Friday, April 25

Seeing and hearing

"...for we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20


*Can our potential church planters on the field today say, "for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard," or will they simply state, "that which we have heard?"

...Many times all that is passed on to the hopeful church planters is nothing more than that which we heard from trainers and teachers that could never share with us what they had done, only what they had also heard. We did not see from those who trained us and those we train many times also don't see church planting from us, they just hear it.

Why is it important for desirous church planters to see church planting as well as hear it?

I will go back to my belief that we are expert church planners and not as expert at church planting. We do have all the latest data on our people groups and the latest methods, books and are up to date with the most current and popular church planters but still fail to see new works happen. We have supplanted the "t" in planters with an extra "n" and are now the planners instead of the planters.

If the ones we are teaching never see it, how are they to do it?

Hearing is never enough! ...It is important for them to see church planting because they will know that what we teach...has validity and a foundation. It is not based on theories that might or might not work as they go out to try and test them out. We will share from personal experiences and most of all share how those experiences either helped or hindered our personal church planting efforts...

Jesus' training of the 12 was never just words. More was learned by them from seeing and many times never a word was spoken but the experience of being there while Jesus carried out His ministry was what was able to sustain the disciples through their own time of implementing the ministry that they had seen and heard. I like the order in which these two words appear, notice that "seen," comes first and then "heard." So many times we are heard far more than we are seen doing in our ministries and training. Don't train from what others taught you but rather with the nationals at your side carry out the planting so that they and you will continue to learn as you do.

Have they learned from us that which they need to do and say by seeing and hearing us or has it simply been an oral trickle down of knowledge without foundations, theories without practice and dreams based on pressure to create a CPM at any cost? ...It is scary to go out and do it, therefore it is far easier to teach it, but Jesus taught by doing and saying. We can do no less!

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*--adapted from an article written by Manuel Sosa (and inspired from, "The Training of the Twelve", by A. B. Bruce)

8 comments:

mic said...

Guy,

I have been keeping with your last posts and have to admit for a while I have not kept up with much of anything as I have been in the dump of reality since now living in the United States. One thing I have noticed is that over the last 6 years of missions and ministry of my life and especially the last three that it seems everything that I have done has turned to waste. I know that this is maybe extreme but really is it? I have spent much time talking to church, pastors, students, and others about missions and what they can do. They get uber excited, maybe they go or give but what has been the end result? Where is any change? Now, I am aware of the two sides of this. What am I measuring, why am I, and what standard am I using? Truth be known it is more complicated than that. I, as you, think there needs to be some serious evaluation in our lives and what we do. If there is one thing that I could change, it would have been my approach and how I spoke to churches and others. When it comes down to it, it was like a sales pitch that left them if the googly feeling and nothing more than a feeling. You keep mentioning discipleship. This is where my focus has been off. I spend plenty of time doing slide shows at church but what happens in the end. If we are not about discipleship, how are we truly about change? I look at things such as marriage and how it is a joke today. Marriage is based on lust and not love, and I get to watch that currently in some friends lives. Many pastors do not understand the importance of pre-marital counseling and how a more comprehensive approach should be taken. I know some now in counseling that the pastor could care less they are getting married and not active in the church that they attend and he is one of the pastors. They do counseling because they have to because the pastor who will be marrying them requires it. My fear is that if we in the US do not get back to true Biblical fellowship, which is not about feeling good and discipleship that our Christian status as a nation will fall before we have a chance to blink. Anyway, I suppose the short point is that I have no business trying to encourage people for missions service if I am not preparing people for Christian service.

Blessings from the States

Anonymous said...

For mic,
I can sense and feel your pain. When the church planting emphasis was starting in Guayaquil, I felt the same way. I shared than with the group that as we prepared to start training church planters what we really needed was a commitment from them. Not to learn but to do. Thus we made it a requirement at that point that if they accepted to come to the training they would have to have faith enough to know that God would open the door for a new work in six weeks or else they would have to leave the training.

I like you had been involved for 15 years in seminary training and pastoring. I had done many camps, seminars and taught a lot of classes. People would go to these workshops and such and leave feeling great! The truth was nothing changed back at the home church.

The students made a commitment with God to get the training and to open a new work and they did. That is where our, "We don't train people to open new works, we open new works while training people," came from. In other words we too were right alongside them as we did it together.

Hang in there my friend. God's Holy Spirit is speaking to you and making you reevaluate what you have and are doing in His name. Listen and things will change in your life and ministry.

Manuel Sosa

Strider said...

What are you saying Guy? That I should get out of my office once in a while!

mic said...

Thanks Manuel.

Ken said...

Guy,

I can agree with the basic concept of modeling as a part of training. Where I pause and scratch my head in your post is where do you draw the line. At what point can you teach something without much personal experience on your part or in plain sight of the learner?

In the area of church planting I believe the argument is stronger for your proposition. But I also believe that we need to be careful not to make having done it all a prerequisite to being able to train others.

GuyMuse said...

mic, Manuel, Strider, and Ken,

Thanks to each of you for your comments. I have been out of town the past few days and hence my slowness to respond.

mic,

I hear what you are saying and believe me, we spend a lot of time talking amongst ourselves about these matters as well. We are convinced that it does little good to pump people up about something, if there isn't a clear cut plan to mobilize them to do something about it.

I will avoid speaking situations where I cannot make a call for people to respond and then right there offer them a way to put that decision into action.

I completely agree with Manuel, We don't train people to open new works, we open new works while training people. It is much better to get people moving first, and train them second; than to talk, talk, talk, and then try to get people do so something about what they have heard.

Manuel,

I just spent the afternoon coming back from Patate where the CBE held a weekend missions camp. Most of the way up there and back, Geovanny, Julieta, and myself discussed how we can be more effective at supporting churches across the country to help them make disciples and plant churches. It has little to do with talking at conferences, and everything with getting out with the numbered few in every church who are frustrated and wanting help. These individuals are the key. We have to find a way to meet them on their own turf and train/disciple them where they are, rather than try to get them to come to where we are.

Strider,

The tongue-in-cheek remark is a little too close to the truth. When we become "office missionaries" who spend the day emailing, and sending reports, back and forth, and are not engaging PEOPLE face to face, we have ceased to be missionaries!

Ken,

Your name came up a couple of times this weekend at the missions conference. Once again, there is a keen desire to utilize volunteers more strategically than we have been doing. One of the conclusions we arrived at was the need to train volunteers Stateside before coming on certain issues, and then train locally with nationals once they arrive on the field. The context for this is our wanting to use volunteer partners long-term to help us avoid the very thing MIC above is talking about. We don't want to go down that path any longer.

As for your comments, I'll let Manuel (the author) and commenter above, defend his views himself. I see both sides of the matter, but think Manuel is making a good point in his argument.

Patagonia Mike said...

Guy,
Good post, I have been turning some similar thoughts over in my mind concerning making disciples. I am also trying to launch out into the blogging world. http://graceroots.blogspot.com

GuyMuse said...

Mike,

Welcome to the blog world! Thanks for stopping by. I checked out your discipleship post which was good stuff. Keep it coming!