Tanzania is among African countries, which right after independence started to take measures on education developments through policies formulation, reviews, adjustments, and improvements. These measures include curriculum design and development for schools to meet national goals on education. English as one of the subjects taught in all education levels from primary school to tertiary level, its curriculum and teaching has being gone those changes since then. In viewing and analyzing the English syllabus used in Tanzanian schools particularly in ordinary level now, we should see the changes of last syllabus, which led to the current syllabus we have today. The last syllabus was introduced in 1996 and used up to 2005 where the current syllabus was introduced in use from January. The syllabus was improved to meet the needs, challenges and shortcomings of the former one. Students were given more activities; the syllabus focuses on student competencies rather than the former one, which focus more on contents. The syllabus was challenged that it did not bring competences that is why the standard of English has declined dramatically over the years, and the main cause of this decline is the insufficient teaching of English in schools following the English language syllabus. This was seen by Allen K. (2008) in ‘What happened to our good English? And wrote:
‘Syllabus and textbooks have caused this… Secondary school students only fare marginally better, and yet secondary and tertiary education is all in English. They may be able to engage in simple dialogue but normally only after they have asked for the question/sentence to be repeated at least once. Again, fluent, complicated structures are mostly not understood at all. Written English is a greater problem. How many secondary school students write the almost nonsensical ‘How are you? On my side, I’m fine and going on well with my daily activities’. Recently talking to university graduates who were embarking on post-graduate studies their lack of confidence in the language was striking. To make conversation I needed to adopt very simple structures at a very slow, unnatural speed’.
This was also earlier seen by Cripe C & Dodd W. (1984) that suggested the authorities to work on a completely new syllabus for English language teaching in schools. Such a syllabus could take into account that many more pupils progress to secondary school from primary school without facing English language good foundation.
In that view, this paper analyze the contemporary syllabus, by using some of the criteria including appropriateness, feasibility, utility, adequacy, content, method, scope and consistency between grades. Others are internal consistency, clarity, and up-to-datedness. These criteria will be on its structure, objectives, strengths and weaknesses that avail. It is important to do so in order to improve the standard of English in Tanzania as proficiency in the language. This is because teachers as main guides for instruction in their classrooms use national English syllabuses and in examinations. The syllabus was designed and prepared by Tanzania Institute of Education under the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
Before the analysis, the definition of syllabus is given as the summary of the course; usually contain specific information about the course. (www.counselingcenter.uiuc.ed). Collins Essential English Dictionary defined syllabus as an outline or summary of the main points of a text or a course study. Syllabus analysis is the evaluation of the quantity of the syllabus (www.counselingcenter.uiuc.ed). So the purpose is to evaluate the quality of it developed by the institution.
The major areas analyzed in this ordinary level English syllabus are top cover, back cover, inside the top cover, part one and part two of it. The top cover present the title starting with United Republic of Tanzania on top then Ministry of Education and Culture now changed to Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, followed by English Language Syllabus for Secondary Schools, Form I – IV, 2005. Inside the cover on page (ii) copyright of the ministry is uttered followed by designed and prepared authority and address i.e. Tanzania Institute of Education. The next page (iii) is the table of contents.
The syllabus generally is divided into two main parts where the first is introduction, objectives of education in Tanzania, objectives of secondary education, general competence for Form I – IV, general objectives and organization of the syllabus. The second part consists of competences and objectives of the class followed by a table matrix layout, which shows topics, sub-topics, specific objectives, patterns/structures, contexts/situations, vocabulary/phrases, teaching/learning strategies, teaching/learning materials, assessments and number of periods with instructional time.
Introduction of the syllabus is well presented shortly expressing that the syllabus replaces the 1996 English Language edition, which has been phased out. It has been introduced for implementation from January 2005. The introduction could have been more attractive if it explained more the major reasons, which led to the phase out or change of the former one. Several inquiry skills and some inquiry levels are very briefly outlined in the introduction; it could be outlined to polish the part.
The objectives of education in Tanzania are clearly stated, meaningful and relevant to Tanzanian context as well as worldwide. They touch all disciplines of skills needed to the human being in the world. This is written the same in all syllabuses for subjects in that level nationally. The objectives are challengeable with the availability of resources in education both physical and human infrastructure in totality to cater the needs. In the report presented in the Conference of Commonwealth Ministers in Halifax, Canada 2000; by the minister of Education and Culture at the time says that; despite the government and the private sector efforts to provide secondary education in the country, the sub-sector had shortage of the science teachers especially in the rural areas, shortage of laboratories, shortage of equipments and other basic educational materials… It means that the objectives are clearly stated but not easy to achieve successfully.
The following section analyses the feasibility of the objectives of secondary education in Tanzania. The part started by defining the secondary education as a post primary formal education offers to learners who successfully completed seven years of primary education and have met the requisite entry qualification requirements. The objectives are stated to make the syllabus implement-able and feasible. However, it carries elements of behaviorists’ approaches that emphasize the use of reinforcement and repetition. The challenge is how to fulfill the packages needed to meet those objectives. Obanya P. (2006) had seen it and pointed out that Africa is still trailing behind other regions of the world in its effort towards attaining the EFA (Education for All) goals. So to Tanzania among African countries. Further he said the successes and sustainability of the new vision of secondary school in African governments show an appropriate level of political will…stepping up the process of reform, mobilizing the required resources, ensuring a participatory process etc.
General competences for Form I – IV in part two are relevant and if they are to be, achieved changes are to be seen. Competences were added to this syllabus to meet the objectives of teaching English in secondary schools by focusing on the learner-centered education (LCE) rather than teacher centered education (TCE) which proved insufficient masterly of language formerly. Allen K; (ibid) supported the transformation and said that things could have improved in the early 2000s with the opening up of the school textbook market to private publishers and the permitted multi-textbooks. However, the standards in teaching English had already declined by then, and many teachers were not equipped to be able to choose the best books for their purposes. Teachers have mostly taken the multi-textbook system to mean that they choose one book from a selection of many, and so they still effectively only use one textbook. In really sense, general competences collaborate with national objectives.
The syllabus has utility and efficacy that is why general objectives are outlined to enable the student acquires knowledge and skills to practice and use the language in specific settings and remarkable performances. They include speaking and writing skills, reading skills, communication and demonstration skills. These are form of skills which Burt C. et al (1933) categorized them as skills, concepts, relationships and strategies. They said that these four categories should not be thought of a hierarchically linked in the learning process, they are to large extent interactive. If a student acquire the outlined objectives thoroughly she/he would be competent to use English language in the world of information and communication technologies. It is clearly seen that these objectives were derived from the national objectives because they comply with them.
Class level competences are the statements, which specify the abilities that are expected to be attained by students before the class objectives found at the beginning of the content of each class level. Objectives are statements of behavior that are stated immediately after class competences to be exhibited by each student at the end of given class. These are achievable in a class of a recommended number of students not exceeding thirty five in class at a time and with the competence of a teacher. However, in Tanzanian crowded classes environment of more than sixty students is very difficult to achieve such objectives. Sumra S. (2000) pointed out that the education policy needs to clarify in focusing on ‘inputs’ or ‘outputs’ and the meaning of – what is expected of all teachers and how this will be monitored and measured. Pre and in-service needs to be focused on teacher competence. The effectiveness of human and physical infrastructures should be assured and realized in our schools so that the objectives are achieved.
Class level competencies and objectives in each Form are not the same. They are articulated according to the topics arrangements in specific Form and the behavioral changes intended. Class level competence is appropriate in scope versus students’ ability level. The new approach shifts the orientation of the content largely, but not exclusively, away from the rote memorization of factual knowledge to a competence based learning, which focuses much more on the understanding of concepts, and the acquisition of skills and competences.
The organization of topics and sub-topics, which are in the first and second column of the syllabus layout, shows that are completely designed to students ability. They diminish in number sequentially and consistent as they go to upper Form. While in Form I, there were sixteen topics and twenty-four subtopics, in Form II there were eleven topics and fifteen subtopics. In Form III and IV, there were six and five topics, fifteen and fourteen subtopics respectively. Some topics recur more than once but in advanced form. For instance, ‘Expressing Opinion and Feelings’ appeared in Form I, II, and III. ‘Talking about Events’ and ‘Interpreting Literary work’ appeared in Form I and II, while ‘ Listening for Information from different Sources’, ‘Reading Literary Work’ and ‘Writing Appropriate Language Content and Style’ appeared in Form III and IV respectively. However, the topics are consistent and have sequential arrangements. The entire syllabus has credential internal consistency between components and their content scope.
In organizing the topics and other sub-heading, the structure of the syllabus is in matrix form layout. Form I classes for example have sixteen topics and twenty-four subtopics. Both are relevant to their level and the continuity of topics is maintained accordingly from simple to difficult and there is a link between them. The same applies up to Form IV. The objectives in each topic and subtopics are clearly articulated from Form I – IV, to meet the behavioral change intended. The analysis of topics and sub-topics show that there is continuity within and link between topics because sub-topics are presented under the main topics. This enables a teacher to understand and relate the topics with concepts and ideas. Change of behavior is taken into consideration during planning the lesson to teach to make sure the autonomy is attained. Autonomy refers to student’s ability to organize his/her own learning activities.
Patterns or structures and variety of activities are relevant and adequately in providing, enough learning in every Form presented in the syllabus. It suggests use of variety activities including demonstration, dramatization, dialogue oral and written drills, songs, role-plays and games. These activities bring a vital role to students to master language skills, however, the nature of most Tanzanian crowded classes and shortage of teachers, this is a challenge to achieve successfully.
Context/Situations are provided in abundance and this will depend on how the responsible teacher opts to them depending on the natural setting of learning environment. Natural setting help the students the knowledge of skills they attain in their environment even after school. Vocabularies and phrases option provided are enough and relevant to the level of students.
The syllabus is adequate because in teaching and learning strategies throughout the syllabus, students are intended to develop fully speaking, writing, listening and arguing skills. They are adequately assisting the learners to attain the objectives. It is recommended that the list is not exhausted that the teacher will use more strategies depending on the needs where necessary. These include ear training, pronunciation and writing by using directives given in patterns/structures in third column of the syllabus.
There is no doubt about teaching and learning materials because they are well presented and suggested. The only slight doubt is that in rural areas, it might be difficult to access on television, video and audio cassettes because of shortage of power supply but with initiatives, it can be solved out. The levels of inquiry require students to be able to do something in the assessment and this is very well articulated in the part. There are one hundred and eighty four periods in a year, which shows at least there are seven periods in Form I and II; six periods in a week for Form III and IV. Each period is forty minutes.
The syllabus does not give suggestions, advice, or alternative program or prospectus to be used together or in place of itself. Again, it does not provide a list of selected text and reference books. It would be better if at least five textbooks and five reference books could be suggested in each topic. The national English syllabus serves as one of the main resources for English teaching and learning in secondary schools. Each teacher is given a copy of the national syllabus as a guide for the scope and depth of the content to be taught.
Inquiry is explicitly emphasized in the assessments section in the secondary school syllabus. This syllabus aims at stimulating pupils’ curiosity and sense of enquiry which will in turn not only provide suitable basis for further study of the subject but also provide students with sufficient knowledge and understanding to make them become useful and confident citizens. The essence of such an enquiry is related to problem solving and reflecting on modern enterprise. During the course, students should acquire language abilities associated with language competences. Students should develop second language attitudes such as open mindedness and willingness to recognize alternative language skills of view. Moulali S. (2006) said that the main objective of education quality improvement is to have a market responsive curriculum, with an efficient and effective delivery system that enables the recipient to become confident in modern enterprise.
In the assessment also, the teacher is required to make sure that students are assessed in all objectives into considerations of learning outcomes. It is explained that assessment provides room for fairness as well as enhancing students’ development of high level of thinking. The teacher must assess students in all language skills using paper pencil assessment, interviews, observation, portfolios, projects and questionnaires. These are the most techniques for active and participative learning. Active learning or learner-centered education (LCE) is considered an effective antidote to the prevalence of teacher-centered instructional classroom practices, which is widely claimed to support passive learning, and the stifling of critical and creative thinking (Rowell and Prophet 1990). The promotion of LCE is directly associated with high development ambitions, such as economic development, or social restructuring. LCE fits well modern pedagogical ideals for focusing on the provision of a platform for developing knowledge, skills and competencies for innovation, social development and economic growth. LCE requires a move from the commonly pure content learning and the memorization of facts to the ability of learning-to-learn, to the inclusion of methodological and social skills and competencies into the learning process, to the understanding of generic higher order concepts.
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In totality the syllabus is well organized and presented successfully to meet the intended outcomes. It has the desirable aspects of quality, continuity, autonomy and discussion. It is also updated because it is relevant to current situation of the nation and the world as a whole. Such current issues include HIV Aids in Form II, ozone layer depletion global warming and environmental conservasation in Form III.
The objectives and competences are clearly constructed and stated to meet intended outcomes including national and individual goals in English language skills. Language is vital for everyone to communicate and this is where the access to cognitive skills, knowledge, technologies, attitudes and values can be obtained. The objective of this syllabus is to have a responsive curriculum that addresses the skill needs of the population and an efficient and effective delivery system of the curriculum. This would mean an adequate and qualified number of teachers, as well as sufficient and appropriate teaching and learning materials O-saki, K., & A. Ndabili. (2003). They should be available in all schools to raise student achievement, and appropriate mechanisms for testing learning competencies. This is a challenge in Tanzanian context but (World Bank Report 2007) said that to achieve education goal emphasis must be directed in expanding facilities through the provision of development grants to schools. Policy measures such as raising the average number of students per teacher, increasing the average number of teaching periods per week, increasing class size, especially at upper secondary, expanding open and distance learning programs, reducing tuition fees by half, and providing scholarships to students from poor household.
As previously mentioned the syllabus does not list a number of text and reference books to use at least five each Form. This is left to school administration and subject teacher to choose various books to use. This is a very good decision but the challenge is; can all schools manage to buy these books according to the needs? The answer is no even private schools in spite of their school fees collection cannot affect their textbooks needs. African Development Bank, (2000) remark that the bulk supply of textbooks to schools was found to be inefficient as the supply of the books is not always based on accurate information about the schools. This approach of providing textbooks also does not encourage the flourishing of local publishers and local book suppliers. Under SEDP (secondary education development program), the schools are receiving capitation grants which they use for the purchase of learning and teaching materials, including textbooks. This enables the schools to procure the books they need and in the quantities they can afford, but not the recommended needs.
The assessment section of the syllabus state that at the end of Form IV students are expected to do an overall achievement assessment intended to determine the extent to which the objectives of English course have been attained. This can be attained if in all stages of teaching and learning process, (LCE) was adhered with sufficient supply of learning materials. Several studies indicate that implementation of LCE in the classroom is problematic (Jansen 1999; Chisholm 2000; Leyendecker 2002; Ottevanger 2001). Where Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries have attempted to implement learner-centered education, the actual instructional processes were largely far removed from the ideal. One of the problems is that the teacher is regarded by the societies and culturally determined understandings of authority and teaching, including students’ perceptions, as the provider of knowledge and the bearer of authority. These perceptions and the resulting classroom behavior will not change overnight. Although Prophet’s report dates back to 1995, his observation that teachers rather adapt their teaching to suit their and their students “world view” and perceptions on teaching, is continuously repeated and supported by other studies.
Another challenge is that, contrary to the pedagogical ideal, the vast majority of students are not very active and visible, probably because they have never given the chance. Although there is little research about students’ experiences of curriculum reforms, numerous comments and observations, point to the fact that students struggle with their new roles, which they are assigned by the intended curriculum changes. Students frequently share with teachers a common perception about what it means to teach, and are resistant to changes not fitting this perception. What is more, students’ attitudes concerning learning and discipline have embraced aspects of international youth cultures. Students welcoming the opening of classrooms and the change from strict classroom organization and discipline, have problems in meaningfully filling the added space and freedom. Students are powerful influencers of change, and can be obstructive if the required attitudes and instructional practices do not fit their expectations. This is happening in various secondary schools in our country. Both student and teachers cannot jump from the current classroom situation and culture to a desirable ideal behavior. It needs transitional time for changes to be instilled in the mind of teachers and students. However, both can gradually grow and adapt to the new roles that are beneficial to teaching and learning. For such a process of growth to take place, support structures should to be available, but these are often absent or very limited in scope and time lines.
SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION
As to conclude, the main practical challenges for the improvement of syllabus and instructional quality that are frequently neglected for the development is that, teachers need to have sound knowledge of the content matter to be flexible to adjust to different ways of student thinking, and to be able to relate to the emerging questions and problems without being challenged in his position. Due to their own learning experiences and education, the content knowledge of many teachers in Tanzanian classrooms is limited, so in-service programs to sharpen teachers knowledge is essential. Teachers need to have a sound knowledge of instructional methodologies, their aims and potentialities. Teachers need assistance and space for learning about instructional methodologies. Teachers’ roles change from providers of knowledge to facilitators, and the changes in roles need to be both comprehended and accepted by teachers, students, and the society alike.
CRM visions have proven their worth in the conglomerate corporate businesses in the entertainment, healthcare, financial, energy, and communication industries when implemented strategically within specific time, resource, and budget constraints. The ability to view the customer and its sales, call center, and marketing interactions provides a holistic summary of a company’s standings with the services and products offered. CRM has now taken a leap into another market that is not so traditional in terms of evaluating ROI and marketing effectiveness – the church or what is loosely referred to today as ministry.
Let’s face it the church of yesterday in no way models the modern day church. As of 2006, there were at least 1200 mega churches that represented three tenths of one percent of all congregations that consistently have at least 2000 weekly “visitors”. (1) There were mega churches in 45 out of 50 states. The states with the most mega churches are Texas with 174 (14%), California with 169 (13.7%), Florida with 83 (6.7%) and Georgia with 64 (5.2%). Houston and Dallas alone account for 56 mega churches or 4.5% of the total (2). These numbers have increased by at least 15% in the last year. Needless to say, there are enormous contributions provided through regular tithes and offering from parishioners or members. Additionally, the modern non-denominational church may sell products and services to parishioners or ministry partners. Each church may have multiple ministries that focus on a particular mission. Additionally the modern-day pastor may have a separate “ministry” or “enterprise” of which his/her products and services are sold to spread the gospel. All of these components, while not necessarily the vision of God, provide a clear reason to consider the church as a business, sometimes with both a profit and non-profit arm.
Based on multiple annual reports of churches that boast 3500-4000 congregations per Sunday, approximately $5M is required to operate to provide very minimal assistance to the needy (of which a minimum salary of $200K is provided to the pastor). Even for the 100-member church with the $200K operating budget, it is imperative for the church leaders to have visibility into the contributions and expenditures very similar to the Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Dell corporations. If the church or ministry is viewed as a business, a clear CRM vision can answer the normal questions required to operate: 1) How much revenue is being generated by a specific product or service? 2) What services or products are better marketed in specific geographic areas for a greater return? 3) What are the expected operational expenses for the ministry? 4) What are the expected contributions to anticipate the new marketing strategies or services that should/can be offered in the future? 5) What products and services have a low market value and high market value and should have increased or decreased promotion?
The mapping from the traditional CRM solution to ministry terminology is quite simple if the ministry purpose is slightly obliterated from the vision. Gartner’s definition of CRM being a “business strategy with outcomes that optimize profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction by organizing around customer segments, fostering customer satisfying behaviors and implementing customer-centric processes” (3) fits the modern ministry model with strategic term definitions for the following five key ingredients that shape the financial success of the ministry:
Parishioners, any individual that attends the church or “partners” with the ministry, or members of the church based on the definition provided by the church would fall into this category.
Each “customer” contributes a tithe or offering. Mega churches have now implemented the idea of an annual subscription where a person signs an intent to pay (like a promissory note or pledge) a certain amount of money to the church within the year. This helps the church identify how well incoming contributions will offset the operating expenses that include the ministerial and administrative staff salaries and the normal operations like musical equipment, mission and education, marketing, assistance to needy, and maintenance.
Most churches have a physical or online bookstore where spiritual books (like Bible or authored by motivational speakers or other ministers), CDs, tapes, DVDs, and mp3 files are sold of sermons, bible lectures, or a series of topics to reach all audiences and spread the gospel.
In the case of most ministries, specifically pastor-originated, a fee is charged for the minister to “preach”, speak, pray, or attend another church or conference. There are also fees charged for an organization to rent the church space. Additionally, there may be a fee charged for a choir to sing at an event.
Marketing can be as small as promotional flyers to promote a Cancer Walk-a-Thon or as large as television advertisement, Streaming Faith (online presence of the church’s services), or network television presence. Some mega churches also employ Call Centers to call “partners” or “members” to promote specific events. There may even be trade or promotional spending to persuade retailers or other ministries to carry certain products in their inventories.
There are many CRM packages that can handle the CRM vision of pastoral leadership. However, the costs can be enormous based on what is really necessary to provide reporting, analytics, and effective tracking to forecast incremental membership and “revenue” growth. For example, Siebel is an enormous undertaking and a tremendous expenditure upwards of millions that require continuously large operational expenses with a minimum integration time of six months to year. SAP CRM is less user-friendly than Siebel and usually requires at least a year to implement with many caveats. Razor’s Edge lacks user-friendliness, customizability, maintainability, and upgradeability and is not as strategic and analytical in the reporting compared to other CRM packages that are less expensive. Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM are by far the better options in terms of implementation time, ability to combine analytics and reporting with external systems, user-friendliness, data integration and conversion timeliness, accuracy, and effectiveness, and overall minimal costs for production support. Indeed, there are a few ministries (mega churches) that spend millions of dollars on Siebel implementations for an initial implementation and post-production support. Keep in mind that the recommendations provided are based on a system providing effective functionality with the ability to keep costs at a minimum such that the ministry can focus on spending most of its money on programs/outreach with the mission to help the less fortunate.
Nonetheless, ministry today operates as a business with the same needs as the conglomerate corporate enterprises that desire marketing, sales, spending, and management visibility into the success of their products and services as it relates to target demographics, niche markets, and seasonal periods. CRM solutions provide the forecasting, regulatory compliance standards, data integration with financial systems and old legacy systems, and accessibility required for trend analysis to track contributions, membership and revenue growth, and analysis of future operations and spending. It is, however, scary that while CRM provides a holistic overview of the parishioner, partner, or member’s contribution to the ministry’s ROI, it never can measure the true essence of the ministry’s purpose – saving a soul.
According to the United Nations Millennium Project, Publication, Education and Gender Equality, globally women still have fewer opportunities for economic participation in most parts of the world than men. The report also suggest that even basic and higher education, health and safety risks, and political representation continue to exist (1).
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has report that women comprise more than 50% of the world’s population, they only own 1% of the world’s wealth (2).
Reports like these can be changed when women continue to develop, educate, and become more involved in their communities, nationally, and globally.
Kingdom Empowerment is a critical aspect to achieving gender equality and promoting ministry, business, and healthy sustainability to our environments.
Women are capable of increasing their self-worth, decision-making power, having control of destiny and purpose, having the ability to effect change, and having access to opportunities and resources by practicing Kingdom Empowerment principles.
Kingdom Empowerment takes more than a minute. It requires many individual assets and traits to acquire a vision and sustain it.
If you have or have not already started ministry or business, spend time gaining SELF-AWARENESS. Most visionaries are successfully aligned with their vision because that know their own strengths and weaknesses. In order to be effective in your relationship with GOD, you must know who your are, where your are, when you are to act, and how your are to act. This will help your to map out your mind, spirit, and soul to be aligned with your vision for ministry or business while remaining in the Kingdom of God. You will also discover your purpose, destiny, and will to help the Kingdom of God while you are fulfilling ministry or business. Most cases you embarked on the journey of ministry or business because you were seeking fulfillment or the pursuit of happiness in doing the work of God and for God without hindrances or obstacles. However at times our passion moves us quickly and we fail to take time to become fully aware of ourselves causing us to fail to paint the big picture (vision). Being self-aware will effectively help women to establish visions, missions, and goals that will sustain ministry and business for the long run.
SLOW THE PACE in order to be successful in what you are doing. In most cases you have to bring others onboard with the vision by influencing them to follow role or part of the vision. This takes more than what you see or act out.
There may be an appearance at first that others are interested in what you are doing or selling. However, in order to keep them motivated and having the same passion that you do for it, they have to be attached and receiving the quality and qualitative nutrients from the same Vine (Jesus Christ). Kingdom Empowerment involves your soul, spirit, and body. Resting is a part of allowing individuals to free up your mind therefore increasing creativity and capabilities that are needed to function. We speed the pace at times when we see that potentially the benefit is great, but it is better to keep a steady and firm pace to maximize your full potential.
PLANNING and continuing to plan will help you to remain aligned with the direction God has for you. Most persons fail in one year of startup due to improper planning in order to fully implement their visions successfully. Planning events, planning time, planning every little activity and task is of importance to your vision. If you are extremely busy… then you most likely not planning. Take time to schedule your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly task. It is even a good standard to plan from three to five years ahead long term.
LOOK AT ALL OF THE OBSTACLES that you are facing and consider as limitations. Make a list of what is factual and what you think or thought to be a limitation. SEEK WISDOM from God. Most things that we think are limitations can be proven to not be limitations. Remember always, in the Kingdom of God there are no boxes or boundaries that we fit into, as we are children of God that set our own boundaries and limitations for what is inside or outside of ministry or business. We are outside of the boxes and boundaries/limitations of life in the world. God always will give us the insight we need to surpass each obstacle.
BE DYNAMIC AND INNOVATIVE in your thinking. If you are doing the same thing someone else is doing that is successful, it is good. However, we are designed to be ‘Elite Thinkers’. This means we need to add more to what is good or great, and make it uniquely more visible than all others. We have to go beyond the norm of existence by receiving and having Divine revelation that make us better than the crowd. Take time to map your thoughts by writing them down. Rehearse them until you come up with the key to your vision that will bring accomplishment.
CONSIDER THE IMPACT of your surrounding and environment before you act. Sure enough in most cases, we are more than capable, but we forget it takes more than us to make it happen. Being empowered in the Kingdom of God requires analysis of (who, what, when, where, and how) it will affect the intended (audience, customer, environment, etc.), determining the quality of the expected outcomes of the vision, and being equipped for the unexpected risk.
LEARN FROM EACH TASK, ACTIVITY, OR EVENT you experience with ministry or business. Take time to establish new methods, process, or guidelines for the good and the bad that will make your next one be more and more successful each time.
CONTINUE TO DEVELOP your personal skills, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of your visions. If you need education, certifications, licensing, affiliations and/or associations, mentorship, life coaching, etc. in order to be successful start one day at a time. Research your avenues and set goals to achieve them. Schedule at least one day, and one hour of the week to accomplish the tasks toward developing and accomplishing your vision.
UNDERSTAND YOUR STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS (SWOT) of your vision. Choose more than one so you can successfully adapt to ways of overcoming each.
FIND SUPPORT AND MENTOR others with the same vision. Sometimes visions fail or may be aborted when we do not seek expert advice or experience from others who are capable and successful in what that do. It does not necessarily mean we have to follow everything, but we can adapt what will help us to be successful. Take time to share what you have learned or have gained experience on with others.
BE PERSISTENT AND CONSISTENT, in all areas of your vision. Failure only exist when you stop. Fall down, but get up. Giving up is not an option when you have determined that you will be successful introducing change in your environment.
Outlining a biography provides practice of this important pre-writing, comprehension and study skill. Marilyn Alexander wrote of her husband, Jeffrey Alexander’s Fifty Years of Ministry with the purpose of informing his family, friends and others of how God has used this man for fifty years.
When teaching students to outline include an introduction to MS Word or other word processor’s outlining feature. For beginners using the chapter titles and other headings provide a great introduction. Later, you should require more detailed information. Also, at some point a student should experience using parallel structure in the outline. Marilyn Alexander provided examples of parallel structure in her headings as the same parts of speech appear in a pattern. Repeating words and phrases work in outlines.
The Fifty Years’ Ministry of an Ordinary but Remarkable Man:
Called, Chosen, Faithful
By Marilyn Alexander
I. Part One – Called
A. Chapter One – Called to Salvation Through “Call-ege” # 1 1943-1962
1. Born on October 25, 1943 in Denver, Colorado to Alex and Verdonna Alexander.
2. Called to Salvation – at age 6 in an American Sunday School Union Sunday School held at an elementary school in what is now Lakewood, Colorado.
3. Called to Conviction – His father showed conviction when comparing the teaching of God’s word with what he heard at a denominational church. His father led the family to South Sheridan Baptist Church (SSBC). Under the ministry of Ed Nelson, God called Jeff to preach.
4. Called to “Call-ege” #1 – Ed Nelson encouraged Jeff to attend Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. God provided the finances for the first semester through his work at a supermarket and a warehouse man for the summer. Further, God supplied for the second semester with a gift from a family that had saved a sum of money and had given it to the Lord.
5. Called to Serve Servicemen – Jeff took every opportunity for ministry during his college days and beyond. On one occasion he went to the Christian Servicemen’s Center in Augusta, Georgia. Here he preached his second sermon and God protected them from a probable fatal collision with a train on their way back to campus.
6. Called to Preach – Jeff received his first license to preach on June 1, 1962 for a three month summer ministry with Gospel Fellowship Mission.
B. Chapter Two – Called to “Call-ege” # 2 – 1962-1963
1. Encouraged to study at Baptist Bible College -Summer Ministry did not provide finances for another year at BJU. New leadership added to Jeff’s interest in BBC – New president – Jack Hyles and new vice president – Ed Nelson. This leadership lasted only one year.
2. Called to the Candy Kitchen – Jeff worked at night at Russel Stover Candies and attended classes at Baptist Bible College during the day. He lived at home.
3. Called to Artistry – Jeff began to use his artistic abilities at area churches doing chalk art and preaching.
4. Called to Sugar City – SSBC licensed Jeff for a summer ministry.
C. Chapter Three – Called to Sugar City – 1963
1. Called to a small town in southeastern Colorado – Jeff attended services in Crowley and preached in Sugar City on Sunday afternoons. People came from Crowley and Ordway.
2. Called to trust God for provisions – a place to stay, a refrigerator, food, help with the vehicle.
D. Chapter Four – Called to “Call-ege” # 3
1. Called to Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (PBBC) in Minnesota – encouraged to go by Ed Nelson and Dr. Monroe Parker (from PBBC) – small school, plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord.
2. Called and Using His Car – Jeff sold his old car to pay for college expenses. His dad gave him the family car. Soon God was using that car to get Jeff and others to ministry assignments.
3. Called to More Preaching – Chicago and other cities in Illinois, other area churches.
4. Called to Do More Art Work – In his preaching opportunities as well as for school drama productions.
5. Called to Use Other Talents – parts in plays and humorous monologues.
6. Called to Date His Wife-to-Be – Marilyn and Jeff, merely aware of each other during their junior year, began to date during their senior year. Jeff’s credit count fell short so he had to take summer school and wait a year to graduate. After summer school, Jeff returned to Colorado, their future uncertain.
E. Chapter Five – Called to Pastor At Galeton, Colorado – 1965-1968
1. Galeton, Colorado, located 14 miles northeast of Greeley with barely a population of 100. This calling marks the beginning of Jeff’s 50 years of ministry.
2. Pastor Ed Nelson invited Jeff to his office where two deacons from Galeton Baptist Church waited. They wanted him to preach until they had a pastor. After a couple of months, they wanted him to be the pastor even though he intended to go to seminary eventually.
3. Called to Ordination – March 17, 1966
4. Called to Reunite – Graduation at PBBC
a. Marilyn, teaching music at PBBC, received advice – write to tell him that she looked forward to seeing him at graduation.
b. Jeff arrived in a brand new red mustang – that did it for Marilyn.
c. Marilyn visited Colorado and Jeff’s family in July, 1966.
d. While driving back to Denver having done some sightseeing Jeff said, “I want to marry you.”
She asked, “Are you asking me?
After a moment, evaluating whether this was the time and place, he said, “Yes, will you marry me?”
Marilyn said, “Yes!”
On the way back they planned the wedding.
e. His salary of $50.00 per week would not provide for a wife. He continued preaching on Sundays and Wednesdays, moved back to Denver to live with his grandmother and worked at a shoe store.
5. Called to Small Town – well treated by all, especially by servers at a café until he went with Marilyn. No more special treatment.
6. Called to Marry – June 10, 1967 – Plymouth Baptist Church, Plymouth, Minnesota.
7. Called to a Busy First Month of Marriage – after a short trip home / honeymoon, they had to get back so that Jeff could officiate at a wedding- 8 days after their own. Jeff’s parents celebrated 25 years of marriage 13 days after they Jeff and Marilyn were married.
8. Called to Enjoy Ministry -Music and Fellowship and Punctuality lessons.
9. Called to More Education -Marilyn taught piano and organ lessons at PBBC in Denver. Jeff took a class at BBC during that time.
10. Called to Even More Education – Symptoms of pregnancy in 1968 prompted the Alexanders to move to Minnesota for seminary before children started coming. Jeff sold his mustang and purchased a car that could haul a U Haul.
F. Called to Central Seminary and White Bear Lake, Minnesota – 1968-1976
1. Called to Secular Work – to provide for family – shoe salesman and fabric warehouse driver.
2. Called to White Bear Lake, Minnesota – Pastor of Bellaire Baptist Church
3. Called to Lead Others – Many people associated with Central Seminary and PBBC ministered in the church.
4. Called to Support Missions – Jeff and Marilyn participated in monthly meetings of Twin City Association of the Minnesota Baptist Convention and Jeff held positions. During this time he learned of “Faith Promise” and it ignited a desire to support missions that never died.
5. Called to Good Training – At Central Seminary, Jeff learned of expository preaching and going first to the Word and then later to commentaries.
6. Called to Be Tested Sometimes -God provided the Alexander’s needs, often “in the nick of time.”
7. Called to Grow – Church grew so they had to vacate the attached “parsonage.”
8. Called into Association with Others – Minnesota Baptist Association
9. Called Elsewhere- Bible Baptist Church, Terre Haute, IN
G. Called to Terre Haute, Indiana – 1976-1978
1. Called to Assist – Jeff wanted more experience learning from a more experienced Pastor. His job included Sunday School promotions and fundraising.
2. Called to Some Productive Fun – Fossil collecting -family fun and future rewards for Sunday School children.
3. Called to Loyalty – Pastoral staff resigned; Jeff was asked to consider to stay, but did not out of loyalty to the godly pastor.
H. Called to Evangelism and Lay Ministry – 1979-1990
1. Called to evangelism – January, 1990
2. Called to Trust God -When salary from Bible Baptist Church ceased, the Alexanders trusted God to provide through offerings. Marilyn wrote in a journal regarding those occasions when God supplied.
3. Called to Live in a “Hallway -”the 32 foot trailer that God provided for the growing family.
4. Called to Laugh with God at “What we don’t need is another kid.”
5. Called to Help -Helped Jeff’s mom after the death of her second husband and worked in the family construction company for several weeks.
6. Called to Remember the Good and Hard Times – Parking in a Pastor’s driveway between meetings caused some neighbor problems.
7. Called to Close Living – Children were growing up and needed some roots.
8. Called to Spacious Living – Jeff’s brothers were building a house for them in Lakewood, Colorado.
9. Called to Transition – Problems with the truck that hauled the trailer.
10. Called to Lay Ministry – Jeff and Marilyn led the senior citizens’ ministry at SSBC. Jeff became involved in the Colorado Association of Christian Schools.
II. Part Two / Chapter Nine- Chosen – 1979-1986
A. Turning Point – Jeff came to a turning point in his understanding of God’s Word.
B. Turning Point Topic covered in Jeff’s book: Predestined for Heaven? Yes!
C. Chosen as in Calvinism -
1. Total Depravity
2. Unconditional Election
3. Limited Atonement
4. Irresistible Grace
5. Perseverance of the Saints
D. Chosen in Spite of Self – “We love Him, because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
E. Chosen to Understand Through John 3:16 “God loved the world in this way (so)… ”
F. Chosen, Like Puritans – Arthur Pink, John Owen, Joseph Carroll
G. Chosen to Bless Others with Understanding – First, Marilyn, then daughter Karen and many more.
H. Chosen to Restraint -Teaching Sunday School at his church – though anxious to tell others (as are most new Calvinists), he didn’t want to cause trouble.
I. Chosen Amid General Misunderstanding – Most modern Baptists are unaware of their theological heritage.
J. Chosen to Give Out the Gospel – Since we do not know who God has chosen, we must declare the Gospel to all, trusting God with the rest.
K. Chosen to Give Forth the Gospel -Jeff wrote a gospel track following this outline:
1. God created us for His glory. Isaiah 43: 6,7
2. We are required to live for His glory. I Corinthians 10:31
3. We have failed to live for His glory. Romans 3:23
4. We are subjects of God’s just condemnation. II Thessalonians 1:9
5. God gave His only Son to provide salvation from this condemnation. I Timothy 1:15, 1 Peter 3:18
6. The benefits purchased by the death of Jesus Christ belong to only to those who repent of their sin and trust Christ for their salvation. Acts 3:19