“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” Matthew 13:19 ESV
We all have our unique stories of how we came to know Jesus as our personal Saviour, and our experiences living as Christians is no different. Whatever our journey, as followers of Christ, we have the responsibility to tell others about him and help them to grow in their faith.
My journey to faith in Christ began as a young boy. I was raised in a strong Christian home where, at the time of my birth, my father was a travelling evangelist, singer and songwriter. It was at my mother’s knee shortly before my fourth birthday, that I prayed the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus into my heart. Since then, I have often thought that I really didn’t know what I was signing up for at that tender age. Yes, the gospel is simple and only requires my child-like faith to recognize that I am a sinner and in need of a Saviour. However, fully understanding what it means to be a Christian and applying it takes a lifetime of desiring to be a disciple.
In my teen years, my father pastored a local church and I continued to grow in my faith incrementally. However, during a year of Bible school, I began a more intentional journey of personalizing the great spiritual heritage I had been given and becoming a more devoted disciple of Christ. This journey continues to this day as I commit to being a life-long disciple and disciple-maker.
In many parts of the world, the opportunities and resources for discipleship are more limited than here in Canada. In countries where evangelism efforts are having a great impact, there is often a shortage of content in the local language to help these new believers as they begin their Christian life. Leaving these new believers to figure it out on their own opens them up to false teaching or falling away from their faith because they were not rooted in the truth, much like the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.
A number of years ago, our team at TWR Canada recognized the need for a systematic discipleship tool that could be freely translated into many languages and dialects. We invested in the development of Discipleship Essentials to complement the work of evangelism that our radio transmitters and on-the-ground teams have been doing for years. Discipleship Essentials is a series of over 130 lessons that systematically grow a believer’s understanding of their faith, which helps them deepen their roots. We have released this tool for free in 13 languages so far with plans for more to come.
Since the launch of DE, the ministry has grown and expanded in several ways. What started as a tool for small groups is also being broadcast as a radio program! In October 2020, we started airing a weekly French-language DE program in West Africa. In a recent report, we learned that five people came to faith in December through listening to these programs!
Through the development and use of DE, we further identified a need for training small group leaders. Over the past year, we have been creating a tool called Leadership Essentials, a 12-week workshop series to train small group leaders. We filmed the videos in the fall, and they are currently going through the post-production process. However, our DE Champion in the Philippines, Elena, heard about them and asked if she could start using them for training leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in the Philippines.
Using the rough edited versions of the videos, Elena has been hosting monthly Zoom workshops for district leaders, who then take the videos and train the leaders in their districts (called ‘Echo trainings’). Elena has shared some of the impact these training sessions are already having:
“The webinars for our district are a big help. It sustains the discipleship program of the churches here. We thought the discipleship program would be disrupted until things go back to normal. But with these webinars during the pandemic, it highlighted to our denomination that we mean business in our discipleship.”
When leaders are trained and equipped, they pass this knowledge on to their small group members, and these new leaders create more small groups. This multiplication effect is incredible and is the heartbeat of our discipleship movement!
Your journey to faith may have been similar to mine, or perhaps it began in more recent years. Regardless, evangelism and the intentional discipleship of believers is the focus of the Great Commission. Will you join us in this work today? Your gift ensures that TWR Canada can continue to provide effective, biblically based, evangelism and discipleship programs and resources to strengthen the Church. Your partnership and investment in the ministry has a lasting impact and bears much fruit. It is my prayer that the resources provided through your generosity will till the soil of many new believers’ hearts so that the seeds planted will develop strong roots and produce a bountiful harvest.
Together for the cause of Christ,
President, TWR Canada
PS: Did you know that TWR partners with the Church in over 275 languages? Your gift enables evangelism and discipleship efforts across the globe!