LeaderSource - Servanthood and Ministry in Burkina Faso

Servanthood and Ministry in Burkina Faso

Servanthood design is literally changing lives in a communities in Burkina Faso.

Imagine the surprise of a Muslim family celebrating a marriage when a group of church leaders insisted on washing all the plates used at their reception. Consider the delight of the village children when they were unexpectedly assisted with an assignment to move over a hundred large cement blocks. Or the amazement of the village when pastors, who in this culture are usually served, instead humbled themselves to haul sand and carry water.
This is exactly what happened when more than 120 leaders of village churches in eastern Burkina Faso began serving unsuspecting villagers in humility and love. Leaders everywhere began washing clothes, cleaning houses, weeding rice paddies, and making bricks. The two mornings of service were a part of a three- day Learning Experience on developing humility. Along with the acts of service, the days were filled with worship, prayer, repentance, meditation and memorization, Bible teaching on Christ’s humiliation, and the exhortation to humbly value others above ourselves. The leaders shared their fears, reflected on each other’s insights and testimonies, and joined together for meals.
When asked to share ways of demonstrating humility, one elderly leader stood and pulled a hat from his pocket.
“I am a village chief. This hat symbolizes that and tells every one of my position, but when I come to the church I put this hat in my pocket. In the church I am not a chief, I am a brother.” 
One group of pastors shared how they had first brought their Bibles along with them to serve, but as they entered the market they realized everyone was avoiding them. They took their Bibles back to the church, and when they returned to the market, opportunities to serve and share became readily available. Several pastors mentioned that these three days had transformed their thinking about evangelism. They observed how their humility and acts of service had opened up the most unlikely spiritual conversations.
The last teaching of the seminar came from John 13 and as Jesus modeled, we washed each other’s feet. This is not a common practice in this denomination, but the participants gave themselves to it and as they did, the joy of the Lord came upon all of us. People broke into spontaneous songs of praise and love for one another in Christ, dancing and celebrating all that God had done as a reward for humility! Each evening there was an evangelistic meeting being held on the site where a new church was going to be built. Many of the groups took the opportunity to invite those they had served to the evening meetings. At those meetings, many surrendered to Christ and received deliverance and miraculous healing.
One Muslim man had come from 12 miles away for the second night of the crusade, where he surrendered to Christ. The next day, he found the church where the seminar was being held, eager to tell us of his choice. This is no small thing, because he had lost the use of his legs to polio in his youth and can only travel around on a hand-pedal bike. He had come out of desperation for spiritual freedom, which he received. He sat through the last afternoon of the seminar listening to the testimonies and teaching, and even had his feet washed by members of his new family in Christ, including one of the speakers. As we were returning, we were also stopped by the mother of a mute boy who had been healed the night before, who testified to how well he was speaking and how happy she was.
Beyond these examples of fruitful ministry, these meetings also provided a great opportunity to expose top leaders to the planning, implementation and effectiveness of a practical application of the same principles that Jesus used to develop His apostles. They were able to witness the amazing transformation that comes when we connect to the truth of God’s Word in the context of deep spiritual communion with God, engage honestly with others and act on what we are learning in the midst of trials.


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