In the bustling city of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pastor Mike had been leading a healthy congregation for many years. Lubumbashi is a transportation hub for mineral products, making it the industrial center for mining in southeastern Congo. Major arteries of roads connect this southern city to the rest of the country in every direction.
Mike always felt called to be a pastor, and this calling was evident in the way his church thrived through his leadership.
As time passed, Mike began to feel a yearning and sense of urgency to reach the villages around Lubumbashi. He felt his heart break that the people in these villages lived without hope in Christ.
But Mike couldn’t believe that God would use him in this way. He didn’t feel gifted in evangelism and wondered why God would place this new calling on his heart that he had never felt before.
While he was wrestling with this calling, God was stirring a desire in the hearts of others to plant new churches in the area. Gavin and Jill, missionaries to the Central Africa Field, observed that only one or two villages in that area had churches.
They developed a new strategy: the field would mobilize pastors to follow the major roads from city to city planting churches using the church members in the previous city to plant a new church in the next. In this way, the major roads would guide them to create a network of churches from the two small churches that were already in existence.
After prayer, Gavin and Jill felt that God was calling Pastor Mike to accomplish this task. They trained Pastor Mike and members of his congregation to use evangelistic tools like the EvangeCube, and Mike’s church began their work of reaching out to a neighboring community.
On the first day of their new ministry, as they walked to the neighboring community for the first time, Pastor Mike began to doubt whether God was really calling them to this work. In fact, Mike was so overcome with doubt that he tried to cancel the outreach event on the spot, and he asked everyone to turn around. Mike’s congregation stopped him. They urged him to pray and ask the Lord for guidance. As they prayed, Mike again felt a sense of urgency for the lost in that community and they continued walking.
When they arrived in the community, Mike began sharing the gospel with a group of people who were there. Three people gave their lives to Christ, and a large group followed them back to the church. As they continued to return to the people of the village, they established a church, and as it grew, the people in the new congregation began reaching out to another community near them.
After five years of ministering in this way, Pastor Mike and members from these congregations have successfully planted five new churches in the area. These churches are located in the middle of some of the major transportation arteries in the region and continue to grow stronger through their connection.
Five years ago, Pastor Mike wasn’t sure that God would be able to use him to reach the communities around his church without a natural gifting for evangelism. But as God continued to call and as Mike and his congregation took steps of obedience, God has been faithful to provide all that was needed. Pastor’s Mike’s story and these five new churches transformed by the gospel are a witness of God’s love and creativity in reaching the lost.