Years ago someone posed this question… “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you most want to do?” That question has pressed me to think differently about the days and seasons of my life.
After I became a follower of Jesus, another seismic shift took place when I became convinced of two things: First, God is sovereign over all things, including my life. Second, I have been called by God to live with a clear objective, to display His glory in every moment of my life. No matter what I face, I have the potential, because of God’s indwelling Spirit and His authoritative Word, to bring honor to King Jesus in every moment. I live for God’s glory. That confident pursuit has led me to some crazy things like church planting and international training. There have been a ton of challenges, and I bring a bus-load of flaws, but Jesus is faithful and I have a deep sense of God’s delight. That leads to contentment that runs deep.
Last week I had the privilege of digging into God’s Word with some amazing disciples of Jesus near Gulu, Uganda. This was the beginning of a new group of trainees. There was a significant amount of preparation done in advance by the St Croix Valley LEAD Team (SCVLT) as well as our new national partner for this site, Four Corners Ministry (FCM). The curriculum team at Training Leaders International (TLI) has been working to prepare a dramatically improved curriculum. Forty seven trainees had signed a covenant for the three years of training ahead. This alignment, empowered by God’s Spirit set the stage for a fruitful week of training.
Because of their long-range plans, FCM had constructed a facility to house the trainees on site. The school, which was on a break, provided additional facilities. A missionary guest house was available for the teaching team. So we were blessed with a week together, free of distraction to study and worship and delight in our great God together. It. Was. Awesome.
We worked on memorization together. Say this a hundred times with a bunch of African disciples and see what happens to you!
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV)
Here are a few elements that are unique to this training site.
The SCVLT provides the teachers along with one trainer from TLI. The FCM team does additional training over the four days following the TLI training. This provides some wonderful continuity and fuels some beautiful relationships! In addition, because all these trainees have more language skills than I do, we can teach in English which opens far better communication (at least for me) and multiplies the training time.
During this cohort we are committed to train six Ugandan leaders into the role of Lead Trainers. Our aim is to have the six men begin teaching one lesson during module three and increase their teaching through course nine. Lord willing, by the time we complete this round of training, these men will be fully capable of carrying on the training without our involvement. We had met with these six leaders this past January to develop our Vision and Mission statements. The men served with such humility and devotion this week of training. It is wonderful to serve with them!
Here are the Mission and Vision statements that have emerged:
MISSION… Equip and entrust leaders to strengthen and establish churches.
VISION… An abiding network of Gospel-centered, Bible-saturated, African-led churches.
There is some rumbling in the Ugandan political environment that they may pursue regulation on the training of leaders for churches in Uganda. We want to be able to demonstrate a level of rigor in our training so we are tracking attendance, doing daily quizzes (which the guys were eating up), as well as practical assignments between our training assignments. Each of the trainees are part of a geographically based “Cluster” led by a Lead Trainer, which will meet twice between our training sessions.
The most amazing piece of this is that God has kindly brought me to Him, and in Him, led me into relationships with these incredible people. The trainees, the trainers, the partners, the King, and a foretaste of the coming Kingdom! I am so grateful to have a part in this at this point of my life. I’m grateful to those who give and pray to allow me to serve in this way. I thank God for you!
The next training in Gulu is scheduled for early September. I’m excited that Joshua Chambers from the team at TLI will be filling my slot. I am scheduled to return for the January 2020 training. My schedule has me preparing to be part of the training team in Northern India in July, and the Philippines in late October. Of course I also have the privilege of serving the King at Target Field quite a few times between now and the end of the baseball season.
These are exciting days. I invite you to live with confidence and joy in light of the sovereign King who can not lie, and who will never fail. Join Him, He will transform the ordinary into glory and lead you into an adventure worthy of your whole life.