“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood.”Acts 20:28
After two long years of restrictions, we were finally able to host another conference for the pastors of the Northern Uganda Calvary Chapel Association! Although our ministry is non-denominational and we train pastors from many kinds of churches, we belong to a Calvary Chapel, both in America and here in Uganda. I (Matt) am ordained through Calvary, and they have a special place in our hearts. Chuck Smith birthed this movement during the hippy period of the 60’s and 70’s. At that time many churches were divided into two major groups. One practiced strict legalism: “Don’t come into the church dressed like that”, “a real Christian wouldn’t do that” etc. On the other side there was a “charismania”, people “drunk with the Spirit” clucking like chickens and dancing like monkeys. Calvary Chapel has been a powerful and balanced movement of God. Priority is given to the Word of God, people are equipped by the filling of the Holy Spirit, we wholly rely on God’s grace, and we seek to uphold the supremacy of love. As of now there are more than 10,000 Calvaries in East Africa alone.
Things in the church haven’t changed all that much, and the state of the church in Uganda today mirrors that of the church that existed during Chuck Smith’s time. Many churches preach unbiblical legalism, the false gospel of works. I have even heard a minister announce to his congregation, “Make sure you don’t sin this week or you will go straight to Hell!” The church here has also been infiltrated with the false “prosperity gospel”: “If you’re sick you don’t have real faith”, “If you buy this item that I blessed, you will pass your exams!” Many pastors have caved under the great pressure to conform to the message and culture of the rest of the “born again” churches here. Therefore, we hosted nearly 50 of our Calvary Pastors for 3 nights to attend the conference themed “What Is Calvary?” in order to regroup under grace and the authority of Scripture. God blessed us as we studied through the Calvary Chapel Distinctives, departmental ministries (children’s, married, and youth ministry, preaching, etc.) and downloaded Pastor Chuck’s teachings through the Bible onto people’s phones. It was truly a blessing to worship together in the unity of the Spirit. If the Lord wills, we will continue having these conferences, highlighting different topics, biannually.
Please pray for the purity and power of the Church.