Catalyst is working with key apostolic leaders representing many hundreds of churches all around East Africa, and recently held our now-biannual East Africa Apostolic Conference in Entebbe, Uganda to serve, equip and learn from one another.


It was an outstanding time of teaching, ministry and honest sharing, with some leaders coming from situations of intense pressure and persecution, whilst others are experiencing rapid conversion growth. There are areas experiencing near revival phenomena, rapid conversions and hundreds of baptisms…whilst in other, supposedly “closed” nations, to be a Christian is life-threatening and to convert is illegal. In one nation, for example, a leader has to destroy his SIM card and get a new one if he even phones a church leader.


Some of those we are connected to include Booker Banda in Malawi, who is now serving 90 churches plus 150 in Mozambique and Emmanuel Rucyaba, who is working with about 160 churches in Uganda, DR Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda as well as South Africa. There are many openings and invitations for these great men of God, but resources are short.


Delegates attended from about 10 countries around East Africa, plus the U.K. team, and Joseph Mwila from Zambia. As many had also been present two years ago, for our first such conference, the week began with a real sense of reunion and built from there. Real relationships have formed and strengthened, and there is a desire for those to continue and develop as their mission grows.


The overall theme of the week was servant leadership which we looked at and discussed in many aspects – serving across cultural and tribal boundaries, being culturally relevant in a changing culture, serving God with limited resources, serving in our homes and families, and using effective planning with systems and procedures. We enjoyed some great discussions on topics like serving without undue preference to family, and the use (or misuse) of titles to honour, describe, gift or even exert undue authority or control. It was also great to worship in both English and Swahili, to have a strong mix of African and UK-based teachers sharing with us, and to enjoy powerful Spirit-filled prayer time.


Catalyst churches have been partnering to see many more church leaders trained to lead and plant churches, and it’s a joy and a privilege to continue to work alongside our friends in East Africa – sharing with them, and learning from them.

By Richard Thomas

Richard is a senior leader serving HOPE Church in Worcester, U.K. He travels extensively in the UK and overseas teaching about the Bible and leadership, including supporting a pioneering movement of churches in Uganda.