To be honest, that is a story that would take much time and space to fully lay out, but let me focus in on just a couple of aspects:
We started going to Kenya in 2010, when my daughter Lorna went on a short term mission with her bible school. Among other passions, she came home all excited about how God was moving in the hearts of the people and how revival seemed to be springing up everywhere there. Her team had presented the gospel to many people and saw such great response it almost sounded too good to be true.
The next year, through some divine appointments and amazing God-directed circumstances, I was invited to bring a team from Grace by a Pastor who had recently moved to Canada from Kenya. (This was filled with amazing coincident and just how we connected was as only God can do.) I went to Kenya and have gone back several times since, bringing teams that clearly God orchestrated. Several members were not only from Grace MB, but other churches and, in time, even other countries as well.
From the first trip, I realized that being a computer geek was something that God wanted to use in our ministry there. I set up systems for discipleship and training that would not only be used in Kenya but would connect teams in Kenya with teams coming from Canada. And, as only God can do, things really blossomed. In a very short time, we were on radio and TV in Kenya bringing the gospel message (We still have a weekly discipleship program airing 2-3hrs called No Compromise. It’s a youth-to-youth high energy program that teaches the things that Christ taught his disciples in a way that is culturally relevant and very engaging). And with such long reach teams in Kenya (led by my son-in-law) Jimmy and Lorna saw exponential growth in new converts. So the next hurdle quickly was how do you disciple multiple groups who are spread out throughout several cities and towns?
My first thought, of course, was technology. But, even on my first trip to Kenya, I noticed that computers were not in everyone’s reach, so I knew that connecting in that way would have limited impact – especially to villages that sometimes didn’t have electricity every day. But on that trip I also noticed that everyone had cell phones. We even saw Maasai women carrying bundles of wood on their head while talking on the cell. These were not necessarily smart phones, but that too has begun.
Jesus said make disciples not just converts in Matthew 28:16-20
Fast forward to today. Each week, like most pastors, I have many duties and obligations. Prayer, sermon prep and making up Bible studies consume a great portion of the week, along with visitation and administration. But I am still very connected with what has evolved in Kenya. As I make up my bible studies from my sermon notes, I post both to one of our websites and also to social media. I also fire off a link to our networks of leaders throughout Kenya and other places.
If that’s still not quite geeky enough, I also connect with those networks via Whatsapp. (It’s a cross platform app for Iphone and Android devices that is very prevalent in third world countries. It’s especially suitable for small group interaction since the group size is limited to 100 and you must be invited to be a part.) One of our networks has 330 group leaders who are actively discipling about 10 people per group each week in person.
They call it, “doing life together”. Their goal this season is, “each one reach one”. Such a wonderful goal!
My personal leadership chat group receives my weekly Bible Study and they take and use it throughout the various networks as they see fit. It is a starting point for them, but one that is actively being used in our church at Grace, in the Heart of Penticton. We have some great chats that have caused me to grow in my faith and prayer times, even as I hope it does theirs. Sometimes heated conversations arise in their groups from the discussions of the questions I’ve posted, and they let me know about it. This is so that I can provide more clarification or add more fuel for the fire. But either way, the iron sharpening iron discipleship definitely happens. People seem to be growing in their faith and walk with the Lord both at home in Penticton and throughout our networks.
To God be all the glory. I was simply in the way and He used me.