What Christian leaders in restricted nations are looking for

By February 2, 2024
stock photo, 1Feb2024

North Africa (MNN) — In nations where Christianity is restricted, Christian leaders are hungry for mentors and discipleship. Would you prayerfully consider investing in them?

A3 (formerly Asian Access) develops Christian leaders by creating learning communities that encourage and build them up together.

Joe Handley with A3 shares about a recent trip to an undisclosed country in North Africa. “One of the leaders came up to us and said, ‘I have no mentors.’ They are a first-generation Christian that has been a pastor for at least a decade, and there’s no one speaking into their life.”

Discipleship is a common desire among leaders, and one which A3 seeks to meet.

Photo courtesy of A3.

“When we’re going into a new country, we start to [ask] ‘Who are those first-generation leaders? Who are the leaders of the day that are impacting the church in that region, and what is it they need?'” says Handley.

Oftentimes, the biggest need is for friends — or in other words, “Barnabas” and “Paul” relationships. 

“We try to cultivate an environment where they become Barnabases to each other. Peer to peer mentoring,” says Handley.

“The added dimension is the faculty we recruit. On the front end, they’re all outsiders. Over time, the local leaders become at least half the faculty. But when it starts, you have to rely on these outsiders who are those seasoned veteran leaders that have years of experience in disciple-making, in mentoring and equipping others.”

In A3 cohorts, participants can build peer-to-peer relationships and connect with faculty with years of disciple-making experience. As they are built up, they are then better able to strengthen the local church.

“You have these mentoring relationships that that [come out of training gatherings]. That really helps build the depth for a church in a region that is completely underground, restricted access, has no access to Paul-like figures in their lives,” says Handley. 

“Discipleship, at the end of the day, is ‘How do I become more like Christ?’ Mentoring is more than just the spiritual dynamics. It includes normal relational things — equipping you to deal with your marriage, or your kids or your church or your extended family. They’re different, but there’s a lot of synergy between the two.”

Find your place in this story. Pray for more mentors within A3, and for the growth of the Christian leaders receiving training in this ministry.

“As we continue to expand, we need more seasoned veteran leaders who are willing to give up some time and either travel to a country and spend a week investing in emerging younger leaders, or jump on a Zoom call or Skype call.”

Finally, consider investing with A3 in future generations of leaders around the world. Click here to read more about an exciting matching grant challenge. Gifts made by donors outside of the U.S. to A3’s matching grant campaign will be tripled.



Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Gabriel Almanzar via Pexels.

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