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A Strategic Response to a Desperate Need

For more than 15 years the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ripped apart by the deadliest conflict since World War II with a staggering death toll of 5.4 million. It is now considered the least developed country in the world. Because of its massive size and lack of infrastructure many of DR Congo’s interior provinces have had no access to Bible school training, leaving only a handful of trained pastors for millions of people.

The Congo Project is making a difference in this devastated nation as we bring critical Bible school training into DR Congo’s remote, war-torn interior.

Mbandaka graduatesTraining Leaders.

Since 2005 we have established ministry training centers throughout the country’s vast interior, where we are currently providing training for more than 500 national church leaders. Since 2009 more than 600 have graduated!

Mbuji-Mayi Bible SchoolBuilding Bible Schools.

To accommodate the tremendous growth of this program we are now building Bible school campuses in strategic cities across the country in order to provide each province with desperately needed infrastructure for ongoing training efforts.

Crowd at rivers edgeReaching the Heart of Africa.

These Bible schools and the leaders they enable us to equip will impact the lives of thousands upon thousands across this nation as they reach the unreached, plant new churches and minister to the desperate needs of their people.

Our Story

IBTAD Kinshasa studentsWhile training church leaders in Kinshasa in 2005, we began to hear reports of a desperate need for training in DR Congo’s war-torn interior. As we listened to the stories we sensed the Holy Spirit leading us to help. It had been years since many of these provinces had been visited, partly because of the lack of infrastructure, but mostly because of many years of war―the worst war in African history.

Only a handful of trained pastors

As we traveled into the interior we found massive provinces the size of nations like France, Germany and Spain with only a handful of trained pastors. They had no access to Bible school training. Initially we held leadership conferences to gather and encourage those who had survived the years of war and to assess their need for training. They came by the hundreds, some walking for weeks to attend. Their pleas for help―for accessible Bible school training rang in our ears and moved our hearts. Something had to be done.

Mbuji-Mayi church leaders

A nationwide training initiative

We immediately started planning for the launch of a nationwide training initiative to bring Bible school training to those who needed it most. We assembled a team of national church leaders in each province to tackle the administrative and logistical challenges of running such a large-scale operation in a country the size of most of Western Europe with virtually no infrastructure.

Kindu Bible School Extension students

In Kindu only one had a Bible

When we started the Bible school extension in Kindu in 2007, many students walked great distances to come for training, including Pastor Emmanuel (pictured below), who walked for three days. Some walked for two weeks. As classes began we quickly discovered that they had no Bibles. They told us that rebel soldiers were systematically destroying Bibles during the years of war. In that class of more than 80 students, Pastor Emmanuel was the only one who had a Bible—the same battered New Testament he had buried in the jungle 10 years earlier to keep it from being destroyed by rebels.

Pastor BANAMPONAEquipped like never before

Because of the generous support of our partners in the states, Pastor Emmanuel not only received a new Bible, but, like many other students, he was given boxes of Bibles to take back to his village. We provided bicycles for Bible distribution and a means of transportation to make the long journey back and forth for training. For three years Pastor Emmanuel proudly served as the president of his class. When he graduated in 2009, he said to his class, “With this training we are equipped like never before to take the gospel to the furthest reaching corners of our province.”

About

Leadership Training

Mbandaka Bible School graduatesIn 2005 we launched a nationwide training program to help train pastors, evangelists and church planters where they had no access to training. We targeted strategic cities across the country where we could gather as many as possible for training. By 2010 we had established eight Bible school extensions and six satellite training centers in nine different provinces. Enrollment in these training centers has grown considerably over the years with students still coming great distances to be trained in our 3-year program. We are currently providing training for more than 500 church leaders from many different church denominations and fellowships. Since 2009 more than 600 students have graduated from this program!

Every semester we print and ship course materials for our training centers across the country. We fly trained professors to locations where they are needed. And, to ensure that each training center is equipped to function and host students coming from the interior, we provide tables, chairs, chalkboards, beds and mattresses as they are needed.

We are so grateful for the generous support of our partners who make this possible. It would be impossible to communicate how much all of this means to the hundreds of Congolese pastors and church leaders who are benefitting from this effort.

Bible school studentYour giving makes a difference!

$50 provides a semester of training for a pastor
$100 provides a year of training for a pastor
$300 provides three years of training for a pastor

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Bible School Construction

Lubumbashi Bible School

To accommodate the tremendous growth of this program we are now building Bible school campuses in strategic cities across the country. These Bible schools and the leaders they enable us to equip will impact the lives of thousands upon thousands across this nation.

Historically the national church in DR Congo has found that wherever Bible school training has been established in the country, an explosion of evangelism and church planting has followed in the surrounding areas. We believe that Bible school training is a strategic key to reaching this nation of more than 70 million.

Together we can provide these students with the facilities they need, that will enable them to equip others, plant churches, reach the unreached, and minister to the desperate needs of their people. Together we can help reach the heart of Africa.

Mbandaka Bible School campus
Architect’s rendition of the Mbandaka Bible School campus

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Projects

To accommodate the tremendous growth of this program we are now building Bible school campuses in strategic cities across the country, to provide each province with essential infrastructure for their training efforts. In most locations we are in the first phase of development, equipping each Bible school campus with an academic building that provides two classrooms, a library, and administrative office space.

Bible School Development Plan

Phase 1 – Academic Building (3,864 sq ft)
Phase 2 – Dormitory (2,970 sq ft)
Phase 3 – Chapel / Conference Center (6,844 sq ft)

Kindu Bible School campus
Architect’s rendition of the Kindu Bible School campus

Kindu Bible School

Kindu Bible School

The Kindu Bible School serves the training needs of the remote Maniema Province, with a population of 1.8 million. Because of the generous support of our partners in the states, we were able to finish the two-story, phase one academic building (3,869 sq ft) in June 2012. It’s two large classrooms, library, and four administrative offices are already being used beyond capacity. Funds are currently being raised to finish a security wall around the perimeter of this Bible school property.

Lubumbashi Bible School

Lubumbashi Bible School

The Lubumbashi Bible School’s first phase of construction was recently completed. The 3,864 sq ft academic building now provides this training center with two large classrooms, four offices, and a library to help serve the training needs of the vast Katanga Province with a population of more than 10 million. As construction progresses, we are excited about the potential of this new beachhead of training in DR Congo’s second largest city.

Mbandaka Bible School

Mbandaka Bible School Academic Building

In October 2006 we established a Bible school extension in Mbandaka. From its inception it has been bursting at the seams. Now with more than 10 successful years of training behind it and the production of more than 100 graduates, this training center has proven itself to be a viable force and is fueling the fires of evangelism and church planting in the Equateur Province. Thanks to generous donations from our partners in the states, construction on the phase one academic building was completed in 2009.

Mbuji-Mayi Bible School

Mbuji-Mayi Bible School

Thanks to the generous giving of our partners in the states the academic building in Mbuji-Mayi has been completed! The classrooms, offices, and library are now buzzing with activity and being used to capacity. The national church is rejoicing in the inauguration of this building as it is the first Assemblies of God leadership training facility ever to be built in the Kasaï-Oriental Province.

Kananga Bible School

Kananga Bible School

The Kananga Bible School serves the training needs of the Kasaï-Occidental Province with a population of 5.9 million. This province is believed by many to be the stronghold of cultic activity in DR Congo. It is inundated with many false doctrines and sects. We believe that this Bible school has the potential to equip the church to lead this province out of its dark history and fulfill its great purpose.

Nioki Bible School

Nioki Bible School

The Maï-Ndombe region of northern Bandundu has been known to be a stronghold of witchcraft for many years. The first Congolese missionaries who tried to bring the gospel into this area were chased away or killed. However, a handful of national Assemblies of God pastors have been working in the area since 1990, and have been successful in planting many new churches. But because of a lack of access to Bible school training in the region, in 2006 there were still only five trained Assemblies of God pastors working in all of northern Bandundu. The Nioki Bible School is helping to meet this need.

News / Updates

General Superintendent’s vision for missions

“The purpose of the training that will take place here [speaking of the Lubumbashi Bible School ] is not just for missions in the Congo, but throughout Africa, and even to America—to bless you as you have blessed us.” Rev. Israël N’SEMBE General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, DR Congo