From Ethiopian Villager to Global Leader

Dr. Bekele Shanko shares lessons on partnership from his life in GCM’s new book Never Alone

In Never Alone, Bekele Shanko begins with his childhood in the shadow of Ethiopia’s Hambaricho Mountain, where his entire community lived in abject material poverty and deep spiritual darkness.

But God began to reveal himself vividly to Bekele’s father, and soon thereafter, the entire family experienced the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even at age 5, Bekele knew that he had been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of life, and he would never be the same. Bekele’s father immediately began preaching the gospel of Jesus, boldly inviting his neighbors to reject their worship of evil spirits and follow the true God.

Bekele himself would end up wearing the same mantle — speaking of Christ to all who would listen. His own sphere of spiritual influence, however, would expand far beyond that Ethiopian village. Just as he had seen God transform his own life, and that of his family and his community, Bekele would come to believe that God wanted to also transform his nation’s capital, all of Ethiopia, the entire African continent and the world. Thus began Bekele Shanko’s journey to bring that vision to others — inviting them to trust God for more than they might think possible, and to do so as partners in the vision. Follow along as Bekele narrates his journey from an impoverished village to conversations about Christ in classrooms and boardrooms, before presidents and the most ordinary of citizens.

Along the way, he weaves in lessons on leadership and the power of partnering in ministry. Indeed, he calls partnership “God’s signature on my life.” Throughout his life, Bekele has focused on humbly working alongside fellow believers — tapping into each other’s strengths and resources to accomplish daring spiritual goals.

“We’re not competing with each other,” he says. Instead, believers can more quickly reach God’s kingdom goals when they combine forces. Bekele started with citywide strategies, inviting others to trust God for more than they could personally imagine. From there, he easily envisioned a countrywide goal, even as others questioned if this could be possible.

Today, Bekele’s example spurs Christians the world over to consider creative ways to usher more and more people into God’s presence and his kingdom. If there are 5 billion people who do not yet know Christ, why not strategize ways to bring the gospel to them? “If we had a church, a faith community or a group of disciples — actively witnessing for Jesus in word and deed — in every rural village, suburban neighborhood, urban high-rise, digital space, and in and through every relational network,” he writes, “then we could say the gospel had gone to every tribe, tongue, people and nation.”

In Never Alone, readers will be challenged to join Bekele in believing God for more than they might have thought possible, yes. But they will also be offered practical principles to follow, thought-provoking questions to ponder and proven strategies to implement. “Without partnership,” Bekele says, “life itself is impossible.” But with partnership — partnership with God, his Holy Spirit and each other — the spiritually impossible is right at hand.

Dr. Bekele Shanko

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