Sometimes it is very hard to describe what I do in the Kingdom. There are some basic things I do that are very straightforward, like train people to Gospel and disciple, teach people about the essentials of church planting, inspire people, and mobilize them into the harvest--both here and overseas. I love all of these things I get to do in God's Kingdom. But my favorite part of what I do is hard to describe. To me it is much like taking your car to a mechanic for him to solve a problem; he troubleshoots the problem and helps your car perform better. Problem solving and strategizing is a large part of what I do, but it's hard to write about and explain the long-term investment in God's workers and walking with them either in shepherding their work, or solving problems with Gospeling, discipleship, church planting, or developing leaders, as well as expanding their vision for the Kingdom. It's hard to describe what God does here, but I feel like it is one of the most valuable things I get to be involved with in His Kingdom. Much of what we did this spring is related to this area of our work, so below are short snippets of the different people and places, but how God has worked through little details would fill volumes (which you may not have time to read =).
In Athens, Jeff held a 4-day church planting training with refugee workers who are Gospeling, discipling and church planting in the midst of the crisis of refugees flooding Europe. We also worked on problem solving for church planting among refugees when they are moving place to place, from Athens to Germany to somewhere else in Europe. We have been amazed at the openness of the refugees to the Gospel, the large majority of which are Muslim background. From Athens, Jeff traveled to Germany to lead a Mid-Level training with some key workers who are focusing on Germans. German nationals have traditionally been hard to reach, but some church planters are beginning to see some breakthroughs that are exciting. Everyone had a great time of learning together from the Word and from the experiences of each one from the harvest. Then, Jeff went on to Prague to lead a 4-day church planting training for several organizations.
Two weeks later, Jeff was back in Germany to connect with leaders at a Mid-Level training during which they relied on peer-to-peer learning and soaking up the Word together to solve problems. He also had the opportunity to spend a fews days with CRU Europe, introducing how to use Iron on Iron, the peer-to-peer leadership learning process, to their leadership teams in Europe.
Houston: Our team worked with WoodsEdge missionaries and others from the church and community for 4 days of training. Two team families led a training for families to learn how to disciple together, essentially getting your kids involved in discipleship from mom and dad but also getting the kids into the harvest. This module was well attended! Other training classes included reaching your community with discipleship training, from which participants went out into area communities to share the Gospel--even after the training ended, and a Mid-Level to problem solve for those who have disciples and churches already.
Hellfighters: We had a great time doing a training with the Hellfighters Motorcycle Club in Laurel, MS. I expected an "all in" crowd! And they were! We worked on sharing the Gospel in our spheres of influence and practiced how to disciple a new believer. After about 7 hours of training, we hit the streets in the surrounding neighborhoods. I was shocked again by the openness of people to the Gospel; we had 2 pray to receive Christ and many who had spiritual hunger and wanted someone to come back and spend time studying the Word of God with them in pre-evangelism discipleship. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We were so encouraged by this group of believers who literally lay their lives on the line for Christ as they reach out to other motorcycle clubs, a population that few of us ever have the opportunity to reach!
Birmingham: The Church at Brook Hills opened its doors for us to have a 4-day church planting training. We had folks from OH, FL, NC, SC, LA, CA, AL, and TN. We hit the streets to share the Gospel in an area with many South Asians. We had many people invite us into their homes and with invitations to come back to study more about God with them. Many of them were Muslims from Bangladesh. We did have a couple of folks pray to receive Christ and were excited to have someone come back to their homes to begin learning the commands of Christ. The local church planting team is working among immigrants in the Birmingham area and will be following up in these homes.
Miriam will graduate from high school this week - hard to believe we will have 3 in college! Miriam will be playing golf for North Greenville U and studying Intercultural Studies and Linguistics for a future in Bible translation.
Summer and fall are looking just as busy as this spring; please pray that we will have some margin to rest and re-group between trainings and travel. Also, please pray God will grant us wisdom, insight and spiritual understanding in order to train and coach others.
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