object) sentences - no long involved compound sentences or paragraphs. Don't fragment concepts by giving only half a thought at a time. Interpretation is not word for word translation!
- Be animated and expect your interpreter to attempt to copy your movements and gestures too.
- Sometimes your interpreter may move ahead of you and finish your thoughts for you, or elaborate on something difficult at length.
- During the interaction, look at and speak directly to your audience, not your interpreter. Don't embarrass your interpreter if he/ she has difficulty finding an equivalent word; understanding you, or stumbles with unfamiliar concepts, or asks you to repeat something by calling attention to him.
- Listening to an interpreted talk is as hard (and boring) for them as it is for you - wandering attention will be a challenge as you won't have all the public speaking "tricks" you are used to using.
- Be patient. An interpreted talk takes longer. Careful interpretation often requires that the interpreter use long explanatory phrases.
Your notes should consist of easy to read outlines of your talks to share with the Interpreter, rather than a manuscript. that also allows you to be more flexible and adapt the message to the situation, and audience comprehension.
- Avoid long complex discussion of several topics - stick to one idea at a time
- Avoid technical terminology, abbreviations, and professional jargon. It might be useful to discuss with your interpreter or an Ugandan pastor any difficult theological terminology before you give your talk to see if there will be difficulty in translation.
- Avoid colloquialisms, abstractions, idiomatic expressions, slang, similes, and metaphors.
- Jokes will probably be lost in the translation, as will most references to American life-styles, history and culture. While many jokes do not easily transfer into other languages and still retain their humor, personal anecdotes, embarrassing experiences, and funny illustrations will cause people to smile the world over. Humor produces good will, and good will opens the doors for ministry. Throw some humor into your sermons. Ugandans love to laugh.
- Pay attention the audience's nonverbal communication. Often you can learn a lot observing facial expressions, voice intonations, and body movements. However Ugandans tend to have "poker faces" and Bantu tongues have difficulty expressing feeling Words.
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- Ugandans have a rich tradition of public speaking
- Even informal discussions in door to door evangelism seem much more formal than in the West
- A formal greeting of the audience in order of importance
- Titles are important in Ugandan culture and should be used.
- A personal testimony will sometimes be responded to by spontaneous singing.
- Sometimes there will be a formal thank you given by someone in the audience, recapping some of the points you have made.
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