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Friday, January 8, 2010

"Lord use me . . . Lord send me."

The MTC "Introduction to Evangelism and Church Planting" held November 23-December 3, 2009 was a great success. Thirty-six pastors and evangelists from various regions of Uganda attended. The youngest participant was 22 years old, and the two oldest were each 69 years old. Much learning took place as those from different ministry contexts, cultural backgrounds, and generations interacted. What a privilege to be one of the course facilitators!
We covered topics related to evangelism, church planting, and discipleship. We challenged participants to develop a holistic approach to ministry by exposing them to an overview of ministry to those affected by HIV/AIDS, and an introduction to developing church-community partnerships that guide communities to find sustainable solutions to poverty issues.
The program included a weekend of field experience. Participants interacted with effective church planters. They heard from youth and children's workers. They listened to stories of people who have come to Christ from religious backgrounds where rejection by family is often the price of following Jesus. They went out with members of area churches to share the love of Jesus house to house. All of this served to broaden perspectives, change attitudes, and make issues discussed in teaching sessions very concrete. And each group saw people receive Christ.
Our goal was to provide practical knowledge and skills through a combination of teaching and field experience. But most importantly, we wanted participants to encounter God in a way that would transform their lives and ministries. More than once, sessions ended with participants seeking God in prayer. Many shared that they were shattered as their eyes were opened to the remaining task of reaching people with the gospel. They cried out to God with tears, "I am deeply broken. What can I do? Lord use me; Lord send me." Pray for the participants as they return to their places of ministry and continue to "work out" what God has "worked in" to their lives.
- Rev. Joy Johnston (Canada)