25 Countries, 5000 Leaders

Culture Specific Stories

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead:
In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders.

For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we are unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. These past couple of weeks we have been looking at the “Freedom to Lead” part. We examined where we get this idea of “freedom.” Today we are looking at the numbers.

25 Countries. 5000 Leaders.

Those sound like pretty lofty numbers. Often times when we see projected numbers like this from a Christian ministry, we can get a little suspicious. It’s not that we don’t believe that God can do big things. He certainly can. But, we want to be sure that this path is really where God is guiding and not just something we’ve conjured up because it sounds impressive.

There is a great demand around the world for Christ-centered leaders. And since most of the world’s leaders are storycentric communicators, they tend to learn better through stories, images, drama, and music. This is why FTL’s program called The Garden Project has generated great interest among these populations.

But, Freedom to Lead is a young ministry, and we are relatively few. So what is the best way to optimize our capacity and meet the growing number of invitations for our leadership development program? By targeting 5000 leaders in 25 countries.

These 25 countries stretch from Asia to Africa. They represent cultures that are as diverse as their languages. We have not “marketed” our program; rather, invitations have come our way through relational networks of leaders who are spreading the word.

Now, if you are doing the math, 5000 leaders in 25 countries averages out to be 200 leaders per country. We are aiming to have direct impact on about 200 leaders in each country. Our commitment is to invest in a few so that we can impact many others. Perhaps it will be more than 200 in some countries; for example, one network in Ethiopia is now transferring The Garden Project to more than 600 other leaders! Our hope is that The Garden Project will catalyze a movement of Christ-centered leaders in these countries.

More than Numbers

But, it’s much more than numbers. Here are some stories of leaders in FTL’s program.

Sister Tegest is a young evangelist in an area just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She has recently been transferred to this new location to oversee other evangelists where there are a lot of changes taking place. She is eager to learn how to lead her people through this time of change.

Brother Tesfaye was born in Somalia, raised by an aunt in Kenya due to the war, and is now in northern Ethiopia reaching people in an area that is 99% Muslim. Tefaye faces the risk of persecution every day.

Pastor Samir was sixteen when he came to Christ through a radio program. He requested for a pastor to come to his village to baptize him. When this traveling missionary arrived at Samir’s home, he was surprised to see 63 people in Samir’s home also wanting to be baptized, whom Samir had led to Christ in the meantime. Now Samir does church planting in South Asia.

In the future we’ll also tell you about Dipika, Berhanu, Tesema, Raju, Dhir, Ishaan, and Tilhun. Each of these leaders has a name. And they each have a story. We have the privilege to enter their story and to help them be the kind of leaders God called them to be.

So, the next time you see these numbers, think of their names. Think of their faces. And join with us in impacting these leaders for such a time as this.

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