Northwest Africa: SOM International

Leading Like Christ Series

In the coming months, I will be sharing my observations of the mature Christ-like leadership of each SOM Global Director. They all have similarities in leading effectively while also having simultaneously unique styles. I hope to share a slice of their lives to encourage you to pray for these humble men and inspire your witness of Christ to others. I start this series with SOM International – Northwest Africa Director.

To know our SOM Northwest Africa Director is to know more of Christ. His life radiates Christ with brilliant colors in stark contrast to the spiritually dark Islamic world. His character is a spectrum of Christlikeness, including faithfulness, peace, patience, longsuffering, joy, and God-centered vision, to name a few.

The Patience of the Good Shepherd

After traveling to 53 nations, my experience tells me Northwest Africa is the most time fluid nation. The SOM Northwest Africa Director demonstrated this fluidity of time and his relational leadership focus at one of the graduations I attended.

“Ceremonies start at 11:00 a.m.,” he told me. Our relaxed driver was able to drop us off around 12:30 p.m. to a crowd of Northwest Africans who were not in a hurry. The director mingled, conversed, and related to each person with ease. I noted the respect everyone had for him.

The afternoon turned into a time of tea and talk. The event commenced at 5:00 p.m., and then “lunch” was served after ceremonies at 7:00 p.m. Similarly, dinner was finally served at 2:00 a.m. The director and all the leadership showed no anxiety, frustration, or panic signs. Africans prepared the meal, set chairs, erected shade, and brought supplies.

Subsequently, the SOM International – Northwest Africa Director taught me much about this culture and his leadership as we debriefed later. I discovered that they do not start any event without all the leaders present. I also learned that every leader must be honored and involved in the decision process. Travel in this region of Africa is slow, and delays are frequent. If leaders are left out, then they miss the discipleship development process. People’s character and good relationships are more important than the time clock.

In addition to what I learned about leadership and relationships, this director’s model has helped me understand Jesus better.

The Holy Spirit Mark of Christ-like Patience

As I think about the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the SOM Northwest Africa Director’s example, I better understand Christ’s patience and how patience nurtures relationships. All through Scripture, we see the patience of God in refining faith. Take the example of Abraham, who was 100 years old when the Lord granted him Isaac, his son (Genesis 21:5). Likewise, there are New Testament illustrations. Even after many mistakes, Jesus never gave up on Peter, including when Peter denied Jesus three times.

I have known our SOM Northwest Africa Director for ten years now. During that time, I have seen his patient endurance for most of his friends and family who are still Muslim. He continues to have hope, share Christ, and demonstrate love to his community in practical ways. Additionally, I have observed his longsuffering, grace, and gentleness with immature Christian leaders. The humility of Christ guides him in grace to provide teaching for reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. His unwavering leadership demonstrates loyalty to Christ and the work.

The SOM International – Northwest African leadership has matured over the last decade. Furthermore, the leadership is effectively multiplying disciples with quiet strength, patient listening, and encouragement for others to stay in the Word of God. Be inspired by the standard of faith, humility, and Jesus-centered righteousness that the Lord is lifting in the Muslim world.

Please keep praying for the work in Northwest Africa and all the workers. Consider ways that Jesus can fill you with His patience, mercy, and grace so you might share this with others.

Authored by David Witt