Belief for the Nations

The Story of a Discipleship Movement in Uganda


Discipleship is a global movement. In the Great Commission, Jesus called His people to “make disciples of every nation.” Today, we get to share a story about the discipleship movement that is happening in Uganda.

Jeff Norris and Laura Story Elvington host the Digging Deeper podcast. They recently sat down with a special guest, Peter Kasirivu, pastor of Gaba Community Church in Uganda. In this conversation, Pastor Peter shares God’s passion and heart for the nations he has seen firsthand through his church. 

The joy, excitement, and passion young people are experiencing in Uganda is encouraging and reminds us that our heart longings are the same. God sees and hears all, even though His work looks different in every country.

You can watch the full conversation here or you can subscribe to the Digging Deeper podcast. Below, we’ve highlighted a portion of the conversation where Jeff and Laura ask Peter about his experience with life-on-life missional discipleship.

About Peter and the Gaba Community Church

Pastor Peter Kasirivu is from the country of Ugandaa small yet vibrant country in East Africa that shares borders with the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Kenya. 

He leads Gaba Community Church, situated on the shores of Lake Victoria in KampalaUganda’s lively capitol. The church is parent to the Africa Renewal Ministries. This organization, rooted in the church’s mission, is committed to caring for children in need, leadership training, healthcare provision, and much more. Their ministry exemplifies the spirit of renewal and hope in the heart of Africa.

An Introduction to Life-on-Life Discipleship

One of Gaba Community Church’s partners introduced them to Rany Ghaly from Life on Life Ministries. Rany and Peter initially had a phone conversation where they talked about Life on Life and the work being done to train disciple makers around the world.

Rany was able to visit with Peter in Uganda, and they made plans to host some discipleship training events. This was the start of an ongoing relationship, because Rany still visits Gaba church frequently. Peter said that this first visit was the beginning of a beautiful journey that “really changed the way I look at discipleship.”

Discipleship Training Events in Uganda

The response and interest for the discipleship training events surpassed all expectations. The first event had 70 pastors from across Uganda attend to learn how to start a discipleship movement in their community. Rany also shared resources like training videos and info for leaders. 

Peter said that as he spoke to his leaders and fellow pastors, they consistently said “we want this.” It seems the word spread. During the next discipleship training event, over 900 leaders from 220 different churches showed up. Gaba Community Church was filled with different churches and denominations and pastors who wanted to start a discipleship movement in their church.

Peter is part of the Evangelical Fellowship of Uganda, and started by inviting this network. That, plus the positive word of mouth from the 70 original attendees led to a “full house” and “a great time.” We know that the Lord does the work, but we’re also thankful for the work of Peter to gather people together and act as the glue for so many different churches in Uganda.

The Personal Impact of Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship

During the Digging Deeper episode, Peter shared about the impact of life-on-life missional discipleship in his own life.

“I’m at a time in my life where I feel that God is calling me to spend more time with young upcoming leaders. I’ve been a pastor for 35 years, and I feel that God is calling me to spend more time investing in those young pastors who are starting up. The discipleship training actually opened my eyes to the reality of having life-on-life with these emerging leaders. The model is so practical because it answers the questions I’ve always been asking myself: How do I mentor? How do I disciple? How do I spend time with these people?”

The Evangelical Fellowship of Uganda has about a thousand churches all over the country. Among them, Peter sees a few who are the future leaders of the leaders. “My desire now is to pick a few at a time and work with them using the life-on-life model. I can’t wait to start because it’s so exciting for me.”

As for the future? Kasirivu hopes to see discipleship training spread throughout Uganda and the rest of Africa.

“I’d like it to grow from the city of Kampala to the rest of Uganda, using the relationships that we already have. I also want to invite my pastor friends from other countries in Eastern Central Africa to actually be part of this. The reality is that the church in Africa is a mile wide and an inch deep, but Life On Life Ministries has shown me how to actually disciple the people so that they will go deeper.”

Life-on-Life vs Curriculum-on-Life

One of the challenges with many of the discipleship training programs is this: they simply provide curriculum and expect you to figure it out. This often leads to discipleship groups that are not life-on-life, but rather curriculum-on-life. You read this and answer some questions but never share life together.

For this reason, Life on Life Ministries focuses on training disciples through the same life-on-life principles. 

The goal is not to visit Uganda and simply say, “Hey, here’s some resources.” Instead, we bring the resources, but also we share what has worked for us, and what hasn’t worked. We share the ways we failed, and we seek to build a true partnership. 

We are also interested in both making disciples, which is evangelism, and training disciples, which is the process of going deeper so that the people of God aren’t an inch deep. We want to imitate the model of Jesus as best we can, to train disciples so that they become multipliers and then watch God work.

Peter shared his final thoughts on discipleship training: 

“As you said, it’s not just a curriculum, but it is how to get people to be discipled. The curriculum has been there, but the “how” has been a big challenge. We’ve read all kinds of things and we have talked a lot about discipleship, but doing discipleship has been a very difficult journey for me and I believe the rest of my brothers in Africa. Now? I’m excited about the future.”

Next steps

To learn more about Pastor Peter Kasirivu’s story and the work God is doing in Uganda, watch the full episode in the video above or listen to it here. You can also check out Peter’s blog to hear more from him. And of course, if you would like to learn more about our discipleship training model you can join one of our upcoming information calls.