Steve and Ruth work for the Africa Inland Church’s Institute of Bible & Ministry (IBM) in Tanzania. They live in the bustling market town of Morogoro, at the base of the Uluguru mountain range, about 120 miles inland from Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest nations; agricultural subsistence dominates its economy. Health and education sectors require massive investments.There is freedom of religion; all major faiths have the ability to share and propagate their faith. Christianity makes up 54% of the population with Islam totalling 31%.
A trip to Africa in 1984 first set in motion the desire in Steve to serve there. Further frequent visits over the years saw that desire grow, and towards the end of an 18-month trip in Zambia, Steve began to sense a call to be involved in discipleship in Africa. He began preparing for this by attending All Nations Christian College and working for AIM Europe in the UK. After a career in TV production, a change of direction saw Ruth moving into Christian ministry, working with Oak Hall, Tearfund and latterly SAT-7 where she was responsible for marketing and fundraising.
Steve and Ruth now work with IBM in Morogoro. IBM is an ongoing Bible training programme for around 140 pastors and evangelists who are involved in ministry within the Africa Inland Churches (AIC) of eastern Tanzania. This coastal diocese includes over 14 districts or regions and covers over half of the country. The goal and purpose of IBM is to enable, mobilise and inspire these pastors to a closer relationship with God and greater effectiveness in their ministries, thereby equipping them to lead their own congregations, as well as helping them to reach their communities with the gospel message. Various regional seminars, lasting three to five days, are organised from March through to November each year, giving the pastors opportunity to gather together for fellowship, updates, and fresh Biblical input.
IBM’s headquarters are at Sanga Sanga near Morogoro and serve as a central location for the activities of the Institute. The 13-acre site comprises offices, basic sports facilities, agricultural plots, a camp site, and a 13-bed retreat house. Work is currently underway to build an 150-seat conference centre.
Ruth is the Communications Officer for IBM and her role involves helping to manage the Sanga Sanga Retreat House; accounting and budgeting; fundraising and publicity; and the teaching of occasional English courses. Steve’s role at IBM is that of a Bible teacher and so he is involved in the planning of the various regional conferences, and the teaching itself. To a lesser degree he’s involved in the development of Sanga Sanga; he preaches at a number of local churches; and he is AIM’s Unit Leader for eastern Tanzania, which involves management and member care for AIM missionaries.
Could you partner with the Lancasters in this work?
Steve & Ruth work with the Africa Inland Church Tanzania at the Institute of Bible & Ministry. Steve is involved in Bible teaching, Ruth handles administration and finance for the Institute and teaches English. Steve is also Unit Leader for Tanzania East.
If you would like to partner with Steve & Ruth in your prayers, gifts and practical support, please download and complete this form and return to Freepost RTJH-JRZE-XXKX Africa Inland Mission, Halifax Place, Nottingham NG1 1QN.
For any queries, please email: email@example.com
Latest prayer points
- 8 September 2017
Eastern Region Office have been praying for a hold up in issuing work permits in Tanzania which has been having an effect on our members and their ministries. “We received confirmation from Unit Leader Steve Lancaster today that we have just received 13 work permits for Tanzania. Here in Eastern Region office the document we placed before the Lord to beg for these permits was asking Him to move on our behalf by September. Steve was in the Dar es Salaam office on 31st August when he received this answer to our prayers. There are still a number of new permits that we are waiting for, and it is important to remember that with the work permits in hand we now still need to receive residency permits. But this is a huge answer to prayer for all of Eastern Region.” 2 of the outstanding permits are for Matt & Amy Dixon, who need them before they can return to ministry in Tanzania following home assignment in a few weeks. Please pray that they would be issued quickly so that the Dixons and others may continue to serve in Tanzania.
- 18 August 2017
Steve has recently been teaching a number of pastors’ conferences on the subject of ‘Integrity’. After the latest conference, Steve wrote, “The one thing that did stand out for me personally was how tough the first day was. I taught three sessions but it felt as though I was wading through treacle for much of it! I was aware of a lack of inner enthusiasm; the ummpphh was missing, and I stepped away from my homemade lectern a bit dejected. Was it simply an off day, or was cultural fatigue showing through? It could indeed be a bit of both, but my team leader Tony helpfully reminded me that what we’re doing at IBM and the subject that we’re teaching is bound to rattle the cage of Satan. He is very much opposed to seeing teaching on integrity in the Church and, as we know, he comes to steal, disrupt and discourage us in our work. Thankfully, days 2 and 3 went much better. The ummpphh was back and I felt that I was more expressive in my Swahili teaching than I had been before!” Please pray for Steve as he continues to teach at IBM conferences on the subject of Biblical leadership.
- 12 May 2017
Steve writes: “It’s the time of the year when the IBM conference season is about to begin… Our subject this year is ‘Show me a leader with moral integrity’, based on a book by a Tanzanian bishop. Amongst the things we’ll be focussing on are the following topics: a mini-study of biblical leaders with integrity; the qualities of a leader with integrity; the example of Jesus; servant leadership; compassion in leadership; obedient leadership; and how we deal with temptations and conflict in the ministry. With several recent negative reports concerning church leadership here in Tanzania, and with various church leadership elections around the corner, there’s a feeling that this is exactly the right topic for this year… Please pray that God would move in the lives of the pastors and evangelists, and that he would enable me to teach well, in Swahili that is beyond my natural ability!”