"Now Our Churches Are Planting Churches"

Bishop Okabe heads this ministry that now has over 150 church plants. Churches are planting churches. Believers have a heart for reaching others, not merely 'attending church'. Bishop Okabe went on to say "that is why we have this training. We must train our pastors to train others, so the foundations of our churches are strong as the number of churches continues to grow." That is why I come to Uganda - to encourage and equip these committed pastors who are planting more and more churches.

Our focus is Shepherding - how pastors are to give godly care with people. I led the morning session. Twenty four pastors came, eager to be trained as trainers. I began by asking them "what did you feel when you saw Mark and I walk in this morning?"

Here is what they said....."Joy...excitement....anticipation....warm and safe...friends....good...happy". That was a natural segue into shepherding as I began talking about the importance of 'presence'. Just being present ministers to people. Throughout the morning we looked at presence, caring by listening, and ways to support, encourage and correct all as parts of shepherding the flock of God. About noon one of the hosts leaned over to me and said, "Paul, could we take a short break so these people can have breakfast?" I said to him, "Did you mean to say 'lunch'? He replied, "No Paul, they have not yet eaten today." That is how hungry for training these people are -- if it means going without a meal, they still are eager learners.

In the photos you can see some of the pastors with their training notes sharing in a group of 3; and also several photos of the trainees, some as they eat their noon "breakfast."

After lunch my partner, Pastor Mark Wold, spoke about handling intense emotions such as worry, anxiety, bitterness and anger. As we were wrapping up with anger, many pastors asked about specific situations in their churches. We all shared helpful insights and cautions. There was laughter too. Imagine speaking on the issue of "anger" and yet there being joy and laughter. It came from them not feeling alone, feeling it was okay to speak openly without fear of being judged or criticized. It was healthy!

Tomorrow (Friday) I will be training on how to develop lay shepherds within churches. Then Friday afternoon many of the pastors will do a 'dry run', teaching a portion of the notes as their peers offer constructive feedback. We are training trainers.

Beginning Saturday we take our show on the road, so to speak, inviting pastors from the entire community to come to the training. We will use some of the trainers to do portions of the training. Then Monday and Tuesday we will drive 60 minutes north to Kumi to offer the training to about 100 pastors in that region.

I have the night off. It is fairly cool for Uganda (70's) with a breeze and rain likely tonight.

Thank you each for going with me in the privilege of serving and training these dear people.

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