Returning to Bring Peace
Energy for Mission is committed to creating lasting peace structures through the Tuungane Project. As we sometimes remind our readers, Tuungane is a Swahili term meaning, “let us come together.” In April, EFM brought together a diverse group of leaders from Muslim and Christian backgrounds to understand how they could better lead their communities in conflict resolution. Peace leaders in Mugunga asked Marcel to return to provide additional training in peace and reconciliation. This June, Marcel offered another three-day workshop focused especially on pastoral issues. Just like Africa as a whole, he said, the churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must have strong leadership to foster enduring peace.
Leading Through Trust
One major part of the workshop training was the principle that reconciliation in and among congregations must begin from a place of humble, compassionate leadership. As Reverend Mahuka Bulalo, a workshop participant, observed, church leaders must have a true call to shepherd their congregations; too many, he feels, are not operating from a call to serve. It is only when people see this servant leadership demonstrated that they begin to trust their leaders and one another, yielding reconciliation. This has a ripple effect, as families, neighbors, and denominations seek peace with one another. Oyelo Ulimwengu, another pastor in attendance, observed that, “If each one of us can practice the teaching, the church will be able to contribute highly in bringing peace within itself and in the community around.”
In breakout groups, pastors discussed how to apply principles of biblical leadership with real examples from their congregations. One of the major points of discussion centered around the issue of leadership delegation. The training emphasized how good leaders delegate certain responsibilities to others under them, pointing to examples like Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Aaron, and Jesus and his disciples.
Delegation helps reduce the burden on each leader, as well as provide training for the next generation of leaders. In the past, many pastors in the DRC took on undue responsibility for ministering in the church, causing burnout and a lack of spiritual formation. But things are changing, said Reverend Pastor Safari Maboko Jonas, who shared how his burden has lightened, and the gifts of many in the congregation are developing from greater participation in the life of the church.
An Opportunity for More Fruit
To ensure this training finds root, participants asked that EFM conduct Peace Building Workshops on a quarterly basis. Additionally, EFM will visit participating churches to provide feedback and support as leaders conduct their own training in peace and reconciliation using the EFM model. Since the violent conflict of the region touches church congregations as well, pastors also asked for training in trauma healing. In demonstration of their commitment to teach reconciliation from the Bible, some asked for replacements to take into rural communities where armed rebel groups have looted even Bibles.
“We are very glad to have Energy for Mission standing with us in our ministry,” Reverend William Bawindja from Mugunga Baptist Church said. “So many NGOs are working in our area, but none thought of joining the Church for his capacity building. We are now equipped and ready to exercise what EFM has taught us. We commit now to go and teach others what we have learned but also use these skills to improve our leadership.”
Will you partner with us to help continue this good work of peace and reconciliation? Energy for Mission is committed to seeing local communities transformed through strong local churches. We are investing for long-term change. Your prayers and giving enable us to offer more Peace-Building Workshops, provide Bibles to those who hunger for God’s Word, or give trauma healing to repair lives broken from cycles of violence and conflict. We want to seize this opportunity for deeper transformation with your help.