Chowning Report

December 21, 2001



Leaders meetings

            I have written to you lately about the Evangelists meetings taking place in the northern and southern Ajaland.  These training sessions take place once a month.  The evangelists are not necessarily the primary leaders in their home congregations.  They were selected for training because of their experience in planting new churches. 

Another meeting takes place every other Saturday morning at Eglime (eh-GLEE-may).  There is a meeting of the primary leaders of the northern congregations.  Normally fifteen to twenty men representing around a dozen congregations gather.  I teach for about forty minutes at each meeting.  Recently, we have been studying the Pastoral Epistles.  The bulk of the four or five hours we are together are spent solving problems and planning. 

            The up-coming annual meeting of all of the churches in Aja has been the major topic of the last two meetings.  The original dates set by a small group of leaders was not agreeable to this larger group, so they sent a delegation to Avedjin (AH-vey-jeen), the host congregation and arranged for the dates to be changed.  Leaders from southern area attended the subsequent meeting at Eglime where they selected a committee to oversee the annual meeting and drew up the program.  

            Young people from the Badjame (BAH-jaw-may) congregation attended one of the meetings and said that they were not getting adequate teaching due the reversion of one of their leaders and no one else was taking the initiative.  The group delegated Komi to meet with the Badjame brethren for two Sundays and then give a progress report at the next leaders meeting.

            The day after each meeting at Eglime, Sunday, these leaders carry the news and plans they have gleaned from the meeting back to their congregations. 

            The leaders have been meeting for well over a year now.  Initially, I had some reservations about such meetings.  I thought there was a strong possibility that a few forceful leaders could use the gathering to dictate policies for all of Aja, and stifle the creativity and initiative of the rest.  This has not been the case.

            I also had reservations about the money they said they would be collecting.  But, they have been very responsible with the funds.   Each northern congregation (expect for the younger congregations) sends a contribution each month.  They now have over 130,000 cfa (about $200) in a bank account.  This represents more than a years income for many Aja people.  They will be using part of the money to subsidize transportation to the annual meeting at Avedjin (AH-vey-jeen).  They are planning to continue to save to subsidize evangelists transportation and build church buildings.  

            Please pray for these leaders meetings at Eglime.  They have proved to be a very valuable part of the shepherding of the northern churches.