The pastor came running over as I pulled into a town church. “Francisco you must sit down …. I have news!” I still tried to stretch my hand out to him to greet the African way. Hand-thumb-hand greeting …. the African way. There is a lot in a handshake when you are in rural Africa. Affection and touch goes a long way here. But today there is no time it seems. My mind wonders on what could be so huge that I can’t greet.
A few pastors join as they run to get a chair and make me comfortable under the big old mango tree. There is excitement all around …. its tangible. The men joining me under the tree are dressed neatly. They are all busy undergoing training in Church planting through the Harvesters Church Planting model. The model redefines on how we look at church and how we plant sustainable churches the Acts way where structure and buildings become less important and caring and love rather becomes the foundation. Qualified leaders were challenged to geographically assess the need for churches in their villages and communities …. but not plant any churches more than a day by foot or bicycle. After training it was time to put these skills into action.
The pastor that anxiously asked me to sit down …. hastily quiet down everyone with a wave of his hand. “Francisco … this is what happened. We have a mosque in our village planted some months ago. I spoke to the builders and they said their Imam is starting a project here. I have planted 11 churches as Harvesters taught us. I have chosen strong leaders in all 11 churches and I have trained them well. When the Imam arrived to start his program he was astonished to find there are no villagers left to be descipled as they have been harvested into our newly planted churches all around the mosque.” I was astonished to say the least as we challenge our hub leaders to plant only 10 churches where after these 10 churches plant 3 of their own. “The Imam asked us our model and how we did it but we told him the Holy Spirit was guiding us where to plant churches and that we serve the head of the church, Jesus Christ.” He chuckles …….. “He didn’t understand everything we said but we invited him to attend one of our churches under the trees.” He stares ….. before he answers. “We have not seen him yet ….”
Some other stories of pastors planting churches deep in areas where previously it was impossible to plant churches started surfacing. I had to stop them as we were ready to continue training these amazing men.
30 Men and women gathered from central Mozambique to continue their training. In the process they have planted in the last 5 months more than 172 churches with 26 hubs (which will eventually amount to 1040 churches). The aim is to plant 200 000 churches throughout Africa by 2020. Malawi alone planted 18 000 churches in the last few years. I just arrived back from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi … and the stories are just amazing on what God is doing through amazing men.
Here is a few photos so long on the training in Mozambique.
|Bishop Lazaro from the Church of God gathered his pastors from all over Mozambique for the training.|
|Hard studies as pastors started training on what true discipleship is and how to activate that teaching in a rural setting.|
|With a lot of questions and group discussions a lot was learnt by us and the students.|
|Women Church planters was not rare during our time of teaching. Here a lady pastor teaches on her strategy in the city.|
|A time of re-dedication for the big task ahead.|
|We introduced the “Firewall project” in Mozambique and Bishop Lazero from Maputo shares the vision as he sees it to his leadership.|
|And throughout the training … it was election time too! Found this boy advertising a political party.|
|All the above students finished phase A training and were licensed by Harvesters to teach their “in-training pastors” who planted new churches.|