As one looks at the possibilities in Africa for a far-reaching and deepening the work, we have to recognize that the most effective way to establish long term and sustainable growth is to develop local leaders within the continent. This is the way in which the apostle Paul was able to multiply himself across the New Testament church landscape. He invested in men who would establish, root, build and develop the church. He left them to be the hands and feet of ministry and it exploded.
The church in Uganda has seen this model take shape as many humble leaders have gone as learners to empower others. Their mind-set is to build “The Kingdom” not “their kingdom,” and to discern God’s call on men of gifting and character that can lead people to encounter Christ through His word.
There was a specific task for the years that we were in East Africa, and that was to empower others that were obviously more gifted that’s ourselves and by leading from the back we were able to see exponential growth and others enjoy what God had for them.
We have seen a whole new generation of servant leaders being raised up through various means of training and who are now running at an indescribable pace. They are familiar with language, culture and customs in such a way that has made them effective evangelists and shepherds to their countrymen.
As the missionary movement across East Africa develops and takes new shape the investment from Western leaders should take a new direction. Rather than missionaries coming to lead they must take on a new model of coming to serve. Missionaries should be working themselves out of a role from the very beginning.
One challenge we saw was that some missionaries have stayed to long, holding onto ministry without truly allowing others to run which can hinder growth.
By leading from the back it has allowed the locals on the front lines of the ministry to recognize and take responsibility for the call God has placed on their lives to reach, teach and disciple. To “serve” from behind is such a model that allows others to grow and reach their full potential as men and women ministering to people.
As this new strategy develops we can begin to extend our vision forward to new unreached and untapped opportunities. There are so many people groups and countries that have yet to be pioneered crying for help and servants to come minister. These truly are exciting times that lie ahead.