Tim and Becky Burr, leaders of Ivy Church Academy in Manchester UK, have been helping us shape and plan a residency course to raise up and equip leaders across the growing number of areas in which Life Groups are taking root. Tim and Becky recently went to Zambia to gain first hand experience of Life Groups and Impact teams and to support our November EQUIP camp. We’ll be sharing their thoughts and reflections over the next few weeks.
“The way Life Groups are loving and caring for each other, people come to faith through that and become followers of Jesus…The transformation you see is just absolutely astounding.”
While in Zambia, Tim and Becky had the opportunity to meet Impact Team and Life Group members. After their time with Dignity team members, they reflected on the commitment and faith of they saw first hand.
They met people who had given up days to travel to the EQUIP training. Most of the people at the training were farmers who are continuously trying to provide for their families, and yet are giving anywhere from a week to 10 days to travel to start Life Groups in new areas. Tim and Becky were challenged that these volunteer team members are prepared to trust God and give their time to bring people to faith and see transformation in communities. They are bringing people together and are seeing the needs of communities being met in practical and tangible ways. While team members face challenges, such as opposition from witchdoctors or being labelled as Satanists, they are willing to face them with a lot of joy. They know that God is greater than the challenges they face.
An example of the passion for the vision of Dignity that Becky reflected on was Impact Team member Rebecca’s plans for after the training. Rebecca wants to go and plant a life group in villages outside of her own and reach more people. She wants to spread the impact Life Groups have in communities. Without instructions on where she should go, Rebecca has planned places she wants to reach with the simple skills she has learnt from Dignity. Becky summed up by saying, “Rebecca’s going and listening to God in terms of where she needs to go and what she needs to set up. Without money, finances, without a worship team and a preacher and all that sort of thing. I think that is really challenging that she’s just been empowered to follow what God is asking her to do and she feels like she is able to do this. There are no excuses there.”
Tim was excited by the conversations he had with the emerging Zambian leadership team. Having met some of the existing team, Tim said, “If I think about what God is doing through them and how God is using them to release so much stuff through new Life Groups being planted, leaders being trained and multiplied, that if they were multiplied – that is what the residency is about.”
“They’re only doing it for a heavenly reward because they’re not getting paid to do, yet they love it. They’re really passionate about it and you can see that because of the things they’re willing to endure.”