Pastoral Leadership Training
In 1994 missionaries from the west were forced to flee from Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo due to civil and political violence, acts of genocide, unrest and tribal warfare. The departure of missionaries resulted in a sudden vacuum of leadership among once growing and thriving Christian congregations. In these countries, most of the nationals had not been trained in theology and had no experience to conduct church ministry, disciple parishioners or mentor future leaders. The crisis of leadership was heightened by the fact that more than 70% of Rwandan pastors were killed or forced into exile due to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Burundi and Congo experienced a similar plight in 1993 and 1996, respectively. In addition, war was affecting the church of northern Uganda and southern Sudan. It quickly become evident that the church in Africa needed strong leadership capable of guiding, teaching, forgiving and reconciling communities for the holistic transformation of these nations.
ALARM operates across eight countries in east and central Africa; in countries where the need for pastoral leadership training cannot be overstated. In many of the communities where ALARM serves, pastors have never had any Biblical or theological training. As a result, traditional beliefs and practices are often presented alongside biblical truths. Worse still, many of the pastors serving in the more remote villages have no Bibles (or may have one Bible that they are forced to share among 30 to 40 people) yet they are expected to disciple and lead their congregants.
ALARM addresses the need for pastoral leadership training by organizing conferences, workshops and seminars on theology, Bible study methods, discipleship, evangelism, church planting, servant leadership, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The intricate and strong social systems common among African communities make pastors and church lay leaders very influential in their communities. As a result, ALARM views the training of church leaders as mission critical to achieving lasting and holistic transformation in broken African communities. Pastoral training is also essential to pushing back the aggressive and strategic spread of Islam across war torn countries of east and central Africa and to mitigate against the influence of African traditional religion.
In addition to week long conferences and seminars, ALARM has also developed the Pastoral Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) that is designed to equip pastors to teach more effectively as they serve their churches and communities. Pastors trained through the PLTI (both men and women) are nominated by their denominations and meet three to four times a year for in-depth instruction. The institute lasts over a three year period allowing pastors to practice their new found skills in between sessions. In Sudan (the largest country in Africa) ALARM has established the Christian Leadership Institute of Sudan (CLIS) where pastors and church leaders can gain a recognized Advanced Diploma in Theology and Christian Ministries. Alumni from CLIS have already made their mark as senior personnel in governments, Christian organizations, mass media companies, the military and the church.
Click here for reports on ALARM’s leadership training for pastors and church leaders.