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PLI in South Africa

PLI Learning Communities have been in full action this fall all across the United States and in countries around the globe. It’s difficult for me to imagine all the leaders whose leadership “game” is being elevated. Both in Character and in Competency!

But, this is a milestone week! PLI began for the first time its biblical leadership training in South Africa! South Africa!

In particular, three confessional Lutheran church bodies, along with others, are courageously coming together to learn together and share together.

Without entering into much detail, you can imagine the lingering effects of apartheid. Racial tension. Economic differences. Deep distrust and even hatred over the abuses of the past. And the list could go on… 

It doesn’t take much more imagination to explore how difficult it might be for churches or bodies or leaders in your context actually collaborating and cooperating together. And, around something as significant as PLI’s leadership development focused around the mission of God!

In fact, as one participant put it, “The church offers the one thing the world cannot give: forgiveness.” 

Later on, this FELSISA pastor, descended from German Lutheran missionary families, added a further explanation, noting that, while everyone in South Africa loved and respected the late Bishop Desmond Tutu, his Truth and Reconciliation Committee was flawed from the start because the government never had the power and authority to offer the forgiveness needed to achieve true reconciliation. That was only something Jesus could offer through His Church.

Embedded in the training is a number of PLI trainers from the LCMS, their partner church in the United States.

Now, let me tell you the story behind the story… 

In November 2019, the Bishop of the Confessional Lutheran Synod of South Africa, Mandla Khumalo was invited to PLI’s Learning Community (Leadership Essentials) in Nashville as a guest but quickly became a full participant. 

From this brief encounter with PLI, he left with a dream that PLI might come to South Africa as a first step in bringing these three church bodies together for four years of leadership training around a common purpose of people in South Africa being better reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Sadly, two years later, Bishop Mandla Khumalo passed away after contracting Covid-19 while conducting funerals for his members who were hard hit by the pandemic. Because of his faith in Jesus Christ, he entered into the Kingdom of Glory. But this week, in his absence, the dream he dared to dream of the three church bodies coming together in PLI was initially fulfilled!

A Simple Postscript

Thousands of miles away in Seattle, another exceptional group—PLI’s Senior Leader Learning Community—gathered this week, too! They’re learning about scenario planning and vibrant organizations, leading biblical stewardship and navigating the complexities of change. Some of these pastors help internationally and some of their churches include PLI’s international training in their foreign mission budget! Supporting mission in places like South Africa and Ethiopia and Singapore, and more. (You can join them by making a gift today!)

I stand in awe of how God works in the amazing ways that He does! And simply, a word of thanks to you. For the times that you pray for the work of PLI. The doors that you open. The conversations that you champion. The gifts that you give.

Simply…finally…thank you. If you don’t already receive these blogs in your inbox, you can sign up here.

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