2019 State of the Ministry

a note from Empower One Founder & CEO

Did you know that since 1983 every U.S. president, save one (H.W. Bush), has reported that the state of the American union is strong during his state of the union address?

I’m happy to report that as of January 2019 the state of Empower One is quite strong, and the field ministry is the best its ever been. You are a big part of why we can say things are well.

Our big, holy, audacious vision remains:

to be part of a movement that brings the gospel to the nearly 20 million Sudanese and South Sudanese who’ve never heard Jesus’ name.

We do this by empowering local leaders to know how to make a disciple of Jesus, who can start a church that can then transform its community.

We started in what’s now South Sudan. God opened doors for us in Sudan, we bled over into northern Uganda, we have wonderful partners in Democratic Republic of Congo, and today we’re in Chad. God leads, we follow.

This is not an exciting photo, but let me explain it. It’s from a conference last month.

An unengaged people group is a tribe with no full-time Christian worker pursuing them. We continue to make the top of all the wrong lists. However, thanks to you, we’re going to do push hard, partner with other ministries, and get these numbers to zero.

Why I believe the state of Empower One is strong:

Our local, african partners.

God is profoundly good and has blessed us with the best men and women to co-labor with, maybe anywhere. All of our key partners could be with other organizations, enjoying more financial success. We know this because many of the NEATS graduates have been snapped up by other NGOs and ministries.

What terrific, Godly people we get to be yoked together with like John. It’s another reason for you to consider coming over. You’ll be so encouraged by the global church and what God is doing through men and women who’ll humble and inspire you.

You: Hear me loud and clear: This is a joint venture. God has given the Western Church a lot of resources. Your decision to invest yours in one of the toughest, least-reached neighborhoods in the world is producing an incredible gospel harvest, lots of churches, and blessed communities. Your prayers are critical, and those of you who’ve traveled over know that not only did you encourage the heck out of our local partners, but you were richly blessed. Thanks.

The Unlikely: In 2017, recall God gave us a three-year plan called The Unlikely. You may have received an email about this! Why the Unlikely? We were drawn to the story of Paul in Philippians 1. While in prison he writes, “what has happened to me [prison] has actually served to advance the gospel.” God moves powerfully in unlikely circumstances through unlikely people, and today He’s showing His power again through South Sudanese and Sudanese refugees.

Here are the elements of The Unlikely and how things
are progressing a third of the way there:

NEATS: That’s North East Africa Theological Seminary for you new folks. It’s not just another bible school. It’s a bible school that produces church planters that’s 100% locally conceived, led, and operated. For the time being the main campus is in Bidi Bidi refugee camp–the largest camp in the world, shown below.
Years ago we recognized that we needed to launch Extension Centers from the main campus to train more church planters, faster and for less money than the main campus. Our goal with the Unlikely is to have 30 up and running by the end of 2020. We’re at 13 today. Below is a photo at graduation day at one made up of only women.
Church Planting: Our heartbeat and our joy. We’re aiming for 1,200 and started 220 last year. That’s a lot of impacted lives and communities.

Evangelism: If you’ve even glanced at our newsletters in the past few months, you’ve seen us jumping for joy because 175,469 people heard the gospel and 37,978 people professed faith in Christ. This has completely blown our minds, but those numbers are so big they risk being meaningless, so when I see those numbers,

I think of this former witch doctor burning his charms after encountering Jesus Christ.

I think of seven-foot-tall David Lual baptizing this kid in South Sudan.

This is the good stuff and this is what you help make happen.

The North: There’s so little I can safely share in this medium. We’ve had three people die and many arrested because of their faith last year. But what I can say is that light is piercing the darkness in North Africa, churches are being established, and the Kingdom of God is here indeed. So many good things are happening. Be encouraged!

I’m excited about 2019. Thanks to your help, we are entering this year with a lot of momentum. We’re making tremendous headway in the refugee camps in Northern Uganda, we’re back and growing in South Sudan, and seeing wonderful work among followers of Islam.

Here’s our why from God’s word. From Romans 10, Paul writes,

“‘For the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed…’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have no believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?'”

Thanks for helping to send us and our wonderful, local partners.

“And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written, ‘They who had no news of Him shall seeAnd they who have not heard shall understand.'” -Romans 15:20-21

Onward to the 20 million who have no news of Him… yet!

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