The most absolutely potent thing on this planet is a small group disciplined to great ends. The people of the Kingdom are the seeds of the new order.” E. Stanley Jones
Call them Discipleship Groups, House Churches, Jesus-Centered Fellowships; it doesn’t matter the name. These Kingdom Seeds have potential to transform all the various spheres of their society. When small groups of Kingdom Disciples listen to Jesus speak through His written Word and through His Holy Spirit and they obey what He says, God’s Kingdom advances.
My African friend and coworker shares a glowing example of Kingdom Advance amid an unreached Muslim Tribe:
Our team went to a Muslim tribe in 2005. My family and I lived there for the first 5 years as we sought to learn their language and culture and communicate the Gospel of the Kingdom. Without a lot of visible fruit during that period, we persevered.
Now, after 12 years of work, a transformational Disciple-Making Movement is well underway! Though 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. The impact in each sphere started small and simple:
Sphere of Economics:
Our team began to vaccinate their own chickens. After seeing good results, they helped the neighbors vaccinate their chickens. As disease spread killing the chickens in other villages, like happened every season, the vaccinated chickens remained healthy. The village has better nutrition now because they no longer 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 useful skills. Eventually the trainees had a new way 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 village.
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 for the village. Over time 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 our area. Chief M. is well-respected and openly testifies to the other chiefs. He started a fellowship in his own house.
Recently Muslim missionaries from a neighboring country came into the village. They began to publically slander the Bible and Christianity. The people themselves rose up to defended the local believers. The chief rebuked these Muslim missionaries saying, “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. Those who are married do not take on more wives now that they have come to faith.
These disciples are trained 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:
Literacy classes were formed for women to empower them to read and write. Eventually a preschool was started. Recently Grade 1 was added. The quality of education is so high, the younger children are reading and writing before their elder sisters and brothers who are in Grades 3 and 4.
Seeing the results coming from the school, the district Chief wants to send his own child 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,” finding it to be a great way to open doors and begin relationships with youth and their families.
Music also draws people. The songs of the new churches—the songs sung by the local believers, are now becoming songs of the whole tribe.
As children go about playing in the community, people hear them singing worship songs to Jesus.
Children outside a village mosque
Sphere of Media:
As the singing continued, the national radio station even came to get the story. They recorded songs written by the believers in the tribal language and using the real tribal musical style. The beautiful name of Jesus is broadcast across the airways.
We gave copies of the Jesus Film to the local video shop where they show movies. It’s now a popular movie, they love it.
Sphere of Religion (Faith):
One of the Imams recently said publically, “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 and “Discovery Bible Studies” involving group participation, prayer, fellowship and practical on-the-job training.
Early on, in helping the believers learn to worship, we avoided the temptation to translate our songs from the outside. We relied upon the Audio Bibles. They listen to the Bible and then create their own lyrics. God gave two brothers gifts in music and the lyrics are turned into beautiful worship.
The Movement Spreads:
Beginning with the first fellowship (which was started by our team) reproduction has taken place. That fellowship started a new fellowship. A pattern of disciples making disciples, fellowships starting fellowships 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 previously unreached tribe.
We helped obedient disciples of Jesus work toward starting a transformational disciple-making movement that is spreading out into their community and into the spheres of their society. It has brought Kingdom-change and continues to bring more Kingdom-change.
This is a move of God. “His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” All glory goes to Him.
Question for reflection: Consider these spheres of society:
- Religion (Faith)
In what ways is your team or fellowship making an impact? What else might you do to bring about transformation?
Kingdom prayer: Lord Jesus, we believe You have the power to transform individuals and You have the power to transform societies. Thank You for inviting us to work with You to bring about both. Amen