A Big Day Has Arrived

A Big Day Has Arrived

by R. Nyman

As my husband and I continue to implement, train, and coach others in Disciple Making Movements among Unreached People Groups, one of the dividing lines of commitment among Muslims is obedience in the step of baptism.

In coaching others to implement this step, the first breakthrough came when God shifted our local partners’ paradigms as to who is able to baptize. They discovered through Scripture that there is no instruction that only ordained people can baptize. They then adopted the principle that the person who led another person to faith would do the baptizing after a brief baptism Discovery Bible Study.

These days, in what is the beginning of a Church Planting Movements, male and female, young and old baptize those who have made a commitment to follow Jesus in their DBS groups. Whether in a rice field, river bed, wash room, or the ocean, baptism is an outward commitment of the inward reality of followership of Jesus.

This story, taken from the book Stubborn Perseverance, shows what this process looks like.

* * *

The big day had arrived! Faisal and Fatima picked up Ahmad and his family and drove to the beach. The sun was coming up, and a light breeze blew.

The group stood near the water’s edge. Faisal opened to Matthew 28:18–20 and read:And Isa came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Baptism is one of the commands Isa gave His followers. Ahmad and his family have come to obey that command. Baptism has three primary meanings.

“First, baptism is a public statement that you have made Isa your Savior and Lord.

“Second, baptism is an outward symbol of the inner change in your life. You have become a new creation. Being immersed symbolizes that you have been washed and changed.

“Third, baptism joins you to every other person who has been baptized. You become members of one worldwide family in Al Masih.

“Finally, baptism doesn’t save us; faith does. Baptism is not a work to ‘earn’ salvation. It is a command to obey.”

“Now please share your personal salvation stories, starting with Ahmad.”

When they finished, Faisal asked:

Do you believe the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil are inspired by God and free from error?

Do you believe Isa Al Masih is the eternal Word of God who became a human being?

Do you believe Isa is the Messiah and the Son of the living God?

Do you believe Isa Al Masih shed His blood on a cross to cleanse you of your sins?

Have you confessed your sins, asked God to forgive you, and received Isa as your Savior and Lord? Are you willing to obey Him even to death?

Have you severed all ties with the occult, ancestor worship, and idolatry?”

They responded “Yes!” to each question.

Then Faisal prayed, “O God, we praise You for the way You have worked in this family.

“Thank You for calling them to be Your children, and for giving them the courage to obey You in baptism. Strengthen them so they will be faithful when persecution comes.

“Be glorified in their lives. In the name of Isa Al Masih, Amen.”

Together they waded into the sea.

Faisal stood in front of Ahmad and placed his hand on Ahmad’s head. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Ahmad lowered himself under the water.

Ahmad then stood in front of his wife and placed his hand on her head and declared, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” She lowered under the water. Ahmad then baptized the rest of his household.

After they changed, food was spread out. All eyes turned to Faisal to bless the food.

“Hey, am I the only one here who can pray?” Faisal joked. “Let’s ask Ahmad to pray!”

This article was first published in Mission Frontiers and used with permission.

About the Author: R. Nyman and James Nyman serve with Act Beyond in SE Asia among Muslim UPGs. Their passion is to see God glorified in the launch of cascading movements to Christ among these peoples. 

 

When 3+2=27+300

When 3+2=27+300

Thank you for your donations that provide training to make disciples.

Three years ago, the caste leaders of a village attacked a visiting disciple of Jesus named Roman. They wanted Roman to stop telling “their” people about Jesus. They beat him up, destroyed his motorcycle, and threatened to do worse if he didn’t leave immediately. Roman was terrified. He fled the village and spent the next few days hiding in the jungle. Disciples of Jesus from other villages brought him food and other essentials. After a few days, Roman stopped hiding. He first went home, then, amazingly, he returned to the village he’d fled.

The caste leaders were unhappy. “We beat you. Now, you’re back!?”

“You must hear me,” Roman said. “I have good words for you.”

Intent on stopping Roman for good, the village leaders “reported” him to local Hindu radicals. They came and threatened Roman. He responded by boldly proclaiming the Good News about Jesus. Eventually, the group left, but later, two returned to speak with Roman privately. Roman asked two other movement leaders to join him in the village. Once all were together, the Hindu men exclaimed, “What kind of strength do you have to endure these things [beatings and threats]!?!” The five men talked for days and visited a local house church.

As soon as the two Hindu men returned to their own community, they started a Discovery Bible Study. Four months later, 27 people in their village, most of whom had also been radical Hindus, were baptized as disciples of Jesus. Of the 27, three pairs of workers emerged who have influenced 300 villages for Jesus so far. Recently, 60 people from those villages gathered to learn how they also can make more followers within the disciple-making movement and see new churches birthed in other unreached villages.

Being a disciple of Jesus does not erase suffering or eliminate trouble. However, when struggles come, we, like Roman, can listen to the Spirit and obediently go where He leads. As we do we will see His wonders – Sauls become Pauls, Simons turn into Peters, and Sons of Thunder change to loving servants!

Your financial gifts take the gospel to where it has never been, and this generosity is transforming lives and whole villages!

 

Why We Chose Beyond: Laser Focus on Healthy Disciples

Why We Chose Beyond: Laser Focus on Healthy Disciples

Someone asked *Helen why she and her husband chose BEYOND as their sending organization. “My answer is always the same,” says Helen. “Not only is BEYOND laser-focused on seeing healthy disciples reproduce healthy disciples which plant healthy multiplying churches across cultures and borders, but BEYOND also truly cares for their members in a way I haven’t experienced before.” 

In 2013, *Frank and Helen set out to start a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) among an unreached people group. They knew God had promised to go before them and be with them, but they didn’t anticipate how much Satan would attack along the way. 

“We were originally with a somewhat larger organization before joining BEYONDSoon after arriving on the field, we learned how important it was to have an organization that actively supported its members’ health. By the end of our first year, we had experienced two miscarriages and the burnout of our teammates who permanently left the field. While our first org helped us seek counseling and walked with us through our team falling apart, the effort was all reactive, not proactive. We received no preventative help or preparation for future issues. They didn’t seem to have the resources to affect change. After four years of feeling like we were constantly going elsewhere to get help, both personally and for our ministry, we made the difficult decision to leave the organization. 

“We were already going to BEYOND members for DMM guidance, and the more we learned about their approach to member health, the more we wanted to learn. BEYOND is different. They are proactive in making sure you and your family are healthy disciples at all times. This is crucial as only healthy disciples can reproduce healthy disciples.” 

“They have several different touch-points to ensure their members’ health. Every month we celebrate growth and share our challenges in the areas of family, prayer, spiritual growth, ministry, and finances through an evaluation. They do not micromanage but allow space for sharing, celebrating, growing, and changing. Field staff can get help before a crisis hits or altogether avoid many crises often faced on the field. We are continually trained and refreshed in best ministry practices by experienced DMM leaders. They are never satisfied with stagnation for any one disciple, much less a movement of disciples. Their approach to member health is truly holistic. I feel as if I am a better person and a healthier disciple because of the way BEYOND has invested in me. We are so glad we chose BEYOND!”

*pseudonym

“Would You Like to Hear the Story?”

“Would You Like to Hear the Story?”

*Lisa and a friend were seated on the floor of *Rosa’s small living area. As Rosa’s twin grandsons jumped and hopped around, she told her visitors about her daughter *Wani’s rare blood disorder, and her need for transfusions. 

Though Lisa is still learning the language, she boldly asked, “Would you like to hear the story of when Isa (Jesus) healed a woman with a blood issue?” When Rosa agreed, Lisa told the story from Mark 5:25-34

Later the women asked what Rosa would like God to do. She quickly responded that she wanted God to heal Wani. 

“That’s great! You can ask him yourself,” Lisa said. Rosa hesitated at first, then offered a heartfelt cry to God to heal her daughter and provide the blood she needs.  

When the two women visited several days later, Rosa excitedly shared that Wani was better and back home again. Lisa asked if Rosa remembered that she had asked Isa (Jesus) to heal Wani.

Yes, and I told Wani the story you shared with me.” When Lisa gave her a printed copy of the story, Rosa turned and read it aloud to Wani who had joined them. Lisa left the story with them to read and talk about with their husbands, saying, “When we come back we can talk about it, and we’ll tell you another story.”

Please pray that God would reveal himself to Rosa, Wani, and their husbands. Ask God to heal Wani so His glory may spread through their influence. 

*pseudonym

Expect and Train for Persecution

Expect and Train for Persecution

By C. Anderson

 “2021 was a demanding year. I can’t anticipate what 2022 will bring, but of one thing I’m certain: God will be with us in whatever comes our way.” These words slipped across my lips this morning as I sat around our kitchen table drinking a steaming cup of coffee with a friend who had come by for an unexpected chat.

 The past two years were filled with transitions and uncertainty. It makes it hard to look forward  to the new year with a typical goal-setting model. It’s more difficult than before to project what the year may bring. The past two years make us cautious about planning too far in advance, especially if your ministry normally involves international travel. Yet, as I reflect and consider, I see that the  past two years have been some of the most fruitful years ever.

Despite the pandemic, through online Disciple Making Movement training, I’ve impacted people in countries where I’d previously had little to no influence. For those who pressed forward  amid the virus situation, many would say the same. God’s kingdom has been growing and expanding. New movements have been catalyzed. Our Lord was not hindered by what happened in our world. He has used it to advance and grow His kingdom in unusual, new ways. The theme of this issue is Essential Elements for Catalyzing Movements. As I pondered that theme, together with the beginning of a New Year, a particular practice came to mind. It’s one we don’t often consider and don’t particularly like to talk about.

This practice has to do with training disciples to expect persecution. They must be prepared to expect it, endure it, and grow through it. Those who prepare people for persecution are not surprised  by it. Instead, they face it boldly and with biblical understanding.

Preparation for Hardship Starts Early
Preparing people for persecution starts before they become Jesus followers. This has to do with how we present the gospel. Some people share Christ this way: “Become a Christian. You will have joy and peace. All the difficult things in your life will become easy.” On a visit to Africa this past year I trained a group of disciple-makers to share their three-minute testimony. In their first attempts, it often went like this. “Before Jesus my life was hard. After Jesus my life is easy.” This is not the gospel. It is not even true!

We need to be genuine about the cost of following Christ. Our presentation is not a “bait and switch.” We are not to “market the gospel.” Instead, we call people to embrace the truth of Christ’s message and to repent, to a complete change of mindset and lifestyle. This is far more attractive than a gimmicky, freebie Christianity. We must lead people to embrace the only path that leads to God, though hard and costly. We share the message that Jesus and His kingdom are like the pearl of great price, worth giving up everything to find. That is the gospel message of  Jesus  (Matt. 13:45-46).The cause of Christ is worth dying for. His truth is worth selling all we have in order to gain. This must be our message and what our lives also demonstrate.

 Share New Testament Stories and Scriptures About Persecution
As we study the movements of Jesus and Paul in the New Testament they are full of instances of persecution. This is an easily observed pattern found in the book of Acts.

 Persecution – Growth – Persecution – Growth. The church grew, and it was persecuted. Likely, the more the movements we start grow, the more we will be persecuted. The converse can also be true. The more we are persecuted, the more we grow. Why not create a story set with New Testament stories of persecution? Include Discovery studies on what Jesus said about persecution as well. Jesus promised persecution would come. Study those passages with those you are training as disciples. Here is a sample of verses and stories you could use, or you may want to create your own.• Acts 4:1-4• 2 Timothy 3:11-12• Acts 7:51-56• John 15:19-20• Acts 8:1-4• Matthew 5:10-12

Movements that grow rapidly will encounter seasons of great persecution. It is normal if the movement grows exponentially. Training every disciple to understand that this persecution is expected, from the beginning, is biblical.

 Share Current Examples of Persecution
Let me share the story of one of our online DMM course trainees. There are many stories you can find from Voice of the Martyr’s website or magazines as well. As you share these kinds of stories with those you are training, they will not only pray for those who are persecuted but begin to see it as an honor to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake.

 A few months ago, we had just begun the beta run of our next-level Disciple Making Movements online course. The new course is called, “Moving Forward in Disciple Making Movements.” It is a follow-up to the Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements course (find out more at courses.disciplemakersincrease.org). In 2021, this was my “one thing.” It was the one task I knew God was calling me to complete this past year. It’s important, though, that anyone truly pursuing a movement, understands that suffering and persecution are part of the package. When working with my team to create the curriculum, we knew we must include a module on both suffering and persecution. This isn’t what we usually lead with when casting vision for DMMs! It’s important, though, that anyone  truly pursuing  a movement, understands that suffering and persecution are part of the package.

When we recorded the videos for the module, as a Westerner who has only faced limited or indirect forms of persecution, I knew we needed to include a guest video. I asked my friend from Bangladesh who lost his inheritance,  family  property  and  was excommunicated from his village to share something for us to include. What I didn’t know was that just a week after we started the cohort, one of our students would be arrested. This brother works in a Southeast Asian country where Christian activities and proselytizing are prohibited by law. He and his wife were arrested together. As they were taking him to prison, he managed to send a quick Whatsapp message to our group. “Please pray! We are being arrested.”

The group of trainees from Australia, India, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria began to do just that. Immediately, others posted on the group assuring him of their fervent prayers. Scriptures were sent to encourage and prayer was mobilized internationally. After some days, the word came that they had been released but may be asked to leave their locality and perhaps the country. The trainee in my course is an ex-pat while his wife was a local. Again, our community prayed and stood with them. A legal case was brought against this brother and his wife. Again, we prayed. Others around the globe interceded for them as well. In the midst of this, the team’s determination  to obey Jesus’  commands  was  strengthened.

They continued to boldly share Jesus, realizing more than ever the cost involved in doing this. Finding a Person of Peace, they prepared to baptize her. The trainee again asked the WhatsApp group for prayer. “Please pray for the upcoming baptism. We realize that if we are caught, our punishment will be far greater than it was before.”Finally, joyous news was posted on our group. The case has been dropped! “We are free to stay here with no restrictions, at least for the coming months.” Praise God! He had answered prayer. They then went on to share about the upcoming Christmas gathering. They planned to share a Creation to Christ presentation to 40 people. It was just at this time that we came to that module in the course—the one on persecution. This is what he wrote to the group as he reflected on the material presented. “I needed this lesson. Thank you! The verses below tell me that suffering for Jesus’ name is a blessing, an honor and a privilege to rejoice. “They left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ.” [emphasis mine] (Acts 5:41–42).Glory be to God for all He has taught this trainee. May we all learn and be inspired by his words and attitude.

Pray for Others Who Are Persecuted
Another key practice that can help prepare disciple- makers for persecution is to pray for the persecuted church around the world. In the movements we begin, we need to be outward-focused from the very beginning. We also want to help new believers see that they are part of a large, global family we call the Church (capital C). When some in that body suffer, we join with their suffering and we pray and give. This is the New Testament model. As we pray for them in their troubles, we do not pray with pity. We do not ask God to remove them from their troubles, but to give them the courage  to stand firm in the midst of them. We pray for boldness to continue to proclaim the name of Jesus. In Ephesians 6:20, Paul penned these words while in chains for the gospel, “Pray that I may declare  it fearlessly, as I should.” He wanted prayer, not for deliverance but boldness.

When we pray in this way for those being persecuted, we too are strengthened for the time it may come our way. In summary, how do we train disciples to both expect and prepare for persecution?
1) We adjust our evangelism and invitation model.
2) We share New Testament stories and Scriptures about persecution in our discipleship process.
3) We tell current stories of persecution.
4) We train disciples to pray for the persecuted Church around the world. How many of these are you currently doing? Discuss these four points with your team or leadership group. Take a step forward  to  begin this best practice as a normal part of training and multiplying disciples. Persecution is not something we desire. It is something we are promised. When trouble comes, Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

May our love, loyalty and worship flow to the One who overcomes. Nothing we go through can ever be greater than what He has already accomplished for us. He is worthy. May we also be counted worthy when called upon to suffer for His name.This article was published with permissions from the author. It was first published in Mission Frontiers. 

About the Author: C. Anderson is passionate about seeing hundreds of Disciple-Making movements take off among the world’s unreached peoples. She has served as  a church planter, coach, and trainer. She has been a speaker about multiplying movements of disciples for the past twenty-five years. While most of her experience is in Asia, she was worked in other regions of the world as well. She writes a weekly blog at dmmsfrontiermissions.com