Each Wednesday, TWR Canada provides a brief update on a project or ministry from around the world. Learn about many different aspects of our global ministry, and be encouraged by stories of lives that have been transformed by the power of the gospel.
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It's often been said that the Church in many parts of the world is a mile wide and an inch deep; sadly, the correlation between church attendance and transformed lives is shockingly low. We are blessed in North America to have access to church libraries and Christian bookstores full of resources available to help us deepen our faith; there is no end of podcasts and sermons that help us grow in our knowledge of how to be a follower of Jesus. However, we hear from many of our TWR Canada partners that where there are growing movements of evangelism and church planting activities, there are often no discipleship materials for follow-up and teaching.
“Leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity,” Hebrews 6:1 (ESV). Discipleship Essentials (DE) was developed to meet the needs of those reaching and discipling the next generation of Christian leaders. Freely available text, video and audio components are being developed in 13 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, Farsi, Russian, Mandarin, French and more. But providing the material is not enough. Through a network of on-the-ground local partners, it has been demonstrated to us that materials are most effective when hands-on training is given to church leaders and a customized approach to discipleship is established. This is where DE champions come in.
A DE champion is a local partner whose mandate is to encourage the use of DE content in local discipleship ministries, provide follow-up and plan ongoing training. Using this approach, 2,800 leaders have already been trained in the Middle East, and over 3,000 discipleship groups have been formed!
At the request of local church leaders in India, the Philippines and several countries throughout the Middle East and Persian Gulf, TWR Canada continues to provide training and engage local champions to foster an understanding that discipleship is foundational to the strength of the local church. It is our expectation that by working with identified local champions or partners in each country, we will see multiple generations of the evangelism and discipleship cycle occur in a sustainable way.
There is no prescriptive approach that will work in every ministry in every country. Therefore, local champions or leaders are critical to ensure that a sustainable approach is established. For example, Filipino workers living and working in the Gulf states are being trained to evangelize and disciple outside of the boundaries of their own diaspora. In the Middle East, training is being used to strengthen the local church through the formation of discipleship groups. In India, DE material is used in the expanding house church movement as they are strengthened in their faith and learn how to disciple others. Right here in Canada, we have reports of public high schools using DE as their primary teaching in Christian groups during school hours.
Most recently, DE has been declared the main resource for a discipleship program under the supervision of the Center for Evangelism and Discipleship in the Philippines. This center functions as the base of operation for training and mobilization for Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. It’s exciting to see how God has opened this door!
DE champions are an integral part in the multiplication and sustainability of this movement, a movement combining evangelism, discipleship and leadership training to accomplish spiritual growth. Locally-motivated use of the Discipleship Essentials content is resulting in real spiritual growth through the local church and the formation of discipleship groups full of people who are now equipped to evangelize and disciple others! The result? A movement that is transforming lives for the glory of God!