Favor’s Profile of an Indigenous Leader for Christ

Janani

 

The “indigenous leader” served and trained by Favor of God is a young man or woman living in the “tension belt” of northern Uganda/South Sudan. This individual has experienced deep spiritual darkness and overt demonic oppression, whether involved in war or not. He has no living parents and was barely making a few dollars a day to care for the physical needs of some family members – if he has a family at all. Without a job, education, or honor from surviving peers, he had lost hope of living a substantial life.

During the war, he experienced horrific trauma and in many cases was responsible for giving this same trauma to others while serving in the rebel LRA army. He had an unaddressed injury from the war and no money to pay for medical care.

The indigenous leader had either never heard of Jesus or instead has heard many lies about Him. He may have had the customs of Christianity twisted and abused in demonic ritual during after the war, such as having had the cross painted on him in human blood or been anointed with olive oil to facilitate demonic strongholds. He has experienced lies about himself, God, and the world for as long as he has known.

Growing up without a father or male mentor, he became obsessed with becoming a bigger man than others if circumstances provided an opportunity. Financial insecurity in childhood birthed a lifelong pursuit of financial security at the expense of others.

After hearing the truth of Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel, the indigenous leader experienced a dramatic salvation and became a radical disciple. He is now eager to constantly learn more because there’s been a lack of education and truth. He has witnessed so much spiritual darkness and is so familiar with it that he can point out spiritual mixture, apathy, and deception wherever it’s present – even in the church. He is constantly looking at ministries for truth and coming back to Favor because there’s passion, love, and vision in this spiritual family to see every person’s highest calling fulfilled, no matter his or her background.

At Favor of God, the indigenous leader discovers a sense of family, saying, “This is what I’ve always looked for.” Leaders work and minister together and build deep bonds of trust through prayer. He provides for the needs of others and immediately finds practical work, develops skills, and becomes employable. He finds that within a matter of months, his total life is transformed by Christ – now having a calling, purpose, identity, visible spiritual gifts, bearing fruit through raising new disciples, and security through sonship so he is now able to serve humbly. He has a job, is enrolled in school, and has a hope for the future that he’s eager to share with people. He is honored for the contribution he makes in the lives of other people. He doesn’t have money to give, but he has a life to give and does it diligently.

The transformed leader has simple material needs. These are supplied by his new spiritual family, where he also contributes to the needs of others. He has a Bible for the first time. As his skills grow, he receives job offers from other companies with more pay, but he stays working at Favor because his opportunity for meaningful impact is larger, and he can keep living with the family who helped turn his life around. He says, “The family has to be together.”

You can’t get him to take a break. He is preaching the Gospel during Christmas when other people are partying because he loves it. He is so eager to give away the truth and transformation that was just given to him. He runs on spiritual adrenaline, having constant energy. He has to be ordered to not work in ministry 24/7. He says, “This is our life. We live for this.”

He wants a better life for his children. He just spent his life in the bush killing people, so he wants a life better for his children. When his children have an opportunity to attend Favor’s school, he weeps that he can give his boys something that he never had.

Much of the town knows his testimony, because people are amazed by the absolute change from darkness to light in his life. Passion is second nature to him, because he has seen so much spiritual darkness that why wouldn’t he share light at every opportunity? He won’t settle for mixture or lukewarmness. He doesn’t want halfheartedness toward Jesus. His life is marked by passionate service to the Lord and willingness to suffer. His spiritual gifts are known to him and his fellow workers.

The key point is that wherever God places him in his society, the indigenous leader is a person who lost all hope and was given no worth by others, yet now by the power of God he is changing history for the good of others. The victims of war have become the instruments of revival.

The indigenous leader is a disciple called by God to bring truth, healing, hope, and the living presence of God into his specific sphere of society in unreached areas. He is indigenous to this land, the rightful owner of the vision and authoritative to pray and identify with the pain of his people. The power of his prayers, the zeal of his work, and his ability to inexpensively access unreached areas are all greater than foreign missionaries because he is ministering to the land of his birth. He is discipling new leaders who disciple new leaders, because “fruit that lasts is fruit that multiplies.”

The Gospel is visibly operative in his life. The marks of an indigenous leader are: prayer as a lifestyle, reliance on God for the work to be accomplished, desperation for the Kingdom to be real in society, focused study of God’s Word applied to everyday life, multiplication of other disciples, willingness and obedience to Christ, native to the culture in which he works, and he is a leader with vision, calling, and gifts from God.

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