Untrained Pastors, Misguided Believers
Remember the week you were saved? Remember learning all the basic tenets of Christian faith? Remember the value of being discipled – both by people in your lives and Christian authors?
Imagine finding yourself pastoring a church by the end of that month.
As Americans, if we found ourselves in that situation, we might read all the books we could get our hands on.
But what if books were scarce? What if you didn’t even own your own Bible, as is the case for the estimated 200 million African believers?
This is the situation for many evangelical pastors in third world countries.
You may not be aware that 75% of Christians now live on the continents of Africa, Asia, and South America. This is great cause to give thanks, but the growth of the church has outpaced the supply of pastors and elders who are equipped to shepherd these followers. An estimated 85% of the 2.2 million evangelical churches worldwide are led by pastors with little to no training. (Walsh, 2014)
ITMI has found it common for these pastors to continue to practice and preach cultural norms contributed by the common beliefs of the culture such as Animism or Hinduism, without even realizing they are heresy. Without God’s Word to measure their cultural norms against, they just go on as they had before, adding Jesus to the mix.
ITMI has several projects that seek to address this widespread problem in both Africa and India.
Jahim trains pastors in Sudan. Paul disciples pastors in India. Tim and Ashley Keller just shipped 18 tons of Bibles and Christian Books to Zambia. And of course, ISM is training pastors in Uganda!
Providing Biblical Training
Muhindo Kawede is an ITMI partner and founder of ITMI’s International School of Missions (ISM) in Kampala, Uganda. “Kawede” as most call him, has a heart that yearns to equip African pastors to lead the African church in a Biblical manner.
He is skilled in discipling pastors both in the classroom and in-the-field practicing street evangelism.
The partially constructed ISM facility.
In the meantime, they had leased a small, 2 room structure in the vicinity of the school. The partially finished brick and mortar building with a tin roof has no electricity or water.
Kawede made a pre-payment on the lease over a year ago.
Summoned to the Police Station
Not long ago, Kawede was summoned to the local police department. The owner of the leased 2-room structure was illegally demanding the property back, and the police were siding with him. They demanded to know why Kawede had not vacated the leased property.
Even after the local Mayor or Chairperson ruled that the owner was in error, the police gave Kawede 7 days to vacate the premises.
When ITMI Director, Steve Evers visited Uganda earlier this year, he suggested Kawede use some of the excess bricks and concrete from the construction of the ISM building to build a small structure next to where the ISM building is being erected.
Kawede thought this was a great idea, but needed to wait for God to provide the funding.
In a Bind
Realizing this was an emergency, Kawede and his wife, Lillian, took $2000 that they had left over from traveling to the US last year, and committed it to this project.
Kawede notified Steve of his predicament, in “one week we will need an additional $2000 to pay for the completion of the house.”
Before Steve had any opportunities to make Kawede’s situation and needs known, God stepped in and took care of things!
With in that weeks time…God led ITMI supporters, Mike and Charlotte Ralston to send in a check designated Where Most Needed – in the exact amount that was needed!
Mike and Charlotte didn’t know Kawede’s predicament. They didn’t know how their funds would be used, but they listed to the Spirit and got to be part of providing exactly what was needed for the International School of Missions.
Thank you, Mike and Charlotte, for your faithfulness in listening to God’s Spirit, your generosity, and your trust in ITMI to direct funds to real needs experienced by our partners.
Walsh, Bill (2014, March 12). First 100 Partners in Theological Relief [weblog]. Retrieved from http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/first-100-partners-in-theological- famine-relief.