Leadership Focus Rebrands in Uganda
By Jeff Hayes
Did you know that all 48 assemblies in the United States, Eastern Canada, the School of Theology and Christian Ministry at Anderson University, the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), and Global Strategy have now partnered with Leadership Focus to provide a comprehensive and consistent approach to training and equipping emerging leaders for ministry and mission?
Would you be surprised to learn that there are 43 men and women in the Spanish track and another 323 in the English track? Perhaps you or your pastor are one of the over 500 men and women who have completed all six modules.
But have you heard the latest? Six key Ugandan leaders recently completed Leadership Focus and are now working to rewrite and rebrand the curriculum under the name Core Discipleship for the Ugandan Church. According to Global Strategy missionaries Tim and Colleen Stevenson, new cohorts are preparing to multiply and are excited about the mentoring aspects of the program.
Tim and Colleen Stevenson, who have served in Uganda as adults since 1986, first floated the idea of partnering with Leadership Focus in 2017. A year later, program manager Rev. Jeanette Flynn was on a flight to Uganda with six tubs of books and resources to meet the Ugandan leaders who were ready to be trained to plant the first mentoring clusters across the country. According to the Stevensons and Flynn, Pastor Greg Smith from East Canton Church of God in Ohio has also been a tremendous support. Smith participated in the vision-casting and training of these six new coaches along with Flynn in 2018.
Once a month for two years, the six Ugandan leaders gathered around a computer so that Jeanette Flynn could lead them through all six modules of Leadership Focus. Although the pandemic delayed momentum in 2020, the work of reshaping the curriculum into a culturally relevant format has now resumed.
Asked about the name change, Flynn shared, “The team of Ugandan leaders felt the name ‘Core Discipleship’ better fit their broader vision and local needs.” Tim Stevenson further explained that while Core Discipleship will be a step towards ordination, his real hope is that “every leader who serves on a council, teaches, or volunteers in some ministry will eventually take this training, providing better consistency across the grassroots of the Ugandan Church.”
“Joining Leadership Focus,” shared Tim, “is a mechanism for the Ugandan Church to engage and have legitimacy at the table…. One of our projects (for instance) is Heritage International School. They have fiber optics, high speed interactions, and connections. So, we could be having cell groups from North America and Europe engage with us (the Ugandan Church) on the topic of missioning, for example. We want to be part of the global strategy, the global conversation.”
Samson Wandera is a Ugandan student who has already benefitted from the program. On a practical level, he says the coursework puts Church of God leaders in a “better position to train other church leaders.” Reflecting further on the impact of Leadership Focus in Uganda, Samson says, “We are [now] in a better position to respond to questions concerning spiritual matters and doctrine with clarity.”
Moses Abasoola, the national leader for the Church of God in Uganda, shares Samson’s sentiment. In addition, he suggests the program should help to “build unity in Uganda,” as well as in the Church of God across the region. He adds, “We hope Leadership Focus will be a roadmap for the selection of future leadership in congregations.”
To God be the glory! Great things are happening; great things have been done.
Learn more about the Church of God around the world at www.chogglobal.org. Learn more about Leadership Focus at www.jesusisthesubject.org/leadership-focus. As of November 16, 2021, the country is reeling from two coordinated suicide bombings in Kampala that left several dead and others injured. Please keep the people of Uganda in your prayers. Pray for their safety and the safety of Johnsons, Stevensons, and Kaitlin Smith. Pray for resolution to this current spate of attacks.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hayes has served on ministry leadership teams in Kentucky, Western Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He recently completed eighteen years of service on the ministry faculty at Warner University and provides leadership to a new ministry, the Way of Compassion. He resides in Winter Haven, Florida, with his wife Karen.