Nov13WedNovember 13, 2019
"This conference gives us a new hope for a new future. In Syria, there is no future for us, there is no hope. But this gives us an eternal perspective and hope. We have a future with God."
In a country which has been ravaged by war, hope is hard to come by. As Syria begins to rebuild, many people are discouraged. The prices of goods have skyrocketed, but the Syrian pound has remained the same. Families are struggling to provide for themselves and the situation seems dire. Seeing a future for yourself is hard when you don’t even know what this week may hold.
In partnership with Together Network, TWR Canada has been sharing the hope of Jesus to the people of Syria and others across the Middle East and North Africa. As Together Network partners with local churches, we can equip them with resources to provide hope, such as Discipleship Essentials.
Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, we hold a variety of training conferences to equip the church. The majority of conferences are designed for pastors and church leaders, but others are focused on specific groups of people, like young professionals or Muslim-background believers.
For instance, 220 young professionals gathered in Syria this summer for a 4-day training conference. Fifteen churches were represented, all who will continue to be involved in discipleship training over the coming year. The brother and sister quoted above were two of the attendees who left the conference encouraged and inspired to grow in their faith and walk a path of discipleship.
Most discipleship training conferences, though, are designed for pastors and church leaders. Using Discipleship Essentials as a guide and tool, local partners like Together Network instruct pastors and church leaders on the importance of discipleship. The conference trainers also spend time with the participants, helping them to create a strategic plan for implementing discipleship in their churches and ministries. Using a train-the-trainer format, each pastor and church leader is then challenged to go out and train other key leaders in their churches to begin discipleship groups, with the goal of multiplication.
Two pastors recently shared the impact that they saw this training having in their churches and ministries: “We have never had in our hands such a discipleship curriculum guiding our thoughts and directing our futures. We are seeing the end before the beginning, walking through the process of discipleship.” Before even implementing what they have learned, these two pastors already see the impact of the training!
Because of the area of the world in which they work, Together Network also has a key focus on discipling Muslim-background believers. This focus led us to start discipleship schools for a select group of believers from a Muslim background. The goal is for these believers to become stronger disciples and better leaders and coaches for their people. The schools take the format of smaller groups of believers gathering for five days of intensive learning and training three times throughout the year. Between these sessions, students work with a coach/mentor and have online access to materials for ongoing follow-up. They are trained using lessons from the Essentials for Spiritual Leadership course from Discipleship Essentials, in order that they can then go out and disciple others using the material from the Essentials for Christian Living course, which is meant for new believers.
As a result of the training conferences and the subsequent growth and multiplication of groups, Together Network reports more than 6,500 discipleship groups across the Middle East and North Africa. Praise God for the growth in faith which is occurring across this region of the world! Discipleship Essentials is simply a tool; it is God who is doing the real life-changing work and providing hope for a new future.