Darris McNeely discusses his trip to Malawi and South Africa for ministerial training for the local leadership.
[Victor Kubik] My name is Victor Kubik and I’m President of the United Church of God. With me today is Darris McNeely, Associate Media Producer. Darris is leaving for Africa, for South Central and Southern Africa, this coming week. He will be conducting a number of leadership seminars in two very diverse countries. He’ll be going to Malawi and South Africa where we do need to develop leadership in the local congregations.
We oversee our operation in Malawi, but it’s eight and a half thousand miles away. We would like to have leadership from the local population there caring for the churches. Darris, we are very happy to see you going and happy that you’re conducting these seminars. Please tell us a little bit about what you’re doing.
[Darris McNeely] Okay, well, Debbie and I will be leaving on July 28th. We’ll be flying to Johannesburg and then on to Lilongwe in Malawi, as you said, to conduct some leadership training. We’ve got a full schedule planned in Malawi with members. We’ll have Sabbath services with members, and then conduct two fairly full days of leadership training. We’re going to talk about the vision and the mission of the United Church of God, with the intent of aligning people to those two critical statements that we have identified as our mission and the type of church we want to be.
The vision statement describes the Church as led by God’s Spirit where every member contributes to the effective working of the entire Church. These areas, as you said, Vic, are…they’re remote. They are cut off by miles, and in some cases culturally, from the Church. They need some attention, continual training, just to deal with…help them to deal with their lives, their calling and to be able to fit their lives into the understanding that we all have in the Church, of God’s calling to us now, to prepare as rulers, to reign with Christ and His coming kingdom.
What I talk about is going to be aligned with that and help people to just be reminded of it and focus on that to give them, also, some leadership…not leadership training but speaking training. There’s always a critical need to sharpen our skills to be able to explain God’s word with the people. Those leaders that will be giving sermons, sermonettes, they’re going to, hopefully, be impacted by that.
[Victor] Yes, this is a very, very important part in the making of disciples process, because God calls people. People come to repentance and people come to the point of baptism and giving their life to Jesus Christ. But then, we also expect our Churches to be teachers and be able to pass that on to others. It’s going to be as important to start with mission and vision and to create a very solid base, and that’s very much needed in Malawi.
My wife and I have traveled there many, many times, and we are just very thrilled about the 175-or-so people that we have in Malawi in three different areas. We’ll have leaders from all these areas assemble in the middle, in the capital of Malawi, which is Lilongwe. We’re very grateful that Darris and Debbie, with his wife, will be meeting people, talking to them, bringing back information about how better we can serve from here and how better the gospel can go forward.
[Darris] Well, we’re looking forward to the trip. It’s a long way, and it can be challenging with certain uncertainties, especially getting into parts of the world that are not quite as developed as what we’re used to. But, we’re looking forward to it and appreciate everybody’s prayers for safety and success.
[Victor] Well, you will find the areas to be very diverse, but one thing you will find the same is the spirit of the people. The spirit of the people is that they love God, they have given their life to Him. They are looking forward to God’s kingdom. They understand things, as well, in many cases, as we do. You’ll find it to be very, very fascinating.
[Darris] We’re looking forward to it.
[Victor] Well, thank you, Darris. We wish you God’s speed on your trip to Malawi and to South Africa, and may God be with you.
[Darris] Thank you very much. We’ll look forward to the trip and getting back and giving another report.
[Victor] Thank you for joining us on Inside United. Come back and see us soon.