Church Planting

Okoa Refuge believes every church should have a qualified pastor. However, attending an accredited Bible College or Seminary is not an option for many rural pastors. Okoa believes that this should not stop them from being able to learn the Bible and grow in their leadership and faith. Unfortunately, lack of training is the very thing that has led so many pastors away from the Lord. That is one of the reasons the Okoa Refuge Bible School program was started – to produce pastors!

Since 2016, Okoa has planted over 750 churches. All pastors have graduated from a two year Okoa Refuge Bible School. They are trained and ready to lead others! At least 70 church plants have gone on to plant churches out of their congregations. It has truly become a movement of God in Uganda! Churches planted by Okoa are not governed by Okoa, however. Churches are planted under established church associations that Okoa has helped start. These indigenous associations provide Biblical oversight and accountability to the operations of the church.


“DBS” stands for Discovery Bible Study. The DBS model is a participant-led discovery journey into learning and understanding what the Bible teaches. The DBS is the way into a community and truly guides people through the Gospel! Every planted church starts as a DBS that is led by a Bible School student. Once the group reaches at least 20 adult members, they can apply to receive a church structure. 

Currently, Okoa has 1300 DBS groups meeting each week. That’s over 18,000 members!

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Once the graduate’s DBS group qualifies, Okoa comes alongside and supports the construction of a church! The church is not constructed by Okoa alone, however. Before Okoa will come in, the church members are required to provide the land for construction. Okoa provides the pole structure, the roofing material and the labor. The congregants must also agree to finish the walls of the building within one year of the completion of the structure. This way, the church has some ownership of their building!


The Church Health Department was launched out of a growing need to ensure the health of the over 750 churches Okoa has built. The goal of the department is to visit and assess the health of each and every pastor once a year. The assessments encompass physical, spiritual, financial and emotional health of the pastor, his family and the congregation. Okoa has developed a comprehensive assessment form to guide the process. The information gathered from those assessments is what drives the continued education and counseling for the pastors. The Church Health Department hosts ongoing training for groups of pastors based on the information discovered in the assessments. The information also helps Okoa decide what to teach in our large, biannual conferences.

Our goal is not to take control of the churches. Rather we aim to walk alongside, support and encourage the pastors as they work tirelessly to advance the Gospel every single day.

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Bible Schools

At the heart of everything, our desire at Okoa Refuge is that every man, woman, and child would hear the Gospel and come to faith in Jesus Christ. One of the primary ways we accomplish our mission of spreading the Gospel is through the local church, and one of the biggest ways we do that is through the education and empowerment of men and women to teach and preach. The goal for every Bible School student is for them to graduate equipped to be a minister of the Gospel. For some this means returning to the workplace; others return to the churches where they were already pastoring. Some graduate and plant new churches. The fourth group of people will become full time missionaries. Regardless of the path one takes after graduation, each and every student is equipped and encouraged to begin sharing the Gospel with and discipling their community.

The first Okoa Refuge Bible School ran from May 2011 – May 2013 with 45 graduates. Since then, many more Bible School classes have graduated and over 100 Bible Schools are currently running. So far, over 2,200 men and women have graduated from the intensive program.

The school meets one week each month for 24 consecutive months. People travel from their homes to come and spend an intense week learning the truth behind the Scripture. Okoa ensures that every student has his or her own text book and a qualified teacher to teach the class. Students are responsible for their own meals, accommodations and transportation. The students also provide for the needs of the teacher. In these cohorts, students not only experience a high level of theological education, but also consistent fellowship with other future disciple makers.

There is an incredible opportunity to grow this ministry throughout the entire African continent. Over the next three years, we plan to graduate over 2,000 new disciple makers from our Bible Schools. These individuals will go on to begin Discovery Bible Studies and churches, which we estimate to reach over 40,000 members in three years. From these graduates, we also plan to send over a dozen more missionaries to North and West Africa to spread the Gospel!

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

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