Alexandra Thompson shares how Restoring Your Heart has impacted her ministry at Cumberland Community in Smyrna GA.
Throughout all of Scripture, God promises He will meet our needs for value, security, acceptance and connection
Throughout all of Scripture, God promises He will meet our needs. In the second chapter of Genesis, God says that it is not good for the man to be alone. That’s because when God formed the man from the dust and blew His breath into him, He blew in the needs for value, security, acceptance and connection. And by creating a woman for the man, God was meeting those needs. He was at once revealing Himself to the man and drawing the man close to Him.
When I was a kid, my family lived in Dallas, Texas. It so happens that Dallas is the hometown of the famous department store, Neiman Marcus. In the 1950’s, Neiman Marcus was THE place to shop in Dallas. There was only one location, and it was downtown, since the shopping mall had yet to be invented. A visit to Neiman Marcus was a special adventure.
My daddy, who was a family-oriented kind of guy, was pretty involved in my life, especially for activities that were outside the home. So, around the age of 5, when I needed new “dress shoes”, my daddy took me to Neiman Marcus downtown to get them. The only details I remember about that outing were actually being in the shoe department of the store and spying THE shoes. They were soft black suede Mary Janes with rhinestones all around the front edge. I instantly fell in love with them and saw no need to look at any other shoes. I remember trying them on and my daddy saying, “Now are you SURE those are the ones you want?” They were indeed the ones, so he bought them for me. Although I don’t remember many details of the outing, I DO remember the feeling of being loved by my daddy. He wanted me to have the shoes I liked and was taking the time to make sure I was satisfied. And not only that, he was glad to be with me as I picked out something he otherwise would have no interest in at all. He wanted to be with me and he wanted me to be pleased.
In just that one simple outing to buy new shoes, my daddy met my needs for value, security, acceptance and connection.
Why do I remember that one random outing with my daddy?
When that memory plays back in my head, I instantly feel valued, secure, accepted and connected. Since those are the emotional needs that God Himself created within me, when I remember that day, not only do I feel all those things from my daddy, I also feel them from God. Remembering makes me smile.
When we are children, our parents (or other caregivers) don’t always adequately meet our emotional needs. When they don’t, we as children will figure out some way to get them met, and it usually won’t be a very healthy choice. When our needs aren’t validated by an adult, we might assume that our needs are wrong, or that there is something wrong with us for even having needs.
The beauty of the RYH process is that it helps us understand and accept those needs. We learn to look to God and also to healthy relationships with people in order to get our needs met. In the process, God reveals Himself to us and draws us close.
Building a Worldwide Discipleship Association
Partnerships, Partners and Friends
This year, WDA expanded its work in the Philippines on a scale that is somewhat overwhelming, yet very exciting and humbling.. What is most impressive is that it hasn’t even been a full year at all, but rather just 8 months. Since last May our local partners- Sowers of the Word (SOW), The Philippine Bible Society ( PBS ) and The Center for Community Transformation (CCT) have all done amazing work. There have been dozens of training sessions lead by James, Remi, Perry and Dennis which have already resulted in more than 20,000 people participating in small groups. Now that our books are being translated and printed in Tagalog these numbers continue to grow. In our most recent conversation with Dennis Monong (CCT Leader) he reported great interest in Life Coaching and Restoring Your Heart this will provide even more opportunities in addition to our established ministries with Cornerstone. As a result of WDA ministry growth and impact, Filipino financial partners have provided donations to hire 2 additional trainers to help with the demand. The overall strategy is to continue to train leaders who begin groups using Cornerstone and follow that initial training with Life Coaching, Restoring Your Heart and Phase III (Equipping for Ministry). A three year plan is in place that addresses publishing, translation, training and leadership development.
God has been continuing to build momentum for discipleship in the Filipino church through the ongoing work of our partners and support provided by WDA. The potential impact of our WDA Training, Materials and Philosophy of Ministry should not be over looked. When people understand that our approach to disciple building is not merely curriculum driven but is part of a wholistic approach toward Christlike Maturity, where people “Think, Feel and Act” like Jesus, they begin to ask for more!
Significant portions of this trip were designed to live our philosophy of ministry. In addition to training, coaching and teaching WDA staff had the opportunity to live with and among pastors, to visit schools, seminaries, orphanages and factories, to visit over meals, and enjoy one another. The first stage in Disciple building and our R-CAPS model is Relationship! Our time together resulted in many in-depth multi-day discussions about how WDA could have a wholistic impact on the lives of Filipinos.
These men, women and children who span the spectrum from extremely impoverished villages and street-dwellers to influential Chinese-Filipino businessmen, have all had just a taste of what WDA has to offer and are eager to continue to know and roll out more. Here are a few of their stories.
“Miles to go before I sleep”
Just how many miles are you willing to drive to help a small rural church learn about Discipleship? James Tioco drove 15 hours to the northern city of Tuguegarao where he met with leaders who are eager to begin our WDA Cornerstone ministry. These leaders were getting trained following the same orientation program and same material that WDA staff and board members presented last May. The week before our team arrived (January 28, 2017) our friend and brother James Tioco, drove to meet with a group of leaders. James used materials printed by the Philippine Bible Society. They were given our Getting Started/Knowing God (translated into Tagalog) which is now printed in the Philippines as a “flip” book. James also taught from Disciple Building: A Biblical Framework and A Small Groups Manual. Each Training done by Sowers of the Word (WDA Philippines) prepares leaders to start a group themselves with leaders who will often begin a new Cornerstone group in their churches. The goal is not to just learn new information but to begin groups using the curriculum. To date over 300 groups have been started.
“MGC New Life Christian Academy”
After the 15 hour trip back to Manila James met our WDA team at MGC New Life Christian Academy where David Parfitt, Buddy Eades and Hugh Kirby were to meet with teachers and students. Hugh presented his testimony and we were able to challenge the students to consider how they would be able to disciple others. The staff was so impressed with what they heard that 2 weeks later our team was invited back to MGC Christian Academy to present WDA’s ministry and give them an overview of our materials. Since our return it has been decided they will use our materials in their schools and training has been set up in order for them to begin!
“Leaders Gather for Celebration, Stories and Orientation”
WDA leaders met together with the national leaders, who have been part of our ongoing discipleship training since our initial trip in May, for a 2 day Leadership Conference. Keynote speakers, Dr. Ruth Callanta and Dr. Melba Maggay, from the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) taught us the wholistic ministry approach that CCT employes. During this conference Jack Larson, Hugh Kirby (New Hope Church), David Parfitt and Buddy Eades presented an overview of Life Coaching and Jesus ministry as it relates to WDA’s Philosophy of Ministry. Each participant was given a copy of the Life Coaching Manual and learned how to develop a NGP. NGP (Needs Goals Projects) is a Life Coaching disciple building planning tool.
“PBS: Host and Ministry Partner”
The Philippine Bible Society has become a significant ministry partner. It should not be underestimated what PBS means to the roll out of WDA’s materials and training. PBS hosts local Manila training in their headquarters. PBS is designing, publishing, translating and providing distribution and sales of our materials (both in their book stores and on their web store). They are part of a the International Bible Society and as a result of this relationship they have committed to becoming a conduit for providing our materials and training to other countries where the International Bible Society is located. Each Bible Society has the same capability to print, design, translate and sell our materials. WDA partners in other countries would have the same opportunities as our Philippines ministry is using to provide WDA materials at a low cost with the same quality, consistency and format. The implications would be that WDA has the potential to print worldwide and local churches would not incur shipping costs.
“Factory Workers see Transformation”
WDA has a goal to see people transformed into the likeness of Christ. One worker at a factory run by Center for Community Transformation has seen her life change! “I was once a loudmouth and now I am different because of being part of WDA.” She and her co-workers are part of small groups provided for every worker. These men and women are not just part of groups but also lead groups themselves. Each factory run by CCT has a pastor who oversees discipleship and manages a process that ranges from management all the way to the line worker. Over 20,000 factory workers are now using WDA material in their small discipleship groups.
“Leaders Meet for Training and Planning”
At the CCT Retreat Center in the Tagaytay Highlands we met with leaders from Sowers of the Word, Leaders and Students from Febias Bible College and Seminary as well as Pastors from the Makati Gospel Church. These men and women were able to receive training on the Restoring Your Heart Ministry and also learn more about the Ministry of Christ and Philosophy of Ministry of WDA. All of these leaders were part of previous training with WDA. The benefit of returning to meet with them is that we are able to reinforce the information that they have learned by reading Disciple Building: A Biblical Framework, doing groups using Cornerstone and also by going thru training in small groups using WDA’s A Small Groups Manual.
The Pastors for the Makati Gospel Church were looking at using WDA as their main discipleship focus for the church. MGC has many small groups and were looking at many different approaches to discipleship. Our time with them over meals, during meetings and in individual conversations has resulted in them choosing to now only roll out WDA as the main equipping curriculum but also were part of helping us use the Cornerstone in the MCG Christian Academy. MCG Academy will use Cornerstone with 7-12 grade students as well as with faculty.
Along with MCG, one of our WDA trainers , Sis. Remi, along with Sis. Joy, Dean of Students at FEBIAS (Far East Bible Institute And Seminary), invited Jack, David and Buddy to meet with students and faculty to introduce our Disciple Building approach. FEBIAS is also looking at WDA as a significant part of student development and small groups at the college and seminary level.
The Restorative Ministry
The Restorative Ministry also sent a significant team to work with Rich Smith, WDA Staff member in Quezon City, Philippines. Rich has been in Quezon City developing a ministry with local pastors who have been very interested in starting Restoring Your Heart groups. The RYH team led 6 trainings over a 3 week period for people who were committed to start RYH groups. The challenges that face WDA with these prototype groups are providing ongoing feedback and training while receiving feedback about how the experience is going. WDA will use the feedback with these leaders and also with groups started by Sowers of the Word to begin a national strategy this coming year. In addition to Quezon City groups, 3 more groups have begun with Leaders at the Makati Gospel Church, the Philippine Bible Society and at FEBIAS.
What we see in these stories is but a small number of ways WDA is becoming a Worldwide Discipleship Association. WDA has a commitment to serve the Church Worldwide. Ministry partnerships around the globe will have ongoing impact as WDA provides the training, service and materials necessary to begin national movements where people grow to maturity. We would greatly appreciate your prayers and financial support in making these endeavors possible.
Because children interpret events with their emotions, it is important to protect your child’s heart. Many of the people I work with have been wounded by parents who have not been protective of this treasure. Some of their parents have been wounded themselves and have done the best they could. However, their own woundedness has driven them to make decisions that are harmful to their children. The following story was written by a 26 year old that I work with and is being shared with permission. It describes the events of a day that turned her life upside down. (All names have been changed.)
“That day. I will never forget it. It’s etched in my mind, clear as yesterday. It’s like a slow motion scene playing against the backdrop of melancholy violins. My world changed forever. The foundation broke beneath my feet into a million pieces. I was sinking, but there was no one to pull me out. I can see that little girl on that fateful day in my mind’s eye. She stands still, frozen as the unimaginable scene unfolds before her eyes; it seems unreal, like she is watching some twisted movie.
“This can’t really be happening,” I thought to myself. I had just returned from playing video games and eating chips and salsa with my brothers. My big brother, Charles, whom I loved and admired so much, had just given Richard and me the time of our lives at El Azteca. I remember on that sunny Saturday afternoon how happy I was to feel so loved as I played packman with my brothers at the local Mexican Restaurant. In that blissful moment, I had no idea that Charles was shielding us from the hell that was unleashing at home. I had no idea that in a matter of hours, minutes, life as I knew it would change forever.
When we pulled up to the house, immediately, I knew something was going on. My dad’s car sat in the driveway with clothes piled high in the back seat. The car door was open. The front door of the house was open. My dad walked out of the house, still in his work clothes from the day before…only the front of his white collared dress shirt was unbuttoned, exposing his undershirt. He carried a box in his hands. He didn’t look at us. He walked towards his car, and then I saw his back. His shirt was torn. He had scratch marks, and he was bleeding. Confused, I stood there, not knowing how to make sense of what I was witnessing.
Charles put his hands on mine and Richard’s shoulders like protective wings. The fight must have drug out longer than he had expected. He must have brought us back too early, and now he was trying to figure out what to do. He led us inside, perhaps hoping that the worst was over. I was confused when I walked in by what I saw- objects overturned, broken glass, wax, presumably from a lit candle that had been thrown, plastered in dripping runs on the wall. WHAT WAS HAPPENING!? I didn’t understand. I heard my mom yelling. I can’t remember what she said, but I knew it wasn’t good. Every time my dad made his way up to the stairs to get another load, more screaming…I think I heard “GET OUT!”
I don’t remember how long this went on…time didn’t exist in that moment. But, I do remember, that whenever my dad would come down the stairs, he would offer Richard and me this sad look…of regret? We stood still, absorbing this surreal reality. Once the car was packed, my dad made his way over to Richard and I as we stood in the dining room. He was lost for words, trying to explain to us what was happening with pain in his eyes. My mother made her way over. She was furious, high on adrenalin, and impatient with my dad’s stammering. She butted in and, with vengeance in her tone, blurted out, “Your father slept with another woman last night in a hotel!” Time froze.
I immediately looked at Richard who is two years younger than I. He stared in shock. Although, at his age, he could not comprehend the full extent of what my mother was saying. However, at 11, I could. “You have something blue on your lip,” I commented to Richard about the residual stains of the blue gumball he had chewed at the Mexican restaurant. “I don’t care,” he said, not breaking eye-contact with my parents. The details of what happened after this world shattering news are a blur to me. At some point, it was explained to me that my dad was leaving to live somewhere else. I ran to grab a recent art project I had made at school, and I gave it to my dad to remember me by. It was a box cut-out of a magical, beautiful world of flowers, rolling hills, and a majestic sunset, like the sunset I had watched with my parents set over the Gulf of Mexico just a few short months earlier on our first beach vacation. That time seemed like a different life now. My whole world was turned upside down in a matter of moments. I didn’t know if I would ever see my dad again.”
This young person’s self image has been wounded by the events of her life. The power of the Holy Spirit is enabling her to heal and recover. **We appreciate so much the prayers and support you give staff and to all the people with whom we work. Nancy currently is meeting with about 15 people on a regular basis, all of whom have been wounded by people who loved them. Our prayer is not only that their hearts will be restored but that all parents with young children will learn how to protect their children’s hearts.
**Please consider making a regular part of your prayer life, praying for the individuals who participate in our Restoring Your Heart Groups but the individuals many of our staff and restorative staff meet with regularly.
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[edited by our communications team]
I’m so excited to see the work of some great WDA staff get a facelift! Sometimes when you begin a project you don’t know how things will ultimately end up. That is the case with the WDA Store redesign.
It all started when I wondered about creating a new cover for the downloadable pdf materials we offer for our discipleship ministry. What was a personal project to add a little color to our pages, ended up as a project to create a new way for us to share our materials with the world!
WDA has been writing great materials since it was started in 1974. My first year on WDA campus staff I used our printed materials for small groups in my first bible study with Auburn freshman. Who is God, is part of Phase 1, Establishing Faith. It was part of what we once called Step One. I still have those bible studies on my shelf. As I began to create new covers and then the web store I realized that there are many people who will be able to teach great content to their groups and have a copy that they can read on their iPad or print and publish in a notebook.
As we began to put products on the store, I had the help of one of our staff, Nila Duffitt, who helps run our store. She has been an invaluable source of information as we began to gather all the descriptions for each product page. She and our materials staff have worked through the years to make all our materials connect not only to where each person or group might be in their spiritual growth, they are presented in a variety of formats that can be adapted to a particular context.
Many of our materials are in the form of a Teaching Outline. This is great for places where a teacher will be giving a lecture based presentation. We also provide materials as Guided Discussions, which work well when you want to bring a group into a dialogue about truth and have an interactive teaching time. WDA also provides Pocket Principles® which are based on the lessons that have been taught. Many people in the earlier phases choose to have participants take a Pocket Principle™ home with them or in later phases Pocket Principles are best read before coming to a group training.
The WDA store also offers materials which help train leaders and teach our philosophy of ministry, such as Disciple Building: a Practical Strategy and Disciple Building: Mentoring for Progressive Growth, that helps the mentor (disciple builder) better understand progressive one-to-one disciple building.
The training resources also include DVD’s from our 28/20 Conferences which are great for training leaders in a ministry how to implement a discipleship ministry using the progressive model of discipleship patterned after Jesus ministry.
In addition to our downloadable materials WDA also offers printed products for churches that are doing Restoring Your Heart ministry. These include, Processing Pain, Understanding Emotions and Conquering Shame. These workbooks when used in a Restoring Your Heart experience bring about healing from emotional pain. We have a specific program that trains and certifies people to lead others through the emotional healing process. We believe emotional and relational healing is an integral part of the discipleship process and was modeled by Jesus as he taught his disciples. The result of restoration is healthier people, healthier families, healthier churches and healthier communities. These workbooks provide participants and leaders the content needed for a group experience.
WDA’s Store has an abundance of materials for your church and ministry. Many of these materials are suitable for any context. Future materials are being developed that will help churches continue to train and equip mature leaders for the church. We currently have materials for Phases 1-3 online, which are suitable for evangelism (Phase 1 – Establishing Faith), helping a new believer begin to grow (Phase 2 Laying Foundations) and for a younger believer to begin to get training in ministry (Phase 3 Equipping for Ministry)
WDA has worked hard to create materials in a variety of formats that we believe will be useful for your ministry. Each one has been field tested by our experienced WDA staff. We are very excited to provide a you a way to learn about new products, read some reviews and have a great experience with a the new store! Please take some time to visit and use the coupon!
If you visit before September 14 you will get 15% off your purchase of downloadable materials!