By investing in the “Leader on the Bridge,” We are reaching:
- rural pastors leading churches along the Pakistan border
- interior leaders of several Francophone African countries
- leaders in remote regions throughout East Africa
- influencers among persecuted believers in northern India and Nepal
Twenty-five percent of the world calls South Asia home. With a vast array of people groups, world religions, and geographical terrain the challenges of church planting are many. The gospel of Jesus Christ is making an impact, but church planters are largely unengaged. Since 2010 Freedom to Lead International® has been working among storycentric ministry leaders in India and Nepal.
This summer one network in India hopes to launch an “Orality Institute of Leadership.” This accredited degree program will be the first of its kind to offer the entire curriculum using storycentric methods. The Garden Project – FTL’s leadership development program – will serve as the core content. One key leader of this initiative described the goal for their prospective program participants when he said,
The participants will be equipped with both knowledge and experience to lead effectively. They will work in mentoring relationships alongside church planters, pastors, missionaries, and leaders of storycentric communities. They will gain unique understanding into sharing their faith, making disciples, planting churches, and developing other leaders.”
When Freedom to Lead International® began expanding into Africa in 2015 we made our first imprint into Ethiopia. One of the few places on the African continent that resisted colonialism in the 19th century, Ethiopia has a church that is largely indigenous. Folk religions, Islam, and Orthodoxy are also strong in the region. In East Africa FTL works with multiple networks that serve church planters, ministry leaders, evangelists, social services, and the persecuted church.
One of the FTL Facilitators observed:
Several months ago, an Ethiopian colleague was teaching one of Freedom to Lead’s modules to a group of storycentric church leaders in his network. Halfway through the four-day module entitled, “Leadership for a Healthy Church,” one of the older participants stood up and said, “You came very late! You came after we died. After we made many mistakes in the house of God. Why didn’t you teach us this earlier?” This brother’s heart cry expresses the urgent need to cultivate Christ-centered leaders among those who prefer to experience learning through music, stories, drama, and dance. These storycentric leaders are some of the most under-resourced people in the world, and FTL’s program is the only Christian ministry of its kind that specifically gears leadership development for storycentric learners.
We are currently expanding into a new network that covers nine countries in East Africa, including Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Uganda.
In 2018, Freedom to Lead began working with church and ministry leaders in southern Africa, a region that is as complex as it is beautiful. These leaders are from the Church of the Nazarene denomination and come from places like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, and Mozambique.
After transferring The Garden Project to 40 pastors in his region, a pastor from Zimbabwe reported,
From the feedback I received from all the pastors and leaders it was truly a valuable lesson. It brought a different perspective to their way of leading the church and their way of participating to what the Holy Spirit is doing in the life of the church in general.
His ministry partner from South Africa went through Freedom to Lead’s first module on Leadership for a Healthy Church and was deeply impacted. When he came back for the second module on Leading Change he said to us,
We kept asking after the first module, ‘What more could you [FTL] possibly have to teach us?’ Then we got to this module and we’re like, “Ohhh, there’s so much more to learn!” Because here in South Africa we are saturated with leadership development trainings and seminars – and I’ve been to a lot of them. But, this is the first one that speaks to actual situations in our contexts.
When we talk about Francophone Africa we are referring to those areas of Africa that are largely French-speaking. Most of these (but not all) are located in the western part of the African continent.
Recently, one of the participants in Cote d’Ivoire said,
If you feel called by God to do this training, we cannot wait 6 months. We need to give this training tomorrow.”
I’ve been quietly listening and I am thankful for Gods servants [the FTL facilitators]. The Lord has transformed many. I pray that they may be enabled to transform many more lives. For us, let us not keep to ourselves but be like rabbits.”
We currently have commitments among leaders in places like Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Mali, Mauritania, Cameroon, and Madagascar.