Our Ugandan Adventure: Stir Up a Hunger

(This is the second post in a series of reflections from my recent trip to Kampala, Uganda..)

On July 13-15, 500 pastors and church leaders gathered from at least six different east African nations for the Pastors Discipleship Network’s “Rooted in the Word” Conference. It truly was one of the highlights of my life to be a part of this amazing gathering. During the conference I had the honor of presenting three main sessions: “Interpreting Specific Types of Biblical Literature” (my toughest assignment); “Starting and Sustaining a Discipleship Ministry in Your Local Church;” and  “Leadership from the Pastoral Epistles.” Providing leadership for this sessions was right in my sweet zone as I love to teach and communicate God’s truth. But as much as I love teaching, perhaps my favorite part of the conference were the opportunities to interact with participants either in a one-on-one or small groups setting.

Two stories: my friend Scot Longyear, was leading a session on preaching and walking us through Andy Stanley’s framework for communicating for change. During this session I happened to be sitting at the table with a group of younger church leaders from Northern Uganda (who by the way shared some horrific and blood chilling stories about the violence they experienced as young men growing up in that war torn region of Uganda – think Invisible Children and child soldiers). These guys were having some difficulty grasping the “I, you, God, imagine” framework Scot was sharing, but after a few minutes and a small amount of coaching from me, I witnessed the light bulbs go on inside of them.  They “got it” and with great enthusiasm each of them wanted to share their insights and examples.

During a break another pastor from Northern Uganda approached me interested in some conversation about church planting. Being a church planter myself, I had great interest in this brother’s ministry. He told me that he and his wife, both teachers, had been working diligently for 16 months in a remote part of the country doing a church plant. And as the fruit of their labors there church consisted of seven adults and 20 children.

In our Western context this man would be considered by most standards to be a failure. And yet he was filled with the joy of the Lord, grateful for the people that God was bringing to him and bursting with a great sense of anticipation at what God was doing to do in, with and through this new church. And I rejoiced with him and prayed that God would do an “exceedingly, abundantly, beyond” kind of thing through his life and ministry.

Participants in this conference possessed a deep hunger for the truth of God’s Word, a commitment to serve God no matter what the cost, a sacrificial spirit and a passion to see God’s name become famous in the various places that God had called them. And as I examined my own motivations for ministry, I realized that my hunger, commitment, willingness to sacrifice and passion paled in comparison.

God, stir up a hunger for more of You…

Stay connected…


  1. I love this reminder, to think that the hunger that can only be satisfied by God can only be stirred up by the very same God . . . look forward to hearing more of your stories

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