July 17, 2019
When I arrived in Bujumbura in January, I knew that I and the others were joining an existing team of staff and pastors who were already working hard at providing sound theological teaching to church leaders and their congregations, whether through teaching and coaching or translating materials—and that is certainly what I found. However, what I was surprised to find was the amount of forward-thinking, community-minded planning that was already going into what was happening here since the beginning of Antioch a few years ago. Our staff here in Bujumbura is a unified team that is dedicated to supporting the church, because they truly love Jesus and want his body to be stronger.
Currently, there are 50 church leaders (mostly pastors, but not all) going through the Antioch School modules who represent 39 churches, and there are 12 pastors who are being financially supported through the process of church planting when otherwise it would be difficult for them to provide for their families. 22 churches are receiving wellness assessments, and 12 are receiving strategic planning education to assist them with meeting their long-term goals. There are even plans for several new branches of the ministry to begin in the coming years which are strategically addressing areas other facets of establishing believers and churches.
I know these numbers today, because they were highlighted at the Fundraising Dinner that was held a few weeks ago here in Bujumbura. 10 people from Antioch and 30 members of the community gathered to celebrate these accomplishments and for our team to ask for partnership with us in these efforts. We already have several regular local supporters; one large donation was made at the dinner, and several others expressed genuine interest in supporting.
I share all this so that you don’t have to be in the dark like I was—from all that I have seen, the Burundian church WANTS to grow and is actively participating in the work. There is eagerness to see people love and follow Jesus and to be obedient and wise in ministry. The team at Antioch is considering how to help the church overcome the barriers that stand in the way, and I am seriously humbled that our little team from JICC gets to partner with them in this process.
So please continue to pray for our team, our staff, and the churches that are being strengthened and equipped. Know that your support is joined by the support of the church and the community here. We have been created to need one another in the body of Christ.