Have you ever been to a church in Africa? Most likely, you have not had this opportunity, but we’re here to give you a little insight into what Ugandan churches are like. Okoa Refuge has planted 750 churches in eastern Africa so far, and their pastors and congregations are thriving. Here are five components we have seen in the thriving churches we’ve planted.
Pastors and leaders in the church guide the congregation in worship, sermons, and service. In order to shepherd their congregation well, the church leaders must be in the Word and have a deep understanding of the Bible. However, in Uganda and eastern Africa, access to seminary is less widespread than in the States.
Throughout Africa, there are Bible Schools that train future pastors and guide current pastors in Biblical teachings. Ugandan churches thrive under the leadership of these pastors who have graduated from a Bible School—their passion and zeal for the Lord is directed through Biblical principles and teachings that allow the church to grow in faith and ministry.
One of the things we’re passionate about at Okoa is that the leadership within an African church is indigenous to the community they’re pastoring. We believe indigenous, Biblical leaders know how to reach their own people and communities in a way foreigners can’t. They speak the native language, were raised in the culture, and know the people in their community. These are the people they’ve grown up with, and now, they get to bring the Gospel message to their own friends and family—leading to a thriving church community in African countries.
In a thriving church, it is not just the pastors and leadership that need to be in the Word but also the congregation as well. When the entire church has a good understanding of the Bible, the congregation grows in discipleship, evangelism, and accountability.
At Okoa Refuge, we want the people of Ugandan churches to have access to the Bible and Biblical education. Our Bible Schools are open to all people in a community—whether they become pastors and missionaries or not. The pastors of these churches are supported by the Biblical knowledge of their congregation, and the church thrives under the guidance of the Word.
In order for a church community to thrive, all of their needs must be met: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Their community should be self-sufficient in order to fulfill these needs. The Bible calls Christians to be productive workers and help those in need—that’s why Okoa uses our church plants to launch community development programs. A thriving church looks beyond their own walls and reaches out to their own community. Through community development, an entire village benefits from the presence of the Local Church.
The Great Commission tells all believers and churches to “go and make disciples.” A church cannot thrive without following this most basic commandment. Churches in Uganda have a unique opportunity to bring the Gospel to their local villages and unreached people groups. Many of the Okoa Bible Schools send out indigenous missionaries throughout eastern Africa to share the good news with those who have never heard it before. As the Word spreads across Africa, more and more churches will be founded through the radical love and redemption that only comes through Christ.
Okoa has many branches to support the people of Uganda, but in all we do, churches are the cornerstone of our work. Every service we provide, every child we rescue, every victim we shelter, it all starts with the local Church. The people of Africa are hungry for the Gospel, and a church provides a place to grow in their faith. It only takes $3,500 to construct a church, send a pastor to Bible school, and purchase 25 Bibles for the congregation. Partner with us, and sponsor a church with Okoa Refuge to help spread the good news of Jesus!