July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
In 1991, a veteran of missionary work in Taiwan took a new assignment to a city in northern China. He began his work with three prayers: 1) that God would do something so supernatural that it could only be explained by the fact that God had done it; 2) that the work would last, and 3) that it would not be dependent upon him to keep it going. God granted all three requests (54, 55).
Because of her singular allegiance to the Bible with no political slant or activity, they asked her to go to the villagers to “disciple them, so they will not become enemies of the State (56).”
Siu Lam…began a Discipleship Training Center (DTC) ministry (56).
The First DTC Curriculum Included:
- Genesis 1-10 Who is God? – the creation and God’s relationship with man
- The Life of Christ – a study through the Gospels and the whole redemption story
- The Book of Romans – a study to teach the sinfulness of man and the provisions of God through Christ
- The Book of Jonah – a study of God’s redemptive purposes for all mankind and the believer’s role in that plan
- The Book of Ephesians – a study of the nature of the church
- How to Study the Bible
- How to Teach the Bible
- Personal Evangelism Training
Results of the Movement in Northern China (59)
After three months there were
- More than 1300 professions of faith
- More than 1200 baptisms
- 3 new church starts
After seven months there were
- 15 new church starts
After nine months there were
- 25 new church starts
After twenty-seven months there were
- 57 new church starts
After three years there have been
- over 450 church starts scattered throughout three provinces that have roots in the DTC training
- over 18,000 professions of faith
- more than 500 house church leaders trained
- more than 1,000 other believers trained
In pioneer areas, church planters would sometimes use the Jesus Film or a wide evangelistic campaign to identify inquirers who might then be followed up with further teaching (61).
The church planters then identified those who were suitable for leadership and immediately turned over the leadership of the public meetings to them (61).
At the core of the movement was a house church model that combined multiple lay leadership development, mutual accountability, biblical authority and rapid reproducibility (61).
POUCH Churches (62)
- Participative Bible Study and Worship
- Obedience to God’s word as the mark of success for every believer and church
- Unpaid and multiple church leaders
- Cell groups of believers meeting in
- Homes or storefronts
When a house church divided, some leaders went with the new congregation and quickly named a local apprentice to begin training for the time when growth would demand a new division and fresh church start (62).
After these trainers taught a group of church leaders, the leaders would then cascade the training out through a network of meetings across the province (63).
Each month the believers conducted regular monthly meetings on the county level and two weeks later on the provincial level for a day or prayer, fasting and training (63).
In this system, new potential leaders were encouraged to periodically attend house churches other than their own in order to learn other styles of worship, training, and leadership (63).
…a dozen important lessons (63, 64)
- prayer was not only vital for unreached people, but also among the new believers
- model as well as teach
- …emphasize application rather than knowledge, … found that the knowledge was always followed
- …include feedback loops…to ensure follow up with new believers
- make sure everything in the areas of evangelism, church planting, and training can be reproduced by the indigenous people
- encourage locally produced hymns and praise songs to spread the faith
- found expectations of the new converts were usually met, so set the mark high for growth and new fruit
- quickly assimilate new believers into the life and work of the new churches
- multiple leadership and unpaid leadership kept the movement growing while eliminating the gap between clergy and laity
- build accountability for both leaders and church members into the way they do church
- meeting in homes rather than dedicated buildings allowed the movement to stay below the radar of the government and spread rapidly
- new believers must take responsibility for fulfilling the Great Commission