More than 1,200 African Christian leaders have gathered in Kampala, Uganda, for a church planting summit that aims to help attendees reach the collective goal of planting more than 200,000 churches over the next decade.
Key Christian leaders from Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania are learning from successful church planting leaders how to duplicate their strategies in Africa as they convene for this week's Billion Soul Leadership Summit.
"We have taken ownership of the Great Commission," said Dr. Alex Mitala, chairman of the New Birth Fellowship of Uganda and co-chair of Global Mobilization. "The Lord has called us, no matter where we are in the world, to synergize our efforts together to help double the size of the Church."
Like other Billion Soul leadership summits, which take place throughout the world, this week's summit seeks to mobilize and equip Christian leaders to plant church and save souls while also networking them to synergize their efforts.
Collectively, the Billion Soul movement looks to plant more than three million churches and save one billion souls in the coming years. To date, more than 200,000 churches are now represented in the Billion Soul Network, founded by Dr. James O. Davis.
"The Lord is raising up the Church in East Africa to help lead the global Church to fulfill the Great Commission," commented Dr. Peter Njiri, the Assemblies of God chairman for East Africa, at the Kampala summit, which concludes Thursday.
Among the church leaders that summit attendees will learn from this week is Dr. David Sobrepena, founder of the Word of Hope Christian Church in Manila, Philippines, who will talk about church planting.
Mitala of Uganda had attended a leadership summit in Nairobi last September where Sobrepena taught leaders how his organization plants churches in Asia. Mitala and his nationwide committee have since implemented Sobrepena's ideas in their country and within the last ten months saw more than 1,200 churches planted in the bush areas of Uganda.
Sobrepena's church planting model consists of seven steps: adopting a vision, recruiting and training church planters, setting goals and plans, sending a survey team, starting outreach and evangelism, establishing a worship/fellowship gathering, and forming a church organization.
Using this model, Sobrepena has seen his church grow to about 30,000 worshippers each week, hundreds of churches planted, a world-class hospital established, and more than 300,000 leaders trained nationwide.
Billion Soul Network, which seeks to spread effective church planting ideas, hopes the "Sobrepena Model" will be taught to the more than 1,200 African leaders attending this week's summit who will then go back to their countries to plant churches and hopefully see the same level of success as Mitala.
"I believe in the future; those who are not networking will be not working," Billion Soul Network founder James O. Davis told The Christian Post, regarding the network of church planters sharing ideas.
"We are witnessing the rise of the Global Church who will not primarily depend on the West for funding and sending. It is one the greatest missional shifts in Church history," he added.
Davis, who co-founded the Global Pastors Network with the late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Bill Bright, launched the Billion Soul Network – sometimes referred to as the Second Billion Network – in 2007. Davis is also founder of Cutting Edge International and previously served for twelve years as the national evangelists representative for the National Assemblies of God world headquarters.