Kurt Bubna from Spokane’s Eastpoint Church wears many hats. In addition to being senior pastor, he’s also an author, blogger, conference speaker, church planter, and the Northwest Regional Director for Purpose Driven Church.
One thing that’s not on his resume is that’s he’s someone who’s had to learn lessons the hard way. Before launching Eastpoint Church in 2003, Pastor Kurt nearly memorized Pastor Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Church.
“The inspiring and biblical insights within this book challenged and motivated me,” explains Pastor Kurt. “I knew it was a timely gift from God to me and many others.”
From the beginning, Eastpoint’s leadership team was committed to becoming a Purpose Driven Church. They identified their mission, vision, and values based on the five purposes of fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry, and evangelism. In no time, numbers were on the rise, ministries were strong, and additional staff was being hired. Pastor Kurt even looked for a larger, permanent facility to accommodate the growth. That’s when success started to overpower their long-term vision.
“The more we grew, the more lax I became in my commitment to our being a Purpose Driven Church,” admits Pastor Kurt.
The big picture was out of focus, their small group model wasn’t sustainable, and they lost their discipleship trajectory. He also realized their goals were undefined, leadership was derailed, and they stopped evaluating church health.
Pastor Kurt knew it was time to humble himself and rely solely on God. Getting back on course wasn’t easy for the church, and changing direction came with challenges. Yet a major pivot in direction paid off for Eastpoint.
Now, after 40 years in ministry, Pastor Kurt shepherds over 3,000 regular members. He’s also in the process of planting Followers Church — a “start up” branching out of Eastpoint. From a global standpoint, he’s committed to sharing the Purpose Driven (PD) principles with other countries, starting with Botswana.
As the latest goal on their to-do list, partnering with Botswana started shortly after Pastor Kurt visited Rwanda to see a Purpose Driven nation in action. It was Saddleback’s Global Team Pastor, Bob Bradberry, who encouraged Eastpoint to act as an International Partnering Church (IPC) with Botswana.
First, they started with an overview training of PD, and then they shared the greater vision with Eastpoint members. From there, they connected with Pastor Noah, a Pentecostal Zambian missionary to Botswana who was appointed head of the IPC Steering Team.
Between 2017 and 2018, Eastpoint members joined four trips to Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone to train over 200 local pastors. With another three trips scheduled for 2018, their goal is to implement the PEACE Plan to help build a Purpose Driven nation.
“Africans love going to conferences and coming together for training,” says Pastor Kurt. “The hard part is implementing the principles.”
Adding to the challenges is introducing new methods while still respecting traditions and existing organizations. Currently Eastpoint is working with three Christian umbrella organizations in Botswana to help bring PD and PEACE to their country.
Among them is the Botswana’s Council of Churches (BCC) founded in 1966 with 35 member churches and Christian organizations. The second includes OAIC, the Organization of African Instituted Churches, serving as the representative body that brings together African Independent and Instituted Churches (AICs). The third is EFB, the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana.
In the 52 years since Botswana gained its independence, these organizations are working together for the first time through the Purpose Driven movement. Formed in 2005, BONECO is the umbrella organization that encompasses all three major organizations. Despite previous efforts toward unity, these denominations had not interacted until Pastor Kurt introduced the PD movement. Today they are banding together as one body. The long-term goal is to build a nationwide movement of healthy churches designed to impact and transform communities.
Witnessing history take place was Saddleback’s Video Journalist, Braven Carven who recently traveled to Gaborone on February 1–5. He documented local church leaders as they participated in and completed the training for PD modules 5 and 6.
“The training went great,” says Braven. “There were over a 100 pastors in attendance. The churches in Botswana are really hungry for more training and are excited about what implementing PD in their churches will mean for them. All of the church organizations are completely on board.”
In addition to overseeing the training, Pastor Kurt and Pastor Nathan Harris from Eastpoint Church preached at several local churches, met with government leaders and oversight committees, and travelled 12 hours to Maun to introduce PD to other communities. Pastor Kurt’s next visit will include meetings with government officials including the president, vice president, and general secretary.
Despite the Purpose Driven partnership, Botswana still has a long way to go, explains Braven. “The youth aren’t attending church as much as the previous generations. There’s substance abuse, poverty, high unemployment, and one of the greatest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world. But there’s also a lot of hope! Botswana, for the most part, is a Christian nation so it’s built into the culture to some degree. They also are receiving some help from the government. It’s clear that God is moving in Botswana!”
To learn more about becoming an International Partnering Church, visit pd.church/start.