Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horses, Rabbits and Ducklings / Church Planting

So how can we have horse churches that reproduce like rabbits and produce duckling’s . . . and not produce more “mile wide, inch deep” Christianity? [If you are wondering about what in the world is up with horses, rabbits and ducklings, see entry below.]

Curtis Sergeant shared several keys with us last week in our South Africa meetings—here are my top take-aways.

One, new believers should immediately be taught how to share the gospel, and also to make a list of 50 people they would like to share with. Like a day or two after they trust Christ. Then helped to do that, and held accountable to do it.

Two, they should be taught to be self-feeding. Meaning they immediately need to be taught how to read, understand and obey the Bible. Not just tell them about the Bible. But teach them how to get into it for themselves And learn how to pray for themselves.

Three, practice dual accountability. This means 1) obey what they learn and 2) immediately teach it to someone else. That’s the duckling principle put into practice. If they don’t obey lesson 1 and teach it to someone else, don’t give them lesson 2 until they do. Radical? Or simply Biblical?

“But wait,” one leader asked, “doesn’t this open the door to heresy and problems if you turn so much responsibility over to new believers?”

Curtis’ answer made me smile with agreement., as well as everyone else. “If you look at church history, every heresy has been introduced by those with advanced theological training. There is not much temptation to put the opinion of a poorly educated person over the plain words of Scripture.” He went on to say that of course more education is important, but that should not delay sending out a new believers to share with his friends, and then teaching them whatever lesson he just learned. And someone should stick with them to disciple them to help them stay on course.

Another African leader posed this question. Which church is healthier? One with 3,000 people who worship together each weekend, but do little else during the week? Or a church of 300 with 80% of its members ministering in some way during the week?

As I stew over these challenging concepts (which are so thoroughly Biblical), I wonder if maybe the US many times is a mile wide and an inch deep?

What do you think? Or more importantly, what could you do about it? Would love for you to leave a comment.

Mike Jorgensen

Blind Guy on a Mission Trip? Big Problem?

“I’ll go. I’ll go.” Oh no, the church leaders thought as the speaker asked for volunteers to go on an Ethiopian mission trip. “He’s blind. Big problem.” [This happened about a year ago, but I just heard this story.]

But they decided to let him go, for he was so enthusiastic. The two small sending churches raised the funds for the team’s transport, food and hotel. e3 kicked in EvangeCubes and other tools. The team of 21 traveled 200 kilometers, but in Ethiopia this can be a world away. They were reaching out to another people group, so they needed translators, just as our American teams do.

Trouble immediately erupted as they began to share the gospel. Mslm crowds formed to throw stones and beat these visitors with the audacity to talk about Christ.

“But wait, one of them is blind.” In their culture it’s wrong to harm a helpless blind person. They stopped. Questioning glances shot among the angry eyes.

As the crowd murmured , wonder began to erase anger. “This must be great love for a blind man to come so far to talk to us.” Wonder eased into curiosity. Why is he here? What does he have to say?

They listened to not only the blind man, but the others as well. The hand of God used one blind man to stop the mob. 135 Mslms prayed to receive Christ. Three new churches were started.

Our creative God used weakness to show His strength. He used the curse of a lifetime to flow blessings of eternal life. He turned a handicap into a gift.

Makes me want to search my heart for what I’ve said “no” to lately.

We are here in the same place this took place about a year ago. We are meeting with local leaders, trusting God to show us how He wants us to partner with His church here to reach this people group that is less than 1% Christian. Pray for wisdom and direction as we seek His plan.

Mike Jorgensen

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Church Planting Zoo in South Africa

Is your church a horse or a mule?

Is your church an elephant or a rabbit?

Are you producing ducklings?

Curtis Sergeant
challenged us strongly with these questions here at our training and planning retreat for our Africa e3 leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Keep this in mind. The average life span in Africa now is 45. And it is falling, largely because of AIDS. Reaching many more people much more quickly is crucial.

God designed His creation to reproduce. Including His church. As in many parts of the world, here in Africa if a person cannot walk to church, often he cannot go to church. Where poverty abounds, personal vehicles do not. Many times even bus fare is not an option. So to effectively reach and disciple people, a church must be close by.

Horse or Mule?

Horse churches multiply. Mule churches do not. A mule is a hybrid between a horse and a donkey, so it is sterile and unable to reproduce. Mules work hard, but are stubborn and focus on their own corral. Unfortunately, many churches are like that., too.

Elephant or Rabbit?

Elephants reach sexual maturity at age 18. They are fertile 4x a year, have a 22-month gestation period, and have one baby per pregnancy. So after a pair reaches sexual maturity, in 3 years there will be 3 elephants.

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at 4 months, are almost continuously fertile, have a 1-month gestation period, and have an average of 7 babies per pregnancy. So after 3 years, there could be 476,000,000 rabbits . . . if you had enough room, enough food, etc. Explosive blessing?


Ever see ducklings following their mother? They walk single file, one after the other. The first is following the mama duck, but each of the others follows the duckling ahead of it. Each duckling is leading its brother or sister, and the only qualification is that it is one step ahead.

How do we grow disciples? Usually we teach and teach and teach, and someday, after much training, we hope they will disciple someone else. But the rate of disciple making can be radically sped up if we immediately challenge new believers to turn around and teach someone else. Teach someone that they are at least one step ahead of.

How do we produce horse churches that reproduce like rabbits and walk like ducklings? How do we do this and not fall into the “mile wide, inch deep” problem? Next blog entry. Gotta run to catch a plane from South Africa to Ethiopia.

Our Africa leaders want to see YOU when they are at our 2009 World Conference in January. More info and sign-up at


Mike Jorgensen

Click here
to read more about this trip on Curtis' blog.

Yoseph Menna (ET), Mike Jorgensen (US), Paul Buhwahwa (TZ), Joe Michael Kamau (KE), Manasseh Wandera (RW), Joseph Oyuki (UG), Curtis Sergeant (US)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Off to Africa

One of the great blessings of working at e3 is the people God brings to us. Recently He surprised us with Curtis Sergeant, one of the foremost authorities on church planting on the entire planet. God has provided his support and he’s now on board full-time with e3.

Saturday I leave for South Africa to tag along as Curtis trains master church planter trainers from OMS International. We have invited our e3 Africa national leaders to attend this training. So it will be a wonderful time of learning, networking and strategizing. Those able to attend are—

Yoseph Menna from Ethiopia
Joe Michael Kamau from Kenya
Manasseh Wandera from Rwanda
Paul Buhwahwa from Tanzania
Joseph Oyuki from Uganda

Then we head to Ethiopia to meet with our e3 team there. Curtis will be helping us develop a strategy to reach the people group called the Arsi Oromo.

Please pray for—

• God’s wisdom as we learn and discuss strategy
• Relationships to strengthen among our Africa leaders, and with the OMS staff
• For all of to learn how to be more effective in our service to your King


Mike Jorgensen