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.
I received yet another email this past week pointing out the mounting statistics that show church attendance continues to slip. This particular email pointed out that more than 65% of people in my home county claim an affinity to “the church” (adherents), that 46% of those interviewed claim membership to a particular church but less than 20% actually go to church. As I pondered those numbers three questions came to mind.
What have we “the church” done to drive people away?
What has the world done to draw people away?
What do we do to overcome points one and two above in order to welcome people back?
While I don’t want to over simplify the issue, it seems the gap continues to grow between those who understand “church” and those who don’t. It is becoming more complicated all the time; we “the church” have developed our own language, social norms, and even dress code for almost every different church in town. In fact it took me a while to understand the email I received, as I had to look up the term “adherents”.
someone who supports a particular party, person, or set of ideas
I can only imagine how off putting it must seem to someone who has no knowledge or association with what “the church” is or is supposed to be. And, for the record, that now amounts to more than half the country if the statistics are correct.
“The essential distinguishing issue in this new evangelical culture is not the character of our hearts, but the vocabulary of our expression. Our subculture has developed universally understood code words that offer indisputable evidence of our club status….. They are found in our evangelical glossaries and come glibly off our lips; fellowship, brother, born-again, and membership indicate our club-status within the subculture.”
It seems to me we need to make “the church” more accessible. When did it become important for religion to become complicated? My Bible clearly shows that Jesus spoke plain language and a good bit of his talking was done with folks who did not have a grasp on what the “the church” was all about.
Perhaps a simpler approach is in order.
“Come as you are”—With what you know, how you are dressed, without all the answers, without all the lingo. Come because we care about you, come learn about the One who created you and loves you, come because you are valuable, come because you are going to be met just where you are–and helped to take the next step. Come to a place that is not perfect and wants imperfect people. Come!
I shared these thoughts with a friend of mine. Bob knows a lot about the church, about Jesus, and thankfully, a lot about me. He has attended seminary, preached a lot and has written forty or fifty some publications regarding Jesus and his teachings. His message back confirmed my thoughts-but he also says so much more.
David, what you described is The Gospel. It’s The Message about Jesus. He’s The Sent One who dwelt among us and was full of grace and truth. When we neglect teaching EVERYTHING He commanded, we neglect Him and His Message, and we end up corrupting His Message. People do this, at least initially, without intentionally meaning to. We make it about conforming to OUR image and OUR likeness, or, as Paul said, we hold on to “a righteousness of our OWN that’s derived from The Law.” It’s a poor likeness, but close enough to trick immature or unadvised people. But instead of glorifying God, it insults and demeans His Name.
Just as I expected he would, Bob spoke right to my heart. Powerful words, words to remind me and to help center me…words of encouragement, and words admonishing me to continue the good work placed before me.
And maybe they are words of encouragement for you too.
Translation Team Established for Brazil! Partner with us to help!
Hello! How are you? and God bless you!
WDA in Brazil
Rio Tinto, Brazil is a city of about 25,000 with a huge catholic church right in the middle of town. The whole city spreads out around this very visible church. And in this city of Rio Tinto, there lives a very interesting man named Fernando Frincu. One of the interesting things about Fernando is that, even though he lives in Brazil, he is Romanian. Fernando and his wife Carolina are associate staff members with WDA.
Everette Albrecht, who is on the WDA Equipping Team at Purdue University, has been to Rio Tinto about seven times over the years to teach discipleship principles. The pastors in that area were learning a lot about how to disciple others and in the course of their training, Everette starting teaching them about the importance of emotional healing. Just like everywhere else, the emotional needs are huge there and the pastors wanted to learn more.
So, in the summers of 2010 and 2012, Margo and Jack, from the WDA Restorative Team headed south with Everette, to teach and train about emotional healing and the importance of this in the discipleship process. They had the privilege of returning there again in August of 2013 for another three weeks and this is their report…..
Testimony of God’s Healing Work
Last year in Brazil, Margo had shared her own story of healing and redemption with some of the women. Talking about her struggles empowered the women there to open up their own hearts.
“One lady (Helen) came up and thanked me for sharing my testimony in Joao Pessoa. We had chatted with each other last year. She shared more of her story with me this year. God has brought healing in her life. She has asked her Pastor for permission to lead a Restoring Your Heart (RYH) group in her church.
M., another young lady with whom I met last year, told me that hearing my “history” had helped her in the healing process. Since I’d seen her last summer, M. had participated in a Restoring Your Heart group and as a result, had forgiven her father. She told me with a smile that she was going to buy a gift for him for Father’s Day! She also wrote him a letter to apologize to him and tell him she loved him. M’s father wrote her back and asked her for forgiveness as well!
A highlight of our time was hearing feedback from a group of men and women (in Rio Tinto) who had participated in RYH groups during the year since we had been there. Each person talked about what they had learned, their initial concerns, the benefits to them and their desire for more healing in their lives. They all plan to continue participating in RYH groups.”
The seeds planted over the last two years had already born much fruit!
Discipleship and Emotional Healing
One of Everette’s goals for this trip was to introduce church leaders and seminary students to WDA’s philosophy of ministry, in two new areas, Joao Pessoa and Campina Grande. Everette has such a gift for teaching and has a huge amount of experience training seminary students in both Mexico and Brazil.
The team was encouraged by the fact that Fernando and Carolina both have a strong vision for discipleship and emotional healing. Since one of WDA’s objectives is to train people in the countries we visit, Margo, Jack and Everette spent extra time this summer with Fernando and Carolina. They were able to share more advanced training in both restorative and discipleship principles and practices. This will allow Fernando and Carolina to better train the people in their own community and thereby spread the process. We feel this is the best way to multiply the blessings of healing and growth. Fernando’s schedule will allow him to do future training both in Brazil and also in Romania and their contacts will open the doors for WDA to hold even more seminars in Brazil.
“We work so well as a team with Fernando and Carolina. They are so teachable and it is a joy to be in partnership with them. We are very blessed to have them on staff with WDA.”
Next Step: Translation of Materials
With most of the objectives of this trip being accomplished, including forming a translation team to work on both discipleship and restorative materials, Margo, Jack and Everette are looking forward to returning again next August. They plan, among other things, to do seminars in three large churches in different parts of Sao Paulo, a city where news of God is desperately needed.
We ask that you would pray with us for the trip next year, for Fernando and Carolina and for the people of Brazil. Many of the areas we visit are very dark and very much in the stronghold of sexual sin. There is a huge need for healing there, both emotional and spiritual.
Note: It is expensive and time consuming to have WDA materials translated into other languages. If you would like to contribute financially to this effort or to the ongoing training in Brazil, please click the button below. Your donations will be gratefully received and used to advance God’s Kingdom.
To find out more about the WDA International Ministry and all the amazing places we go, click here. To find out more about the WDA Restoring Your Heart Ministry, click here.
WDA announces new discipleship training partnership in India.
We are excited to announce that WDA is officially planning to establish an ongoing training partnership with a coalition of churches in the province of Bihar, India. Pastor E. Abraham of Neighbor Hope Ministries (Headquartered in CO, USA) and his staff have invited us to train the NHM executive leadership team, with a view toward offering our training and resources to a coalition of nearly 1200 churches in the region sometime in the future.
On November 4, Mike (a WDA board member) and Angela Wolf along with Bob and Linda Dukes will travel to Bihar, to formally and relationally establish this new partnership.
The goals of this trip are:
1] Train a core group of NHM leaders in WDA’s philosophy of ministry and in specific ministry skills,
2] Equip them how to use our resources, most likely (initially) our Cornerstone Project (Cornerstone is WDA’s new name for the combination of our “Getting Started” and “Laying Foundations” materials) and,
3] Assess long-term needs and forge relational connections as we visit their network of churches and schools in the province.
Our desire is to lay a foundation for future support and training, both with WDA and through our 2820 Partner-Churches.
In preparation for this new endeavor we ask you to join us in prayer. Please pray for
Protection against spiritual warfare.
The Lord to go before us to open doors and open hearts.
A coalition of unified leaders to train.
New disciple building associations, both U.S. based and overseas, that will join with us in this long-term project.
In addition to the cost of travel we also seek funding to provide WDA materials translated into Hindi. If you would like to support this project, please click on the following link India International Trip.
We are very excited about what God is doing and look forward to sharing with you our progress on this great adventure!
In August, 2012 Worldwide Discipleship Association partnered with AMC bible college in Lubumbashi, Congo to train over 200 pastors in and lay leaders in basic disciple-making methods. We found in the Congo a passionate group of believers deeply immersed in a spiritual battle with very little training. The task of intentionally creating a disciple-making culture was recognized by many leaders as one of the greatest need for the church in the Congo. As WDA continues to train Congolese leaders, we hope to see growing numbers of pastors and lay leaders equipped to disciple younger believers in grow to Christlike maturity.