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 www.e3partners.org.
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)