This article was originally published in the May 2014 edition of ITMI Monthly.
“...Kawede says 95 percent of men become pastors for the wrong reasons.”
PROBLEM – FEAR
When ITMI’s Muhindo Kawede was a boy, his mother told him to behave or else the ghosts of his ancestors would get him. Instead of using “monster spray” to calm children’s fears of imaginary goblins hiding under the bed, as in America, Kawede’s mother told him and his siblings their ancestors would eat them.
And she meant every word.
He was constantly afraid of the dark and of the ever present ancestral spirits who were purported to inhabit his and every other African home.
Throughout Uganda and much of the African continent, ancestor worship (animism) is the predominant worldview. It promotes sin of all types, along with diabolical cruelty, extreme violence, abject poverty and above all, individual fear. The courses of entire nations are determined by how people think.
This is true of the whole continent of Africa under the influence of animism.
When Kawede learned that Jesus said, “Fear not, for I am with you,” and “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” it changed his life and altered his course forever.
Northern Africa is overrun with misguided Muslims, who are constantly marching southward on the African continent and instilling Sharia law, resulting in physical brutality, starvation and slavery for non-Muslims, and Muslims alike. Muslims believe Allah, a moon god, cannot be known. Therefore Islamic life is focused on trying to please Allah and curry his favor.
One does not really know if he is secure in this relationship or not. The phrase “For God so loved the world…” is earthshaking to Muslims. Converts from Islam are comforted to know Jesus “is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and that they can have a life “not of confusion, but of peace and sound mind”.
Poverty is one of the most covered aspects of Ugandan life. It leads to street children, nine-year-old mothers, abandoned children, HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant sexually-transmitted diseases, little to no sanitation, highly contagious diseases, prostitution, child armies, human sacrifice, drug use, robbery, murder and financial fraud.
Life is hopeless for these people, and they feel helpless to change their situation. What a comfort when poor Ugandans learn God will provide for them just as He feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies. “Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
Poverty and fear go hand in hand.
In all of these cases, Ugandans live in a perpetual state of fear. Though Africa has been evangelized for centuries, discipleship has been sorely neglected.
The weak link in African ministry is a great shortage of well-trained, mature Christian pastors and teachers. Many people trust Christ in order to become spiritual leaders, to gain community status and provide themselves an income stream.
Kawede says 95 percent of men become pastors for the wrong reasons. Some of the most well-meaning pastors were saved one day and in charge of multiple congregations a short while later.
Most of them have no idea what to do as a pastor. They don’t know their Bibles, so they frequently teach heresies, often a mixture of biblical doctrine and animism.
Such views on life cause people to do strange things. One pastor needed some money, so he “sold” his congregation for $300 to another man who wanted to be “somebody”. Neither of the pastors realized – the church is not for sale.
Finding good Christian character among pastors is sometimes difficult in Africa. ITMI and Pastor Kawede are committed to changing this situation.
Thus we see the extreme need for discipleship and Bible training for all pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, family counselors and church planters in Africa.
Muhindo Kawede's solution is discipleship and training for pastors.
Solution – Discipleship
There are hundreds of millions of people in Africa.
What can one person do?
One person can obey the Great Commission to preach the Gospel and make disciples.
Muhindo Kawede understands the solution is “building men of God to reach the lost” by being rooted and grounded in God’s Word. He knows that if Ugandans are to change their situation, it will come through evangelism and discipleship.
That is why he founded International School of Missions (ISM) seven years ago in Kampala, Uganda’s capitol city of 20 million souls.
Kawede’s ministry focus is entirely in response to Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Among the ISM students are Ugandans, and men and women from the neighboring nations of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Rwanda. Founded seven years ago, ISM has enjoyed the blessings of two graduating classes totaling 21 students, and a current student body of several dozen more. Kawede’s vision is certainly to train Ugandan pastors and church leaders, but also to help Christian leaders throughout Africa.
Students may earn a Bible certificate, a diploma or even a bachelor’s degree in missions. These are not wimpy classes either. Given that the situation is serious, students’ studies must also be serious. Courses include Old and New Testament survey, systematic theology, expository preaching, biblical marriage, counseling, Greek, Hebrew, English, hermeneutics and research methods.
But because people are so poor, 90 percent of ISM’s students can’t afford the minimal, per-term tuition of $100-200, and $400 for room and board.
Kawede allows them to attend anyway.
He and his family agreed to limit themselves to two meals per day, reducing their own lifestyle to save money and help the students. They don’t even own a vehicle, saving the expense of fuel, tires and repairs.
The Kawede family agreed to limit themselves to two meals per day, reducing their own lifestyle to save money and help the students.
However, a motorcycle would help Kawede minister to more people, faster.
As his ministry has expanded, ISM has outgrown its facilities. A new, larger building is in the works. Kawede and others made 45,000 handmade and hand-fired bricks for the construction of the building on ISM’s acquired 11 acres, which lies across a portion of Lake Victoria from ISM’s previous location in Kampala.
He also has four pigs and hopes to raise other animals and some fruit and vegetables on ISM’s land to feed his students.
ISM students in their tent "classroom."
BENEFIT – TRANSFORMATION
The first person to benefit from solid Bible training is the disciple himself or herself. In Kawede’s life, he hides God’s Word in his heart. He treats his wife and children well. He is a servant, not lording his position over others, and he works hard, as unto the Lord. He adheres to Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonians to work if he wants to eat.
So Kawede is an example of industry and enterprise. And ISM students learn to live as godly men and women, forsaking their former habits and putting on a new, biblical life.
The second to be transformed are the immediate family and local community of committed disciples of Jesus. Kawede’s wife and children are being led by the Spirit of God, Who changes their behavior and priorities and daily life. When they begin to display the fruit of the Spirit, neighbors and coworkers notice.
For example, Kawede loves his wife and treats her well. In African culture, this is rarely so. Other people notice Kawede isn’t a charlatan, scamming people for an income stream, but a true servant of God, transformed as a new creation.
Finally, the worldview of any nation is changed through the influence of well-trained, godly Christians. For example, the culture of the early United States of America was blessed because its people obeyed God. Likewise, African countries such as South Africa and Rhodesia were also greatly blessed by God in the past when Christ was worshipped and His word was studied and obeyed.
But no sooner did these African countries fall away from God, then the blessing of God came off, and the culture degenerated. The suffering of the people increased. These countries were “Icabod”, meaning “the Spirit has departed.”
WHAT WE CAN DO?
Prayer is always needed. Kawede needs God’s provision to support his family. ISM needs many types of resources to help its students stay in school and to expand its facilities. Ugandan pastors desperately need training to be grounded in God’s Word.
Contact us at In Touch Mission International, where we have many ways for you to get involved.
Former ISM student, now leading God's people as a pastor.
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.