(Photo: Marie Dolo on the left, Lydia Autridge on the right)
Marie is a pastor’s wife and after completing Phase 1 of our leadership development process, she started a women’s ministry in her church and has trained every woman in her church in Phase 1 and 2 in order to equip and train them to become serving leaders.
Last year, after completing Phase 3, which focuses on team leadership, and learning that “there is no success without a successor”, she began training Lydia to take her place. After preparing Lydia for her new role, Marie “passed the baton” to her and because she was trained and ready, she is doing a great job in her new assignment. Marie, however, began to feel that she was no longer needed and asked God to show her what he wanted her to do next. She didn’t have to wait very long.
Within a few weeks after turning the “reigns” over to Lydia, Marie received a call from Ruth Lekpyee, who is also one of the leaders we’ve been training over the past four years. She asked Marie if she would join her in taking the message of serving leadership to other churches and helping them start women’s ministries to train and equip women leaders in their churches.
Marie’s story is a great example of why every pastor, staff member, and church leader, whether they are men or women, should be investing their time in developing leaders. Marie, because she was willing to “pass the baton”, allowed God to give her a new and “greater” assignment.
I returned from Liberia on August 20th, where I spent a week training 27 leaders in Phase 4 of our four-year leadership development process. I am absolutely amazed at how much these men and women have grown and matured as serving leaders.
Since 2014, they have trained over 2,000 men and women in the serving leadership principles of Jesus and have expanded the serving leadership development movement into neighboring Guinea. These leaders come from 12 different churches and have a vision to be God’s instrument to reach the unreached towns and villages in Liberia and surrounding nations with the Gospel.
Pastor Alexander Freeman is our key leader in Liberia. He is the pastor of the Christian Bible Church in the city of Ganta, and the leader of this association of 12 churches. Over the past three years, his church has grown from around 300 to over 900 people. This growth took place despite the tremendous challenges they face due to the extreme poverty and the Ebola epidemic of 2015-2016.
Their amazing growth meant that they needed to build a larger church building and they did so with only minimal outside support and funding from US donors. But, that is not all they have accomplished. They have also raised up leaders and developed ministry teams that have enabled them to plant four (4) new churches over the past two years. All of these churches are in nearby villages that did not have a church and all of them now have between 100 and 150 members.
What has caused this growth? I believe that it is due to the growth and maturity of Alex’s leadership. He now has a greater kingdom vision, and he sees his role as being that of raising up others to lead and to assume greater leadership responsibilities. Because his vision is to reach their nation for Christ, he is very intentional about equipping, training, and releasing new pastors and leaders.
I am planning on returning to Liberia in October of 2019 to work with Alex Freeman to start a new leadership development cohort with a group of 20-25 pastors in the city of Saclepea, Liberia.
A special thank you goes out to all our donors and prayer partners. Without you, the ministry of Reverb Network to develop serving leaders for God’s kingdom would not be possible. You may not be able to personally go to countries like Liberia and take an active part in this work, but through your prayers and sacrificial giving, you can and are making an eternal difference. Thank you!
Here are a couple pictures from our training in Mbalmayo, Cameroon.
Greetings from Douala, Cameroon! I had wanted to give you updates on this year’s trip to train leaders in Cameroon and Nigeria, but the hotel that we stayed at did not have wifi or any sort of internet connection.
This morning, we are preparing to leave Cameroon and fly to Lagos, Nigeria and then onto Enugu, Nigeria, where we will spend a week training a group of church leaders.
This past week in Cameroon, we faced a couple of new challenges and were compelled to change our process. The biggest challenge that we faced was that the leaders in the training were only French speakers. This meant that everything needed to be translated. The second challenge is that we had was caused by the first one…we did not have any handouts or other materials that they could read. The third challenge was that we had two groups of leaders that wanted to receive our training.
To address these challenges, it forced us to alter our normal training plan. We ended up training one group of 27 leaders from 9 am to 1 pm from Monday-Friday. In the afternoons, we would train a second group of 24 leaders from 4 pm to 8 pm. We also did not conduct any teach-back sessions. We were able to present the material and spend an entire day (four hour session) reviewing each of the various topics to make sure that they understood the key points and answering any questions that they may have had. In addition, we made arrangements with our hosts, after we have been able to translate our material into French, to come back and get the leaders organized in coaching groups and conduct several days of teach-back sessions.
Overall, the training went well and both groups of leaders were hungry for the message of serving leadership and are eager to take it back to their churches and their communities.
It has been very hot and humid here in Cameroon. Temps have been in the mid-80’s everyday and with the heat index in the mid-90’s. It has rained nearly every day. There were a couple of days where we had some really severe thunderstorms. One night we spent the entire night without power, lights, or water. Fortunately, the hotel staff brought us candles for our rooms.
Well, that’s my report from Cameroon. I also will post a couple of pictures. Thanks for your prayers. I hope to be able to update you daily on what we are doing in Nigeria this next week.