Luc first encountered missions at a summer camp in his home country of Congo. He’d been confused by the missionaries who lived there—why would they give up the comforts of life in Europe and come live with so much less just to interact with people like him? At that time he learned about calling, about how God calls each person to fulfill a unique role in the Kingdom, and only in living out that calling can one have the peace and joy those missionaries had.
The idea of personal calling stuck with him, and he went to seminary to learn more. But he never defined what his own calling might be. He joined a missionary group anyway—and quickly reached a point where he had to leave for health reasons.
So, he moved to South Africa for a change and met some more peculiar missionaries, people from CRM who had sacrificed much to live in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Pretoria where he found himself.
As he got to know them, he was impressed by the creative ways they were engaging cross-culturally and developing leaders in the community, and helping them discover their personal callings. This was an unexpected—and even revolutionary—idea in what was a primarily a communal culture. No one had ever asked him to consider his own unique gifting and calling and he immediately wanted in.
The CRM missionaries invited him to be a part of an apprenticeship they were starting with other leaders, and he flourished under their coaching and mentoring. They helped him finally put into words what he was called to, and nurtured his vision of how to live it out.
The apprentices were empowered to respond to the needs in the community around them. And they were encouraged to not only respond but to get creative. The prevailing attitude in the community was that problems could only be fixed by those with education and money. On top of that, the cultural norms said that youth were expected to learn and listen only, not to offer solutions. The freedom and encouragement to think creatively and the license to act was both eye-opening and incredibly empowering.
Luc began to try out ways to engage his community, meet needs, and develop committed followers of Jesus. Eventually he started a new team that would live incarnationally among the poor in his neighborhood and introduce them to the hope of Jesus, as an expression of his personal calling.
In 2016, Luc and his team started their own apprenticeship program for local leaders, raising up 18 people from the neighborhood who would be mentored in leadership through the same kind of process that he experienced. Luc launched a second apprenticeship with a new group of 20 people this year to experiment with recently-developed methodology and tools. The fun will begin as he watches the new apprentices translate it into their own contexts and run with it.
These young South African apprentices are developing in their calling, loving others in their community and living incarnationally among the poor in their neighborhood. Luc is affirming their individual creativity to engage the people around them for Jesus—not directing them how to do it, but innovating for the Kingdom TOGETHER. Among other things, that creativity has resulted in tutoring groups, soccer programs, and support groups for abused women. And these emerging leaders are replicating themselves. As they are sent out into neighboring communities and cities, they are seeing people become committed followers of Jesus and an expanding movement of the gospel is transforming lives.