Sunday, December 16

One million disciples

I love crazy people. Crazy people like the Ecuadorian hermano (brother) who came over yesterday to ask for our help in making one million disciples of Christ in '08-'09. I told him his "crazy plan" trumped our own crazy 500,000 disciples in five years!

But this wasn't just any "kook" mouthing off numbers. He was dead serious. My visitor was one of the top heads of the Assemblies of God churches here in Ecuador. My heart was warmed beyond expression that KINGDOM trumps denominational ties. Here was an AoG leader asking our (Baptist) church planting team for help. His way of putting it was: share with us your process, discipleship materials and training; we'll provide the passion and people, and through the power of the Holy Spirit working through us all, bring in a harvest of a million souls! Isn't that the way it is supposed to be in the Body of Christ?

We can talk about unity until we are blue in the face, but until we sit down and begin sharing our plans with one another and drawing from each others strengths, we will never fulfill the Great Commission. I happen to be one of those crazy people who actually believe that we can fulfill the Great Commission in this generation (at least here in Ecuador.) I'd rather be around other crazy-thinking people like that, than the so-called "sane" amongst us who can only find reasons for not partnering, and can only point out all the negatives involved!

But we have got to begin doing the kinds of things that are more than just talk. Materials have to be shared; not withheld. We have to be willing to appear on stage at THEIR meetings. Partner with them how all these things are going to work. We have to make room on our calendar for training THEM, as well as our own projects, assignments, goals. We have to be willing to feel a bit of discomfort at being around those with minor doctrinal differences and practices. Personally, I can put up with a little tongues speaking and charismatic practices in exchange for a million souls!

So, how did all this come about?

PRAYER!

Our people are taught to obey Christ's command to pray the Lord of the harvest for laborers (Luke 10:2). We pray daily for the 500,000 disciples in five years. We pray for passion, perseverance and power from on high to complete the task. But most importantly, we pray,

"THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE."

By praying these two phrases incessantly to the Lord, we are letting Him know we want HIS WILL and KINGDOM to come, not our own. We are not telling Him HOW it will be done, only praying that it WILL be done. The choice is God's as to how it will all be worked out. His Kingdom is about JESUS, not us, not our plans, our strategies, our team, our denomination, our church.

So we continue to pray, and wait for God to open doors. When He does, like yesterday, we must be ready to walk through them in faith and with resolve.

The thing about KINGDOM work is that God gets the glory. If even a tenth of the AoG million are won next year, that's 100,000 disciples! Who knows how many newly planted churches will come out of it all? Guess how many we will be able to report on our IMB annual statistics? ZERO! Yet, if this crazy plan is only moderately successful, there will be THOUSANDS of new brothers and sisters in Christ added to the Kingdom. The AoG will get to show the numbers on paper, but what really counts is that Jesus will have to stay busy a while longer building mansions in Heaven for all these new folks!

19 comments:

Darrell said...

Praise God. Amen. The Kingdom MUST come first!!!!

negrito said...

fantastic.

Gabryel Arias said...

Amen to the one million disciples!

Isn't it amazing how almost all the major movements/events throughout history, be them good or bad, in the Scriptures or not, have taken place by either one crazy individual or a small group of them. All it takes is one crazy person...

Thanks for your prayers brother Guy, I am confident that God will complete the work that he has begun.

Les Puryear said...

You know what I like about this? It's a God-sized project. This can only be done by the power of the Almighty.

Les

GuyMuse said...

Darrell, Negrito, Gabryel, Les,

Thanks to each of you for stopping by . Indeed these kinds of projects are accomplished only by God. We can set our sails and make preparations, but are totally dependent upon the Spirit of God blowing to move us forward. Your prayers are as always much appreciated that He would lead and guide us step by step.

bj said...

AoG official stance copied from their website "All believers are entitled to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and therefore should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all believers in the early Christian church. With the experience comes the provision of power for victorious Christian living and productive service. It also provides believers with specific spiritual gifts for more effective ministry. The baptism of Christians in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues (unlearned languages) as the Spirit of God gives them audible expression."
A denomination counting this as a fundamental truth (wording from their website) is more than simply a minor doctrinal difference and practice. It is a basic, foundational difference.
Certainly we can work with various denominations in some projects, but I'm not sure how we can plant churches together.

GuyMuse said...

BJ,

Welcome to the "M Blog" and glad you stopped by. I understand where you are coming from. Let me try to further explain...

The AoG will be planting the churches. They will be the ones doing the work and counting any church plants that result. We will not be planting the churches together. There is a difference between a joint church planting emphasis, and what we will be doing by providing training and materials. As a result, we will not be able to report any new church plants from this venture (they will not be Baptist.) The AoG will be the ones that get to do this. When Jesus says, "seek ye first the Kingdom of God" I understand that the Kingdom matters get first priority. Denominational differences between us should be secondary to seeing the Kingdom of God established on earth. As I stated in my post, I can put up with the differences between us that you point out in your quote in exchange for the joy of seeing literally thousands of new believers entering into the Kingdom that otherwise might not ever have the chance of hearing the Gospel. I wish with all my heart our national Baptists had been the ones to approach us with such a far-reaching vision. How we long for and pray for them to catch a similar vision and us work together to make it happen. But until that day, can we not rejoice in that our AoG brothers are attempting to make ONE MILLION disciples next year and do all we can to see that God alone gets the glory? Please feel free to share any further thoughts. Hopefully this helps you understand a bit better where we are coming from.

WTJeff said...

Guy,

Absolutely incredible. It's an awesome thing when God allows you to equip others to do kingdom work. As I read many of our stateside blogs, I can't help but feel we've lost focus on the main thing. When we get to heaven, God won't ask us how many baptist churches we planted, but what we did to make disciples for His glory. Thanks for your continued focus on God's Kingdom and the encouragement it provides for me and my friends.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

GuyMuse said...

Jeff,

I know what you mean about the attitude towards Kingdom work being shared on many of the stateside blogs these days. It stands in stark contrast to what our people here believe and practice. There is a much clearer understanding here that the Body of Christ is One. We find it strange that so many of our Stateside brethren are so set in maintaining distance from fellow believers who have different views on secondary doctrinal issues.

Rhea said...

Great post! Sometimes I wish that we just didn't have denominations...

Alan said...

It never ceases to amaze me when I pray for the Lord's will to be done that He never does it in the way I expect Him to. I have an issue with the numbering thing and the tongues thing, but this would be a humbling experience for me and the graciousness you show is an inspiration to me. Keep up the kingdom work Guy.

In Christ
Alan

Bruce said...

Guy, I have been reading your blog, which I love. This news is music to the ears of the Father, God bless you in all you are doing.

GuyMuse said...

Rhea, Alan, Bruce,

Thanks to each of you for stopping by and for the words of encouragement. I have discovered through the years that there are many things that happen in the Kingdom that don't square with how I view things. I guess that is why Jesus emphasized over and over that we "love one another". I guess He knew how hard it would be for us to keep this lesson and not allow differences to hinder us from obeying this command. Years ago I pasted in the back of my Bible a little saying that is a good reminder: It took such a long time to see, God's Kingdom revolves around Him, not me.

L said...

Maybe these so-called crazy people are doing a better job than yourselves at this conquest. Your leaders should look at this, and feel ashamed. They call themselves devoted, but are nothing at all like your "crazy" hermano.

GuyMuse said...

I,

That's why my first sentence in this post is, "I LOVE CRAZY PEOPLE." Indeed it is those with a bold faith, willing to pay the price at whatever cost, will ultimately be used to turn the world upside down with the Gospel of Christ. Pray for us, we need the prayer support like never before.

David Rogers said...

Guy,

Do you have any knowledge of the CESI church planter training program?

I was privileged to be present at the founding conference of CESI in Ecuador at the AoG seminary in Quito. I am curious to know if this may somehow play into this vision for 1 million disciples. Also, although CESI started in Ecuador with the AoG, the vision is very interdenominational and supportive of the working with the entire Body of Christ.

GuyMuse said...

David,

Thank you for these links. I have just spent about 20-minutes reading through the various pages on the CESI site. I was not aware of their existence here in Ecuador. How exciting to learn about others here in Ecuador doing the same kind of church planting training! How was it that you were involved in the founding conference at the AoG seminary in Quito?

The AoG brother with whom I met did not mention the CESI program, but it may have to do with his having come to one of our COSECHA cp trainings a while back and is simply more familiar with the way we do church planting. I noticed on the website that there are 850 pages of material in the five Omega manuals to go through. COSECHA is only 49-pages. That fact and the costs involved in training large numbers of lay people may be part of the reason.

Again, thanks for bringing this organization to my attention. We may be able to set up some kind of partnership with them in that their statements of belief and ours are very similar.

David Rogers said...

Guy,

To summarize, we were researching church planter training courses in Spain, and came across the Omega Course. I later found out the Tim Befus, the founder of CESI, had translated the Omega Course into Spanish. I e-mailed Tim wanting more information. I found out he was going to Quito to introduce the concept of CESI to some church leaders in Ecuador. I was on STAS at the time, and wrote back to Tim, asking if I might possibly be able to accompany him on his trip to Quito, so I could observe from the ground up the organization of a CESI. It was surprising to Tim that in Ecuador all or nearly all of the participants who showed up were AoG. Tim is from United World Mission. CESI normally operates on a very inter-denominational basis in the other places it works. The original partners in Guadalajara, Mexico were actually Baptists.

I was overall very impressed with the CESI program and approach. Tim is a great guy, and very easy to work with. Their emphasis is probably more on cell church than house church, though there is flexibility for both.

I also enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with some of the key AoG leadership in Quito. They seemed to be great people with a real vision for the Kingdom, and for winning Ecuador for Christ.

GuyMuse said...

David,

Interesting to hear your story on how the CESI got started in Quito. This is one piece of information that I intend on following up to learn more. I would be interested in even making a trip to Quito to find out how they are set up. Again thanks. This is what I call "networking" where an IMB M from Spain who is in the States to inform another IMB M from Ecuador about a church planting training center existing in Ecuador that we had never heard about! I wish we had better networking here in Ecuador to hear and know about these things!