The Focus of MISSIONS

Training pastors

Training pastors

What I have observed and concluded to be the greatest need in world missions is the training of native pastors and leaders (men and women) in the Word of God. There are far more pastors than there are opportunities for formal training in many countries. The fact is that most pastors have not been trained in the Word of God. They have not been taught how to study the Bible and then take what they have learned and teach it to the flock among which the Holy Spirit made them overseers.

Add to this need the myriad of false gospels, cults and false teachers/prophets/apostles that are distorting the truth of the Word of God, tempting the undiscerning with gimmicks and tricks and entertainment to grow large “churches” and giving the appearance of God’s favor by the “success” that is seen (oh how western). AND add to this the many (the majority?) Christian missions and ministries today focused on social work in the name of the Gospel. Few focus on feeding the “Bread of Life” which gives eternal life. The Gospel ministry is viewed as a “result” of social ministry, or a secondary event, rather than the primary cause of people “hearing” the Word of truth. “Faith comes by HEARING” the Word of truth. The Gospel is powerful, all by itself, to save anyone who will believe it, that is, Jesus Christ. We cannot add anything to the Gospel to enable it to work. To do so is to dilute it and in fact make it into “a different gospel” which cannot save. (Galatians 1:6-9) Remember that I am talking about “missions” here. I am not talking about what a local church is doing in its local context/culture as it demonstrates the love of Christ and share the Gospel of Christ.

Native Leaders Leading the Mission

Native Leaders Leading the Mission

Concerning the issue of world missions (in the classical sense) I have asked the Lord as I read the Word, “How did Paul and the others effectively establish the Gospel, plant churches and make disciples throughout their world without building buildings, digging wells and establishing social institutions for the betterment of material life?” What was done in the early days of the gospel by the church that so changed their world and OURS?

What was done then is the foundation that we should continue to build upon today. It was not social work. It was by the foolishness of preaching the Gospel and making disciples (maturing believers).  Once the local church was established they were challenged to take care of their own poor and needy. And they die because they had a change of heart and obeyed the Apostle’s teaching from the Word. No longer being self-focused they focused on Christ and others. They cared for their own and lived out the Gospel of Christ in their communities. The Apostles and other missionaries brought the life-changing Word of Jesus Christ.

We should be broken over the poverty of the world which reflects the poverty of the soul without God.

We should be broken over the poverty of the world which reflects the poverty of the soul without God.

Obviously social work has its benefits, but have we gotten the cart before the horse, so to speak? Are we putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable? Have we substituted the powerful Gospel that gives eternal life for a social gospel that only has temporal benefits, if that? Are we prioritizing things that will not last? In the face of horrific poverty around the world many Christian ministries have become NGO’s along with the United Nations and other NGOs .  Though well intentioned, they are terribly inefficient, like most bureaucracies, benefiting the benefactors more than those needing the physical help they are supposed to be helping, spending multiplied millions, even billions and accomplishing little. There is a tremendous transfer of wealth, but the overall social benefit is minimal.

This is a harsh statement but a sad reality I have witnessed in Africa. NGOs (including Christian missions) driving big SUVs, living in nice homes, staying in nice guest houses, eating well, dressing well, basically living large while the poverty and misery increases all around. Christian missions can profoundly distort the Gospel with this kind of picture. Poverty stricken desperate people misunderstand the gospel and project onto it what is not true… health, wealth and comfort, instead of “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and your sins will be forgiven and God will no longer be your enemy but will in fact usher you into His eternal glory.” BUT until then it is toil and trouble and even death for His Name sake. Or have we forgot this? Or did we even know this was part of the equation? Sadly, most of us do not.

What are we to do? In spite of Christianity shrinking in the West (because of our idolatry of “me” and my comfort), it is growing in much of the rest of the world. Africa, China, India, Asia, Central and South America in general continue to see tremendous growth in the number of converts. But many never grow spiritually because they have no shepherds and many misunderstand the true nature of the gospel because of the “foreign” picture portrayed by well meaning “missionaries.” And few are lifted out of poverty, but instead become dependent as social ministry replaces Gospel ministry.

(Have you ever contemplated/calculated the cost of a short-term mission project to travel to a foreign country to build a building and conduct a VBS, for example? We are talking about thousands of dollars in airfare alone. How many “long term” native missionaries could be helped/supported/trained with the kind of money do a better job knowing their language and culture. HBMZambia (all Zambian plus 1 American “ambassador”)  is presently training 2000 native missionary-pastors who will in turn disciple their churches and other pastors with an annual budget under $100,000. About half of this budget helps 25 indigenous disciple making missionaries (overseeing the 2000 in training) and the other half buys and distributes training materials and Bibles.)

What is the answer? What should be the focus of Missions from a western perspective? How can the western church, the American church, make the greatest impact for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the waning days of western civilization and a post-Christian culture? How can we best use the wealth of resources (dollars) and knowledge we have been blessed with to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world?

Local missionaries know the Language and the culture because it is theirs.

Local missionaries know the Language/s and the culture because it is theirs.

“In a nutshell” the answer is for the western church to focus on equipping the local indigenous church around the world to spread the Gospel. That means entrusting the local leaders whom God has appointed to shepherd their churches with training and material so they can be better equipped to equip their flocks to do the work of the ministry and reproduce more sheep! And this can be done with efficiency both in time and money.

Grassroots, indigenous, biblical discipleship is the key. Equipping indigenous leaders in the Word of God is crucial. Mature leaders develop (disciple) mature Christians. The local church is the foundation of Christ’s gospel ministry around the world. The equipping of indigenous leaders in the Word of God grows the Church and by extension grows the witness of the Gospel around it.

HIMAfrica and HIMIndia, working in association with Hope Builders Ministries, focus on indigenous discipleship (maturing believers) and because of this a huge army is being equipped to “do the work of the ministry.” Local Christians become the source of local ministry living out and speaking out the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities. They demonstrate the love of Christ as they live sacrificially for the Lord in their own context and culture. As they love God they love people. The people see, as well as, hear the Gospel and they are responding by the thousands.

Mozambique Christians sharing the Gospel with their neighbors

Mozambique Christians sharing the Gospel with their neighbors

Using the “HUB” model of discipleship HIMAfrica and HIMIndia train and equip key leaders to train others who in turn train others.  One man discipling three other men is the model we use. (Or one woman discipling three other women. We encourage pastors to make their wife their FIRST and most important disciple.) Jesus had 3 disciples who were his “inner circle.” Can we see the other 9 disciples as being discipled or led by Peter, James and John?  If we follow 2 Timothy 2:2 and make disciples to the 4th generation (Paul, Timothy, faithful men and others) the discipleship model grows very rapidly. As the Church makes disciples instead of converts the society around them will be affected for the better. As the community becomes Christian and matures they will take better care of themselves, their families and those around them.

Evangelism cannot make the profound difference in the lives of people that disciple making can. Converts rarely become mature Christians without intentional discipleship. In fact, many converts fall away as the devil steals the seed or troubles and cares discourage the new believer because they have not been discipled in the Word of God.

In fact, if ONE Christian would make three disciples this year who in turn make three disciples each next year etc… The world could be totally evangelized in a very short amount of time. Disciple making is multiplication whereas evangelism is addition. If I win 100 people to Christ every year for the next six years there will be 600 souls saved and going to heaven! Praise the LORD! That is great but it is not BEST. However, if I make JUST 3 disciples this year pouring my life into them the rest of my life, teaching them and modeling the ways of Christ from the Word of God, challenging them to follow me as I follow Christ and to make disciples also what would the impact be?

My three disciples could become over 1000 disciples who are making other disciples within 6 years! YOU + 3 + 9 +27+ 84 +252 + 756 = 1231! Imagine that kind of Christ-honoring, God glorifying, life changing, world impacting ministry that would be!

Jesus has called us to make disciples. He saves people and makes them into HIS disciples but we are a crucial part in all of this. He uses our mouths to share the good news and he uses our godly, obedient and holy lives to disciple them. All of it done by the grace of God working in and through us in obedience to the Great Commission in the context of the local church. That should be our personal mission. Matthew 28:18-20 teaches each of us to “Go” in the authority of Jesus Christ with His Gospel to everybody, everywhere, all the time until Jesus Comes. Those who believe this Gospel, trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life, are incorporated into the local church (water baptism is a reflection of the spiritual baptism the new convert has just received), where they are then intentionally taught “all that Jesus commanded, i.e. the Word of God. This is what Jesus has promised to help us do until He returns.

I know that some will take offense at my description of much of modern missions today. For this I am sorry. But without a doubt we know that the Word of God teaches us to declare the Gospel. It must be understood to be believed. Therefore people have to hear it. And we should live in a manner that adorns the Gospel. Yes we should be selfless and sacrificing and caring, but oh let us be careful to not build idols that lead the very ones whom Christ would save away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t let sentimentality and good intentions replace or overshadow the Gospel which is the ONLY way a person can be saved. When you give someone a drink of Water or a piece of bread do it in “Jesus Name.” Make sure they know where the blessing is coming from. Be sure to share the Water of life, the Bread of life who gives eternal life.

My prayer is that our ministries and missions will bring great glory to our Lord Jesus Christ and encourage His people around the world to make many disciples of Jesus Christ. That is, people who love God supremely and love others selflessly as they share the Gospel that saves eternally.

Blessings,
Jeff Hawkins.

Jeff Hawkins/HIMAfrica is an independent missionary networking with Hope Builders Ministries in Zambia. He founded HIMIndia (Helping Indigenous Missions in India). Through the generous gifts of scores of Christians and several churches in the USA over 2500 men are being trained as pastors in Zambia and India. It is projected that over 4000 will be in training in 2015. By God’s grace thousands of Bibles have been distributed to the Church in Zambia and India, as well as scores of bicycles to indigenous missionaries. HBM Zambia also supports several indigenous orphan projects operated by native Christians in Zambia.

Making Disciples Who Make Disciples: The HUB-Model

HUB Model

HUB Model

HIMAfrica is the ministry of Jeff and Lou Ann Hawkins partnered with Hope Builders Ministry in Zambia. Jeff is the country coordinator for this indigenous ministry. In 2010 HBMZambia was officially organized and is comprised of a Zambian board of directors and 22 Zambian district leaders overseeing more than 1500 indigenous Zambian pastors in training. These men are missionary pastors planting churches and making disciples in their own communities, involving many different cultures and languages.

Zambia is a large and diverse country. It is the size of Texas, that is half the size of Europe and would cover much of the Southeastern part of the United States. It is home to more than 13 million souls speaking over 70 different languages. English is the official language used in government and schools and this helps to bridge the language barrier to “English only” speaking people to the many different language groups. But most Africans are multilingual speaking 4 and more languages fluently. Zambian Christians are very capable to carry the Gospel to the other cultures and languages around them.

The GOAL and MISSION of this ministry is to “saturate Zambia with bible believing and teaching churches with trained pastors.”

Hope Builders Ministries desires to help the Zambian church fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples BY MAKING DISCIPLES.

Disciple making is our focus. The Matthew 28 mission statement is “make disciples” by going with the Gospel to the lost, baptizing the new believers into the local Church and continually teaching them the Word of God, to the ends of the earth to the end of time. The ministry method God has given us to effectively accomplish this mandate is the HUB model of church planting and pastoral training that multiplies church planting and pastoral training.

Pastor Titus and his Disciples

Pastor Titus and his Disciples

The HUB Model

What we believe the Lord has directed us to do is to make disciples in Africa (Zambia in HIMAfrica context) by training the pastors who will in turn plant churches and disciple new pastors. We do not see our ministry as one that establishes “mission stations” or “bible schools” with western missionaries.. Our mission center is a “HUB” church that becomes the “training center and bible school” led by an indigenous African pastor who will be instrumental in training as many as 40 new pastors and planting 40 new churches over the course of 7 years.

How Does It Work? Multiplication vs. Addition

The Hub concept forms the basis upon which our entire Ministry operates as we serve rural communities in Africa. A Hub Leader is commissioned to multiply himself in three other men. This discipling of three others begins within the first year of his own training. At the beginning of his second year of training he begins to teach what he has learned in his first year. This process multiplies itself as the new disciples will also begin training 3 disciples in their second year. By the time the first disciple finishes his 3 years of training he will be instrumental in the training of 39 other men. Working together with this ever growing circle of God-called men they evangelize villages and plant churches which these men will pastor.

Evangelizing a Village

Evangelizing a Village

Within the villages that are being evangelized discipleship groups are formed with the men and women, boys and girls that come to know Christ. These become the village churches as Bible classes are set up to train Disciple-Makers who continue to reach out to their community representing the Lord Jesus Christ to lost souls.

The Hub Leader is a believer who “duplicates” himself in the leaders identified to head the churches that are planted in the villages. Jesus said that the disciple will look like his teacher (Luke 6:40). Paul told the Thessalonian and Corinthian churches to “imitate him.” (see 1 Corinthians 4:6, 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9) The Word of God tells us that we should also imitate those who walked by faith before us in Hebrews 6:12 and to imitate our church leaders in Hebrews 13:7. Ultimately the goal is that we all imitate God (Ephesians 5:1). This is the disciple making model given to us in the New Testament.

The training process consists of regular classroom teaching and an apprenticeship style, hands-on, in service mentoring to ensure that the pastors-in-training are able to practically and effectively lead their churches. The curriculum used to train the Pastors consists of 12 manuals taking about three years to complete.

Church in Kasempa

Church in Kasempa

In this manner a Hub grows from the Hub Church to as many as 40 churches planted in villages within walking and bicycling distance of the Hub Church. On average each Hub will grow to serve between 4,000 and 10,000 members, depending upon the demography, over the seven year period it takes the leaders to complete the 3 phases of the training program.

YOU can get involved by partnering with us in supporting the training of pastors and planting of new churches. Your gift in any amount supports the discipling of these indigenous pastors.

It costs $300 a month to take a HUB  through all three phases of the training or $25,200 in 7 years. Less than HALF what it costs to keep ONE western missionary on the field for ONE year.

Kasama DL Benjamin Chabali and familyHIMAfrica in partnership with Hope Builders Ministries is seeking partners in the USA to help train pastors and establish churches all over Zambia and Africa. We work alongside other Christian ministries and pastors in Africa to do this. In partnership with these ministries to date the Lord has used HBM to trained over 6000 pastors in Africa in  13 years. Over 1500 new churches have been planted in Zambia alone. There are 22 HUB Districts (10 hubs each) in Zambia overseeing hundreds of men in varying degrees of training. These Hub churches work across denominational barriers. There are over 1500 pastors in Zambia in Bible training using the Mini Bible College curriculum today.

God has raised up Hope Builders Ministries to come along side Indigenous Pastors who have a heart to be “disciple makers.” Hub Pastors are men who are not about themselves, but about obeying the mandate of Jesus Christ to “make disciples.” Jesus said, “I will build MY church…” Like Paul we help them to build upon the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are looking for indigenous men who will submit themselves to being trained in the Word of God and use the HUB model to plant churches and disciple other pastors to do the same.

This is our Mission and Mandate.

Adventures in Zambia

The following is the report from the HBMZ administrator Matthew Daka concerning their 800 mile round trip to Mansa to deliver training material and encourage the  Hub pastors.
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We started our journey to Mansa at 7 o’clock am on Good Friday the 29th March 2013. I was accompanied by Brother Sinoya Sakala and my brother Stephen who was our driver. We put a full tank of fuel at the filling station and topped up the brake fluid. The cost of the fuel was K 465 ($93). Passing through Kapri Mposhi we followed great north road toward Serenje.  Mansa trip adventure 004We rested there and had our lunch. We also checked the vehicle and all seemed okay. About half way along Tuta road (Serenje to Mansa) we had our first tire burst in front on the right side of the vehicle. Sakala and I were frightened by the noise of the tire burst as the vehicle was now dragging on the right side of the road. Thank God because my brother did not step on the brakes but concentrated on controlling the steeling. Finally the car stopped on the right side 0f the road and we came off safely praising the Lord for saving us. The front fender was slightly damaged and the right side mirror had been broken by the peeled off rubber from the wheel.

Mansa trip adventure 005We took the spare wheel and fitted it to the car. We also did some inspection on the remaining tires but the temperature was normal. After completing the replacement of the spare wheel, we started off and drove for less than 10 minutes and we heard another bang on the front tire. This time it was easy for my brother to control the car as we were driving at about 60kpm (35mph). I decided that Brother Sinoya and Stephen remain at the scene to watch for the vehicle while I travel to Samfya to look for Mansa trip adventure 001spare tires.

I was given a lift by a Good Samaritan on his way to Mansa. While I was in this vehicle on the way to Samfya turn off, we had a tire burst at the rear too! Thank God that they too had a spare wheel which they quickly fitted and we started off on our journey. When we arrived Samfya turn off, I caught another car which took me to Samfya. Since it was a holiday, many shops were closed but I managed to find one which was open and they had the 16 inch tires though they were not the right size as the ones on the vehicle. I bought two new tires $280 and fitted one on the wheel which I had come with.

I took a cab back to the turn off (Samfya/Mansa). Once there I found a mini bus going to Lusaka and I boarded it. It was at about 8:40 PM when I reached our vehicle with Sakala and Stephen. We fitted the wheel onto the car and we drove slowly to Mansa. We arrived at Happy’s, my brother in-law, at midnight.

Mansa trip adventure 028The following morning, I told my brother Stephen to make another spare wheel with the tire that I bought in Samfya while Sakala and I went to meet the pastors from Lubwe who we asked to come to Mansa. We met the men in town and went Kaluba’s place were the rest of the men were waiting for us and started our meeting with a prayer. I spoke to the pastors on the need to communicate to us after which I explained to them about the hub model. Also Sinoya encouraged the men and shared the vision of HBMZ. After encouraging the brothers, we gave them 3 sets of training manuals. The following are the books which we gave them: – Old Testament part 3, Values of Christ and Gospel and Acts. Two brothers came from Lubwe and after the meeting; we reimbursed them the transport money they had used. We finally had some snacks with the men and left them after a word of prayer.

When we finished we went to Happy’s home and found Stephen had made a spare wheel for the vehicle. He put the new tires in front which were the same size so that the car is balanced. We spent the night with Happy and his family. Early in the morning we left Mansa on our way back to Lusaka using the DRC route which is shorter as we were told that the road has been graded. We crossed into DRCongo and did all the border formalities. The road was bad in some portions, but we had a safe trip and entered Zambia again through the Kasumbalesa border post.

When we crossed over, we decided to meet Robinson Muzeya in Murundu, since he is very near the border. We found him and had a time of fellowship with him. I collected some French manuals which I intend to give to DL Mulenga Nkole so that he can give them to Pst. Makopo (DRC) whenever he asks for the copies. We left Robinson and passed through Mufulira taking the shortest route to Ndola. It was on this road that we had our third tire burst at the rear on the left side. We stopped safely as we were driving slowly and replaced the tire with the spare wheel. When we reached Ndola, I decided that we cannot proceed to Lusaka without a spare wheel. So we had to buy a used tire at K270 ($52) and made a spare wheel.

We finally reached Lusaka safely. The following day I took the car to our friend and mechanic Frank who looked at it and he fixed the fender. What remains is to look for the front right side mirror and fix it. Frank also reminded us that when we get a car from Japan, we need to replace all the tires as these are exposed to the sun and having passed through salt water in the ocean.

Pastor Matthew Daka

Pastor Matthew Daka

Passing through this experience the Lord showed us what needed to be done to the car and kept us safe. I am once again grateful to you our Brothers and Sisters in the US for your prayers. Indeed you are our true friends and partners in this noble work of our King Jesus of bringing many souls to His Kingdom.  God bless you all.

Reporting,

Pastor Matthew Daka

HBMZ Administrator Zambia

HIMIndia – Helping Indigenous Ministries in India

Orrisa Pastors

Orrisa Pastors

In February Jeff Hawkins was sent to India by the Grace Bible Church to validate a pastoral ministry there and to explore possibilities of developing it along the lines of the ministry in Zambia. You can see many pictures and posts on Facebook/HIMIndia. HIMIndia will be an “associate ministry” of Hope Builders Ministries. Today HIMIndia.com

has been registered and will be launched soon. Praise the Lord for the opportunity to begin this ministry of training pastors and planting new churches in a country of over 1.2 BILLION souls with less than 5% being evangelical Christians.

The initial goal is to find partners to support this ministry. The goal for 2013 is $3000 in monthly support. At present there is $300 pledged, 10%! A good start! Praise the Lord. Donations will be given through HBMin.org online or Hope Builders Ministries, P.O.Box 317, Greenwood, VA 22943 Designated: HIMIndia

What is the plan?

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First, HIMIndia will support the administration of the ministry in India. This will be done through Stephen Prasad and Gospel for the Perishing Souls Ministry. Bishop Stephen has a network of 23 pastors who are coordinating the ministry in many districts in Andhra Pradesh (over 100 million souls). This team will administer the training and help organize the planting of new churches using the HUB model of discipleship. The MiniBibleCollege curriculum will be used as the basic 3 year Bible training program.

At present there are upwards of 500 pastors in this network. Most of these men have never received any formal Biblical training and desire it. The problem is availability and affordability. The MBC curriculum make it affordable for HIMIndia and its partners to print and distribute this material to men in the rural areas of India. The HUB model of disciple making provides the availability in partnership with GPS and Stephen Prasad.

Pray with us for the financial base to provide this ongoing training that will grow exponentially as the men begin making other disciples in the years to come. The projected initial training will begin with about 250 pastors/pastors in training.

PUSH with us. That is Pray Until Something Happens!

Also, please considering giving a generous gift to help us get this ministry off the ground. Men are ready and waiting on the training material. You can help expedite the HIMIndia ministry.

Thank you,

Jeff Hawkins
HIMIndia Coordinator