16 February 2009

Why GBI? - Part 4

Because equipping Christian Leaders is the key to… Developing and sustaining a church that has been crippled by corruption and poor leadership…

Occasionally I get to talk to individuals and couples that are interested in going onto the mission field… I usually ask if they have considered Uganda and I am not surprised at their answer…

“We aren’t going to Uganda because that country has already been reached… aren’t 95% of the people Christians anyway?”

According to the CIA World Factbook the 2002 census showed that Uganda is 42% Catholic 42% Protestant 12% Muslim and 4% everything else… but for me I wonder which direction those numbers are heading…

In this developing country education and development are on most people’s minds…

Education…. despite what you read primary education is not free for all Ugandans and unlike the US they do not believe it hurts a child’s self-esteem to hold them back if they do not pass their exams… so parents usually search for the best schools for their children… they look for the best teachers, the best facilities and the ultimately the best place for their child to advance whether the school is Christian or Muslim… and unfortunately there are many great Muslim schools…

Development… it has been said don’t judge a book by its cover but I don’t think that is true in Uganda… appearance is very important… in fact on my student - teacher evaluations this last year I got more negative comments about the way I dress than all the other complaints combined… and they felt free to complain because in was an anonymous evaluation and I am a poor dresser… and in the same way they judge my dress they judge their churches… the Catholic church owns huge amounts of land from the days of colonialism and the Muslims have huge amounts of oil money pouring in to build their mosques… so naturally the Ugandans are attracted to these churches because they are developing… they have beautiful mosques and cathedrals which they build in the central parts of each town near major roads or high on the hills for all people to see… and they also build great schools from primary schools to universities and seminaries…

Overall the Catholics and Muslims are hitting their target group with the perfect marketing strategy… education and development… and the Christian churches are falling behind because their leaders are untrained and many have yet to look for ways to develop apart from seeking sponsors in the US…

Again this is why I believe in GBI… we can educate and train leaders… not only in biblical studies but also in development, finance, computers and other practical skills that are sorely lacking in so many churches…

I was talking with a Ugandan friend who has been pastoring now for 20 years in Uganda… his comments were straight and to the point… “the days of the untrained pastor are over… the people will not respect him… and if he remains in the pulpit they will turn to other religions…”

5 comments:

Sallie said...

So which pasture was the pastor "pasturing" in? I just love spell check!

Mom

TandL said...

Hey Jeff,

Lisa and I love reading your blog. This post hits home with what Pastor Micah said in a meeting here in MN just a week or so ago...that grounding the pastors, elders and teachers in the truth so that they can lead others is a critical need. I hope and pray that as God gives me strength, time and resources, that I get to do some of that for Uganda.

IftikharA said...

Salaam

The western "values" suggest equality and freedom for all, that means society must allow religious freedom. The Christians and Jews have Church/ Jewish schools as well as kosher meat, yet when Muslims simply ask for the very same treatment,the Islamphobic secular right wing jump up and down screaming that somehow western values have been attacked.

The Jews throught out the western world have their own religious courts. Christians have been enjoying the right to be married in Church. Muslims should have the same right to get married in Masajid as well as they need Sharia Courts, dealing in marriage, civil matters and divorce.

It is easy to say" Go back to where you came from",but do not forget that British Muslims are actually born and educated here. They are in the unenviable position of trying to combine two diffent worlds. That is no easy.

Multiculturalism is not about separation, ghettoisation or balkanisation. It is, instead, a recognition of both diversity and the need for common ground, mutual respect,and cultural engagement.

Muslims all over the world never opposed English as a language what they did was opposition of the Western culture and their system of education. In Pakistan, the medium of instruction is Urdu and English and the official language is both English and Urdu. Pakistan is going to send English teachers to Korea for the teaching of English language.

Muslim parents would like their children to be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

Majority of Muslim children leave schools with low grades because state schools with monolingual teachers are not capable of teaching English to bilingual children.At the same time, they need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

I am concerned with the education of the Muslim children. It is nothing to do with integration or segregation. Those state as well as Church schools where Muslim children are in majority, in my opinion, may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

Jeff said...

IftikharA

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions... although I am not sure if you are responding to what I wrote.

If it is a response to what I wrote I would encourage you to read it again... because I did not mention"taking away Muslims rights" or telling them to "go back where they came from" ... nor did I suggest that Muslims be treated as second class citizens...

In fact the point that I was making was that in UGANDA the Muslim mosques and schools are often much better than those of the Christians... and I am not appealing to the gov't to choose one religion over the other to fund their schools but I am challenging the Christians to be as passionate as you are about the education of their children and leaders...

I would also encourage you to re-read your own comments... in your 4th paragraph you encouraged the mutual respect, common ground and cultural engagement... but then your closing paragraph states that "there is no place for a non-Muslim child or teacher in a Muslim school"... that seems to be a great contradiction in that you are then encouraging separation rather than engagement...

As for me I believe that all humans are created in the image of God... both Muslim and Christian... with that in mind I believe we should treat each other with respect as "image bearers" and above all to show love to one another... I also believe that God, whose image we are created in, showed the greatest demonstration of love to all humanity by sending his Son Jesus Christ to die and raise to life to pay the price for the sins of the world...

So for me the purpose for promoting my religion is not to oppose another man or take away his rights... I promote my religion because I believe that in promoting in there is an offer to all mankind to receive "life and freedom" in Christ...

Thanks again for joining the dialogue!

Jeff said...
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