Since our last report, Louise and I have trained in the following areas.
December 1-3, 2017: George – 20 participants
February 13-18, 2018: St Mark the Evangelist – 27 participants, including the 7 leaders trained in September 19-20 2017 who assisted in this training
February 22-25, 2018: Johannesburg – we trained 23 previously Strategy trained participants in the second of the four modules called Foundations
March 9-11, 2018: Cape Town Youth Leaders – 26 participants
March 16-18, 2018: Klerksdorp (cancelled just prior to planned training)
March 20-May 4, 2018: deputation in USA
May 16-20, 2018: Natal – Strategy 14 participants
Rooted in Jesus
June 12-14, 2018: Namibia – 4/5 participants (one participant had to leave after one day’s training)
By invitation of, and fully funded by, Bishop Mouneer Anis, Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa:
June 25-29, 2918: Gambela, Ethiopia – 26 participants
July 3-6, 2018: Cairo, Egypt – 12 participants
Louise has created a contact email database on the My Anglican website to help us keep in touch with those we have trained. A lot of follow-up work is done in between trainings in which participants receive various resources to help them implement the training, namely videos, Bible Studies, different disciple-making manuals, various articles on disciple making, and so on. If we find something that may be helpful, we pass it on, like the recent Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Initiative. We also coach and encourage participants from time to time asking for feedback and questions and stories. When we do receive emails in return, we answer them promptly according to what is addressed.
We have also been trying to settle into our new home and community and have been actively engaged in our own local parish, St Augustine’s in Villiersdorp.
Disciple making requires a huge paradigm shift for many of our trainees that involves modelling, life transformation, multiplication (making disciples who can make disciples), community or people-centred focused ministry rather than church-based programs, changing priorities, and every member ministry. The training is based on what we believe is Jesus’ model for disciple making using the Gospels as a basic platform. It includes a 60-Day Study on the Life and Ministry of Jesus that encourages the trainee to read through all four Gospels.
Investing in the lives of a few, with a view to creating active disciple makers, takes time and a lot of personal effort. It took Jesus three to four years. In an age of instant everything and quick fixes, this initially appears to be a problem. Quality is often overlooked when the focus is on quantity.
Some of the responses to our coaching questions have revealed that many participants are extremely busy. One participant told us that he did not have time for regular prayer and Bible reading, much less personal retreat time, as he served on various committees and guilds, was responsible for several churches, and was engaged in further theological studies by extension, among other things. We counselled him to prayerfully consider his priorities.
We have been encouraged by some forward movements, such as the case with St Mark’s second training where previously trained participants trained others with our assistance. Johannesburg was also the first to host the second module Foundations. Participants in Natal were so thrilled with the Strategy material that they are in the process of translating it into Zulu. Namibia has asked us to come back to train again, using the 4 trained participants, but in the more rural areas in the north and, perhaps, southern Angola.
We have noticed that when the Bishop of the Diocese is involved in the training the participants tend to be more motivated to implement the training. We saw this yet again in Cairo with Bishop Mouneer. Participants in Gambela implemented what we were training even during the training! Participants seem to be more motivated when their leaders show personal interest.
A lack of funds needed to pay for the training manuals, our travel, and our board and lodging costs seem to be a problem for some Dioceses.
Since our deputation trip to the US, we have managed to raise enough funds for a 4X4 vehicle and for fuel for the trips. (Many thanks to our US ministry partners!) When possible, we camp in inexpensive parks or camping grounds close to the training, or stay with friends, family, or parishioners to try to cut down on living expenses. We are also working on the manuals to see how we can cut down on printing costs as well. Louise and I will be part of a two-day revision of both Strategy and Foundations with the J-Life leaders early August.
We still have 13 Dioceses left in which to train participants in Strategy. Those already trained are being encouraged to a) implement the material personally, b) begin planning a second training in which they train other trainers in their Diocese with our help, and c) begin planning to be trained in the second module, Foundations. It is important to be trained in all four modules if one is aiming at a permanent shift in the manner in which disciple making ministry is done.
We also hope to be offering training in Rooted in Jesus in the near future, as it is a very useful resource in the process of making disciples.