A firm foundation for BUILD

The name BUILD is a gift. The word sums up BUILD’s focus: to build God’s Church through growing and multiplying healthy local churches. It has also led to our anchor or memory verse: Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus says: “I will build my church.” And the five words behind the acronym (Biblical – Understanding – In-service – Leadership – Development) not only lead to some excellent learning tools but act as anchor points for the values behind BUILD. However, those values have remained implicit, until now.

Over the past few months one of the behind the scenes tasks has been to communicate BUILD’s vision, mission and values in fresh contexts within Africa’s Great Lakes Region (BUILD’s target area within East and Central Africa). With institutions operating in very different modes it has been an opportune time to move conversations forward about the place of BUILD in different churches. Until now BUILD has worked with a combined vision and mission statement and with implicit values. Teasing apart the vision and the mission, and creating an explicit set of values in dialogue with individuals in different countries has been rewarding: it has not served both our communication and our teaching.

For example, Module Four of the BUILD curriculum has the title Nehemiah & the Historical Books: Building God’s People & Strategic Leadership. One component, which follows on from a study of Nehemiah mobilising God’s people in Neh. 2:11-20, is a learning unit exploring that theme, and it includes the importance of mobilising God’s people around a common vision, mission and values. It has been important to work back through the curriculum and to flag up in Module One the need for those elements in relation to the BUILD initiative itself, and in so doing to anticipate teaching and learning that lies ahead.

The outcome is that these important elements are currently as follows (with section numbers left in place to indicate that they belong in a manual):


We have already discovered the focus of BUILD, which is to build God’s Church through growing and multiplying healthy local churches. It is also important for any ministry or project to have a clear vision, mission and values. We will look at this subject in more detail in Module Four, but it is introduced here along with BUILD’s own vision, mission and values.

1.5.1  BUILD’s vision statement

A vision statement paints a picture of the future we hope to see as a result of the work we do in partnership with God and his people. Here is BUILD’s vision statement:

“BUILD’s vision is to see a multitude of well-equipped leaders at the grassroots building healthy churches across Africa’s Great Lakes Region and beyond.”

1.5.2  BUILD’s mission statement

In addition to a vision, it is important to have a clear mission or purpose. A mission statement captures how we aim to achieve our vision, as we work with God and his people. Here is BUILD’s mission statement:

“BUILD’s mission is to enable churches to train their own leaders with a practical understanding of the gospel, Scripture and theology.”

1.5.3  BUILD’s values

In addition to a vision and mission it is helpful for churches, organisations and projects to have a clear set of values. Values are foundational principles that we believe in and which motivate us and guide us in our practice.

BUILD has five values. Each one is a conviction about Christian learning that flows from one of the five words that BUILD stands for (and from the word and verse in 2 Timothy they are linked to).

1. Biblical – BUILD believes in learning under Scripture

The word ‘biblical’ (and “Scripture” in 2 Tim 3:16-17) reminds us that our learning must come under the authority of God’s word. The Bible and its gospel must be central to our training if personal development and local church growth is to be genuine.

2. Understanding – BUILD believes in learning with integrity

The word ‘understanding’ (and “handle” in 2 Tim 2:15) reminds us that our learning must be conducted with integrity. Skilful and godly use of the Bible and its gospel are essential for the development and growth of true leaders.

3. In-service – BUILD believes in learning in context

The word ‘in-service’ (and “reflect” in 2 Tim 2:7) reminds us that learning is best done in the midst of ministry and mission. This means that the training of local church leaders must be done in partnership with their local churches. The fact that BUILD was developed locally reflects this commitment.

4. Leadership – BUILD believes in learning and leadership

The word ‘leadership’ (and “entrust” in 2 Tim 2:2) reminds us that learning and leadership belong together. Leaders who understand the gospel deeply and who then identify and invest in others are essential for healthy churches.

5. Development – BUILD believes in learning for life

The word ‘development’ (and “continue” in 2 Tim 3:14) reminds us that while every training course comes to an end, Christian discipleship does not: learning is for life. Our training must equip leaders to be life-long learners.

We hope you will find those elements as informative and encouraging as we do.