Pastor Charles Lussesa has been leading the congregation of the Free Pentecostal Church in the village of Mwambaluhi in Sengerema for the last two years.
“Being part of a small church, which consists of people with limited resources, means that the salary was very low; it was like volunteering,” remarked Pastor Charles. “Their spiritual health was neither poor nor strong. It was just 50/50.”
When World Renew, in partnership with Christian Reformed World Missions, first offered the Timothy Leadership Training program to pastors in the Mwanza region, Pastor Charles quickly signed up. Now, two years later, he has completed four of the seven modules: Pastoral Care, Christian Stewardship, Biblical Teaching, and Teaching the Christian Faith.
“The large group discussions, collaborative learning, and action plans have helped me understand how to lead and minister to the church.” He especially appreciated the most recent module, which developed pastors’ skills in teaching children, youth, and adults.
Since Pastor Charles also dedicates his time to guiding leaders of other nearby Pentecostal churches, he can pass on his new knowledge to others. After the Pastoral Care module, Pastor Charles shared his training with eleven nearby churches. Seven of those pastors immediately began to apply the message with home visits to members of their congregations. Six new people started attending Pastor Charles’ church. The weekly offerings also grew.
“Many people in the church don't have much money, but they do have fruit trees. Now they sell their fruit by the roadside, and give the profit as their church offering.”
Pastor Charles has eagerly begun to implement his six-month action plan. Instead of just thinking week-to-week, he now makes a plan and assesses the results. Part of his plan includes entrepreneurial skill training for families. He will also begin a program for his congregation that focuses on living the Christian faith and teaching children how to do the same. His goal is to see families pray together and live how God has taught them in the Bible.
“Seeing changes in people’s lives takes time,” reflects Pastor Charles, “so you must be patient and persistent.”