19 December 2017 // Articles & Stories

Why bother with church planting?

Connected to prayer

This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in January 2018. You can download the January 2018 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.

In Tanzania, in a place called Sanga Sanga, AIM have established the Institute of Bible & Ministry (IBM), a focal point of our passion to see Africans mobilised to share the gospel with their neighbours. Francis Manungu serves there as a caretaker. In his spare time he is involved in planting a new church. Here, Francis shares with us:

Healed by God

In 1977 when I was at primary school I was having problems with my eyes, I was struggling to see. I was taken to hospital, but when the doctor examined me, he told me that he couldn’t find any medical reason for the problem. That evening I happened to meet with an Africa Inland Church (AIC) evangelist called Samuel, who invited me to a gospel meeting. I went forward for prayer at the end, we prayed for healing and it was given! I gave my life to Jesus and decided that I wanted to give myself to his ministry.

“I gave my life to Jesus and decided that I wanted to give myself to his ministry.”

I was invited by Tony Swanson and the AIC to work at IBM in a caretaker role in June 2016, although I was aware of the place before that. The opportunity to work here is a demonstration of God’s grace, and I cannot boast about it! I thank God that I am now part of the work at Sanga Sanga.

I also lead a church in Kiloka (about 30 miles from Morogoro). This is a majority Muslim area. When people ask me why am I bothering with church planting, all I can say is that it is God’s plan. Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, told his disciples to go and preach the gospel, so I had to do so! We are also commanded to be light in the midst of darkness.

Engaging community

Francis Manungu is the caretaker at Sanga Sanga, and he also has oversight of a small church in a mainly Muslim village. Pray for Francis as he leads this church and as he disciples new believers.

At the moment the Kiloka church is small. There are eight families that attend in total, which makes for 28 Christian adults and seven children. It is a very difficult area for Christians and the church. There are many Muslims who oppose our message, as well as lots of different people with other cultures and traditions. Reaching these people, especially Muslims who wouldn’t otherwise hear about Jesus, is why we have planted a church here, and why we’re seeking to build relationships with the local community. Recently we were able to donate a small amount of money to aged people in the community. But our main outreach we hope will be through the church farm.

As a church we have bought a field. Our community were surprised when they saw church members going farming! They had never seen Christians having a church field! They thought that the church survived through donations alone; they thought the church was all about singing, but now they know we also help each other through farming as well. And because the church has a field, a few local people can apply to work on it, thereby earning an income. We can use the produce and when children from the community come to church we are able to give them some porridge. We are also trying to offer pastoral support to our neighbours, helping them make handicrafts, and even offering some health support.

“Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, told his disciples to go and preach the gospel, so I had to do so!”

Seeing salvation

I thank God for bringing his servants to encourage us. The AIC Diocese has provided me with a motorcycle, which has helped me very much. We also receive visits from Tony Swanson, Matt Dixon, and Steve & Ruth Lancaster, as well as others. But our little church needs your prayers, spiritually and practically. Parts of the church building are rotten. In one of the walls there are a lot of cracks and the wall is starting to subside, so there is a need to do some repairs. And we need your prayers to see more people turn to Jesus for their salvation.

Pray too for our work at Sanga Sanga. Every weekday we hold a 30 minute service to which all of the staff are welcome – even the Muslim workers! And we have seen conversions! Pray that we would have the joy of seeing a church established in Sanga Sanga village as well.