(Each year County Line Church selects an international ministry partner to receive funds through the Joy to the World Offering. This year’s recipient is Global Disciples. In short, Global Disciples partners with pastors in the areas of discipleship training, leadership development, and small business development. You can learn more about this ministry on their website at globaldisciples.org.)
Below is an excerpt taken from the “What’s In Your Hand?” book, published by Global Disciples. In the coming weeks we will share the stories of people who have experienced the “What’s In Your Hand?” training and running a business to support their families and churches.
EQUIPPING DISCIPLE-MAKERS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
A mouse rode on the back of an elephant through the bush country and they came to a river spanned by a cable bridge. As they crossed, the bridge swayed with each step—back and forth, back and forth. Once on the other side, the mouse ran out onto the elephant’s trunk and said, “Wow! We really shook that bridge!” —An African tale
At Global Disciples, we understand that we are about as responsible for what God is doing as the mouse was for the swaying bridge. God is the mover and shaker; we are privileged to participate, to ride along.
For nearly 20 years, Global Disciples has participated with God in multiplying the Body of Christ among least-reached peoples. We see our role as equipping the local or indigenous Church to train and send out their own church planters. We do that by assisting clusters of churches in establishing training pro- grams in 3 areas:
- Discipleship-mission training to equip disciples of Jesus to make disciples and plant new fellow- ships of believers;
- Developing leaders who can lead and multiply leaders for new churches and church movements;
- Small business training for church planters as a sustainable way to support and multiply church planting efforts.
These three aspects of training blend into a proven strategy to multiply churches which in turn train, send out and multiply further. We call it our Multi- plying Churches Strategy or MCS (see diagram).
Since 1998, small business training has equipped church planters to use a business-as-ministry model. It serves a dual purpose: 1) by providing a means of support for the church planter, his/her family, and ongoing ministry or training without draining the limited resources of the local church, and 2) by providing a church planter with a relational opening and a useful purpose or identity in a community where access for traditional “mission” work may be restricted.
The core training is called Small Business Develop- ment: What’s in Your Hand? (SBD) and it challenges church planters with a theology of work, while focusing on what God has already put in their hands for His purposes.
It equips them with the basics of doing business in a biblical manner that opens doors to bring the Good News.
Every training lesson begins with an “I will” statement and you’ll see these statements in action through the stories in this booklet. It is our joy to hear and share these testimonies from some of the 2,100 church planters and program directors trained. They demonstrate how God has changed lives and eternal destinies, planted churches, provided for families, and enabled generosity. They are the stories of small beginnings, simple business ideas, and passionate people empowered by God to share the Gospel among least-reached peoples.
We are grateful for the privilege to participate with these men and women in taking the Good News to a waiting world. Together, we praise God for all He has done, and continues to do!