In my ministry I have had mentors who live in Bulgaria and others who live in the US and England. Some are still alive today, but then others have gone to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. One of those men, that I consider a mentor in preaching is the late John Stott. John Stott formulated the impact of expository preaching in what is called the Langham Logic. There he says, “If God wants his people to grow up, which He does, and if they grow by the Word of God, which they do, and if the Word of God comes to us mainly through preaching, which it does, then the logical question to ask is: ‘What can we do to raise the standards of biblical preaching?’ Because then the Word of God will come more effectively to the people of God and they will grow up to the glory of God Himself.”
I remember the early days of my ministry, when I began to preach and teach from Scripture. I feared that I might just preach my own message, so I prayed and earnestly asked God to lead me in Bible study and in what I have to preach. During my first two years of teaching the Word of God, I primarily used John Stott's books that helped me teach expository. What a blessing they were to me and to the congregation in my small church! After three years of ministry, I had many who said that they have never heard somebody preach God's word like that! I didn't preach my messages. I was simply going through passage after passage and we were being immersed in Scripture.
Our experience in ministry has convinced us of the value of expository preaching. That motivated me and my coworkers to look for ways to launch a national project to promote and implement an expository preaching movement in Bulgaria. In 2010 during the European Leadership Forum a took a board member of New Hope Bulgaria to meet with David Goodman who is the President of Entrust - ministry based in Chicago, US. We shared our goals in ministry with him and he connected us with Craig Parro, the President of Leadership Resources International. In the past 6 years we have been developing our partnership with LRI. During that time we learned a lot about the DNA of their ministry and how they operate. In 2014 we began to participate in LRI’s program in Istanbul, Turkey. This experience motivated us even more to pray and work toward the launching of TNT (Training National Trainers) project in Bulgaria. Every new venture in ministry needs a supporting partner which LRI call “anchor” churches. We found this anchor church when we met Pastor John Hunn in Istanbul, Turkey. Immanuel Baptist Church from Lebanon, TN enabled us to pioneer the first training of LRI in Bulgaria. This was a preliminary training which LRI calls Pre-TNT. Pre-TNT allows the participants to be immersed in the experience of the methods and environment of TNT.
The first Bulgarian Pre-TNT took place September 19-21, 2016. We took time to diligently pick preachers and pastors who demonstrate a sincere interest in expository preaching. The reason we started with a small group of 20 pastors is the specifics of TNT. Every TNT training has three kinds of sessions – Demonstration, Dig and Discover, and Do sessions. Do sessions give every pastor the opportunity to preach a five minute message and to get feedback from the other participants. This is a very high quality training that focuses on the individual participant. That is the reason we have a limited number of participants. Based on 2 Timothy 2:2 TNT motivates the participants to reproduce the training in second, third, and fourth generation TNT-ers.