Prayer Walking: An Important Part of our Strategy

*Trisha was excited when *Saeng offered to lead her through a prayer-walking exercise. “Come, invite anyone,” Saeng said. “I’ll invite people too!” When the day arrived, five ladies gathered in the busy streets of the Mekong city they loved. 

Saeng set the method and objectives for the morning. They would go in two small groups and pray aloud for one hour as they walked through the neighborhoods. Twice during the hour, they were to stop and still themselves for five minutes as they asked God what he wanted them to see. When they felt led to pray for someone, they were to ask for that person’s entire family to know God, not just that individual. Finally, they would ask God for a song to sing, since they couldn’t be certain when he would next be praised there.

A quick game of rock, paper, scissors determined who went in each group, then they decided what areas each group would cover. They chose a place to meet afterward, asked God to lead their time, and set off.

Trisha was teamed up with her language tutor, a woman she knew loved God but with whom she had never prayed before. “It was so sweet to walk through the streets, pleading for entire families to know God, with a local believer voicing agreement and pleading right beside me.”

As she walked, Trisha began to see the people in a new light. She could see the communities in which they belonged: shop owners helping each other to break a large bill, groups of women talking and children playing, street vendors swapping stories as they prepared food, motorcycle taxi drivers waiting together on the side of the road. Trisha was struck by what could happen in the families and communities if Jesus were welcomed by just one of them.

When they met up an hour later, they all discussed what had touched their hearts and what questions they had. Saeng took notes so they could read over them the next time they went prayer walking. After closing with a time of prayer, the ladies agreed not to let the experience stop with them. They would tell others about their experience and encourage them to try it for themselves.

How about you? Are you interested in seeing God’s kingdom multiplied around the world through intentional prayer and active obedience?

*pseudonyms used

Thanking God for New Disciple Makers: Jesus, Paul, and Us

Have you ever realized that all the new disciples Jesus, Paul and their teams made were the first disciples where none had ever been?  What did they do? Over and over, we find Jesus and Paul thanking God for these new disciples and leaders!

In Luke 10:21, Jesus “overflowed with joy” that the 72 had received God’s revelation and fulfilled their mission.

Every one of Paul’s letters went to the first disciples and churches in unreached peoples.  He and his team constantly thanked God for them, such as in 2 Thessalonians 1:3:  We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.  Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. Some among other such verses include Romans 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:15-16; Philippians 1:3-6; 4:4-6; Colossians 1:3, 2:6-7; 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 5:16-18; and Philemon 1:1-4.

Would you join the Beyond team in giving thanks for some of the following first disciples and leaders among Unreached People Groups?

  • An apostolic team of young adults in a Southeast Asian country who, after a natural disaster, have made some of the first disciples in that unreached people.
  • For local leaders God has used to launch a movement of over 30,000 churches who went (in spite of their fear) to an area known for organized crime families – and made some of the first disciples ever among that people group.
  • For the same team who trained some from a different language group (known as the poorest of the poorest of the poor) – and came back a few weeks later to find they had started 13 discovery Bible study groups!
  • For a couple who prayed for 10 coworkers to help make multiplying disciples in an atheistic European country – and showed a picture recently of a multi-national team of 12 disciple-making coworkers God had raised up!
  • For a radio personality in a Southeast Asian country who became a disciple and has joined in multiplying other disciples.
  • For two top athletes from an Asian country who are partnering with our team to make multiplying disciples among other athletes of their region.
  • For reports of the first known believers in an Asian town.

For all of these new disciples and disciple-makers, Lord, we give THANKS and we overflow with JOY!!

Kent Parks
President & CEO

From Triangles to Circles

The BEYOND South Asia team had a problem. God had birthed a movement with them serving as catalysts. Now the movement among their focus people group had grown too large to continue using their old training and equipping model. As problems go, it was a good problem to have. The movement had done a phenomenal job of teaching disciple-making. It had many “Pauls,” disciple-makers mentoring others in disciple-making, and many “Timothys,” disciple-makers being mentored. Lives changed as followers of Jesus obeyed his word. Whole communities felt the impact. To meet the growing need of training thousands and nurturing their spiritual health, however, they needed a new approach.

The old model was like a triangle where each “Paul” would gather and train a group of 15 or more “Timothys.” This worked well in the beginning, but when numbers grew, problems arose. In the large meetings, several people never spoke up and never got help for the issues they faced. The financial cost of these gatherings also limited growth. 

The catalyst team knew something had to change, but they didn’t have the answer. They had no guide book for how to develop the movement. So they prayed and listened for the Lord’s guidance, knowing he would provide.  

He did, of course. In time, they connected with a brother in Christ from Africa who shared how a movement there had learned to deal with similar growing pains. In the African movement, groups of about five people from the same area meet regularly in a home. They sit in a circle as they discuss the positive and negative things they have faced that week in making disciples. Often, when someone has a problem, another from the group has faced a similar issue and can share what they have learned. They set goals and hold one another accountable for making disciples. No one struggles in silence. They each find community, care, and direction from like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.

These groups are not leaderless. Each circle has a coach who meets with them. The coach is a fellow disciple-maker who has a bit more experience than the others. The coach belongs to a circle of his/her own peers and has a coach of their own. Through these interlocking circles, the experience and connections of more seasoned disciplers are available to the network.  

For the leaders of the South Asian movement, a new paradigm began to emerge. Circles, not triangles. As they implemented the new model, they had to deconstruct their previously held beliefs about training and mentoring. They realized their tendency, like that of many others, was to go bigger. The idea of going small to be more effective was a step of faith for them, but they saw it work firsthand. People who used to sit in the back and not speak actively engaged in the smaller format. The focus stayed on disciple-making. The circle model would scale to meet their needs.

*pseudonyms used

I Told Him I Was Quitting

Before joining BEYOND, *Charlie worked in the IT industry. He specialized in indirect sales and marketing; he educated and supported hundreds of salesmen. He also led efforts to simplify products so lower-skilled resellers could effectively market them.

“I wasn’t good at direct sales myself,” Charlie states. “But, as an indirect salesman, I trusted my team to be good salesmen. I could then focus on achieving three things: helping my resellers catch the vision of our product while building trust with them, equipping them with training and tools to be successful, and supporting them as they engaged with real customers.” Charlie was passionate about his role, and very good at it. The sales’ numbers rocketed as his hard work paid off.

Then Charlie quit.

“I still remember telling my VP I was about to resign,” Charlie recalls. “I told him I was quitting to become a full-time missionary in a hostile nation in Asia. He clearly thought I was crazy. And to be honest, I couldn’t disagree.”

As Charlie had wrestled with God about this radical new calling, he had argued that his skills were in the IT world, not in ministry. He couldn’t preach. He struggled with words when sharing his faith. He had no seminary training and wasn’t even great at leading small groups at church. Charlie asked, “How could I be a church planter? My gifts aren’t classic ‘missionary gifts.’”

One day, as Charlie read the story of Jesus calling Andrew and Simon, it hit him. “Come, follow me,” Jesus had said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Jesus took their “secular” skills as fishermen and applied them to the new Kingdom work to which He was calling them. Their skills in throwing nets and cleaning fish weren’t directly applicable in Jesus’ work. But they understood what it meant to leave the safety of land and go to where the fish were. They knew what clues indicated that fish were near and what methods would catch the most fish. These more subtle skills were relevant to the ministry Jesus had in store for them. In that moment, Charlie sensed God saying, “You will be doing the same thing as before. I’m just going to give you a better product!” 

As BEYOND missions catalysts utilize Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, they spend most of their time in vision casting, and training and equipping local believers to start movements. BEYONDers then mentor and coach these equipped local partners as they step out in this mission. This model almost exactly parallels what Charlie did as an indirect salesman. 

In addition, the DMM model capitalizes on the fact that only simple, easily reproducible models have a chance at growing church planting movements. A complicated approach cannot multiply. Charlie’s experience in streamlining products helped him implement these simple, reproducible models of discipleship. He summarizes: “Understanding how God can use my unique giftings has given me the confidence to make disciple-making disciples and church-planting churches.”

God’s wisdom always surpasses ours. We need innovative business people who love others and know how to cast vision, equip, and support the people God is calling to start movements among unreached people groups. God did not give us all the same gifts. And none of His good gifts are wasted.

*pseudonyms used