This is a video provided to WDA by our partner. You can learn more about disciple building by reading Disciple Building: A Biblical Framework and about our Materials available for our ministry on our materials pages.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frasier faced off in the 3rd matchup of their boxing careers. The previous meetings had them tied one win each. In what was an amazing fight, Ali won by technical knockout in the 15th round. The bout is ranked in the sport as one of the best in the sports history.
WDA sent a team of five men to the Philippines this April, and it was a “Thrilla” as well. For over the last nine months WDA has been establishing a relationship with a ministry partner, James Tioco (pron ch-eo-ko), who leads a ministry called Sowers of the Word (S.O.W). James had contacted WDA after reading many of our books and looking at our website. He believed that WDA had the comprehensive approach that would serve the church in the Philippines. Our Exec VP and C.O.O., David Partfitt, began a dialogue over the phone and by Skype which allowed us to learn about them and them about us. It was clear that James wanted to see WDA help him roll out a discipleship ministry. So this brought us nine months later to our trip to Manila.
David Parfitt, Dan Horne (WDA Board Chairman), Woody Johnson (WDA Board Member), Jeff Pritchett (Chick-fil-A), and I (WDA Church Staff, Atlanta Arts Coordinator, Publishing Leader) began to develop a series of presentations for church and ministry leaders, denomination leaders and ministry partners. We flew to Manila April 27-May 7, and over a week introduce the ministry of WDA to a limited number of people who we hoped would pray, lead and/or volunteer to be WDA trainer of churches. From the beginning, we realized that James could have gathered hundreds of leaders to a one day “training” but we wanted to be strategic in our launch. Limiting the numbers would allow James and Sowers to have a manageable number of people to train.
On Monday and Tuesday we did full-day “orientation” meetings in which we discussed the need for discipleship, the priority of the local church as the vehicle for disciple building, the process, biblical foundation, and our Biblical Framework and the Five Initiatives of Disciple Building, R-CAPS®. Each day closed with a challenge for them to pray, lead a new or existing group using our approach, and/or also be willing to become a WDA Trainer to train churches and ministries to use our approach in their context.
Wednesday we met with potential ministry partners who would commit to pray and fund the ministry of WDA Philippines (Sowers). Our team also spent Wednesday morning meeting with the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) who will be our in-country publishing partner. They will be printing and translating our materials for use beginning in Manila, then to other areas as God provides people and opportunity.
Our last day was a full day with the Sower’s ministry, discussing next steps, strategy and reporting on the results of the earlier meetings. We left the meeting with lots of energy and ideas for how we could move forward.
We were a bit overwhelmed by the many churches and pastors who already were committing to train other trainers. Many were already making plans to begin new groups or multiply existing groups and use our WDA approach and materials. They desired training as soon as possible and wanted to know what materials were ready now! We had financial backers who wanted to know more details and what would be needed to fund this initiative. James said that his phone was full of text messages each night following the meetings as people were responding very positively towards our orientations and vision.
It is by the grace of God that our work in Manila is happening now. Even a few years ago WDA would not have had the ability to move forward with this type of initiative in the way we are able to do today. Over the last two years we have redesigned and printed books for our country and have the ability to take the exact same English materials and have the Philippine Bible Society adapt our format to one which is more suitable in size and affordability for the church there. After being on the ground and talking to leaders, hearing from James and his team, we are positioned to provide materials and training to over 700 people in just this first stage.
We begin by providing leadership training and materials using WDA’s Disciple Building: A Biblical Framework and A Small Groups Manual. PBS will also print all of our Cornerstone (Phase 1 and 2) materials. Leaders will be using Pocket Principles® and Guided Discussions, and the students will get a version that has just the Pocket Principles®. The partners at PBS were very helpful as was the Sowers team in helping us decide how to configure our materials specifically for them.
The churches want to launch their new groups as soon as possible, so we have a goal of 30 days to get new materials in their hands. Our publishing team and the PBS will be working hard in the next few weeks to get books reconfigured and to their printing press. We will also spend these weeks providing short video training segments that Sowers will use to begin to follow up from our orientation and prepare leaders to launch discipleship groups using Getting Started. Over the next 12-18 months, they will complete all of Cornerstone. WDA will continue to work with Sowers to provide training from the U.S. while planning for second trip to roll our Life Coaching Ministry and additional training.
There is the potential for us to see thousands of people building disciples in a relational approach which is able to be adapted for their churches. We have seen a hunger for discipleship as person after person who connected with our presentations also saw the need and understood how our approach to disciple building was progressive, biblical and flexible. We worked very hard to show that one size did not fit all, and that WDA could help them design and build specifically for their country and culture. One leader over hundreds of churches said to us, “You know you have started a fire here.”
We are overwhelmed by God’s providential work in bringing our team to the Philippines, creating a desire for Biblical discipleship, providing people and organizations in-country that are primed to move forward and provide the people and resources for this to go forward.
As of this date we have 81 prayer partners, 71 leaders of new Cornerstone groups, 59 new Cornerstone trainers, 125 new small groups beginning. 35 Youth Pastors trained by a participant using R-CAPS®. The Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Board, approved our approach and ordered 50 copies of Disciple Building: A Biblical Framework Book.
We are humbled that God would use the five of us men to promote His work. This was not about us as individuals, but it was clear that God wanted to encourage these leaders that they and their church members can have a significant ministry to many people as they continue with us to fulfill Jesus’ commission to make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching to do all that He commanded.
Our team, while still feeling the Jet Lag, returned with great joy and thankfulness for the opportunity to be part of a launch of Disciple Building ministry with a great partner in Manila.
This certainly was a “Thrilla.” There will be much more work but also much more fruit from our trip.
Pray for James Tioco and Sowers of the Word and for us.
Pray for the hundreds of pastors who this very moment are beginning to share what they learned in our orientation.
Pray for the publication of materials, training of leaders and wisdom for next steps.
Thanks for those who pray for our ministry. God is at work all over the world bringing people to himself and raising up men and women in the church who are committed to helping others grow to Christ-like Maturity.
Why is Discipleship critical for the church worldwide? The WDA 2820 Conference DVD provides insight from WDA President Bob Dukes and Restoring Your Heart Leader Jack Larson. Watch this introductory video and consider getting this conference produced on DVD and suitable for use in many ministry contexts.
In 2005, a land dispute erupted in the Mount Elgon region of Kenya’s Rift Valley. The corrupt local militia, “Sabaot Land Defense Force” began raiding villages, extorting bogus “taxes”, killing civilians, and currying favor with local politicians. Over the next three years, the SLDF was implicated in the death of at least 600, and the displacement of over 66,000 people. In 2008, Kenyan security forces launched a major military operation against the SLDF, killing its leader and effectively halting its progress.
WDA trainee Harrison Ngota was living in the region at the time. He reports, “In December of that year, it was registered that more than 600 women had lost their husbands to the conflict. We listened to stories of torture and rape from the pastors and leaders present.”
Last month, WDA trainers Mary McKeever, Willie Ruth Johnson and Kathy Heid conducted a discipleship-training seminar for over 50 pastors and leaders in that area. Working off Mary’s foundational teachings on discipleship and a session on forgiveness based on the book As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda, Willie Ruth and Kathy each taught a session on forgiveness as well. Harrison Ngota writes, “This was the most interesting part, drawing so much attention, [leading to] brain-storming sessions. It is very difficult to render forgiveness. SLDF intimidated the population, raped and stole property at will, collected “taxes”, and administered their version of justice. Hundreds of people have been burned out of their homes.”
Mr. Ngota goes on to say, “There is a need to ‘go the extra mile’ and equip pastors and leaders on the ground. Most spiritual leaders have a strong, sincere desire to shepherd and guide disciples to maturity. But unfortunately, few leaders have been equipped to accomplish the task of ‘presenting people mature in Christ.’”
WDA remains committed to providing training and resources to Christian leaders in Kenya. Our prayers are with the pastors and leaders of Mt. Elgon as they navigate the fallout of recent violence in their region.
If you are interested in becoming an international trainer for WDA or would like to support WDA’s international ministry, please click here!
It seems I am asking that simple little question more and more these days? In fact several of my friends and I have been bantering around the concept of understanding “WHY” before embarking on the “What, When, or How”.
Getting a firm grip on what you believe, and why you believe it, defines your core values and is the starting point for determining your actions.
I recently watched a great TED discussion on the topic. Simon Sinek does a great job of helping us to understand the importance of “Why”. He asks a great question. “Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why would anyone else care?” Sinek explains that people are drawn to why others do what they do long before they care how they do it or even what they do.
What do you think about that? Do you invest your time, money and passion on connecting with companies, churches, and people who demonstrate they have the same core values as you do?
People are drawn to why you do things even more than what you do or how you do it. Are you able to explain your business, your faith, or your passion from the position of “WHY”?
What do you believe? Why do you do what you do?
As I ask this of myself I have found the following answer:
I do what I do because I believe in Heaven. I believe Jesus was the Son of God, came to this world as a man, lived a life without sin and yet died on a cross for my sins. I believe he rose from death, ascended to heaven and, because I have placed my faith in him, that I will join him there.
This simple, but steadfast belief, changes everything. I realize that my time on this earth is short compared to the eternity I will spend in Heaven. I believe that what I might give up to invest in others is very small in comparison to Jesus dying on a cross for me. I don’t mind, in fact I love, helping others discover their joy in learning of God’s love for them as well.
Because I understand my “WHY” I have restructured my schedule. I go to my kids’ games and events; I choose to spend time with my wife, my friends and my neighbors. I have come to value relationships more than material things. I invest my time to help others and experience real joy in doing so.
When I finally learned that it is not about “me” I learned that I was created, on purpose, for a purpose. This whole idea is best summed up for me in the term “discipleship”.
Each of us is on an individual journey with regard to our relationship with the Lord. Some have yet to begin, and many are far down the path. However each of us is where we are and not the same place as anyone else. God created each of us as an individual, and our relationship with Him is specific and personal. What discipleship is all about is “learning to meet someone where they are on their journey and to help them take their next step.” This takes some time and a relationship must be developed and trust earned.
Jesus taught us a great process in how he led his disciples. He taught them specific things based on their maturity and understanding. He taught them progressively-he built one concept on another as his disciples grew in their understanding. Jesus used specific methods of teaching, like using examples, content, prayer and learning situations that were tailored to each individual. What is really cool is that by learning what Jesus did we can do many of the same things. If you would like to learn more about the method that Jesus taught and led check out Disciple Building-A Biblical Framework. (Free at our WDA Store) It is a great process that you can use at work, in your family, at church–anywhere you are interacting with people.
Learning your “WHY” is vital. What is your motivation? Look in the mirror and take a good look. Ask the big question, “Why do I do what I do?”
Once you get to the understanding of “why” use it as a means of communicating your business and personal mission. Before telling people what you are doing, or even how you are doing it make sure they understand why you are. I have a feeling you will see a greater connection between you and those you are trying to influence.
I would love to hear your perspective of “WHY”. Drop me a note and share your thoughts in the comments below or other ideas or resources you have discovered!
David Parfitt serves as the Chief Executive Officer of WDA, and is active in Life Coaching and the Restorative Ministry. He leads groups at A Better Way Ministries, teaches Sunday School, and is a Deacon, at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia.
David is also the creator of WDA’s Leadership Forum, is a mentor, and works with young men and their fathers at Right of Passage retreats. David has a heart, and a vision, to see men grow in their faith, to become biblical husbands and fathers, and to live life with a robust passion for sharing the love of Jesus Christ!