The Andrew Connally School of Preaching (ACSOP) is located in Arusha, Tanzania and is named after the spiritual giant who came to the country in the 1960’s when it was still known as Tanganyika. He began his work in the southern part of the country at Chimala where he built a hospital and mission that is still in existence today. In the 1970’s he moved north to Arusha where he planted several congregations.
In the 1990s, brother Connally recruited Cy and Stephanie Stafford to go to Chimala. While the Staffords were there, brother Connally went to his heavenly reward. But before he left this life he shared with Cy Stafford his dream of taking the Gospel into the larger cities, maturing the local congregations and then working outward to the smaller towns and villages.
Cy Stafford took that dream and presented a plan to the Kensington Woods (Hattiesburg, MS) congregation and her elders. They agreed to take the lead in a 20-year plan to take the Arusha and Kilimanjaro (Moshi) congregations to the point of maturity (self-leading, self-financing, etc.). These 20 years began in 1998. This plan would be accomplished through evangelistic campaigns and two Bible Schools (in Arusha and Moshi) where local members could go for two years to get a good foundation in the Faith. In 2018, after the 20 years conclude, the plan is to turn the Bible Schools over completely to the Tanzanians. This means that they will be administering as well as handling the finances of the schools. They are already administering and mostly financing the evangelistic campaigns.
Another part of the plan was to take men from all over East Africa and train them to be preachers. This is where the ACSOP enters the picture. It has been in existence since 2001. When it began it was meeting in the Arusha Bible School facilities. In 2005 it moved to brand-new facilities in the village of Kisongo, west of Arusha. It sits on 20 acres of land and has two dormitories which can house up to 48 students when at full capacity. To date, 140 students from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have graduated.
In early 2010 the ACSOP entered a new and exciting phase of work. For the first 10 years only English speaking students were admitted to the school. The goal was to train these men with the hopes that one day the top students would be able to train men in their own language. That day arrived in February, 2010 when the Swahili program began. This was just one more step in moving toward the goal of handing this work over to the native brethren, as mentioned above. Another big step was taken towards this goal in 2016 when administration of the school was handed over to Tanzanians. Financially, it will most likely be another generation or two before they can financially support the school, but that is the goal.