Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator
Comprehensive report of ECLEA training sessions through June 2018
ECLEA-Uganda appreciates the support we received from that has enabled us to train leaders across the country. These areas are in the northern, southern, eastern, central and western part of Uganda:
South East (Jinja, Kamuli, Iganga, Kaliro, Namayingo, Busia, Bugiri, plus the Islands).
South West (Lyantonde, Masaka and Kyotera, Bushenyi, Kanungu districts).
North West (Arua, Koboko, Moyo and Yumbe, Nebbi – districts).
North East (Kotido, Moroto, Abimu, Soroti, Bukedia, Amuyra and Kaberamaido –districts).
The number of church leaders was ranging from 10-29 in the centers that were trained. Though it was one center that had 10 leaders, but the majority was between 15 and 20 leaders.
One of the books that were taught in the centers was The Church. This book is foundational it gave the leaders a chance to come across Church history. Most of the leaders had not been to Bible colleges, so there was a mixture with the relationship between the Church at Jerusalem and the Gentile Church.
Some preferred the Jerusalem church because in that church members were united, they shared with those in need and met daily for prayers, while other leaders desired to have the Gentile church since everyone “owned” their wealth, lived in their “own” homes, and they seemed not to have pressure from the Apostles. The Gentile church characterizes the setting of most churches in Uganda.
Basing on the differences between the church in Jerusalem and the Gentile church that similar challenges were meant in different centers in Uganda and these were:
1. The Pastor and his wife/family possessing the church.
i. He/she is the treasurer
ii. He/she is the founder
iii. He/she appoints anyone at any time and he/she is free to fire anyone at any moment.
According to the report from the center Coordinators lessons have been drawn from both settings of the Churches in Jerusalem and Gentile world. This is to mean that one can own things but use them to help others and this is for the glory of God.
2. Be holy for I am Holy.
Many found this to be challenging to be holy as God while others were quoting scriptures in the Old Testament that say that ‘our righteousness is filthy rugs’, so the question was how can we be holy as God?
We saw that when we keep on living for Him (God), He makes us. We will be holy as He is finally when we get to Glory. Our identification with God makes us to be his children and Him being our God and Father. Our relationship with Him makes us holy. It is through the blood of Jesus of the New Covenant that makes us holy.
3. Other areas of concern were issues to do with unity, where it was mentioned that unity comes from appreciating one another through the gifts God has given to each one of us. Serving one another, and belonging to one another, which lead us to have unity. We are called to be missionary people as God is a Missionary God; He went out to save that which lost…”Missio Dei”. Leaders were encouraged to reach as this is our mandate. Serving, giving part of our resources, giving our time and using our strength for others is our priority.
He and Pastor Francis as they were doing the training in the areas of Kyazanga, Masaka district they found this place to have 95% to be Muslim. They managed to get 10 senior Pastors from different denominations. Biblical Stewardship was the course that they taught and it fit in well with the demand of the time. We believe that Dr. Jonathan takes through the Coordinators through the course of Christianity and Islam when he comes in August this year, we will be well equipped to train such areas with the growing numbers of Islam.
One of the challenges we faced this time around more so in the distant districts was the early morning rains that affected members’ turn up and others came late. The most affected districts were Masaka, Kyotera, Kyazanga this is towards south western Uganda. Greater eastern was affected too and in some areas people died because of the floods, though the centers there members well acquitted with ECLEA trainings that keeping time is not their challenge.
The same experience of Islam numbers was found in Iganga, Bugiri and Busia, says Bishop Godfrey. The reason why these areas have much Islam population comes way back in the late 18th century and early 19th, when the Arab traders settled along the Long Distance Trade route from Mombasa, Kenya to the interior of East Africa. They created trade centers, which later became towns and now these towns are turning into cities. It is on the same back ground that these areas need Bible teaching churches. This led Bishop Godfrey and the team to teach Biblical Interpretation. 24 leaders were registered in Iganga, and Busia 17 leaders. He says “it was a real challenge to them…they testified that they have been teaching and preaching using their own interpretations. But with these teachings, we know now how we are going to teach properly and reach out to the Muslims here.”
In brief, I may say that with your coming to train us in Christianity and Islam you will do us good, and we are looking forward to seeing you Sir. Thanks for your support and all who stand with you in this noble cause to equip us in order to reach out to others using this formula of 2 Timothy 2:2.
Dr. Alex is recovering from a difficult momenthe went through with his family where by they lost their twins at the time of delivery. I have attached his report because it contains someinformation, which has been put together carefully. This is his report below:
I had just returned from Moroto district where I have been with the pastors handling 1 Timothy. It all turned to be one of the amazing group of leaders I met. Praise God. As you may know, Moroto is in the North eastern part of Soroti with distance of 180km from each other and only 35km away from Kenya border. In Kaberamaido, Kotido, Bukedea and Abim, the pastors and leaders in attendance were very participatory in the meetings and discussions. They kept time of arrival of which to me, this was so encouraging. Some pastors in Moroto, Bukedea have incorporated ECLEA materials and resources into their discipleship classes.
A total of 117 pastors and leaders have in this half of the year have gone through training on various courses like 1 Timothy, Biblical Marriage & Parenting and Biblical Counseling.
Amidst the challenge of floods in these areas still pastors could leave their gardens and come to study God’s Word. Bukedea, Moroto, and Kotido are badly hit by floods and this is affecting Teso region districts that always is a catchment area for the water flowing down from the Karamoja regions. Prayers are needed here brothers.
The areas I believe that pastors were challenged were as follows:
1. Issues of self-appointed apostles. In this region, there is a problem of people self-claim to be the apostles who are having fresh revelations from God to help build His Church. As we delved into what the scripture teaches on this and the commentary given in the manual, we were able to realize the clear distinction between the foundational apostles and the church commissioned apostles. This helped a great deal and leaders present confessed that this material is timely to this problem eating up the body of Christ in this area.
2. The second challenging issues to the leaders was the handing over to Satan....form of church discipline. I challenged the pastors by asking them how many of them still carry out church discipline? Out of 23 in attendance, less than a half said to do. Most of them said they have shied away because of church committees that always make clicks and turn the church disciplining process political. This was one of the reasons most leaders gave. Also their superiors in ministry dictate on the entire process of church discipline.
More to the above, pastors thought that it was difficult for them to really hand over the brother to Satan....But after going through Matt 18:17-19.they were encouraged and willing to execute this vital command.
3. On the issues of women teaching and women’s authority over men....Pastors said they were following their denominations’ beliefs and would critically study scriptures and see which position would be appropriate.
4. On qualifications on leadership, when Paul begins with “One must be...” Leaders in attendance were surprised to know that there are 15 requirements to have in order to become a leader in church. This was new to them and this charged them to know that aspiring to leadership is not just a simple issue but should be taken seriously.
5. The majority of the participants were challenged in their area of marriage and parenting. Issues of adultery stood up and recognized that this is one of the problems eating up their marriages.
6. Members pledged to take care of their wives, husbands, families, and children.
On the other issues: we learnrf that participants were encouraged and confessed to have opened their eyes; like our prayer life styles in talking and not waiting for God to talk back to us, the core scripture of 1Tim 1:5 turned to be a blessing to our study. Participants realized how that scripture centers our life's in ministry and our personal life styles in everything we do. The participants were willing to lay down what they have been indoctrinated by their various denominations and follow the teachings of the Bible.
As a matter and means of follow-up, the participants asked me to help form accountability and preaching clubs so that they will check another s lifestyles and doctrines. To me this is a great milestone to combat heresy, falsehood, etc. At the end of the follow-up conferences, everybody thanked God for this opportunity to have come for this timely teachings and materials.
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