Darrow Miller helps us-that is, every Christian-to reconnect our lives and
work, our LifeWork, with God's plan for individuals, communities, and
nations. This is a carefully researched, down-to-earth, life-altering book
that every Christian should read.
Watoto Church (formerly Kampala Pentecostal Church) is an exuberant, English speaking cell based church in the heart of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. It is the home of Watoto, the internationally famous children’s choir and a program caring for some of the millions of orphaned children in Africa.
Launched on Easter Sunday April 22 1984, the church has grown to be not only one of the most influential institutions in Uganda, but in all of Africa, and even around the world. With a current membership of approximately 20,000 and unwavering commitment to bring healing to the city and the nation, the church’s vision has led to the birth of numerous ministries and programs that have improved communities.These include, among others, ongoing “seed projects” in the heart of the community – for the community and with the community. These ministries are life-giving, focused on transformation and always with the greater good of the city and nation at heart.
The first DNA Vision Conference in Uganda occurred in 2000, facilitated by Bob Moffitt and Scott Allen, several of the key leaders of Watoto Church attended. The second conference held the following year and facilitated by Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt was actually organized by a planning team led by Watoto Church elder Stephen Langa. At that time, the membership of the church was approximately 6,000.
The DNA Vision Conference casts a vision for biblical worldview and wholistic ministry or a lifestyle of love in action—serving the needs of the whole person, in obedience to Christ’s command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. At the end of each conference, participants are introduced to an application exercise called “seed projects”—small wholistic ministry efforts that demonstrate God’s love in the community. These small efforts are accomplished with local resources, bathed in prayer, and led by the Holy Spirit. Seed projects can and often do lead to larger, ongoing projects.
The Holy Spirit had planted a desire in the leaders of Kampala Pentecostal Church to reach their city by demonstrating the love of God—as well as proclaiming it. When they attended the DNA Vision Conference, they immediately recognized that we had a practical strategy to mobilize their members for the vision they already had.
The senior pastor, Gary Skinner, equipped and challenged his people to carry out seed projects. To emphasize this effort, he asked every cell group to do at least two seed projects a year. He taught the cell leaders and members to look at their communities, identify the needs, and take ownership of the problems.
“The problems are not the communities’ problems—they’re our problems!” Pastor Skinner says. “They’re not the government’s problems. The government can’t fix the problems because—although it may have a little bit of money—it has no love. Money does not solve problems. Love does! And if the government does it, God does not get the glory. But when the church does it with love, God gets the glory.”
Pastor Skinner continues, “Our cell members find a problem, take ownership of the problem, engage in the community, and love their community. Whatever the community’s problems are, those are the problems for which we do seed projects. We fix and clean wells so that the water is good again. We replaced a roof on a house for poor people—where the roof was leaking so badly, the people were wet and cold and sick. We raise food for orphans. We are looking after thousands of orphans. Half of them live in homes we have built.”
Not only did the church embrace the concept of wholistic ministry and Seed Projects, they also focused on biblical worldview teaching. For an entire year, Pastor Skinner led the congregation through a teaching series aimed at helping members recognize and abandon false beliefs rooted in traditional African culture and replace them with biblical truth. The DNA helped Pastor Skinner realize that it is ultimately truth that transforms. Satan uses lies to entrap individuals and entire cultures in bondage to poverty and brokenness. For a church to be an agent of transformation in its community and nation, it needs to incarnate biblical truth in every area of life and society.
Shortly after the Vision Conferences in 2000 and 2001, the leadership of Watoto church challenged every cell group to take ownership of at least one family that has AIDS in the community. Pastor Skinner said that the cell groups began to meet family needs. They went into the homes, hugged the sick, and sat by their beds. Nearly every one of the AIDS patients came to faith in Christ. When the patient was too sick to leave home, the church cell group met right in their home. When the patient died, instead of the drunken orgy that commonly follows death; the group would hold a worship service with the family. Many family members came to faith in Christ because they experienced the demonstration of Christ’s love.
Imagine the impact that the thousands of Seed Projects done by the hundreds of Watoto Church cell groups are making on the city of Kampala! The communities within the city of Kampala are taking notice. Even the Ugandan government has recognized what is happening. Recently, the government named Kampala Pentecostal Church one of the country’s 10 most influential organizations in the war on AIDS.
Today, Watoto church leaders such as Stephen Langa and Pastor Franco Onaga are extending the influence of the church into the various spheres of Ugandan society, including government, family, and even training programs for the Kampala police force. Watoto is truly a model church that is bringing the light of Christ and the healing of His Kingdom to Uganda, Africa and the whole world.
For more on Watoto Church, visit their website: www.watotochurch.com
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