Pastor Allan Greer of Parkway Place Baptist Church (PPBC) in Arkansas, will boldly share his life purpose: “To love people where they are and help them take their next step with Christ.”
Early in his leadership, the Little Rock pastor recognized that part of taking that “next step” was internal, by examining the health of his own church and finding a strategy that would last.
“Our church was declining,” he recalls. “We had lost our focus and needed to come back to a place of health.”
Now, after years of implementing the Purpose Driven (PD) Church model, PPBC has been grounded on the five purposes, and even serves as a coaching church to ministry leaders across Arkansas and Texas. But it wasn’t until attending PEACE training at Saddleback’s Rancho Capistrano Retreat Center that Pastor Allan caught the vision for impacting other nations.
In an effort to see the results firsthand, he attended the 2016 All-Africa Pastors Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda. The event brought everyone together – including African leaders and international partnering churches (IPCs) to introduce the eight-month PD Essentials Training. It was a chance to demonstrate how PD and PEACE would work in other countries, with coaching, training, and mentoring from IPCs.
During that visit, Pastor Allan was introduced to three delegates from Zambia, and left feeling encouraged to partner with the English-speaking, East African nation.
“It really clicked for me,” recalls Pastor Allan. “I had an immediate passion to work together. So I came home and asked our congregation if our church would like to partner with Zambia. They responded with a resounding ‘yes’.”
In 2016, the official partnership began, with church-to-church mobilization and regular visits to Zambia to meet with leaders from Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ). After forming a five-team steering committee, they launched the eight-module training, influencing pastors ranging from Anglican and Catholic to Baptist and Evangelicals.
At the core of their five-year endeavor is a goal to train 100–150 pastors and denominational leaders across Zambia in the PD methods. These leaders will not only be facilitating these principles in their churches, but will also work with other local churches to help Zambia become a global, mission-sending nation.
The master plan was received with great excitement, thanks in part to the steering team that laid the groundwork for implementing PD in their own churches. Currently there are 150 pastors receiving training, of whom half are expected to complete the program and graduate at completion. In the process, many of these pastors are also gaining theological training as they grasp the biblical PD model.
Witnessing the purposes in action was Saddleback’s Video Journalist, Braven Carven who visited Lusaka, Zambia from January 23-25. While there, he documented PPBC pastors training local church leaders, and captured the many ways that God is using them to impact a nation. Over the course of those three days, 70 leaders completed the final PD module. All Zambian pastors in attendance graduated as PD Master Trainers.
Certificates of completion were handed out, along with USB thumb drives of PD training materials. Overseeing the training was Pastor Allan along with three other PD coaches from his church.
“The graduation was amazing,” says Braven. “It was awesome to watch the culmination in the graduation and the excitement everyone had to continue training other churches, and to start implementing Purpose Driven in their churches.”
Capping off the journey was an eight-hour road trip to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls and visit other church leaders who had participated in PD/PEACE training.
“Zambia is the only African country that states in its Constitution that they are a Christian nation,” says Braven. “Like most of Africa, Zambia suffers from poverty, but the people are making strides to help their communities become healthy and climb to a place of hope. Everyone is really excited to learn more about PEACE and implement the PEACE Plan.”
To learn more about building a Purpose Driven Church, visit pd.church/start.