Playing with the children during a training break in Togo, West Africa last week.
After years (since 2006) of cultivating and sowing the gospel through training indigenous church planters in the hard soil in Muslim West Africa, we’re beginning to reap a great harvest. Three years ago we launched our phase one, 3-year West Africa pilot project (2017-2019). We chose the northern regions of Togo because they’re among the most needy and neglected regions with highest levels of poverty and highest concentration of Muslims.
The northern regions are filled with “under-served church leaders” – gifted and called leaders who do not have access to the training and tools they need to start and develop churches that transform lives and communities. We believe that healthy churches are the most effective means of evangelism, discipleship, and mercy ministry. And the key to healthy churches is well-equipped, healthy church leaders.
Daily training of the facilitators of church planters from 12 regions. See the laptop video.
During the last 3 years we “trained their trainers” (approx. 50) and established an innovative learning platform, using cell phones and laptops with no WIFI or cell service, from which they can now provide practical, high quality seminary courses for their church leaders where they live, in their language, and adapted to their culture.
Church leaders from 12 regions completed their 3rd year of church planter training.
Last week, I passed the training baton to Sylvain, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) denomination’s Presbytery Chairman over all these regions. In 2020, Sylvain will continue training church leaders in northern Togo by teaching the next Pathway Learning courses completely without us. We just need to provide them with new courses in French. Now we can move on to our next phase of our project – helping them establish another reproducible, learning platform for underserved church leaders in Togo’s Central region in 2020.
Nathaniel Adawonu (PL’s NHMI Partner), Sylvain (EPC Presbytery Chairman), Steve
During the last 3 years many positive reports about our training in these neglected northern regions reached the EPC denomination headquarters in southern Togo’s coastal regions. The EPC is the largest indigenous evangelical denomination in Togo. So, to my surprise, after this year’s training, the top 3 executive leaders of the EPC met with me at their headquarters in Togo’s capitol to begin forming a national partnership. (see photo below)
New National Partnership: EPC Clerk, Steve, EPC Moderator, EPC Secretary, and Nathaniel Adawanu (NHMI)
These leaders asked us train more of their church leaders in Pathway Learning courses next year, allowing them to select 30 of their top church leaders in Togo for us to begin training when we return in 2020. We agreed. This is exactly our Pathway Learning strategy: not to do the training for the denominations, but to help them build their capacity as an indigenous denomination to be more effective in training their own church leaders. This is what I mean by a great harvest now coming, by God’s grace, after many years of cultivating and sowing in West Africa.
The vision is not merely to reach Togo for Christ, but for Togo to become a sending nation to other nations of West Africa. The training of these under-served church leaders and the fulfillment of this vision is directly related to the prayers and support of faithful people like you. Thank you for helping us continue developing these strategic initiatives God is opening before us. Your investment has already made a significant impact on our work, but more importantly on our world.
For the King!
PS: Please pray that God will raise up many more partners to pray, give, and go with us as we continue equipping under-served church leaders – especially in the persecuted, underground church in China and among the poorest of the poor in West Africa. Thank you!
A church member’s little girl inside the church’s Christian school next to where we did our training. She’s not sure if I‘m friend or foe.