As the Village Outreach Team leader, I had the opportunity to learn about discipleship movement principles several years ago…but I must admit, I was skeptical.
We looked at the book of Acts, how the early church helped each other and Paul’s ministry and they did not depend long-term on the apostles for funds or leadership.
It was presented as though the same thing could happen in our poor villages but I secretly did not believe it could happen. The financial conditions of the villagers we worked among were very grave. And they either had disabilities or had children with disabilities. How could we expect these things to happen? They themselves are struggling to cope with disabilities have nothing…how would they help others and the ministry as well?!
Intentional prayer about our strategies changed our teaching method and our mindset. We began by simply sharing the very same stories in Acts to the villagers about how the early church helped each other and how they completely depended on God for their provisions.
Obeying what is taught, these fledgling house church members started praying and helping each other with whatever meager income they had. But not only did they help each other, they even donated Rs.1,000 (the equivalent of $15…a lot in rural India!) to the Rehabilitation Centre ministry as an offering. They also hosted a delicious lunch for all staff and youth at the Centre. And to top it all off this house church has now multiplied into three groups within the span of one year!
In the end, I got to see a small glimpse of the early church happen in this village! Similarly, God is working in amazing ways through the other 105 house churches that have sprung up in the 45 villages we now work in. They depend not on Equip Asia but on God! And what He does through them makes me a believer that all things are possible to those who believe!