Phew. We are on part three of recapping our July training (read part one here and part two here if you missed them!). We headed East for two and a half weeks of training in July and, though it was a whirlwind, we received such good training through ABWE.
For our last bit of training, we were back in Harrisburg, PA at the ABWE headquarters. Our week-long training was Essential Missions Components and focused primarily on ABWE’s model for planting churches.
ABWE has one vision: To fulfill the Great Commission by multiplying leaders, churches, and missions movements among every people.
ABWE holds to four principles that guide the vision to share the Gospel and make disciples:
- Cultural Sensitivity: For effective ministry, you must understand the culture in which you are working. What forms are the necessary functions taking so that the Gospel is communicated?
- Developing Leaders: Raising up another group of leaders is critical for work to continue long-term.
- Holistic Ministry: We strive to meet needs spiritually, physically, relationally, and emotionally. By showing we care, people are more open to spiritual truths.
- Networking & Partnering: Developing relationships with other organizations, churches, etc. helps us reach our ministry goals more quickly.
Finally, there are eight functions that guide church multiplication:
When seen in a flow chart, you can tell how these functions work to prepare a culture (be it a country, city, or neighborhood) to receive and respond to the Gospel. As people respond in faith, churches are formed (connected and gathered), matured, and equipped so that they can reproduce and form other churches. As churches continue the process of reproducing, they begin to multiple and, eventually, send their own missionaries out.
Some highlights from the week:
- Our friends (Tammy and John, pictured above) were at EMC as table leaders! Oh, we love them so much and were so so thankful to spend some time with them.
- We met many teammates from Togo, including our team leaders (yay, Andrew and Mary!). It was nice to connect with them, get to know them more, and talk a little about our visions for ministry.
- We had a whole Africa-team dinner (pictured above) one night, headed by our wonderful Executive Director and his wife, Ron and Ann Washer. They served in Togo for years and are such an encouragement to us.
- Our table group (pictured above)! We sat with the same table group all week and those relationships we built will last a lifetime!
- Patrick (pictured with us above, after dinner one night. Tacos!)! Patrick is like a brother to us – we went through NMO together and, as he prepares to serve in Berlin, we are thankful for a brother in Christ who is walking this crazy road with us.
- EMC is a really creative and interactive training, so we had lots of “get up and do” activities… such as trying to build the tallest tower out of index cards (pictured above).
- We had a “Final Exam” that consisted of writing and performing a song that consolidated all the information we learned during our training. It was so fun watching what everyone came up with! Ours was to the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song, but others included a Gregorian chant, a new rendition of “Let it Go” from Frozen, and a Star Wars spoof.
- One evening, we each stood up, shared a brief summary of our vision, and put our names with sticky notes on a banner to represent our ministry (pictured above). It was really neat hearing what everyone is doing and how they see the Lord using them to fulfill the Great Commission.
- Finally, at the close of EMC, they held a special baton ceremony. We had a time of worship, then each of us received a wooden baton from our table leaders. We signed our names on them and were encouraged to pass them on to someone else on the field – “Passing our baton,” so to speak.
This was a full week: late nights, early mornings, and long days, compounded with some illness and lots of new content to learn. We were thankful to be there… but thankful to fly home on Saturday afternoon!
Thanks for following along as we recapped our trainings. If you want to know more about any of these concepts, let us know! We’d be happy to share.