Yes, I'm a Suburban Missionary!

September 25 2018

The most common question I receive from people I know is, “What exactly do you do as a missionary.” Homeland missionaries are a mystery to most people. Since they see us on a regular basis at places like church, grocery stores, or restaurants, our friends find it hard to see how we are sacrificing for the ministry. After all, a missionary gives up everything to move to a remote place to serve the local people, right? Missionaries don’t live in suburban homes or take vacations, do they?

The start of my journey as a missionary began in prison. Wait, what?!

God had called me to go back to school, but I ignored it. Six months later, he used an offender doing life in prison to remind me of his calling on my life. The offender told me God put something on his heart. What he said was identical to what God had put on my heart. I don’t take that moment lightly as this one thing altered my entire life.

For the next three years, I continued my job in the secular world while attending school. God had not yet revealed his plan for me. Toward the end of my schooling, God made it clear to me that I would become a missionary. Little did I know that I would be based in my hometown.

I started at One Mission Society on April 1, 2014, as the development officer with OMS’ Every Community for Christ (ECC) ministry. This role focuses on building or strengthening relationships with churches and organizations in the United States in hopes of building partnerships for our ministries around the world.

As is the case with most non-profit organizations, there is more work than there are workers. Because homeland missionaries must raise the funds for their support/salaries, it becomes necessary for many of us to wear many hats because there are simply not enough people willing to step out in faith. After four years with OMS, my role has extended to development officer, associate church multiplication facilitator for the Philippines and Indo-China, training facilitator, and coordinator for developing a potential new saturation project plan. It is no wonder people ask, “What exactly do you do as a missionary?”

Just like missionaries in the field, those of us at the World Headquarters do all that is necessary. Homeland missionaries understand doing our part is kingdom-focused. So, what do we do? Whatever is necessary and more … all for his kingdom!

If you would like to learn more about Shane's ministry or give to his support, you can do so here.

Click below to support the homeland missionary project fund.

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By Shane Christopher, Every Community for Christ Development Officer

Tags: homeland missionary, ecc, development, church multiplication facilitator,

​A Bridge to the Bush

July 1 2016

Liberian Nationals’ Efforts to Minister to Unreached Groups

In the world’s third poorest nation, the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ is growing rich in abundance.

Dean Davis, International Director of Every Community for Christ (ECC), shared how God is moving in Liberia, Africa, through the nationals’ efforts to spread the Gospel, make new disciples, and plant new churches through ECC’s Train & Multiply method.

In 2015, Solomon Davis, a church leader and faculty member at Monrovia Bible College in Liberia, wanted to use Train & Multiply to help churches make disciples and plant new worshiping groups. ECC invited Solomon to train in the United States in order to learn how to use this method, but he was unable to come.

Instead, Dean said, ECC developed “downloadable training,” a way to send training guides and materials so that a person experienced in evangelism and church planting can train himself or herself and in turn train others. The materials were in English with African art. English is the national language of Liberia, but it also has some 30 other spoken languages.

During the training process, Jim Hogrefe, an OMS missionary serving with ECC, worked with and coached Solomon and his friends as they learned how to use Train & Multiply. Dean said that they took the training very seriously and started to train others. Soon, they had trained more than 100 church leaders and church members on how to use T&M in multiple cities and towns in Liberia.

Among those who were trained were two pastors who spoke not only English but also Bassa, the local language. After their training, Dean said each of these pastors shared what they had learned, took their choirs and evangelism teams, and journeyed from their homes near Buchanon, Liberia, into the African bush.

The bush is typically described as a place, usually without electric power, where roads and highways don’t penetrate. Most people living there survive through hunting and gathering methods and subsistence agriculture. It was to these harsh areas, areas where Bassa is spoken, that the pastors took their teams to create new worshiping groups.

“Not just one but multiple groups,” Dean added, “and they’re training those groups to go farther in and share the Good News with their contacts.”

This succession of training — from ECC, to Solomon, to other pastors, and then to residents in the bush — is an example of using “bridge people” to share the Gospel.

“Bridge people are bilingual and bicultural people,” Dean explained. “When we find those people, there’s a great means to advance the Gospel to places where it has not been heard or embraced. For OMS… Solomon is a bridge person. He has all these contacts all across Liberia.”

With each new level of trained individuals, the Gospel can penetrate deeper into new areas of the world through bicultural and bilingual bridge people. These people can come into unreached groups with a knowledge of the language and culture, an understanding of the message they need to spread, and the skills to equip locals to continue the mission.

For foreigners and even African urban dwellers, places like the bush can be undesirable or unreachable. By using other bridge people who have better means of access, such as Solomon and the pastors who speak Bassa, the Gospel can spread farther in Liberia than it could in strictly OMS hands. That is part of the beauty of the body of Christ and the remarkable power of God’s Good News.

This pattern of finding bridges into new cultures is critical for internationalization. In this case, internalization means letting cultures different from OMS’ take the methods they have learned to continue spreading the Gospel and to send out their own groups of missionaries.

Solomon and his people, Dean added, understand that this bridging process is now primarily a local initiative in Liberia. In other words, even though Train & Multiply may have started from an international source, it will be continued and sustained on a local level. Solomon and the others want to develop self-reliant, local leaders that can use T&M across Liberia. One of those places is in the bush.

“I have no doubt that sooner or later some of these people in the bush that speak Bassa are going to be bilingual and speak another language, and the Gospel’s going to cross into another language group because they’ve been empowered,” Dean continued.

One of the greatest ways that we can serve bridge people, Dean said, is through prayer, encouragement, and continuing support and coaching as needed. Please take a moment to pray for Liberia, Solomon, and his people’s efforts to use Train & Multiply to spread the Gospel and start new worshiping groups.

For more information about Every Community for Christ and Train & Multiply, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/ecc.

By Jess Mitchell, summer communications intern

Tags: liberia, bush, africa, ecc, t&m, training, evangelism, unreached,

Building in the Midst of a Storm

November 13 2015

In October, I travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on my first trip as the OMS theological consultant for Africa. I attended Every Community for Christ’s Africa Summit. While there, I met Kris Kappler, OMS’ new international regional director for Africa, along with six of the seven ECC regional supervisors.

These men represent OMS ministry in more than 20 African nations and literally hundreds of churches. Some of these churches are not churches as we think of them, but small groups who meet under trees or in homes. The stories of God’s work told by these men were inspirational and challenging to all of us who listened. And the situations these men and their coordinators and trainers face are not easy. Challenges face them on many levels, including spiritual, social, and political.

One supervisor named Thierry lives in the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR is one of THE most war-torn countries in present-day Africa. A Bible college there named FATEB has been turned into a refugee camp with 3,000 suffering people. (Pray for the president of this school as he ministers there.)

In the midst of this turmoil and war, Thierry has the courage to dream. God has laid it on his heart to build a school. When he heard from God, he began to plan and prepare. He wrote a proposal, made a site plan, and even made arrangements with FATEB so that his Bible college could give accredited classes. At this point, some Africans would seek assistance from a Westerner to help pay for this type of dream. Not Thierry. Using his own resources and connections, he found property, built a wall around it, and has begun construction on two buildings.

When Thierry shared this story with me, he told me that he did not want help to build buildings, but shared that he could not do it all alone. He needed help in getting books for the library and help with computers and setting up the software. Thierry wants to focus on online theological education. And he wants this seminary to become an OMS seminary.

This is the type of man I am excited about partnering with; a man who is willing to build and prepare for the future of God’s kingdom in the midst of a storm. Your donation to the theological education fund allows OMS to partner with men like Thierry to help him complete his vision. Would you consider donating to account #408126 so OMS can move forward more strongly in the areas of theological education? Click here to give.

This is the kind of kingdom-building opportunity we have all around the world through OMS Theological Education. Your support of this ministry makes vision like this become reality.

By Rod Dormer, One Mission Society Theological Education Team, Africa

Tags: africa, theological education, ecc, training, small groups,

From a Hindu Boy to a Christian Bishop in India

October 20 2015

Rev. Abel Neelakandan was born and brought up in a staunch orthodox Hindu family. During his youth, he tried to find peace through his ancestral religion of Hinduism, but he failed. In 1976, he heard the Gospel through one of the Every Community for Christ team members and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Bishop M. Ezra Sargunam, president of the Evangelical Church of India and OMS missionary Dr. Elmer Kilbourne baptized Abel that same year.

One day, when Abel was reading the Bible, the Lord spoke to him through Jeremiah 1:4,5 “…Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you and I ordained you as a prophet unto the nations.” He immediately obeyed God’s call and surrendered his life to God’s service.

As one of the first Telugu converts, he joined our ECC team in that area. OMS missionary, Dr. Graham Houghton, was serving as the director for the team, as well as serving as the principal of Madras Theological Seminary & College (MTSC). After two years of ministry, Abel began classes at MTSC to receive his bachelor of theology degree.

He was appointed as the ECC Telugu team leader in 1979. He and his team baptized thousands of people and planted hundreds of churches in Chennai and in Andhra Pradesh.

In September 2015, Rev. Neelakandan was elected as a bishop of ECI South Andhra diocese. Currently, the South Andhra diocese has around 600 churches. Pray that the Lord will continue to use Bishop Abel Neelakandan to strengthen the churches under his care.

—Story courtesy of The Evangelical Church of India

Tags: india, bishop appointed, ecc, hindu, eci,

Train and Multiply - The Method Explained

October 8 2015

by Aaron Taylor

During out last post we discussed what Train and Multiply (T&M) is, and how it can be dynamically used just about anywhere. Now let's take a deeper look at the heart of the method and discover what T&M actually does.

12 Multiplication Principles

All of the methods used by Every Community for Christ (ECC) utilize 12 biblically-based multiplication principles.

  • Fervent Prayer
  • Abundant Gospel Sowing
  • Intentional Church Planting
  • Scriptural Authority
  • Equip Local Leadership
  • Mobilization of Lay Leaders
  • Cell Church, House Church, Village Church
  • Churches Planting Churches
  • Church Reproduction Without Delay
  • Healthy Churches
  • Immediate Incorporation of New Believers into the Life and Ministry of the Church
  • Active Training While in Ministry

While T&M ascribes to all of these principles, we find that the method is especially strong in the aspects of Gospel sowing, intentional church planting, equipping local leadership, on-the-job training, churches planting churches, and rapid church reproduction.

The Process

The process starts with a pastoral worker who finds a person who demonstrates hospitality and a willingness to hear a Gospel message. The pastoral worker shares the Good News with this person and their circle of influence.

Once this group gets a solid grasp of the Gospel and ministry of Jesus Christ, they learn from the pastoral worker how to do such things as pastoral care, baptism, and other on-the-job experiences. This type of hands-on training is what truly grows the leadership abilities of these new believers very quickly.

The new believers then continue to worship together and take responsibility for all of the functions of a house church. The pastoral worker encourages them and invites those whom God calls to become pastoral workers who will plant the next generation of churches.

The pastoral worker coaches these new pastoral workers to follow their example until they are fully trained and developing another generation of churches and leaders.

From here the cycle continues on and on, and the Church continues to grow. Thus,Train and Multiply has proven to be a substantial leadership development tool to expand the kingdom of God. This method, along with the grace of God, can take the Gospel to places it has never been before and reach millions of seeking souls that are hungry for God.

For Additional Resources Visit:

trainandmultiply.com

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, train and multiply, t&m, the method, explained,

Train and Multiply - An Introduction

October 6 2015

by Aaron Taylor


Over the past two weeks we have discussed two different church planting methods used by Every Community for Christ (ECC). This week we will look at the third and final process called Train and Multiply (T&M).

What is Train and Multiply?

Train and Multiply is a joint venture between Project WorldReach and One Mission Society that functions as a certifiable method of church planting and church multiplication. It was designed as a training method for potential Christian leaders to evangelize and broaden the reach of the church as a whole. T&M utilizes a unique approach to train leaders who will influence their culture and lead others to follow Jesus Christ.

How is it Used?

T&M has been translated into over 39 different languages (and counting), and thus can be used virtually anywhere. This method ascribes to the view that no one can influence a culture like those that are already members of it. T&M uses a simple, practical, reproducible leadership development process. The training materials use simple language and the illustrations reflect local dress and facial norms. The simplistic universality of T&M is what makes it such a powerful tool.

Later this week we will begin to dig into the specifics of the T&M curriculum, showing exactly how this method seeks to train leaders to influence their own culture.

For Additional Resources Visit:

trainandmultiply.com

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, intro, train and multiply, t&m,

Training for Trainers - The Method

October 1 2015

by Aaron Taylor

We've mentioned the Training for Trainers (T4T) method, but let's take a look at what this training method actually does.

12 Multiplication Principles

All of the methods used by Every Community for Christ (ECC) utilize 12 biblically-based multiplication principles. The principles are:

  • Fervent Prayer
  • Abundant Gospel Sowing
  • Intentional Church Planting
  • Scriptural Authority
  • Equip Local Leadership
  • Mobilization of Lay Leaders
  • Cell Church, House Church, Village Church
  • Churches Planting Churches
  • Church Reproduction Without Delay
  • Healthy Churches
  • Immediate Incorporation of New Believers into the Life and Ministry of the Church
  • Active Training While in Ministry

Training for Trainers incorporates each principle to some extent, but its strongest points emphasize on-the-job training for church leadership, healthy churches, intentional church planting, and abundant Gospel sowing.

The Process

The T4T process begins with nine training sessions that prepare individuals to effectively evangelize and plant churches no matter their cultural context. T4T is a ministry process to help you position yourself to see the Spirit of God ignite a church planting movement. The T4T process contains all the elements to help you see a balanced and sustained movement emerge from the Spirit's empowerment.

T4T is similar to the other methods employed by ECC in that its goal is to train believers who can train others in a very simple yet effective method of evangelism and discipleship. The goal of the training is to establish rapidly reproducing churches and groups of disciples across relationship networks.

The difference occurs in the training. T4T aims to prepare church planters themselves to first discover why church planting is so important, then to set goals and utilize their personal testimony in bringing others to belief in Christ.

Each training session in T4T includes videos and additional resources to help prepare church planters for whatever questions or situations they may face. Therefore, if you feel highly called to plant churches, but don't know where to begin, Training for Trainers may be a good place to start!

For Additional Resources Visit:

t4tonline.org

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, training for trainers, t4t, the method, explained,

Training for Trainers - An Introduction

September 29 2015

by Aaron Taylor


Last week we dove into the first of three church planting processes promoted and used by Every Community for Christ (ECC), Village Church Planting (VCP). This week we will be taking a closer look at another one of the processes, titled Training for Trainers (T4T).

What is Training for Trainers?

Training for Trainers is a cooperative effort by David Garrison, the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, and Greater Europe Mission. Adapted from a training method developed by Ying Kai, T4T is now inspiring church planting movements all over the globe. Primarily used in Asia, T4T has seen Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and even secular communities come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

How is it used?

T4T, at its most basic level, is truly a method of training fishers of men. Ascribing to the belief that Jesus has already prepared the hearts and minds of those seeking him, T4T equips church planters with the tools needed to effectively change a culture and bring people to Christ. If you are a church planter who is seeking training that will bring momentum to your church plant, Training for Trainers is a great place to start.

For Additional Resources Visit:

t4tonline.org

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, intro, training for trainers, t4t,

Village Church Planting - The Method Explained

September 24 2015

by Aaron Taylor


Our previous post introduced you to the church planting method that has hit Africa by storm, creating many worshiping communities and bringing many people to Christ. Now let's really look at what makes Village Church Planting (VCP) such a powerful method.

12 Multiplication Principles

All of the methods used by Every Community for Christ (ECC) utilize 12 biblically-based multiplication principles. The principles are:

  • Fervent Prayer
  • Abundant Gospel Sowing
  • Intentional Church Planting
  • Scriptural Authority
  • Equip Local Leadership
  • Mobilization of Lay Leaders
  • Cell Church, House Church, Village Church
  • Churches Planting Churches
  • Church Reproduction Without Delay
  • Healthy Churches
  • Immediate Incorporation of New Believers into the Life and Ministry of the Church
  • Active Training While in Ministry

While all of these principles are found within the method, VCP emphasizes the areas of equipping local leadership; establishing cell, house, and village churches; church reproduction without delay; and immediate incorporation of new believers into the life and ministry of the church.

Village Church Planting (VCP) is a focused process to plant churches in the unreached villages of Africa with a trained-in ministry philosophy. Through this outreach, hundreds of Africans are coming to know the Lord each day and multiple churches are being planted daily across the continent.

VCP Vision Statement

The VCP program aims to plant spiritually maturing churches in every African village.

VCP Mission Statement

The VCP program seeks to facilitate the planting of spiritually maturing churches in all unreached African villages by mobilizing the body of Christ to train indigenous church planter pastors to start church planting movements.

The Process

This method begins by appointing a coordinator with proper training within a village in Africa and continues by eventually instructing indigenous churches to go and plant multiple churches, and to appoint and train pastors for these churches.

There are three steps, or levels, in the VCP process:

  • Level 1: Appoint a VCP Coordinator to supervise the work in a region or country.
  • Level 2: Establish training centers in market towns surrounded by unreached villages.
  • Level 3: Train bivocational pastoral workers who come to the training centers from the surrounding villages, and who plant churches that multiply in other villages.

Therefore, as you can see, the program has a built-in support system where new church plants are nurtured by older, more experienced church planters. Entire villages are taught sustaining practices by their coordinators through the imperishable life that comes from the ultimate source, Jesus Christ.

For Additional Resources Visit:

intoafricaproject.org/vcp/

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, village church planting, vcp, method,

Village Church Planting - An Introduction

September 22 2015

by Aaron Taylor

This week we will focus on one of the church planting methods that Every Community for Christ (ECC) uses, Village Church Planting (VCP). We'll see why it was chosen and how modern missionaries use it.

What is Village Church Planting?

Village Church Planting is a subsection of the Into Africa Project, a ministry of One Mission Society (OMS), and the official church planting method that is used in a majority of African villages. The process was developed in order to evangelize and plant churches in unreached villages in Africa.

Hundreds of men and women are coming to the saving work of Jesus Christ through this training-in-ministry process so often adopted by many ECC church plants.

How is it used?

Associated with VCP is a goal called The African Challenge. The end goal of The African Challenge is to have planted a church in every village in Africa by the year 2030. In order to do this, VCP relies heavily on the youth of African villages to lead an evangelical pursuit in their own context. Through coordination and training, churches all over Africa are spreading like wildfire. The VCP church planting method is specifically targeted for use throughout Africa, but that isn't to say that it couldn't be used elsewhere with a little adaptation.

Statistics

Since its conception, VCP has planted more than 42,500 churches throughout Africa, and nearly 5,500,000 members have committed their lives to Jesus Christ.

For Additional Resources Visit:

intoafricaproject.org/vcp/

onemissionsociety.org/ecc

or like us on Facebook !

Tags: every community for christ, methodology, ecc, intro, village church planting, vcp,