by Laurie Lind, Entrust staff writer
When you take a college course, what are you expected to do to pass? Write papers, score well on tests, maybe complete a project.
Consider this. You’re taking a course called Planting and Nurturing Enduring Churches. You live in southern Africa and are a student of More than a Mile Deep,* a holistic church-based discipleship training curriculum.
To pass this course, you must, well, plant a church!
“Usually, in Africa, when people think about church planting, they [envision] organizing newly converted people for worship at a given place and often with a desire to grow [into] a mega church,” says Dr. Elesinah Chauke. “Planting a church does not happen this way with this MMD course.”
“With this course,” she explains, “students first study the Bible to find God’s plan for creating humanity. Then they investigate his mission on earth through Jesus Christ. Then they ‘map,’ going into a community to discover the spiritual climate, the strongholds and so on.
They write a report on their mapping and their understanding of the church from scripture, then build a team of like-minded people. The team organizes small group Bible studies and shares their discoveries from the Bible. Eventually, regular corporate worship begins, with the MMD students and their team leading and equipping people from the group to lead.
At least two new churches now exist in Zimbabwe, as MMD students have taken and passed this course with flying colors.
*MMD is an Entrust ministry partner in Africa
One MMD student/church planter writes, “We had always thought the Great Commission was for the [foreign Christians] who visited our countries to plant churches and preach the gospel. The MMD course Planting and Nurturing Enduring Churches taught us that [African] Christians could plant a church using the MMD guidelines.”