THE TARGET COMMUNITIES:
The population of the diocesan area in general is characterized by poverty, frequent droughts, famine, disease and other significant challenges. Much of the diocese is remote and under-developed, with inadequate health and educational facilities, unreliable food availability due to fact that agriculture depends mainly on rainfall, and a lack of clean and safe water. In reality, the level of poverty is high thus communities often need to be supported rather than to provide support to others. In rural areas generally church congregations are relatively small and can hardly support their local church or parish ministers.
Research indicates that the members of the community who have committed themselves to the Lord Jesus are quick to embrace change. Therefore, DLR believes that the needs identified in the community should be addressed side by side with church planting and nurturing. As a result, DLR has recently put in place community development initiatives in an effort to support communities the church has reached.
No statistics are available yet, but it is believed that a significant percentage of the community in the Diocesan area has never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no churches in many areas, and few believers. The goal of DLR for these areas is to reach the people with the gospel, plant churches and thus make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Outreach activities include open-air crusades, home to home evangelism and gospel films. The Diocese seeks to plant a church in every village with a group of new believers. In this way, believers will be encouraged in their faith and witness and grow into leadership roles in the church and the wider community.
The need for evangelism in the diocese of Lake Rukwa is indeed very great. A proportion of the community especially in the areas next to Lake Tanganyika and Katavi National Park are still unreached with the gospel. Even in the more “developed” areas of the Diocese, delinquency, immorality and HIV/AIDS infections are quite common.
The church struggles to effectively serve the community as summarized here;
- Nearly all clergy serving in the Diocese of Lake Rukwa have very little education. Hardly any of them have secondary school education and whilst many have received some theological training, most of it has been at a basic level. As a result most congregations are under nourished with the Word of God and hence have registered little or no growth.
- The Diocese rents an office in Mpanda town. There is no room for expansion with the staff already cramped. This situation affects their performance negatively, and as a result productivity is low.
- More staff are required if we are to reach the entire area. Existing staff are always over worked because they have to stretch their capacity to its limits in an effort to serve the entire area. Overwork results in inefficiency and poor job performance.
- The Diocese does not have sufficient equipment and means of transport to enable it to effectively serve its large area of coverage. There are insufficient vehicles to implement its evangelism, community development initiatives and administration activities. As a result of lack of transport facilities, schedules are not met and necessary information/data is not collected on time.
- There are very limited means for the Diocese to raise its own funds, leaving it largely dependent upon donors. As a result the diocesan staff are currently underpaid and the diocese struggles to attract suitably qualified staff and is unable to acquire its own buildings for office use.