Discipleship is deeply deficient in Uganda. GetRelational Ministries meets that need through pastoral and church leadership training, focused on both principled education and hands-on experience. Students engage in scrupulous Biblical training, supplemented with Ancient and Biblical Greek and Hebrew cultural analysis, theological studies, practicals (such as hermeneutics, homiletics, effective leadership, and conflict management), simulated situations, and real-life experience-based internships. We strive to prepare pastors to thrive.
Pastor Joseph Kiyaga from Seya Revival Center recognizes the desperate need the church in Uganda has, and it isn’t a lack of money. “Money is okay,” he says, “but we need discipleship more than anything else.” A growing number of pastors and church leaders are realizing that true Christians are, by definition, disciples—that is, students—of Jesus. (The attached photo is Pastor Joseph.)
A certain pastor in Kampala, Uganda, leads more than 10,000 people in religious services each weekend. In April 2017, He strongly encouraged members of his congregation to burn all versions of the Bible containing the translation “Holy Ghost” instead of “Holy Spirit.” Because ghosts are evil, he reasoned, any book referring to the third member of the Trinity as a ghost must likewise be evil.
One self-proclaimed prophet, sells “holy rice” to his congregation at $14 per kilogram, nearly a week’s pay for most Ugandans. “This rice is blessed. Hallelujah! All you have to do is sprinkle some of the holy rice in your normal rice to release the blessing.” He spiritedly markets his rice during his preaching. One member of his church defends his practice, “If the Pope can make holy water, why can’t a pastor make holy rice?”
Another popular church leader mandates that his congregation surrender their most valuable possessions to the altar of his church just like Abraham took his most valuable possession, his son Isaac, to the altar at God’s command.
A history rife with political-economic corruption, bloodshed, and witchcraft; coupled with extensive entertainment-driven evangelism and minuscule discipleship has created an environment where anything goes in Ugandan Christianity. Joseph Kony, who believed he had been called by Jesus to overthrow the Ugandan government, started the Lord’s Resistance Army. Between 1987 and 2005, the LRA kidnapped over 25,000 children, many of whom were used as soldiers—all under the belief that The Bible sanctioned such actions.
Ugandan Christians readily, and occasionally openly, engage in witchcraft. “Sometimes you have to kill an animal to make a demon happy,” one Christian said. “That demon wants a chicken, you have to give him a chicken.” Witchcraft practices range from magical cures of illnesses to child sacrifice. The African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Abuse and Neglect reported that 3,000 children disappear from their homes every year, the majority, it is believed, become human traffic victims or are used in child sacrifices.