As we arrived on the first day of our church plant conference, the worship had already begun. Voices lifted in worship to God filled the air and as I got my first glimpse inside the meeting room. I saw leaders waving their colored neckerchiefs in the air and singing with all their strength to our great God. In the room was over 500 pastors and leaders eager to receive training to plant the Church. Many pastors and leaders had traveled days to reach the conference site. To give this context, it took us about 7 hours to navigate our way to a location that would only take 2 hours to travel in the USA.
We had the privilege of helping these leaders cultivate their churches around a biblical framework, while encouraging them to live a life that is above reproach as a leader in God’s Church. We asked them to be leaders who make disciples and who send disciples to plant the Church, and to reach out to those unreached in their nation and beyond.
By the second day of the training, we realized that several of the leaders present did not own a Bible. A Bible costs about $10 in Uganda which is a lot of money for them. One of the joys of the training was seeing them light up when we were able to give them the Word of God to take home to their villages and their churches. We gave out 360 new Bibles to church planters and Nextgen leaders. One leader was a woman who pastors a small church of 30 adults and several children. She showed me her Bible that was falling apart and missing chunks of Scripture. It was my joy to hand her a new Bible. When I asked her if I could keep her old torn Scriptures, she said that she wanted to keep them to share with her church so that they could have access to Scripture. The ache in her heart for God’s Word was beautiful.
In the west we have many resources at our disposal. Leadership podcasts and books, seminaries, seminars and tools are everywhere. In Uganda, however, many don’t finish school because they can’t afford it. When we handed out church plant training certificates, we saw excitement and joy I cannot describe. For some, this was the first certificate of completion they had ever received. I had the privilege of shaking their hands as they graduated, with 173 of them committing to planting a new church in Uganda within the next 12 months.
As we concluded our church plant training, we launched into our Nextgen training. Uganda has about 43 million people in its population, and about 50% of those people are under the age of 20. We had 480 millennial NextGen leaders join our training. Many young leaders are trying to find their contribution within the church, but pastors struggle to know how to engage these young, inspired and creative leaders. Many pastors are guilty of ignoring their young leaders and not giving them an opportunity to grow the gifts and talents that God has given them. We had a chance to speak to both the pastors and those they minister to.
Each day of the Nextgen conference we challenged pastors to pay attention to and invite the next generation to the table, giving them leadership positions when possible. The Nextgen leaders were challenged to be Great Commission leaders who accept the Gospel and boldly declare the Gospel message. We were able to see an army of young leaders mobilized to carry the Gospel and leverage their influence to make an impact for the kingdom. As God moves on your heart here are ways you can pray for the current and future leaders of Uganda.
· Pray for church planters to plant health churches that multiply new churches.
· Pray for the church planters to have vision and wisdom to make disciples.
· Pray for provision for those who lack the resources to lead well in Uganda.
· Pray that pastors would go back to their churches and give the youth space to lead with them.
We have been given so much in the west, and because of this, much is required. We are going with the rich resources we have been given by the Father. You can join with Global Advance in advancing the Gospel around the world through your prayers and faithful giving to this Kingdom assignment. Thank you for going with us to the nations. Thank you for praying for Global Advance and thank you for sharing in our collective work to reach others. We are grateful to work with you to advance the purposes of our King.