Study It Yourself :)

Alan was asked to lead an existing Bible study group. He humbly declined saying, “I can’t be your leader. But I can teach you how to study the Bible yourselves using the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) method. Then the Holy Spirit will be your teacher.” The group really wanted a teacher, but they finally agreed to learn the Discovery Bible Study method.

Soon they had learned to ask discovery questions and feed themselves from the Word. They even enjoyed it! Before leaving for the states for a few months, Alan taught them how to become disciples who produce disciples, that reproduce disciples. 

When he returned, Alan met once with the group but then heard nothing more from them. He later learned they had found someone to teach them the Bible. While this isn’t bad, Alan knew that relying on someone else would not help them reproduce disciples.

Then one day, Alan received this message from one of the group members: “I have good news. The way you shared with me to discover the Bible is very popular in my church. People say those (DBS) questions make them think carefully. I am going to lead a few times more. Then they can start leading this way. Thank you very much for sharing such a treasure with me!”

Pray the Father grows a disciple-making movement through His faithful disciples.

*pseudonyms

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He Taught a Communist Rebel to Study the Bible

Two years ago, Ethan and Nicole* led an introductory disciple-making training in the Philippines with 14 seminary-trained pastors. Honestly, they had doubts about the outcome. Would traditional, denominational pastors be willing to go outside the walls of their church, outside the walls of their own traditions, in order to obey Jesus’ command to go (not invite)? 

Sure enough, months later, they’d barely heard a word from any of the participants. Then, nearly a year after the training, Jacob, one of the pastors, contacted Ethan. “I am mentoring a group of young pastors in Manila,” he wrote. ”Would you and Nicole spend a few days with us, doing what you did last year?”

After praying together, they decided Ethan would hold the training with Alex, a BEYOND colleague who lives in the Philippines. After the training, Alex could coach those wanting to apply what they’d studied. 

Since then, Ethan has occasionally wondered if anyone was applying the training and, if so, how it was going. In May, he received an encouraging email from Jacob.

“Three months ago, “Pastor G” taught a former Communist rebel how to study the Bible in his home with his family. He has been doing this for several weeks. Last week, the rebel’s son became severely sick, to the point of death. The father remembered the story of the woman who touched Jesus and the story of Jairus’ daughter. At his son’s death bed, he prayed, “Lord, we surrender our son to you if this (his death) is your will, but can you please heal my son as you have done for this woman and for Jairus’ daughter? 

His son immediately sat up and asked for water!

Thank you for this life-changing experience (the training and coaching). Today, our group has 45 non-Christian families studying the Bible in their homes.

Alex adds that since March, when the COVID-19 lockdown started, Pastor G’s church has transformed into eleven house churches, and it is still growing! They have many more people involved in these house churches than they had in their “building” church before the lockdown.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” Jacob and these pastors are discovering the joy and fruitfulness of simple obedience to Jesus. The Lord is building his church among the nations (the ethnic groups) of the earth! “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him” (Ps. 22:27). Hallelujah! 

*pseudonym
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“I’d Hit Them Back!”

As Job* sipped hot tea and puffed on his cigarette, he asked, “Did Jesus really say, ‘Turn the other cheek’?” 

“Yes, he did,” Frank* replied. “He also said if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. And if anyone makes you carry their stuff for one mile, carry it for two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41) 

“Do you think he was being literal?!” questioned Job. 

“That’s a great question. What do you think?” 

“I’m not sure it’s possible to ‘turn the other cheek.'” Job responded. “Why would someone do that? If someone hit me, I’d hit them back.”

Job peppered Frank with honest questions about Jesus and Christianity for several hours. Job is from a minority Muslim people group that has experienced a great deal of repression and persecution. 

Job teared up as he said his goodbyes. “I just can’t believe the statement about ‘turning the other cheek.’ If [my people] turned the other cheek … we wouldn’t be around anymore. These ancient churches are empty because Christians turned their cheeks. Look at the [other people groups who used to live here]. Where are they now? They turned the other cheek, and they are no more. I can never turn my cheek.” 

Frank sensed that Job wasn’t seeking answers but only wanted to express his pain. So Frank simply said, “I understand your feelings. Let’s talk more about this next time.” 

Since then, Job and Frank have begun reading the Bible together. Pray that the Father would continue to draw Job to Himself and that Job would become an obedient disciple of Jesus. Ask God to bless Frank with spiritual wisdom and to use him to start a disciple-making movement among this Unreached group.

*pseudonym

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The Parable of Good Soils

The Parable of Good Soils

Michael and Nicole* were excited to be asked by a couple they had previously mentored to train a group of refugees living in East Asia on how to implement a Discovery Bible Study (DBS). This couple had put in the time and effort to build relationships and gain trust with the refugees, and they wanted to see them equipped with tools that would enable them to reach their communities with the Gospel.

On the first day of the training, there were twelve people from six different countries in attendance (Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and India, to name a few) including three residents from East Asia. The refugees had fled their countries for various reasons, some under duress and danger. One is a pastor from Uganda; another is from India studying to be a minister.

The group started with the parable of the soils from Luke 8. Michael and Nicole were pleased with everyone’s participation and how quickly they understood that the aim was to let scripture speak for itself through the group’s discussion of the passage and how they would apply it to their lives. The pattern of DBS, Michael and Nicole felt, was well established.

Two weeks later, Nicole went to lead the second lesson. She soon discovered that everyone had shared the Luke 8 passage with at least one other person, and Peter, the pastor from Uganda, had already started three DBS groups!

Michael and Nicole are encouraged by how well-suited DBS is to the lifestyle of the refugee and even more by the group’s willingness to hear from the Word of God and be obedient to it. They are continuing strong.

Please pray that these precious people will continue to seek the Father and encounter Him in the Word. Praise the Lord with us that this group has already seen its first fruits! A refugee woman from Egypt eagerly soaked up the studies and has recently become a follower of Jesus.

*pseudonyms 
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Obedience Even When It’s Dark

A couple of years ago, a young college graduate in Indonesia got connected with *Wes and *Angie’s local team. *Yurba had learned about the unreached people groups in her country and God’s vision to see them all respond to Jesus. She responded in obedience by learning how to make disciples and spending time looking for people God was preparing. 

One night at a prayer event on campus, she heard about the C people.  She heard God speak to her very clearly, “This is the group to whom I am calling you. Bring My light to them.” 

Yurba jumped in. She started a year-long preparation class where she was taught about cross-cultural living, Jesus’s strategy for reaching the lost, and how to cast His vision to others. Her heart grew in its love and burden for these people who have never known who Jesus is. 

Then COVID caused lockdowns and mobility issues, so she was not able to launch in her expected timeframe. In that difficult time, she asked, “Lord, what does obedience look like in this season?” She pursued lost people around her and began studying the Bible with a spiritually open family. But God had a surprise in store for her. During this season she met another young woman with a heart for the unreached. *Tashi decided to join Yurba in reaching the C people; they want a disciple-making movement to break out among them.  

Please pray for lasting fruit as they serve and obey the Lord among the unreached C people.

*pseudonym

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Go, Rather Than Invite

*John was excited about his first-ever international trip.  He was going from his homeland in India, over the border into Nepal. He was eager to share with the 30 local pastors and leaders who gathered to learn. One of his primary goals was to share the vision of what could happen if God began a disciple-making movement in Nepal.

During the training, the men and women read and learned from Matthew 28, Luke 10, and Acts 2. They began to grasp a new understanding of God’s commissioning of all of His followers, the authority Jesus gave them, and what a church could look like according to a simple biblical model. 

When John shared his own experiences about following God toward a disciple-making movement, the participants felt encouraged and excited. God could use them to do something similar in Nepal!

A couple of weeks later, BEYOND’s Nepal team met with some of the attendees to follow up and review what they had learned. The team asked how the participants had obeyed and applied what they had learned from the training. 

One leader explained that she now knew she was called to “go,” rather than “invite.” She said, “When I used to invite people to my church, maybe one person would come. But when I went to share the gospel in their homes, I was able to share it with seven families!” Another had prayed for a paralyzed man who had returned from the Middle East, and God had healed him! As a result, two people from his family came to faith and were baptized. 

We have seen the first steps of obedience in this group and some first fruit. Pray for them as they continue to learn and apply God’s word, seeking Him for steps of obedience.

*pseudonyms

“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

“You Can’t Say You’re a Christian”

A Tazig* believer recently shared with Joel* a problem that many new Tazig believers face.

Five of his family members had come down from their mountain village to spend the winter with him in the big city. The six of them passed the months in his 300 square foot apartment. They were unhappy to learn that he had become a follower of Jesus and rejected the Buddhist way. 

The young man, however, loved and cared for his family and used the opportunity to tell them about Christ. He shared Scripture with them, prayed for them, and shared his life day by day. They could see the positive changes in his life. 

Before they left to return to their village, his sister pulled him aside. “It’s okay for you to be a Christian here in the city. We think it’s good for you. We can see your life is different now. But you can’t say you’re a Christian when you are in our village. You will bring shame on our family.

“While we celebrate the progress this brother had with his family,” Joel says, “community shame is a powerful force among the Tazig people.Our hearts long to see whole families and villages turn to Christ together. When whole families choose to follow Christ together, it mitigates the power of shame. When a person responds favorably to a gospel presentation, the next question to ask is ‘would your family and friends also like to hear this Good News?’ We are asking God for whole families and communities to turn to Him.” 

*pseudonyms

A Fresh “Macedonian Call”

– By Stan Parks and Dave Coles

What is the most strategic role you can imagine for a Jesus follower in the Western world who wants to see all peoples reached with the gospel as soon as possible? 

Today, God is rapidly advancing His Kingdom among unreached peoples through Church Planting Movements. These movements are indigenous and moving by the power of God’s Spirit, so they don’t need Westerners to build something from scratch or play a leading role. However, in the midst of the amazing explosion of disciples making new disciples, some movement leaders have given a fresh “Macedonian call” for disciples from the outside to “come over and help us.”  

A great many things need to be done, but they vary from one movement to another, and sometimes from one year to another within any given movement. Distant-culture workers can play a vital role in strengthening and deepening a movement, and/or in assisting a movement to expand and catalyze fresh movements among other UPGs. The key lies in a willingness to serve the needs being felt and expressed by movement leaders. They don’t need outsiders showing up with their own plans and ideas. They want people humble enough and flexible enough to do whatever needs to be done. 

In some cases, this might involve a specialized skill, but more often it involves applying a basic-level skill in an area of need. 

Possibilities include:

  • Communication 
  • Job and business training
  • Computer and technical support
  • Video/Audio recording and/or editing
  • Fundraising that does not create dependency
  • Social media
  • Prayer and mobilizing prayer
  • International networking
  • Hosting vision trips
  • Administration help
  • Hosting/Supervising outside interns
  • Disaster response services
  • Medical service and equipping medical response
  • Anything and everything needed

In many cases, the movements cannot give a specific job description, as their needs keep changing. Or they may start with a specific need, but circumstances change the needs. They want people who are willing to do whatever is needed. 

A Movement Servant will help increase the capacity of the movement to go further and faster, to become even more effective in advancing the movement(s) in which they are involved. 

Consider, for example, the kingdom impact of working with a movement of 8,000 churches that has minimal computerization. They need help setting up a computer system for tracking church health and distribution, which will also help them know which peoples and places are still untouched by the gospel. This assistance brings the potential to reach tens of thousands more people and plant thousands more churches within a few years.

We can share a few examples of people serving movements. For one large family of movements, some translation experts currently supply help from the outside for movements translating Scripture. These movements are in areas that an outsider cannot enter due to political or religious realities, but the service of technical and translation experts has been invaluable to help those in that area do a church-based, computer aided, expert assisted translation process. These professional translators have allowed God to change their paradigm from personally doing the translation to helping “amateurs” in the movement learn the skills and group processes that will produce an excellent translation.

In another movement with over 300,000 believers in a very large geographical area, some Westerners (who are not professionals) are helping with video editing. They work with movement leaders to produce short leadership training videos that can be shared from phone to phone. 

A third example comes from a Kingdom Business project where outsiders help movements identify near-culture gaps needing movements. They assist with business training, prayer and supplemental fundraising as movement families relocate and re-start businesses to sustain them long-term in reaching the new group. This has already resulted in reaching many new population segments.

What kind of people can fulfill the Movement Servant role? The essential qualifications, skills and experience include:

  • Follower of Jesus 
  • Trying to be a disciple maker
  • Advocate of CPM principles 
  • Good people skills
  • Willing to submit to non-Western leadership
  • Willing to learn local trade language (at an appropriate level)
  • Willing to learn and be sensitive to a new local culture(s)
  • Faithful to keep commitments; a person of honor and integrity
  • Willing to do whatever they can to serve the expansion of God’s kingdom

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). What if the most effective thing you could do truly looked like being a servant? What if your best way to reach the unreached involved an assortment of jobs, chosen and assigned by someone from another culture? Would you be willing to lay down your life and some of your preferences in order to play a role in rapid kingdom multiplication among the unreached? Movements are already moving, and you’re invited to play a part in increasing their growth. 

If you’re interested, please contact us via this form. We already have relationships with networks of movements – in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We cannot guarantee connection, but we will do everything we can to help you find a group who is looking for Movement Servants. 

Take a moment to thank God for what He is doing through movements in our day. Thank Him for the spontaneous multiplication of movements planting other movements among the unreached. Then ask Him what role He might want you to play. May the Lord guide you and use you for His glory, to the ends of the earth.

About the authors: 
Dave Coles: Dave Coles is an encourager and resourcer of Church Planting Movements among Unreached groups, serving with BEYOND. He has served among Muslims in Southeast Asia for 24 years. He has dozens of articles published (plus videos and podcasts posted) about Church Planting Movements, contextualization, reaching Muslims, and the nature of the church. He is coauthor of Bhojpuri Breakthrough: A Movement that Keeps Multiplying, coeditor of  24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, and associate editor of Motus Dei: The Movement of God to Disciple the Nations.

Stan Parks: Stan is a Church Planting Movements trainer and a coach for leaders of Church Planting Movements around the world. He has been serving Unreached People Groups since 1994 while based in Indonesia, Singapore and Dubai. He is Co-Facilitator of the 24:14 Coalition which is focused on Kingdom Movement engagements in every Unreached People and place by 2025.

“Where is Heaven?”

While at a restaurant, Karly, Alison, and Megan met the owner. They asked the woman how they could pray for her. Her request was that her six children would seek God. They had grown up, become rich, and forgotten the importance of spiritual things. She shared how she had raised them as a single mother because of her husband’s addiction. Her gratitude for God’s help in that time inspired her to be close to God (as she understood him in her religion), and to lead her family in that too.

“It’s like I always say to my kids, ‘Heaven is under the mother’s feet,’” she said. The three friends asked about the saying’s meaning. Does it mean the mom is already in heaven? Does she have the power to bring people there? The woman explained that it means children should respect and follow their mother. “Nobody can be certain if they will go to heaven or not,” she continued. “Everybody has sin. Even prophets — all of them have sin.”

“Actually,” Alison said, “there is one prophet who doesn’t have sin.”

“Who is that?” the woman asked eagerly.

This opened the door for the friends to share a story about Jesus and his mother from Luke chapter one. The story resonated with the woman and she agreed that she would like to discuss more prophet stories sometime.

Join us in praying alongside one of our BEYOND donors: “Father God, we ask that as Muslims who are spiritually hungry search the Qu’ran, it may fall open to passages that speak about Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah). Through the power of the Holy Spirit open their eyes to the Truth that will set them free.”

*pseudonym