Ngwiza Mnkandla, Bishop of Faith Ministries in Zimbabwe, was tasked with the role of planting 10,000 churches as co-director of DAWN Africa (Discipling A Whole Nation). From 1992–2000, the project aimed to bring the Gospel to every person, in their own language and culture. To help meet that goal, a church had to be planted within walking distance of everyone on the continent, and Zimbabwe had been selected as the pilot nation to demonstrate those efforts.
Bishop Mnkandla recalls sitting in a room in 1992 with over 500 church leaders, facing the reality that 10,000 new churches had to be planted within an eight-year window. By the time they reached the year 2000, they had actually planted more than 10,000 churches. But challenges quickly arose, including government land invasions that led to over 4,000 commercial white farmers losing their property. The redistribution of land and relocating of communities caused churches to disappear overnight. This disruption also crippled the economy and impacted the entire nation as an agriculture-based country.
Despite the fading of new churches, Bishop Mnkandla couldn’t ignore the fact that those that had been planted, had only made minimal impact during their existence.
“We had quantity, but the quality aspect always bothered me,” says Bishop Mnkandla. “If we were planting 10,000 new churches, and yet the nation was still going in the wrong direction, what good was that work for the nation?”
In the late 80’s and again in the 90’s, the Bishop had been introduced to the book, The Purpose Driven Church. Although he’d read it, he never fully implemented the principles. Instead, he took sections of it and taught what impressed him, but never balanced all five principles.
As Bishop Mnkandla recalls, “It wasn’t until two years ago here in Kigali, that I met with Pastor Rick Warren and began to talk about the prospect of utilizing Purpose Driven strategies for Zimbabwe. I went back to my country and began talking about Purpose Driven strategies for our nation. The question that had always bothered me about quality, I felt was totally answered in the PD strategy.”
From implementing PDC in their own denomination, to sharing it with other leaders, the results have been amazing. Zimbabwe continues on the journey, now on on a trajectory to bring change to a whole nation. The Bishop realizes that with this knowledge, comes tremendous responsibility to embrace Purpose Driven Church foundations to their fullest.
“When you plant healthy churches that bring transformation to their communities,” explains Bishop Mnkandla, “you are going to grow, so the issue of quantity isn’t going to be a problem. That which is healthy grows. Things about the PD strategy, are what we desperately need for Africa at this moment.”
To learn more about becoming a Purpose Driven Church, visit pd.church/start.