Spiritual Formation through Missional Community

On a glorious spring day in the Western Cape of South Africa we headed to meet with a potential resident for our East Mountain leadership development program. Rodney and I squeezed into our yellow 1974 Volkswagen Beetle and rumbled through the streets of Stellenbosch.

When we arrived, one of our church partners introduced us to a nineteen-year old named Lorenzo.  Something special  about Lorenzo motivated us to ask him to join our new venture.

Long before we started this ministry, the Lord gave us a vision to build a missional community that would be focused on developing leaders. Our dream was to partner with organizations already doing great Kingdom work and to invest in their leadership to strengthen the church.

Throughout the next year the East Mountain Community of United World Mission, a group of missionaries, pastors and volunteers, invested into the community. Lorenzo began to grow spiritually and grow theologically through serving in this ministry. He had the opportunity to use his gifts to minister to one of our partner churches.

Four years later, Lorenzo is now preparing to graduate from seminary and to become an ordained minister. Through his time invested in our ministry he has become a mature, equipped leader with a heart to serve in a South African church for years to come.

Lorenzo’s story is a model for how East Mountain Community wants to continue to impact lives in that area. The vision for the ministry of the East Mountain Community is to partner with the Church to disciple leaders and equip them for a life of service for the Kingdom.  In 2018 the Community in South Africa invested in over 270 leaders from 19 nations through the residency, theological cohorts, workshops and a variety of other initiatives.

East Mountain Society was launched this year by United World Mission as a non-profit to continue their work of launching and supporting Christians around the globe. By the grace of God we are hoping to see thousands of leaders equipped and encouraged to serve Christ across the world.


By: Gabe Smith, Co-Founder of the East Mountain Society