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Uganda Trip Updates - Post #3: Covenant Signing Day!

Read updates from Pastor Larry Szyman as he and one of FCC's elders make the final due diligence trip to ensure that FCC's goal of seeing an African-led, disciple making, church planting movement takes root in northern Uganda. 

Covenant signing day!

In some ways, this day had been a year and a half in the making. Even though we ended the first round of trainings in Gulu in January of 2017, we had already determined some of the things that would need to be in place, in order to see an African-led, disciple making, church planting movement take root. One of our greatest insights was that we needed to assemble a quality group together to equip them in such a way, that they could take over the areas of instruction and leadership. If they took on the challenge, we would take three years to put them in a position to succeed.

John Blum started meeting with me, and the two of us met with Kris Mobbs (in Uganda) via FaceTime about eight months ago, to lead us in a due diligence process with today in mind. We came to the conclusion that to get the right leaders, we would have to provide a compelling vision, and show them that we could put them in a position to carry out our shared dream. We started planning and came to the conclusion that in order to do this, we needed to see to it that the process of securing quality leaders for the vision required a comprehensive recruiting process. We also believed that a "taster"event would allow those, who we felt able and willing to understand what we had to offer, to experience what was involved before they made the significant commitment we would be seeking.

The recruiting process was handled by Kris and six men that we have since given the title of Lead Trainers (LT). The LTs sought recruits from two areas: one from the Acholi people, most of whom are located in the Guluarea, and the Ma'di people, most of whom are located in the Adjumani region, near the South Sudanese boarder.

Because we would have at least two people groups represented, it was determined that all instruction would have to be done in English, which raised the qualifications of the church leaders being sought even higher. Our goal was 40 English speaking and writing church leaders willing to set aside three years to be trained toward a larger goal of establishing a movement among these people groups.

Our Lead Trainers became mobilizers and sought to secure these leaders through existing relationships, friends of friends, and other local churches and ministries. Each prospective participant was interviewed two different times to ascertain their capacity to handle the material, their desire to consider joining in on the vision and their ability to make a three-year commitment in their second language (for a few, it was their fourth, fifth or six language!).

During the recruitment process, they were exposed to the proposed covenant, so they knew up front what would be asked of them at the conclusion of the three day "taster." Consider it a courtship process, in which we would date for three days, and if all went well, we would get "engaged.”This would be ratified through signing a covenant and then begin the process of our new life together at the first training in May.

In the three days just completed, we got to know each other by exchanging biographical information, including our testimonies. They received instruction from each of the two sources that we would use in the future, if all went well. Materials from Training Leaders International is designed to help understand and communicate Scripture from eight different literary types in Scripture, toward the end of interacting with any biblical text with humble confidence. The other materials, from 9 Marks Ministries offers practical insight to the nuts and bolts of church life. The emphasis in this training was the role of the pastor and clarity on God's purposes for the church.

On day three, we went through the covenant to make clear both what we would offer and what we would expect, if they were to sign on. We took time for field questions to grant assurance that they could respond with confidence, if they chose to move forward. After finishing up the morning's instruction and having a good lunch, we met for the covenant signing. All but one attendee signed to covenant, and as of today we are "engaged" with 44 leaders from three different countries from eight different people groups. We are greatly encouraged by the fruit that is the result of the due diligence process and our partnerships between TLI, Four Corners Ministries in Uganda and the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team. Because of this ceremony, there will be, God willing, information about upcoming trainings and an African-led, disciple making, church planting movement for the next three years and beyond. Only at the conclusion of this age will we know how this has contributed to the culmination around the throne of God on that day when there will be no more war or pain or tears anymore.

Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life


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