Most of the other participants were national and regional leaders of our partner denomination. We chose five less experienced pastors to join in hopes that they’d be quicker to replicate their discipleship and mentoring experience in the local church context. Pastor Luis wasn’t a young theology graduate. Before enrolling in Bible College, he was already a high school teacher, and his 9th child is the same age as our oldest – 11.
As we began building relationships in our cohort, we visited Luis and his wife and asked how they’d come to faith and how they’d met and married. To our surprise, both had come to know Christ after marriage. Prior to this, both had gone through catechism classes and been baptized, and Luis was the president of the youth group in their local church. They were good church members, but neither had come to faith! This testimony reveals a lot about the need for discipleship in Angola. We’ve heard Angola described as “poorly reached”.LEARN MORE ABOUT THE First Ripple Discipleship PROJECT
When asked what he had gained through the mentoring and training he's received through the discipleship initiatives, Pastor Luis shared how he learned to apply the Bible in 4 different areas:
- his head (knowledge),
- his heart (attitudes),
- hands (obedience), and
- helps (relationships).
He’s learned to be disciplined and regular in his own devotional life, and the notes he takes in his quiet time have equipped him to share with others. Pastor Luis had never had a mentor before, nor did he understand the impact that life on life discipleship could have. Previously, he wouldn’t have thought to share a meal and his experiences as part of a discipleship methodology. As well as sharing with others, now he gathers his household for weekly discipleship lessons and, beginning with 7 members of his church council, he began weekly small group meetings. In contrast to the more common lecture style of teaching, they share, pray, and discuss practical, Biblical discipleship lessons. These lessons were developed through SIM's discipleship initiative, the African Strategic Discipleship Movement, through which we ourselves have benefitted from training and mentoring over the past 6 years. Most of Pastor Luis’ group of 7 are now leading their own small groups.
Recently he requested 20 booklets of discipleship lessons for these “third generation” groups. Now twenty more people will learn how to have a quiet time and starting into “Gospel of the Kingdom” lessons. From there they’ll move on to challenging lessons in spiritual transformation, disciple-making, evangelism and mIssion, and relationships, marriage and family. If they continue to meet weekly, it will take about two years to move through the lessons. Pastor Luis plans to focus now on equipping a second group of ministry leaders. He believes that the results of discipleship in his church will soon be evident.
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