A vast majority of churches in Burundi do not have access to almost any tool for strengthening believers. Those that have theological institutes only accept their own churches with the exception of two universities that have theology faculties open to everyone. This leaves the churches without any tools available for training leaders and/or strengthening believers. With a good, helpful and passionate attitude, unfortunately, church leaders operate by trial and error.
Indeed, Antioch School is not just a theological training to satisfy the intellectual thirst of church leaders. The Antioch School is rather a tailor-made approach to church establishment and leadership training in order to build a church planting movement in the region and beyond.
The number of partner churches that are embracing the Antioch School approach is growing every year (40 churches this year) especially the early adopters - according to Everett Rogers - they took the risk to try this unkown approach to overcome their church edification challenges, and here we are, it works !!!
Today they are focusing on training leaders to make themselves dispenseable and thus plant more churches in strategic cities.
In the past few months, two partner churches have certified 43 disciples. The majority of our partner churches are expanding classes in their churches. What other activity could I allow to take up too much of my time if not teaching my church and educating my children?" said a pastor of a partner church during an interview.
Despite the fuel shortage that hampers transportation, despite the economic crisis that grips the country, despite our desperation to realize the 2022 Antioch Convention... the leaders of our partner churches have begged us not to postpone this year's Antioch convention. Their commitment to meet in this fellowship and mutual encouragement gathering is a faithful indicator of the ownership of the church's mission.
The Antioch Convention of this year - which brought together all the churches using the Antioch School approach - had a special feature: A deep concern for multiplication of leaders!
All the church leaders were deeply concerned. Through the session, they realized the vulnerability of their churches if they do not have trained leaders capable of taking over.
The awareness of this vulnerability made the sessions dominated by prayers and exhortation to invest intentionally in the ministry of the local church. Antioch School Convention 2022 will stay unforgettable! Fellowship of pastor's families, sharing of experiences, holy communion, praying for one another... what a grace to see churches united in faith and in Mission.
27 pastors’ couples shared those precious moments of worship, fellowship and mission DNA exchange.
Latest encouraging stories from Ecole d’Antioche…
Antioch School is curently running in 39 partner churches and has over 650 disciples under training in the First Principles of the Christian faith. In recent months, two partner churches have certified 43 disciples. Here are some testimonies from the graduates:
Dedith NDAYISHIMIYE - from a partner church
Like many other Burundian husbands, after our wedding feast, I continued my life as if nothing had changed. My wife was left to her own devices, and I couldn't stand her complaining. I was on the verge of divorce when our pastor invited me to participate in the first principles class of Ecole d’Antioche. To sum it all up, this school saved my marriage.
Bernard NDUWAYO - Pastor of a partner church
I struggled to raise disciples without any tools. I knew they need to be established in what they believed in, but I had no idea how to proceed. Ecole d’Antioche came in at the right time. Today I graduated potential elders and other church ministers. What a rewarding journey!
A less supportive law to the church in Burundi…
The current political situation in Burundi requires churches to have decent worship facilities and is less tolerant for renting. The vast majority of the indigenous churches gather in various events halls or conference rooms on rent. In the political capital of Burundi (Gitega), 70 churches will be closed this year if they do not meet the conditions and this is applied to all churches nationwide..
The end of the fuel shortage that haunts the whole functioning of the country in general and our service to the churches in particular,
Health of our team during this period when illnesses threaten families,
God's provision for church buildings to avoid the worst during this political period.