Seb Allwright, Central Region’s Mobilisation Coordinator, shares about how we’re seeking to involve Africans in short term mission.
How do we mobilise a church in Central Africa? The churches AIM partners with throughout Central Region are large and vibrant. While many of these churches have continued to grow in numbers and have had a great influence on the countries they serve, their missional heart is still very young and developing. So, how do we help them mature in this area?
Personally, I caught the vision for mission during several short term trips to Uganda with my church, and many AIM members across the continent tell similar stories. We’re privileged to have the opportunity to try short term trips, but many of our national brothers and sisters don’t have the same opportunities. Opening up AIM’s short term programme to nationals is helping to create such access.
The FUEL programme is one example of this type of short term experience. It lasts for eight weeks and involves Africans and AIM short termers living and breathing mission together. The programme takes them through teaching, basic living, exposure visits to villages and towns, and regular interaction with and mentoring from other missionaries. We will continue to develop and run FUEL with the intention of running more programmes like it in different countries and at different times of the year. Programmes like these are an important part of our strategy to help people discover and develop in mission.
Living out learning
Through FUEL, several nationals have caught a vision for mission already. Robert is one example. He is now actively involved in mobilisation in south west Uganda, helping with prayer groups for the unreached and studying at university with the intention of using his profession to make disciples across cultures. Joseph is another, he is from a people group that is based close to the Karimojong. Through FUEL he began to see the role and the unique position that he is in to be able to make disciples among the Karimojong. He has moved and is now living in Karimoja as a missionary.
One of the unique things about programmes like this is the opportunity to learn how to communicate and relate across cultures. It’s not always as easy as it sounds; even cooking together can cause disagreements. How we pray and how we read the Bible all varies. But to be equipped and empowered for cross cultural mission – these are important lessons for both AIM short termers and nationals to learn.
Short term programmes are tasters. They are designed to train and equip AIM short termers and nationals in cross cultural mission and empower people to go.