We talk a lot about the successes of Developing Worker’s medical ministry — people seen at our clinics for their physical needs. Through this work people are coming to know Jesus and we LOVE celebrating these salvation moments.
But what happens when we leave? How do these new Christians learn to walk in The Way moving forward? The medical ministry is our way of meeting the physical needs of people. Our work doesn’t end there.
To meet the spiritual needs of the people, we actively invest in the process of making and training disciples who are members of the communities we visit.
Developing Workers and Foundations Discipleship Training were founded, to make disciples who can be the hands and feet of the church. Our vision is to take forth the gospel by empowering and equipping people to serve in their God given strengths through leadership development, personal coaching and mobilization of ministry efforts.
Discipleship in Small Churches
Small churches have a hard time reaching everyone in their church because there is only one pastor. By investing in one person- teaching the ways, lifestyle, and teachings of Jesus for a personal up-close relationship with the Lord built over time-a pastor can develop a new leader in the church. Then that leader will begin to invest in another person so that the roots of discipleship grow within the church.
Let’s take a closer look at Jesus’ relationship with the disciples. He had a core group of three disciples; Peter, James, and John-those closest to him. But of those three, he was closest to John. He built an intense relationship with John that could spread out to the others.
Then the three supported the rest of the twelve. From there, the twelve continued to disciple the multitudes. It is this model of personal discipleship that we use globally when training pastors. Our work is to equip the saints to do the ministry. This is what Jesus taught and what we are helping pastors do in their own ministries.
We teach the HOW of Discipleship.
- We teach disciples HOW to multiply disciples.
- We teach pastors HOW to preach the Word of God.
To do this work, we have built and continue to build training centers. To open a training center, we partner with a church in the area to provide a learning space for local leaders to gather and train. By doing this it opens a more permanent space for collaboration between churches and eliminates the costs of renting a temporary space while we are there to help. Each training center opens with 20-30 pastors and leaders already committed to training- learning the HOW of Discipleship.
Since everything we do is provided free to the churches and communities, it is important to be wise stewards of the funds we raise to support the ministries. But this collaboration has a deeper impact. Bringing churches together for training helps build commitment and connection between the denominations in the area. It helps these leaders of small churches encourage one another in the Lord’s work. They feel less alone in their endeavors.
The building of a spiritual community through discipleship training is already taking root in many of the countries we serve. Let’s take a look at some of the fruits being seen in Peru, Brazil, and Mexico.
Seven churches in five cities have open space for training centers in Peru. Three of those centers are in Lima, while other are in northern more rural locations. We are blessed to train 115 pastors and leaders, and counting.
Pastor Wilmer of Lima, Peru
An amazing story comes from a pastor who has a church outside of Lima, Pastor Wilmer. He had a rough life that the Lord is now using for His glory. In one year, Pastor Wilmer has trained eight leaders in his church who are now reaching out and training more leaders in and out of the church. He is on fire for making disciples and has partnered with Foundations to do so. His church in a rural community has grown to over 200 people. They must close off the street and put chairs outside the building to have enough space to serve everyone who comes. This is just one story of someone whose heart was prepared by God to receive training on discipleship.
Why is this story important? Because it mirrors the roots of discipleship in Jesus’ ministry. Too often pastors in an economically repressed country feel they must support their church alone. They get worn out and depressed. By training leaders to help the burden becomes bearable and journey is sustained. More pastors are becoming aware of Foundations Global Discipleship Training and are gaining new hope for their communities.
Opening Doors to Discipleship Training
Since we go where we are invited- where the hearts of leaders are ready to receive- we find ourselves traveling non-stop during training sessions in Peru. We did get a chance to spend three days in Lima where we met with 26 leaders about the future of training in Peru.
We agree there will be more opportunities in Peru for Discipleship training. So, we are asking for prayer support.
- Please pray for HOW-HOW do we begin to cultivate those next opportunities and relationships?
- Please pray for our teams returning to finish more training centers.
Three training centers are opening in Brazil, two in Londrina and one in Rio de Janeiro. These centers follow the same pattern of starting with 20-30 pastors and leaders from the area churches.
The Londrina training centers have chosen to serve specific populations.
- One will train young adults coming out of seminary. Often the focus in seminary is creating sermons and the business of a church. Our training center will equip these young pastors in discipleship.
- The second center will train established pastors and leaders in discipleship.
The Rio de Janeiro training center will be more experimental, reaching out to both established and new leaders.
Early Success in Brazil
One of the blocks to discipleship training has been the translation of materials into other languages. We are excited that our supporters raised the funds to translate our materials into Portuguese in 2018. So, when we met with leaders, we were able to present training materials. This eliminated hesitation to move forward. To continue moving forward, we ask that you support us in prayer.
- God will find leaders willing to be trained.
- Those leaders are willing to carry out the training.
Two centers were finished in Mexico City. We had two meetings with local leaders to discuss opening more training centers. The key question was, HOW to open the next generation of centers?
We will be back in Mexico to prepare to open a new center. Through one of our precious contacts, we have identified six more cities in Mexico where centers may emerge.
An Example of Relational Discipleship
Our precious contact, Pastor Surillo, was the head of the Evangelical Alliance in Mexico. Although he had a great career as a businessman and employee of a large non-profit, he heard God’s call to discipleship. In faith, he left the non-profit and a large salary to pursue God’s calling. It is during that time that we met and began building a relationship, training in discipleship and building trust.
We build long-term relationships that are genuine. In every place we have a training center we had a relationship with a pastor first. It is through relational discipleship that God’s plans come to fruition. Otherwise, materials are placed on a shelf with no life. It is through relationship we implement what we learn.
So, we ask that you pray with us over these relationships.
- That relationships continue to build and be nurtured through God’s children.
- That the six cities identified will open their hearts to discipleship.
Potential in Cambodia
We can expand our work into Cambodia through a partnership with Global Surge. This ministry has outreach in Southeast Asia through church planting and evangelistic camps. Opposite of most Western ministry models, Global Surge disciples a lot of people in a community with the goal of bringing together small groups of like-minded people. After groups are established and flourishing, churches are planted.
Global Surge reaches many young people and connects them to these small church plants. But they need our help with discipleship training for their community leaders. We are excited to discuss collaboration with this outstanding organization.
- That God’s will be done when discussing possible collaboration.
Developing Workers and Foundations Discipleship Training has reached 4,096 pastors and leaders. While medical intervention is needed in all communities, it is the development of pastors and leaders that is critical. These are the people who will care for those seen in the medical clinics after Developing Workers leave.
Since our vision is to help pastors become more effective at making disciples, we need to continue our outreach into communities around the world. To put it in perspective, it is estimated there are 2-3 billion pastors in the world, yet only 1 in 10 have any training.
Our training materials are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We can successfully reach 1 billion people. But the Great Commission is to reach the whole world. We cannot stop with three languages or 4,096 pastors trained. We need to help about 2 million more pastors have the training needed to reach the world with resources in every language.
This is possible only with your help. Your continued support through prayer, financial giving, and time in the field is the backbone of this ministry. It is through you that we have kingdom impact.