Dr. Celestin Musekura is African. He was born to a family who raised him to lead in the tribal ways of his culture. As a young man, a Christian missionary introduced him to the Word of God and to the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. His life turned around 100%, causing both great personal loss and great eternal gain.
He trained to become like the man who led him to Christ, and he is committed to the cause of strengthening the Church in Africa by creating strong leaders to continue that work. After surviving the devastation of the genocide in the mid-nineties, he heard the cries of alarm that comprised a distinct calling from the Lord.
As a result, an organization founded and headed by Africans was established, and it is called ALARM. The letters in the name ALARM stand for African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries. Hence, ALARM is Africa based, Christ centered and African led.
In 1994 Western missionaries were forced to flee from Africa (primarily Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo) due to civil and political unrest and tribal wars. This resulted in a vacuum of leadership in the growing congregations because nationals had not been trained to conduct church ministries.
This crisis raised the initial call of alarm. The good missionaries had led missionary supported programs themselves, with only limited participation from a few local pastors and lay leaders, the vast majority of who had little or no formal education or training.
The exodus of these Western missionaries (some against their wishes) left the churches in a helpless condition. Most programs, including evangelism, church planting, discipleship, pastoral training, and Sunday school teaching, began to die a premature death due to the lack of trained leadership.
We survivors of the genocide that killed our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, neighbors and friends realized that the time had come for Africans to be educated and equipped to lead Christian ministry, rather than wait for someone else to come and do it.
We also realized that the previous ministry focus had been to evangelize Africans with little or no follow-up to disciple, mentor, and mature the new converts. This approach had been the primary reason for superficial Christianity and immaturity, despite the growing numbers of believers. This called for development of Christian African leaders who would not flee from Africa, to lead missionary work in Africa. Hence, African Leadership.
African Leadership AND RECONCILIATION
More than 70% of the Rwandan church leaders and pastors were killed or forced into exile between April and July 1994. Burundi and Congo leadership experienced similar decimation. This horrific bloodshed fostered widespread hatred and bitter retaliation.
Then wars spread involving Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan. A second alarm, loud and clear, was sounded. Not only did the Church need leadership, she also needed to promote forgiveness, healing and reconciliation among all peoples on the continent.
God put a heavy burden on the founder’s heart and on the hearts of those who joined in this vision, a burden and a call to establish ALARM. Our dual mission in reclaiming the church’s powerful presence was clear. ALARM’s objectives are therefore focused on the tandem tasks of training and equipping indigenous church leaders while modeling and teaching paths to inner healing and skills to promote reconciliation.
For this crucial mission to succeed, ALARM endeavors to help others to hear the alarm and to partner with us. Struggles and civil unrest, persecution, disease, and tribal warfare would continue to hinder these traditional missionary endeavors. We realized that most Western mission agencies were moving their personnel from these troubled areas to send them where it was safer for them to live and work.
We were convinced that Africans themselves needed to take ownership of these problems, and then to find – or become – the solutions. We realized that while some international brethren would come to help us, their ministries would be to encourage us and support us in our struggles, but they would not be the long-term solution. Uniquely, ALARM was founded by native Africans to equip native Africans to rebuild the African communities.
African Leadership And Reconciliation MINISTRIES
We could not have accomplished as much without the involvement of many Western churches and individual lay leaders who have given of their time and talents to help us build up African leadership and promote African reconciliation.
These international trainers have more than doubled our ministry efforts. Their ministerial skills and experiences have broadened what our own African staff could have provided alone. We are a richer, deeper Body of Christ at work because of these partnerships, and everyone involved has grown spiritually through the resulting close relationships.
We have enjoyed mutual ministries – each to the other. We deliberately set aside the one-way giving model that emphasizes “from us to you.” Instead, the positive, life-changing effects on both the African participants in conferences, and on the visiting trainers, have been well beyond the usual short-term missionary experience.
The Western church pastors and group leaders who have come as educators, and the African church pastors and lay leaders who have eagerly learned new information and techniques have united to experience true bonds of brotherhood, sisterhood, fellowship, and partnership within the worldwide church of our Lord Christ. The amazing results demonstrate the reality of Ephesians 3:20;
Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Since we began this ministry, many visiting pastors and church leaders have expressed how they were blessed to come and teach as our International Training Partners, learning to live their faith and love their brothers and sisters in a distant and different land.
And they have blessed many church pastors and leaders in East and Central Africa with their teaching and encouragement, and with their hearts to serve and give. These brethren have been blessed by the faith, endurance, and resilience of African Christians. From African brethren these friends are learning practically the theology of suffering and hope.
Since 1994, the ALARM team has succeeded in building a network of national, credible, well-respected Christian leaders, theologians, and educators in eight countries in East and Central Africa. These African nationals lead ALARM activities in their respective countries.
They are responsible for training, mentoring, and developing leaders for the fast growing evangelical churches in their own countries with assistance and encouragement from the main ALARM office in Nairobi, Kenya. Our national offices are in Kigali, Rwanda; Bujumbura, Burundi; Goma, Congo (DRC); Kampala, Uganda; Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Yei and Southern Sudan.