Guest Blog by Barry Wilks
Over the past ten years, international missions continues to focus on a new path:
Making Discipleship the core of every church planting movement taking place. A perfect example of this new mentality can be seen in our outreach to the Banyankore people.
When I arrived in Southwest Uganda in 2005, I began to see the incompleteness of the evangelistic church planting process. The strategy priority for years was focused on seeing resources placed into certain villages so that a building could be erected. After visiting several of those sites and buildings and seeing that they were vacated, town down, or overgrown and overtaken by banana plantations, it was obvious that something was wrong with the current strategy.
Our team began working along side two young national men, who had a heart to see Gods plan for Discipleship go forth through their people group. These two young Banyankore (pronounced bahn-yahn-KOH-lay) nationals had a heart for God’s best among their tribesman. After the last seven years of seeing these men go forth in small discipleship groups, we’ve seen God’s plan being fulfilled among the Banyankore people.
This past year, some of us from Brainerd had the opportunity to lead our first focused discipleship training among this people group. Over seventy pastors attended and we began the pathway through the study of Pastor Robby’s book Growing Up.
The Flame continues to be fanned through these pastors and church leaders. It is with great hope that God’s ways and Christ-like men and women will continue to foster the hope of the Gospel.
The plan for Spring of 2016 is to carry on this Discipling plan. There will be another training and Replicate event among these same pastors, where they will continue the pathway to study the follow-up to Growing Up, Firmly Planted.
Not only has this new path of discipleship taken hold of the Banyankore, but it has now crossed over into other tongues has well: the Hutu and Tutsi and several Kiswahili speakers.
All these groups are now routinely meeting weekly to carry forth a deeply rooted understanding of what it means to be a disciple who makes disciples. They are no longer focused on a building, a plot of land, or the external things that might seemed to have once defined what a “church” is. They are learning that the church is just people—and people have become the focus. They have seen that the church is about disciples making disciples.
Pray for these tongues that will one day be represented around the throne (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9,) and be encouraged to know that the Banyankore people have begun and continue the process of making disciples, and are growing without any outside intervention. We believe that it will be trained nationals that finish the task in the hardest places in the world.
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