When asked to prepare a story on one of our pastors in Africa who epitomizes “the emerging generation who does not wait for others," it took some time to choose a story. Not because there are so few, but because there are so many to choose from. This is a common characteristic of the leaders we work with all over Africa. It brought to mind an award that my wife, Christy, received while working in a local banking institution years ago dubbed The Rock and Chisel Award. Inscribed on this glass sculpture of a mountain were the words, “Those who say it cannot be done, should get out of the way of those who are doing it." Over the years, I have often recalled this phrase, especially when I encounter those who are doing such monumental work with limited resources. So without further ado, my “Rock and Chisel Award” for this month goes out to Geoffrey Ocan of Uganda.
In a recent correspondence with Geoffrey I inquired about the circumstances that led to his becoming a pastor, and this is what I learned. Approximately 24 years ago, Geoffrey and a few others were gathering for fellowship and Bible study. Circumstances arose that caused all of the leaders within the fellowship to leave the country. It was at this point that Geoffrey was compelled to take the lead in the fellowship gathering, and eventually the fellowship became a church. Since that time, Geoffrey’s church has planted nine other churches in the surrounding area.
In a vacuum of leadership, Geoffrey was compelled to lead, and not only that, he was compelled to develop other leaders. So many people, when faced with such a leadership vacuum, simply turn around and go home. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be associated with leaders like Geoffrey who, though facing difficult circumstances and limited resources, charge ahead and bring others with them so they can see how it is done. Thank you Geoffrey for living out your faith in humble service to God and your community; and thank you for teaching others to do the same.
Director of Leadership Development