Our Journey in believing in Church Planting – creating dependency on Jesus
CONTINUED FROM BEFORE: As I continued to think about what he had said, I realized, underneath his feelings of loss, was another sentiment; “I can’t live the same fullness of life that comes from following Jesus with you, without you”.
I’ve asked questions quietly in my mind ever since about how we can give people the tools for this life, without them being reliant on the tool giver. How do we show people to follow Jesus and not to rely on following us. It’s harder than it may seem, because for many of us, the discipleship, teaching, friendship we give as we reach people, is giving them truths and lessons, that we received from God. So if that creates this dependency that we cannot sustain how do we do it?
In the following months I read about the AIDS crisis, giving aid to those in poverty, and studied to try and find things that really worked to see the kingdom of God take place in communities in Africa. As I read these academic authors, one theme continued to stand out; Self-sustainability. As I read case studies on how projects succeeded or failed, the key was, could the people sustain the project without outside influence? If the could, the community was changed, for good, when they couldn’t money was wasted, machinery left to ruin, and bitterness amongst both those who sought to help and those who received grew. So I was convinced that whatever we did in South Africa, after a certain time of showing people how, we had to find a way to ‘give it away’ in order for it to be ‘fruit that remains’ (John 15).
A few months passed and we began to study as part of the Church Planting training school, I came with many of the same questions as before. I’m the type of person who like to find 10 answers to 1 question, then deliberate and choose a mixture of 3! We began hear about learning methods, as much as salvation and discipleship are a process initiated by the Holy Spirit, becoming a disciple involves receiving the momentum from the Holy Spirit and learning how to follow and obey Jesus.
Cultures all over the world learn in different ways, so it was interesting to learn that some learnt through hearing, some through reading, and some through experience, but the most profound way for anyone to learn something is through self-discovery.
Learning success goes in this order,
First, hearing something, we retain some of the knowledge,
Second comes reading something we retain a little more that if we had just heard it.
Thirdly, If we write it, we retain even more,
BUT if we discover it ourselves through experience we retain even more,
and finally if we teach that to someone else, we have retained almost all the important information about the subject.
This fascinated me, the idea, that discovery is the best way people to discover truth and hold onto it. Then if that person could teach it to another, and then another, we could see the type of community-wide transformation, that was owned by the community, and didn’t require the type of outside assistance that the aid projects had shown would fail.
That is when I became increasingly interested with a phenomenon known in missions as ‘Church Planting Movements’.