Can Every Sphere of Society Be Transformed?
From the start of this YWAM team’s work in Africa, their hope and goal for the unreached tribe was this: Make disciples. Help them multiply fellowships that spread the blessings of God’s Kingdom. Let them spread it within their families. Let them spread it among their neighbors. Let them spread it throughout all spheres of society. Let them spread it across the nations.
The team lived amongst the people, learning their language and culture. As they built relationships and shared God’s love, local people gradually became obedient disciples of Jesus. What began in a village, expanded into the surrounding district. It is bringing transformation to their society. It brought Kingdom-change and continues to bring more Kingdom-change. Here is what the team leader told me:
Our team went to this Muslim tribe in 2005. My family and I were there for the first 5 years. Without a lot of visible fruit during that period, we persevered.
Now, after many years of work, a transformational Disciple-Making Movement is well underway! God used our team to ignite the movement. It’s the local disciples who are making it grow and impact every sphere of their society.
Sphere of Economics:
The team began to vaccinate their own chickens. After seeing good results, they helped their neighbors vaccinate their chickens. As usual, in the other villages, the disease spread throughout their chickens. But the vaccinated chickens remained healthy. The difference was obvious. That village has better nutrition now. They don’t have to start over every season…there is a steady supply of fresh eggs.
One of our team members is a carpenter. He began to train people in these skills. Now his trainees have a way a new to make an income.
In agriculture, we taught new farming techniques that the local people could apply. We showed that with the same amount of work, they could have more produce. It worked!
As these innovations spread among the people, it began to change the economy of the community.
Sphere of Government:
One of our team members became highly respected in the community. He was invited to be part of the Circle of Elders. Eventually, some of the Chiefs came to the Lord. One of them, Chief M., is a counselor to the king who rules over the tribe in this area. Chief M. is well-respected and openly testifies about Jesus to the other chiefs. A fellowship started in his house.
Recently Muslim missionaries from a neighboring country came into the village. They began to publicly slander the Bible and Christianity. The people themselves rose up to defended the local believers. The chief rebuked these Muslim missionaries. He said, “The Christians always ask permission when they want to do something here. But you didn’t ask permission. Who gave you permission to talk here?” He shamed them, gave them a fine and chased them out of the village.
Sphere of Family:
Husbands who have become disciples of Jesus are now better husbands. They walk with their wives. They spend time with their children. Young believers have learned not to take more than one wife (a local Muslim practice). Married men will not take on more wives now that they have come to faith.
These disciples learned to start fellowships in their own homes. Even the guy who was the strongest opponent of the Gospel came to the Lord and now leads a fellowship group in his home.
Sphere of Education:
Our team started literacy classes for women to empower them to read and write. Before long a preschool started and they have now added Grade 1. The quality of education is high. Younger children are reading and writing before their elder sisters and brothers.
Seeing the results coming from the school, the district Chief wants to send his child. This, even though it is 20 kilometers away.
Sphere of Celebration:
Sports brings people together around a common interest. In the beginning, we used “football outreach.” We found it to be a great way to open doors and begin relationships with youth and their families.
Music also draws people. Songs created by the local churches, the songs sung by the local believers, are now becoming songs of the whole tribe. As children play in the community, people hear them singing worship songs to Jesus.
Sphere of Media:
As the singing continued, the national radio station even came to get the story. They recorded songs written by the believers. Original songs composed in their language and the real, tribal musical style. The beautiful name of Jesus was broadcast across the country.
We gave copies of the Jesus Film to the local video shops where they show movies. It’s now a popular movie. They love it.
Sphere of Religion (Faith):
One of the Imams recently said publicly, “There is no salvation outside of Jesus.”
We have distributed Audio Bibles widely. Every one of the fellowships in the movement has at least one. God’s Word is making a powerful impact. In the fellowships, they use oral Bible stories. We practice “Discovery Bible Study.” DBS involves group participation, prayer, fellowship, and practical on-the-job training.
In helping the believers learn to worship, we avoided the temptation to translate our songs from the outside. We provided them with Audio Bibles. They listen to God’s Word and create their own lyrics. God gave two local brothers gifts in music and they turn these lyrics into beautiful worship.
A Transformational Movement Emerges
Beginning with the first fellowship (started by our team), reproduction has taken place. That fellowship started a new fellowship on their own. A pattern of multiplication was set. A movement has emerged, led by the local disciples. At this point, there are now 83 fellowships. Most of them made up of people of this tribe.
Last year they invited me to go provide training again. The first day we spent the whole time with twelve chiefs and Imams. All are either already following Jesus or in the process of accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are having a huge impact. Not only in that village but throughout the district.
When we started in 2005, it was an unreached region of about a 60-kilometer radius. There was one evangelical church, but it was made up of people from a different ethnic group. There were no known believers from this tribe anywhere in the region. (Maybe there was one.) Now the whole district is saturated with the Gospel and there is a fellowship in each village. More than 660 people are being discipled in small groups. More than 550 of them are Muslim background believers.
It’s just a beautiful thing that God did. All glory goes to Him.
This is a move of God. “His Kingdom come, His will done on earth as it is in heaven.”
It’s the Good News of the Kingdom
Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Through the witness of His faithful local disciples, let’s believe Jesus to transform “all these things” in society:
· Religion (Faith)
YWAM Frontier Missions works to multiply teams throughout Unreached People Groups. Teams who go do what this team did–Introduce King Jesus and His Kingdom through both word and deed. Empower and entrust new believers to go do the same.