As published in By the Word
Over my ministry career, traveling to developing areas and providing training to pastors and ministry leaders who have no access to training has been one of the most life-giving activities. This type of work is parts of the work I do for Preparing for Amazement Ministries.
In January and February, I spent almost two weeks in Africa with two Lutheran bodies in Uganda and Kenya. The Kenyan Lutheran group is an established group, and
I previously trained their youth leaders in February of 2019. The group from Uganda is a brand new Lutheran body, seeking to plant churches throughout Uganda. They created this new group to ensure greater alignment with scripture and Lutheran theology. The vast majority of these pastors, staff, and ministry leaders have very little training and education, especially by North American standards. Contextualized education focused on the Scripture while honoring their culture is extremely scarce.
This trip was deeply powerful for these ministers who were hungry to learn. Just 3-5 days of education were deeply transformative for them.
Following are several comments from ministry leaders:
“I learned many things which will assist me in doing the work of God in the right way. Like health leadership and also the way to organize the youth, value them and equip and empower them so that they can be the leader of tomorrow in the church. I thank God for this wonderful teaching I have received. It will assist me in the work of God.”
“This training has helped me to do discipleship and evangelism.
It has helped me learn to manage unhealthy church and to plant churches.”
“I have benefited much about discipleship and mission lifestyle out of being well translated to me. I have received the lifestyle to go and disciple others and others disciple others continually.”
The beauty of this work is that it not only allows for the transformation of these individuals and the churches they serve, but also their communities, culture, and even nation. It has tremendous impact for such little time and resource, as we can train over 60 pastors, staff, and ministry leaders for the cost of what it takes to send 4-5 people to a conference in the United States.
The training is always geared toward the needs of attendees. On this trip, a wide variety of topics were covered such as mental health ministry, discipleship, a basic understanding of baptism, leader health, church health, equipping youth, developing leaders, and much more.
This trip was not only transformative for the participants, but it was transformative for those leading it. I preached two Sundays, one in Uganda and one in Kenya. When I arrived at the church in Uganda, the pastor informed me there would be baptisms. He then let me know I was going to do them!
In a space filled with more children than adults, I baptized 21 people from infants to senior citizens. Additionally, I was blessed to have a young adult working with me and helping me for this trip. He is from Kenya and has a clear call to ministry. He was a tremendous asset and helped lead activities, translate, and teach about youth ministry. He is now working with our team, and we are helping him get a seminary education from a U.S. seminary.
Africa is ripe with potential. The median age is 18-19 years old. There is a hunger for Jesus’ transforming love. These church bodies are hungry to learn more, be empowered, and be equipped to bring the Gospel to their communities.
It is also a continent with a lot of needs, many not financial. Leaders in Africa are hungry for practical ministry training, theological training, and training to address local needs. Because of this desire, pastors, staff, and ministry leaders are looking for more theological, ministry, and worship books and are in need of paraments, vestments, and computers.
There is much more workto do. We are excited to develop an educational model in partnership with a U.S. seminary, as well as build new partnerships in developing areas. Our ultimate goal is to train leaders to do the training and to utilize technology where possible to maximize impact and be able to serve as many groups as possible.
Our next trip to Africa will be in November 2023 and will include at least Kenya and Uganda. We will focus on worship leadership training, theology, and other needs.
If you want to learn more about our recent trip or this work, do not hesitate to reach out to us on our website, amazed15.org. We are always looking for churches, pastors, and individuals to partner with us in a variety of ways. If God is calling you to build the church in this way, we would love to talk to you. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters building the church around the world.
Dr. Marcus J. Carlson is an LCMC certified pastor, professor, consultant, and non-profit ministry leader. He is the Executive Director of Preparing for Amazement Ministries (amazed15.org) focusing on church and leader health. He, his wife, and two teenage children reside in Northeast IN. You can also visit his professional site: revdrorange.com.