Andy and Kathy Sodestrom report on the growth of young leaders through their ministry in Uganda.
Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world with a median age of 15.9 years. Only Niger is younger. This young population in Uganda and throughout Africa presents great potential as well as great challenges to the growing church in the Global South.
Thousands of new believers are being baptized every day throughout Africa and churches are being planted to meet this expansive growth. The Global Alliance of Church Multiplication, a network of church planting ministries, reports that up to 70% of new church plants fail within the first year. The challenge we face is how to provide leadership for the fruits that evangelists and church planters are experiencing worldwide. Our strategy is to provide non-formal pastoral training to our leaders that will enable them to faithfully carry out their ministries in the church.
We recently received news that some of the young people who have been part of our leadership training programs are stepping out into a new ministry opportunity. Several of the youth from the Madudu church had moved to a village where the relatives of one of them had some farmland that needed cultivating. Joseph Ivan Tulyahebwa began preparing the land to plant passion fruit and felt God calling him to reach out to some of the elderly people in the village. He began to give bags of corn maze to them and learned that the village was primarily Muslim with no gospel witness. The young men called the pastor, Cyprian, to come visit and assess the potential of beginning a new ministry.
Cyprian writes: I too have had this burden for a while of wanting to go out and plant a new Church and bring the vision to the heart of the Church at Madudu as we have for quite a while now been focused on Church strengthening and missing out on Church planting.
Madudu Church is excited and upbeat about this opportunity that the Lord has brought before us using the young men in our church to see the need and then feel the burden of desiring the Gospel to be preached in this other community, hence expanding the kingdom of God. We are especially pleased to see the youth of the Madudu church catch the vision of expanding the Kingdom. There is great potential in the youth of Uganda and we are committed to increasing our efforts to prepare this large demographic to bring the Gospel to rural villages where there is no Gospel witness.
YouthHOPE, a ministry of NMSI, sponsored a youth leaders conference at the AfricaHope center in Kenya from April 9-15, hosting leaders from all over Africa. Andy, Cyprian and Margret Masembe also came to the conference and brought along two of our youth leaders from Frontier Force Christian Ministry Uganda. We are excited to be able to work alongside this worldwide youth initiative to bring quality youth ministry training to Uganda where over half of the population are teenage and younger.