UGANDA  visit, Dec 2018.

We Visited LIFE MINSTRIES CHRISTIAN CHURCH Kampala in Dec 2018. This was the latest of many visits to our dear friends, who we have known many years now – an apostlic group of churches led by Emmanuel Rucyaba.

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On this occasion Jim and I taught trainee leaders Tues – Fri, on Leadership, the book of Ephesians and the differing Eph 4 leadership ministries. What an enthusiastic and receptive group! Drawn from very varied educational abilities, and different tribal and language groups, it makes both teaching and Q and A great fun.
We have been partnering with our friends in their Leadership Training School with a desire to see 100 trained between 2015 and 2020. The graduation was at the end of my second week; a further 32 graduates passed, with a few less able others receiving certificates of attendance. This makes a total of 67 trained and “graduated” elders and church planters since 2015; a great investment from HOPE Church Worcester and the Catalyst family of churches. Before the additional investment from the catalyst Festival Offering we were only able to train about 12 a year.

The graduation came at the culmination of their biannual National Convention, held in the large church school playgrounds. 300 + attended…arriving in groups throughout the first 3 days in true African style!

A great week of vibrant worship, news and preaching! All translated into Lugandan and English with mikes, and then into small subgroup clusters for various tribal languages. Groups were present from 153 churches, some from DR Congo, S Sudan, Rwanda as well as all parts of Uganda. None could make it from Burundi.

As well as seeing the latest work on the school, we also visited the nearly completed hospital and were able to teach in the local base church, as well as the newest of their church plants. (Temporary building pictured below)

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It is a great privilege to be working with such a great group of people and to hear news from churches and projects in the surrounding East African nations. In February 2019 we are gathering a small group of apostolic leaders from many East African nations, in Entebbe, to learn together and receive teaching from David Devenish, and others, on the theme of “Servant Leadership” and how it might be expressed in different cultures and communities.

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Party with the Poor

The gospel of Jesus really is good news for the poor – the economically poor, the emotionally poor, the oppressed, depressed and the suppressed, the addicted and the afflicted, those considered, by some, to be the last and the least. There is no shortage of “poor” to bring good news to!

When Jesus told stories of His Kingdom, he once spoke of a wonderful banquet. The ruler sends out invites to the great party but disappointingly few were responsive. The great event would be sparsely attended – too many “maybe” and “no” responses.

In a surprise twist for those listening Jesus says that the King then sent out his servants out into the lanes to invite the poor and disadvantaged. They go with a sense of urgency “to compel” people to come. – The response was such that the party is full and vibrant; a great success.

The poor are not just remembered or donated to, though that is a good thing, it is actually the poor who rescue the Kingdom Party! Only with the poor does the kingdom really start rocking!

I am not sure if we have yet grasped what it might look like to be “sent to the poor” as these servants were. What would it be like to experience the same sense of compulsion these servants did? Probably a little bit like the book of Acts, where a remarkable level of care, for those in need, went with, and was connected to, rapid growth. (See Acts 2 v 45 and Acts 4 v 32- 34) A genuine “sending” to the poor, with excellence, determination and consistency was closely connected to the rapid spread of the gospel. (See Acts 6 v 1-7)

What would our churches look like if we responded to King Jesus’ instruction to go to those “living in the hedges” and “compel them to come in”? Scary and challenging though that might be to some – the prize is that it seems as if it is the poor who recue the party!