13 February 2009

Why GBI? - Part 3

Because equipping Christian leaders is the key to… Breaking the chains of dependency in the African churches…

I sometimes feel like I am stuck in a constant state of déjà vu… I see an American visitor in a Ugandan church and they say “we love you” right after or before they announce the donation that they are giving to the church… and the people applaud and shout “we love you too!”… later the American goes home and talks about how “loving” the people in Uganda are…

Get me a bucket… I’m going to hurl… this is more predictable than a romantic comedy with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan….

To be fair I do believe that these visitors love the churches in Uganda… and I do believe the Ugandans love their visitors… but I also there is something better than giving them money… it’s a gift that keeps on giving…

Give them a trained leader who will teach them to tithe and to raise funds locally…

Do you remember the story of the widows coins…now do you think that God will withhold his blessings from a church filled with the poor, widows and orphans who all give sacrificially?

I believe that western generosity can actually rob churches of the joy that comes from giving, sacrificing and watching God miraculously provide…

Now let me stop and make my point clear…

Giving financial gifts to African churches for building projects and child sponsorship programs is GOOD but giving an African church a trained pastor is BETTER…

I heard an encouraging report this last week from an agency that sponsors children… their strategy is to use local pastors to oversee the distribution of funds… the report said that the pastors who gave the best accountability and were the most trustworthy were the pastors who had received BIBLE training… in fact all the problems they were facing were with the untrained pastors…

Why?

Because the trained pastors understood the biblical principles of stewardship, accountability and integrity…

I heard another encouraging report the next day… which might be why this is on my mind… a trained pastor who has been overseeing a sponsorship program for over 15 years reported than giving in his church has increased 10-fold over the last 5 years…

Amazed and filled with curiosity I asked the question… “why?”

His response was perfect… “these children grew up with nothing and through the sponsorship we were able to educate many of them all the way through college… all the while teaching them that God was supplying for their needs… now that they have grown and have paying jobs they want to give back to God because they have received so much!”

He didn’t teach them that the money came from the west… or that they “needed” a sponsor…

He taught them that God was supplying their needs… and the fruit of his labor is a generous church that does not “need” a sponsor…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a Westerner that has lived in Uganda off and on since 1992. Over that time churches have prospered, "Pastors" have prospered tremendously driving big cars such as a Hummer, live in big houses and are friends with high government officials...some call themselves prophets, other apostles, others bishops, wearing fine suits, while many of those in the pews live on less than a dollar a day. Some churches refuse to take coins, only notes of 5000 or above...yes like you said Uganda needs pastors who are leaders, who are truly prophets...There are 11 born again people living in Uganda and yet where is the salt? Why is corruption on the increase? Why does Uganda with 11 million born again people, with 8 million evangelical anglicans, throw in the many Catholic Charismatics and the youngest population in the world, consume more alcohol per person than any other place in the world?
Ask Ugandans if they read the word of God. Ask Ugandans if they are discipled in the Lord...the answer is no...people learn through preachers who come to America with tin cup in hand looking for hand-outs to build bigger monuments to themselves and their greatness...some church growth experts have called Uganda a place of revival...hmmm...where is the fruit of it?