Growing Your Faith for a Disciple Making Movement
“I believe God can do anything! I know He can bring thousands of Tibetan people to Him. I am just not sure He will do that now. I am definitely not sure He will do it through me.” I have often heard these kinds of statements from missionaries on the field, both new recruits and those who’ve labored for years. You can change the name of the people group or nation. You can talk about Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or Seiks or Animists.
When we labor to bring the unreached to Christ, we live in a deep tension of faith. We encounter great obstacles that threaten our confidence in God. In our minds we know He is able, even more than able. Yet, we struggle as we face daily realities making disciples in places where His Kingdom is yet to come.
God is looking for people who are willing to hold on tightly to faith in His divine purposes. He’s searching for those who will not only hypothetically believe He can do the impossible, but believe He is able to do it now. God wants to give us hearts that are filled with faith for movements of disciple makers. He wants us to believe that those movements can come through us.
Believing for a Movement in Nepal
My husband and I have been involved in church planting among the unreached for almost 30 years. We started our ministry in Nepal, shortly after democracy came to that small Hindu Kingdom. In our twenties, with a new baby in a front pack, we took off, driving our scooter on the mountain roads to a small valley area where there were no churches or gospel witness. We were the first missionaries to ever work there. It was exciting and adventurous! We were living our dream and doing what we knew we were called to.
But it got hard. Language learning felt slow. People were initially responsive to us then changed their minds. The police showed up and stopped us from showing the Jesus film. We feared we would be arrested. Though some were interested, no one was willing to be baptized.
Doubt filled our hearts. It was not so much a doubt in God. We knew He loved these people and had a plan for that valley area. We doubted ourselves. Did we have what it takes to plant a church among the unreached?
Then it got even harder. Sickness, betrayals, and fights within the team, combined with many other difficulties bringing discouragement after discouragement.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
We so wanted to please God but we needed His supernatural gift of faith. We needed His help to believe that He existed in that unreached valley and that He would indeed reward us as we earnestly sought Him.
Daily, we cried out in prayer for His Kingdom to come to that valley. As we prayed and believed, we celebrated small victories. A small group of believers, made up mostly of teenage boys formed. We trained and disciple them. Interestingly, the biggest breakthrough happened when we were gone. That sure reminded us that this work was the Lords and not ours!
We left on an extended furlough after almost two years of effort. Before we left, we challenged the fledgling group we had started to continue to meet, pray, study the Word and evangelize others. Laying our hands on them, we commissioned them to do the work of the Kingdom.
Months later we returned. We had no idea what had happened. There had been no contact with them while we were away. It was before the days of smart phones or even email! We were not sure what we would find. Would they all have fallen away? Would the group we started have grown?
In our absence, the believers had grown strong and fully taken ownership of the spread of the gospel. We came back to around twenty who were ready to take the step of baptism. The first solid church was born!
Today, in that valley there are thousands of believers and it is more than ten percent Christian. That church planted other churches that have planted others. Disciples have made disciples. They have sent out missionaries. God more than answered our prayers.
Hebrews 10:23 & 24 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
In our pursuit of disciple making movements among the unreached, we faced obstacles. We hit roadblocks. There is a tension between what we know God can do and what we are experiencing as reality. In those times, we need a gift of faith.
Here are a few questions to consider:
· Who can you “spur on” today in their journey of faith?
· What small victory can you celebrate and praise God for in order to build up your faith?
· What promise has God given that you can declare over your area?
Believe again today for a movement of disciples in your people group. God chose you. He can and will reach the unreached through you! Don’t grow weary…the fruit is coming (Galatians 6:9).
C. Anderson blogs weekly about Disciple Making Movements and Church Planting among the Unreached at dmmsfrontiermissions.com.
She has also co-authored a 30 Day Devotional for Church planters called Faith to Move Mountains.