Think of the Marshall Plan to develop Europe after World War II and the billions of aid that goes to Africa every year. They both sought growth and development by giving loans, but one was a huge success and the other has been an abysmal failure. Why? Studying the differences between these two situations gives deep insight into the core needs of modern-day Africa. So what sets these situations apart?
Knowledge of Where We Are Going
Before WWII, Europeans already had bridges and skyscrapers, engineers and mechanics. They had already lived in the world they were trying to rebuild. On the other hand, few people in Africa have a clear understanding of the world they are looking to build. There are deep divisions between those who are for growth and development and the ones that prefer the old ways; those who are valued and respected by modern culture and those who are respected much more for under the old guard.
A critical aspect of leadership is vision-casting and walking with people into their future. We believe that by giving Mozambicans access to 1st class training, materials, and experiences, they will be more capable of leading their country into the future. Often at the office, over coffee or just regular conversation, we discuss the differences in western culture and theirs, and ask them to decide which parts to take and which parts are best left behind.
Management and Leadership Expertise
When the Portuguese left Mozambique, it was quite a sudden shift. While there were skilled Mozambicans in good positions, there was almost no one in positions of financial accountability, leadership, or management. Additionally, the leadership styles that Mozambicans learned while under oppressive racist communist rule left much to be desired! The end result was a country sorely lacking in leadership.
Leaders treated the people under them like the Portuguese had treated them and had no formal or informal schooling on how to manage. Even in the churches, leadership is heavy-handed, authority is absolute, and there is no room to go against the will of the leader.
After 5 years of ministering in Mozambique, Jon realized the biggest gap between western churches and their Mozambican counterparts wasn’t in theology or biblical training (where most organizations focus) but on leadership styles and training.
We believe the most critical next step for Mozambique and the Mozambican church is to train the next generation of leaders how to lead, how to move forward with a vision, and how to fight for their country and against countless odds.