The ministry in Mbale started in 1995, under the name New Testament Churches of Christ, when a team of missionaries moved to Uganda from Kenya to start planting churches and serving the people in Eastern Uganda. Over the years, different ministries and organizations have grown out of the original Mbale Mission Team, such as LivingStone International University, Tyler International School, and a Mbale office of Good News Productions International. While each ministry is independent and has specific ministry goals, we have the common vision of reaching future generations with the Gospel of Jesus here in Uganda. Because of this growth and expansion, the “Mbale Mission Team” has evolved over the years, and looks very different than it once did.
Today, the New Testament Churches of Christ are focused on Life-on-Life Disciple-Making through the following areas of ministry:
Discipleship Groups: Through discipleship groups, our goal is for the head, heart, and hands to be transformed in service to the Lord. We seek after complete transformation that focuses on God’s calling in our lives to be more like Jesus rather than culture. We do this through life-on-life, relational discipleship where we discuss how we move forward in a Christ-shaped manner in daily situations. These groups focus on the members being transformed, but they have multiplied into disciple-making relationships throughout local churches and regions. The prayer is that the Lord multiplies disciples across Uganda in the same way he did in the Early Church! Please see a more detailed description of what we are doing on the Discipleship page.
Messiah Theological Institute (MTI): MTI started in 2001 and focuses on in-depth Biblical training, including looking at hermeneutics, homiletics, history of Bible translation, and key doctrines found throughout Scripture. We use a mix of national and international instructors to teach these courses one week every month from January through November. We offer two certificates, each taking place over one year: Basic and Advanced. When students graduate from MTI, they have received sound Biblical teaching to help create a foundation across the churches in Uganda. We also emphasize life-on-life relational discipleship throughout the year within MTI. From MTI students, we form Discipleship Groups that meet each month to spend several hours focusing on life transformation. The central question is: How are we forming our lives around the teachings of Jesus? We are experiencing lots of good discussions and seeing fruit from this emphasis in the lives of many students.
Leadership Development: Godly leadership is one of the greatest needs of the Church throughout the world. There are a variety of ways in which we try to develop the pastors and church leaders here in Uganda. We host conferences focused on women, youth, marriage, and leadership to provide training, teachings, and encouragement opportunities for the churches we work with. We also visit many churches throughout the country to encourage them, see how they are doing, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us for teachings they need to hear. In relationships (especially in Uganda), nothing can replace being together. So, we make it a priority to visit churches, pastors, leaders, and friends in their home settings. Many Sundays, this priority takes us to village churches across Eastern Uganda to encourage and challenge local congregations.
This also includes trips to visit churches that were planted throughout Uganda. Over the years, churches have been started by NTCC in every corner of Uganda. While it is impossible to do ongoing, life-on-life discipleship with churches that are far away, we are attempting to find the best possible way forward for each area to grow spiritually. It is our prayer that God provides a more clear way forward for these regions, through partnerships and additional ministries, that will help strengthen them in more sustainable ways.
Discovery Bible Studies (DBS): DBS is a bible study tool that helps everyone learn God’s word, from non-believers to spiritually mature disciples. It is a tool that allows the Holy Spirit to teach, so groups are able to rotate leadership. This also empowers every disciple of Jesus to begin studying the Bible with neighbors, family members, and friends, whether they are already believers or not. DBS allows for discussion on scripture passages without anyone being an “expert” or intimidating others. It is also a way for church members to come together and invite others to learn more about God’s Word while they put it into action through their everyday lives. While this is not to be confused with discipleship groups, it can be an introduction to see who has the desire and willingness to go deeper in discipleship. DBS begins a process of connecting Biblical knowledge (head) to the life transformation we all need (heart and hands).
Community Development: Uganda is a developing country with high levels of poverty. The majority of the churches that we work with are located in village areas, many of them remote. These villages and communities have different needs and ways of opportunities, depending on the area. We have begun to partner with churches, pastors, and church leaders in different communities who are already working to develop the community and partner with them in those efforts. This has led us to partner with communities for coffee, grain storage, village saving and loan groups (VSLA), and tailor training projects. We have also partnered with several pastors to help them provide for their own families in sustainable ways.
Sewing & Evangelism for Women (SEW): SEW is one of the community development projects. It is aimed at equipping women with the skill of tailoring, while also introducing them to Jesus. The ladies meet a few days a week to learn how to sew. Each time they gather together, they share prayer requests, read God’s Word together, hear a teaching from one of the SEW leaders, and participate in Discovery Bible Study groups to go deeper in God’s word by applying what they have read to their lives.
Church Development: New Testament Churches of Christ works with more than 200 churches throughout Uganda, and some of those churches are growing and expanding. When a church is in the process of constructing a building, the mission comes alongside them in their efforts. Our aim is to join the churches in what they are already doing for themselves: the key is WITH churches, not FOR churches. We also train church leaders in a healthy model of church planting, where leaders have been discipled, biblically trained, and started discipling others in the community. With healthy leadership in place, churches begin on a more stable foundation.
Youth Ministry: With 77% of the national population under the age of 25, Uganda is the youngest country in the world. The social construct of “youth” here in Uganda is very broad, typically meaning anyone unmarried between 12 and 35 years of age. We have a passion to help equip this group of people through relational discipleship, DBS, and teaching so that they can be leaders in their churches and communities. The mission has helped some youth leaders to visit churches as translators, prayer warriors, service project organizers, and DBS leaders. We pray that this is an area of ministry that continues to expand.