A METHOD TO OUR MADNESS?
I poked my head in the half opened door as I called out “Helloo. Are you ready for Bible study?” Inside were Perpetua and her 18 month whirlwind, along with two others I had never met. Along with me was Mike, a Zambian CPX student. This was to be the first night of doing Bible study at this home and I was eager to see who would be there. Elias, the husband of the home, had been a part of another Bible study, but quit because it was all Christians who just wanted to talk Bible but not reach out to the neighbors who really need it. So he asked if I would do another Bible study in his house and he would invite all his neighbors. YES! That is what we are all about!
So we started with the God Story. “Turn to Gen 1:1…” This is a most fascinating way to present the gospel – geared to a story-telling culture rather than a print-driven culture. Woven around stories in the Bible we paint a picture of who God is, his ways and his values. We learn from Gen 1-3 that God is all powerful and has purposed an intimate friendship with mankind; then the problem of sin – the destruction of that friendship; then the solution – sacrifice; then comes Jesus to restore that friendship; and finally the Great Commission to go out and tell the story to everyone you meet. For a better outline and how mission organizations are using this technique in remote areas, click here.
Well half-way into the bible study I remembered that I was in the wrong house! This was the night for the Zimbabwean bible study that was to start up this week also! What to do??!! I sent up a desperate prayer. “Look Dan, they are hungry for My Word. Feed them.” So I finished the study, said a prayer, apologized for coming the wrong night, and ran to the other house where we did the same thing again, but this time Mike led it.
I wish you could see these studies! Last night I was in a shack where the main thing in the room is the double bed. Less than two feet remained at the foot of the bed, and less than two feet from the side to the cooking/ clothing/ washing cabinet. Probably 8′ x 8′. We had 10 adults in there! When the 7th one sat on the bed, it went down. But people are hungry and want more from God – I just learned that our CPX group just started another bible study yesterday! Now we have nearly one bible study for each of the CPX students in our group to lead.
Let me explain our evolving (and often detoured) method:
- Regina and I lead a team of 7 CPX students who are learning to plant churches. Several times a week we go into a poor township to minister. Our goal is to give each student an opportunity to:
- Win some to Christ.
- To gather some into a bible study and disciple them.
- To train the emerging leader of the group with the vision and tools to do the same – win, gather, train.
- To help the planting of a second generation church.
- Finally, to go into a remote part of Africa and do the same thing full time for 2 ½ months.
- Our method of evangelism is often a blend of “treasure hunting” and “love in action”.
- We are praying and watching for a “man of peace” who will be a door to many others.
- When we find some who want to study the Bible we ask them to find a few more – then we will start. This is “oikos” evangelism – going to their house and working with their circle of friends and family.
- Our content starts with the “God Story”. Our method is “facilitative teaching”, engaging each individual with questions, acting out the story, figuring how we should apply it, etc.
- We begin to cast vision for evangelism and multiplication right away. We show how Jesus made disciples who were to make more disciples. And we are in that linage. Each disciple should expect to live a lifestyle of making disciples – winning and training them to obey.
- And we envision with them the picture of hundreds of simple shack churches thru Masi (their township). We call them “rabbit churches”. And they will train leaders who will lead such churches.
- Those who rise to the top we invite to leadership training called “T4T – Training 4 Trainers”. This is outcome based training – like drivers training: you pass when you do it.
This in essence is what CPX (Church Planting eXperience) is all about. Would you consider coming next year?
We are just over half way thru the teaching phase. I wish we had more to show for it. We have six bible studies going and about 10 leaders just starting training. But the quality is not high – and that is what counts. So pray for us that we will experience the presence of Jesus in our little gatherings that will transform lives. One last story…
Last week Gracia (changed name) was an incorrigible drunk. Some of our team bumped into her while prayer-walking and talked to her about Jesus. They came back the next day and as they were getting ready to pray with her, she went into a demonic attack mode. They wrestled and prayed for an hour until it was done. Today Gracia has a simple church in her house. I would not doubt that there will be more struggles and heartache, but a new day has come for Gracia, and, like the woman who met Jesus by the well, she has influenced her neighbors to come and meet this amazing man who has touched her life. Such is the method to our madness…