The “I” in EPIC is all about inspiring indigenous pastors. We believe it is the local African pastors who will have the greatest impact to make disciples in
Africa. While EPIC does conferences and provides funds to get new churches off the ground, we don’t have a philosophy to send a missionary from the USA long-term to live in Africa or other countries.
Obviously, some great mission organizations do that, and we believe God calls people to that, but the Lord has clearly directed us, in partnership with some awesome African church leaders, to raise up indigenous pastors so they can reach and disciple their local people more effectively and with a greater propensity for multiplication.
The interesting thing about Africa is, if you have a Bible you can be a pastor. That’s both good and bad! Good because it allows opportunity to anyone. Bad, because that can be very dangerous to those under a pastor without any training.
So, how do we deal with that? Great question.
We first work through our EPIC indigenous partners – Pastor Jonathan Kabanda and Pastor Elisha Kakwerere. Before being approved as church planting pastors, our indigenous candidates have to be mentored by a proven and educated mentor we know and trust.
Then we need to meet them and their spouse and administer tests and instruments to assess where they are at. While their grip on and understanding of the scriptures is vitally important, their emotional health and maturity is equally so!
As Peter Scazzaro states in his excellent book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, “You cannot be spiritually mature and emotionally immature at the same time. EPIC wants to plant healthy joy filled churches and we know it starts with the lead church planting couple.