Nine in 10 pastors in rural Uganda have no theological training

By July 15, 2022

Uganda (MNN) — When spiritual shepherds are not grounded in Scripture, it leaves the flock vulnerable to heresy.

In rural Uganda, “90 percent of the pastors have no theological training. Often, these men are even illiterate in their local languages,” Dave McIntyre of Set Free Ministries says.

“As these pastors have no theological training, it leaves them wide open to all kinds of heresy and abuse.”

In neighboring Rwanda, “mega-churches that preach the prosperity gospel will go out into rural areas, subsidize the building of churches and the training of pastors; basically, to fleece the flock,” McIntyre says.

“These churches have become a real thorn in the side of the Rwandan government.”

As a result, the Rwandan government shut down 3,000 churches in 2018 because the pastors had no theological training and were susceptible to cults. Set Free is partnering with the Rural Pastors Project to prevent this from happening in Uganda.

“The Rural Pastors Project is designed to give these pastors a certificate of theological, pastoral ministry recognized by the government,” McIntyre says.

Leadership development

Gowen Bible Church and the Ugandan nonprofit Finepearls Ministries began the Rural Pastors Project in 2009. Teams of U.S. and Ugandan believers work hand-in-hand to teach rural pastors how to lead and serve like Jesus.

(Photo courtesy of

Working alongside these teams, Set Free Ministries will soon introduce rural pastors to spiritual freedom ministry. “They (rural pastors) don’t know the victory that we have in Christ; they don’t know the spiritual freedom that’s available to us,” McIntyre says.

“When their children are sick, pastors will take them to a witch doctor; they don’t know any better.”

Learn more about Set Free’s work in East Africa here.

Over the years, the Rural Pastors Project moved from training a handful of leaders to hundreds. Ask the Lord to help rural pastors in Uganda learn more about Him. Pray leaders can successfully balance family and ministry responsibilities.

“Uganda is headed into a very insecure time right now with food prices rising and things like that,” McIntyre says.

“Many of these pastors are in desperate situations where they’re trying to feed the flock and their families.”



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