From SIM ministry to SIM partner
By Christy Mast | Ethiopia in East Africa
Anchor for Generations' interdenominational-level youth ministry coordinators.
Six years ago, the Anchor for Generations ministry began as an extension of SIM Ethiopia’s Hope for Life network. From the beginning, they sought to involve church leaders in the community, and now the ministry has grown to be self-sufficient and led by the local association of churches!
Anchor for Generations equips the church to focus on disciple making, healthy marriages and families, and outreach to the community.
Notably, the marriage mentor programme has dramatically decreased the divorce rate in these churches – out of 75 churches that completed this programme, more than 100 separated couples reported reconciling! These results have been a great encouragement to local pastors, like Pastor Solomon, whose church, Minjar Full Gospel Church, has become a model for marriage and family ministry.
In the programme, married couples from association churches are trained to facilitate small groups, discuss important topics transparently, and support one another in facing difficulties. This willingness to discuss sensitive topics is new, as Ethiopian churches have traditionally avoided discussions of sex, seeing it as a shameful subject. But the leaders have learned to be open and come together to share, and the result is increased safety, peace, and honesty in marriages and families.
The ministry encourages churches to have couples continue meeting several times a year to learn together and practise good communication. Mentor couples coach new couples, who can in turn reach hundreds of married couples in each community.
What sets Anchor for Generations apart, according to ministry manager Shiferaw Legesse, is the emphasis on openness and intentional relationship. Workshop leaders follow up for months after training to answer questions and continue the relationship. They may phone on holidays or stop by for tea, all while respecting the role of the local leaders and standing by their side to encourage them in their responsibilities.
Ministry workers lead workshops to train pastors and elders in making disciples and planning for leadership succession. Each leader gains a vision for what a healthy church and elder team look like. They discuss problems the churches may have, analyse, prioritise next steps, and then work to implement solutions.
Each pastor and elder is challenged to invest in the lives of future leaders. Other priorities include instructing churches in outreach to children, biblical stewardship of finances, peacemaking, and counselling. The goal is for a church to be transparent and exemplify the love and compassion of Christ to the surrounding community.
Because ministry leaders have focused on creating a sustainable ministry for the local context, SIM will partner with and encourage the new owners, the East Shoa Zone, which is an interdenominational association of more than 400 churches.
“We are not giving [the churches] a programme. This is [their] programme!” emphasises Shiferaw. With an easy to replicate methodology, the workshops teach simple principles that individual churches can customise, leaving local leaders to implement solutions in their particular context.
In April, under fresh guidance, they began implementing their unique training approach with 50 new churches in 17 cities. SIM aims to support the local leadership as they truly make this ministry their own.
Partner with Anchor for Generations
Anchor for Generations is equipping the local church to foster the development of children, families, and their communities so they may live godly, righteous and healthy Christian lives. Will you consider partnering with this ministry in prayer and support? Visit our donation portal and use project number 92033 if you feel led to contribute a gift.
• The training workshops and follow-up to lead to healthy churches and families and an effective gospel witness to the community.
• Wise stewardship of funds and financial provision for the ministry.
• The Lord to raise up leaders and teachers who will partner with Anchor for Generations to provide training for local churches.