As some of you know, I recently returned from an epic trip to the Karamojong region of Uganda Africa. Gary Mayes (Executive Director of ChurchNEXT) and I had the privilege of experiencing this unique piece of God’s creation while being hosted by Andrew Meador, who with his wife Kerri, just joined up with PI. They lived and served in Kotido for seven years before beginning the sabbatical they are still in the middle of. Their desire is to return to the field after they fulfill the goals of their sabbatical and build a strong team to partner with them. Andrew’s brother in law, Kenneth, and Kenneth’s adopted Karamojong daughter joined us as well. Kenneth and his family were members of the pioneering team that landed in the Kotido area a decade ago. To say the least, it was a great privilege to hear about, see and experience the people, culture and landscape through their eyes!
I have so many crazy stories from my short trip, but I want to share just one overarching impression from my time in this region that has been so powerfully impacted by God through the ministry of Andrew and Kerri. Here’s my thought—Disciple-making and the launching of new expressions of church can look very different when there are no competing models of disciple-making and church planting in a given context. It is like this Ugandan context is offering us a playground to discover the true missional essence of ecclesia as God intended, without all the institutional and cultural biases we unintentionally have normalized. The authenticity and simplicity of our experiences of “church under the tree” were unbelievably refreshing. It was stimulating to hear a Karamojong village leader share about his favorite story of Jesus he learned through a DBS. And I will never forget sitting low on the ground with a grandma who was holding her granddaughter that had been raised from the dead through Kerri Meador’s passionate cry out to God.
For me, these things represent the most legit expressions of disciple-making and church planting I have witnessed in a long time. And I can only pray that the same Spirit that inspired and enabled these missional outcomes through Andrew and Kerri will supernaturally be at work in and through all of our Pioneering Initiatives teams throughout the world. Kingdom come!