Deep learning, wide applications
More than a Mile Deep (MMD) in Moçambique celebrated the greatest milestone of its existence on October 5, 2019. Ten students graduated from a discipleship program with a fully accredited bachelor’s in theology (B.Th.) degree. The occasion was marked with joy not only by the graduates and their families, but by representatives from 20+ denominations who saw their leaders graduate.
Dr. John Jusu, architect of MMD’s unique curriculum, was the keynote speaker, challenging the graduates and attendees to see how God can work when the principles of Action-Reflection-Action are put into practice.
The joy in all this is that most training programs in Africa are imported from the West, then contextualized with “African clothes,” simply adding some local externals to the process. MMD is a fully African-conceptualized curriculum. In 2019, for the first time in its history, that curriculum led to a fully accredited degree.
The attraction of MMD has always been two-fold: African authors writing courses designed to achieve substantial transformation in learners’ lifestyles. These 10 graduates, like other MMD students in neighboring countries, gathered monthly to research problems in their communities and families, then searched the scriptures for insights into these questions. Then they designed and implemented practical, biblical initiatives in response to those problems.
Here are a few examples. A vibrant new church was planted in an area that appeared as though it would forever remain without an evangelical presence. Multiple income generation projects were launched among communities and churches where unemployment had been above 80%. People marginalized from society because they suffered from HIV found compassion and practical help from local churches. Denominational leaders in Moçambique teamed with government officials to restore peace between warring factions in that country. Each of these was initiated, launched and carried out by MMD students.
The B.Th. degree contributes toward increased bi-vocational incomes as most church leaders cannot survive financially on the tithes of their churches. Finally, they can feed their families while they care for their churches.
New doors for MMD consultancy have opened into some of the denominations and theological schools represented among the 1000+ attendees of the graduation. Due to capacity issues, several requests for MMD to consult and train leaders in those denominations are currently on hold. But interest and good will is sky high; that will remain for expanding MMD’s impact throughout the country and in neighbouring nations for years to come.