The Revival of Discipleship in Africa: Pastor Juma’s story

Nowhere is it easy to be a pastor, especially not in Africa. Even after training at a seminary for 4 years, Pastor Davis Juma found that he and other pastors around him were under-equipped to shepherd their flock. In Africa, there is a great spiritual hunger and many quickly accept Christ as their Lord and Savior but are not grounded in the Word. They are not taught to live new lives in Christ and are quickly led astray by false teaching which is very prevalent in Africa – where there is great spiritual revival there is also great spiritual attack. Pastors and Christian leaders themselves struggle with a proper understanding of the gospel and are unable to lead their congregation. This was the situation Pastor Juma found himself in. Yet his calling for evangelism, church planting and discipleship was clear, and he searched for help. Pastor Juma’s prayer to God was that God would lead him to people who could help him disciple church leaders and believers.

When Pastor Juma discovered FDM in 2019, he first read through all the material carefully and evaluated for himself if they were biblical and suitable for his needs. He found that this was the answer to his prayers and was soon receiving discipleship training and one-on-one mentorship with Pastor Craig. Discipleship training, so fundamental to the work of a pastor, was barely mentioned in Pastor Juma’s seminary training, but FDM provided him with the materials, knowledge and wisdom necessary to meet his calling. Pastor Juma speaks of this moment, “Oh how I praised God with tears!

As Pastor Juma describes it, Christian leaders in Africa struggle in 3 key areas: (1) their own faith, (2) in their marriages and (3) in the raising of their children. Despite any theological training they might have received, they are unable to apply the teachings of Christ in their day-to-day living and may still follow certain unhelpful traditions. And so Pastor Juma was eager to share what he was learning through FDM. The first class he conducted drew church leaders from miles away. Even the first workbook, ‘Christian Foundational Truths’ was truly transformative. This foundational course cleared up many misconceptions these pastors had about the faith – for first time, they understood the meaning of salvation and the true essence of the gospel. The subsequent courses were just as impactful. Pastors had to wrestle with the definition and meaning of a Christian marriage and what it means to raise children in a Godly way. They were so inspired by what they were learning that they started attending classes with their spouses.

Pastor Juma (seated) with training participants

Of course, none of this would be possible without God’s Spirit moving among those who attend Pastor Juma’s training. These sessions are not merely a matter of learning biblical principles but applying these to the heart, and so with prayer and tears as old wounds are healed, spouses radically forgive one another and marriages are restored.

A typical discipleship workshop

As a pastor-evangelist, Pastor Juma has planted 32 churches in east and central Africa: Kenya, DR Congo, South Sudan and Uganda. Christian leaders travel for hundreds of miles to attend his trainings. The translation of FDM’s materials into Swahili has also greatly helped Pastor Juma in his teaching – attendees now have their own copy of FDMs workbooks. The Bibles provided by FDM have also enabled attendees to read and meditate over God’s Word themselves.

Discussions with workbooks and Bibles provided by FDM

A global pandemic only increased the demand for Pastor Juma’s training sessions. Classes had to be conducted with a 6ft distance between participants and the wait lists for these classes increased. On August 13, 2021 Pastor Juma held the first certification ceremony for Pastors and Christian leaders who completed the entire course of all 5 FDM workbooks.

First class of students to complete FDM’s discipleship training course in Busia, Kenya

It is our prayer that these Christian leaders return to their families, churches and congregations with renewed hearts and minds, putting into practice what they have learned and also discipling others in the faith. We also praise God for Pastor Juma, whose faith and teaching continues to bless and transform communities in East and Central Africa.

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