The third finish line: A body – a church – in every place

fisherman going out to sea

Arobogast Henga unfolded a big piece of paper on which he had drawn his church multiplication chart showing the 25 “generations” of churches God had raised up in the past two years.

In church planting, “generations” is the term used to describe successive church plantings:  a church plants a church (two generations), which plants a church (three generations), which plants another church (four), and so on.  Four generations is considered a “movement,” but 25 generations of churches planting churches is simply amazing!

Arobogast was standing before more than 100 leaders of church-planting movements gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as one of the church-planting practitioners invited to speak at a conference convened by our team, Global Church Movements (GCM) of Cru. Leaders from 38 countries paid rapt attention to his story.

Arobogast, like his father and grandfather before him, had been a fisherman in Tanzania. His family had always practiced witchcraft, believing it would help them catch more fish. In 2011, hoping to excel in his fishing business, Arobogast traveled to a nearby district known for its high concentration of witch doctors. Instead, he met Kanagana, a Baptist preacher proclaiming Jesus. And just like Peter, Andrew, James, and John in Matthew 4, Arobogast immediately left what he was doing, followed Jesus, and became a fisher of men and women.

In November 2017 Arobogast attended an MC2 (multiplying churches and faith communities) training offered by our GCM staff in Tanzania. During the training, he learned about the vision to plant a church for every 1,000 people on earth. This would mean a church or a community of disciples of Jesus in every rural village, every suburban neighborhood, every urban high-rise and digital space.

He also learned about the concept “person of peace,” “pray-care-share,” and the multiplication of disciples and churches. The training taught him to enable newly planted churches to sustain themselves through intentional discipleship, empowering new believers for ministry and raising up leaders to engage new areas with evangelism and church planting.

Arobogast is a devout disciple of Jesus, a passionate evangelist, and a prudent strategist of church multiplication movements. He walks from one village to the next, coaching church planters, casting vision for multiplication, and sending new leaders to other districts so they can find people of peace and expand the work. His vision is to see a church planted in every village in Tanzania.

But Arobogast is not the only one with this vision in his country; he is a part of a much larger, national, and even international, vision.