In Training Leaders, Every Believer Is a Priest
Here is the story of an inspiring couple. These two were driven by love for the Lord and compassion for those without eternal hope. They were faithful. They were obedient. And through them, the Holy Spirit began one of YWAM Frontier Mission’s earliest Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs)!
The husband writes:
“My wife and I did our School of Frontier Missions way back in 1996. After praying and learning practical skills, we went to the field to plant churches. We were blessed to work with a faithful local couple who were also YWAMers. Finally, in 2003, we were excited to be used by the Lord to plant a church!
“An important part of the work was ministry to children. It turned out to be a great investment of our time and resources. At the same time, we were also dependent upon having an available building. That was probably not such a great investment.
“We were not thinking about multiplication back then. Disciple-Making Movements were not something we knew about. We hadn’t even heard of church planting movements. We did know that the cost of that building was a big burden.
“In 2008 we made a new start. We had a new place to work, and best of all, a new strategy! With God’s help we met a special man who would be key. He came from a community that was very much like the community we hoped to reach. We could tell that this man was a gifted apostle. But he did not think of himself that way at all!
“We spent time with him and encouraged him. We could see that God had given him many gifts. He did not see this in himself. But very soon the Lord used him. In fact, he quickly won many to become believers in Jesus.
“These new believers needed to be put into small groups, of course. These groups came together naturally. They were based on relationships that had already formed. They also needed to live close to one another. After getting to about 300 believers, we said ‘Hallelujah!’
A Wonderful Problem
“…And then we said ‘Help, Lord!’
“It was a wonderful problem to have, but a problem all the same! There were many pastoral issues. Like in any group, there were relationship struggles. The new believers were also dealing with sin and had many spiritual needs. Besides that, these new believers were spread across a very wide area. We definitely couldn’t look after that many people or travel that far every week.
“Also, our small leadership team was doing all the work of making new believers! Those who were already following Jesus were not doing this. Instead they waited for the people they called ‘the real leaders’ to bring seekers to faith. It was the same with baptism: the ordinary followers of Jesus did not think they could baptize.
“As time went on, we had a series of leadership problems among the those believers. Things got worse and worse. We were not able to solve these problems.
“In the end, the whole thing collapsed.
Time to Evaluate
“After evaluation, we decided to make another fresh start in new locations. But we kept working among the same people group. We had learned helpful principles from the Harvest Multiplication Training. These were valuable during this fresh start. Once again, we experienced many miracles. God brought many to faith, including important ‘persons of peace.’
“So what made the difference?
“One thing that changed was that this time we no longer filled our time doing ‘pastoral’ work. Instead we concentrated on training and coaching leaders of small gatherings and leaders of streams. These people would be the ones who would disciple the believers right where they lived.
“The meeting style among leaders is the same as they have among small groups of believers. This style can also be used during evangelism, discipleship, or even pre-evangelism.
• The first part of the meeting is about hearing people’s stories of how they used what they learned the week before. After sharing together, they pray for one another. Any ‘success’ of applying God’s word is celebrated.
• The second part is about teaching/training.
• The third part is applying new learning. The people are sent out, with prayers for fruit to multiply.
“We learned that we, leaders from outside the community, did not need to be the ones to baptize new believers. We did not even need to be known by them. Instead, by empowering and training others to lead, growth multiplied! Training leaders was the key.
“After we started doing things this way, the total number of new believers grew to more than 1,500! These come from a wide region. All are meeting in small groups, and most have their own group leaders.”
Lessons About Multiplication
These experiences taught this couple many lessons about multiplication. Here are two of them:
1. We believe that every believer is a priest. Or course, that priest must be helped to grow, so that they can do the works of the ministry. In other words, the works of the ministry do not rest on a few ‘mature’ believers.
2. We are called to disciple disciple-makers. We are not just to gather disciples so that we become the ‘pastor’ who does everything. We expect that every believer should go on to make other disciples.
Are you seeing this kind of fruit in your ministry? Consider the two lessons about multiplication that this couple has learned. Both lessons challenge us to believe in what new disciples can do. We guide and support. But if we keep ourselves in control, our fruit will be limited! Start training leaders!