Evangelism to illiterate people p4: Discipling the illiterate

When researching evangelism and discipleship strategies for missions, you will find a lot of “quick fixes”. There are conferences held each year of some new idea that is supposedly bringing millions to Christ in some remote part of the World. Today, I will be talking about a few of these, and how they have actually panned out for me and my minority group here in Lebanon.

There are a lot of different training ideas. The main concept is to train others to train others to train others…

In the States, often when referring to discipleship it often can mean taking a class once a week, then getting a certificate and maybe getting baptized after completing the course.

T4T is a training idea, that you train someone a series of lessons, then they teach someone else and on and on… I think maybe the concepts presented in the training that I went to, and read about might possibly work with literate people, who can photocopy the lesson plans and reteach them.

However, I do not really believe that there are any short cuts to discipleship. It took Jesus 3 years to disciple the 12. I do not tend to think myself capable of shortening 3 years to a 6 week period of training.

A great book that has greatly impacted me is Disciples are made not born There are a lot of difficulties when discipling illiterate people. However, I think we make things too complicated. When we realize that Jesus was himself doing just that, discipling illiterate fishermen.

There are some good ideas / concepts that T4T offered. One of them was to encourage the believers to share immediately. I think this is quite Biblical, as we see Jesus sending out the disciples in Matthew 10. T4T also suggested that it is quite important to have them give an account of their sharing from the previous week. However, I think that if we are following in the footsteps of the master, we should have a more of a daily relationship with the people we are sharing with.

When we look at Christ’s ministry we see 4 levels of ministry.

1.) Public Ministry: Jesus had a very public ministry, in which he preached (street preaching really) to large groups of people. He healed the sick, and spread the seed far and wide.

2.) He had a large following at different times. These people followed him and got daily teachings from Christ.

3.) He had an intimate following of 12 that he focused on.

4.) We see Christ focus even further on 3 or so that he would take with him to the garden, to the mount of transfiguration etc…

If we want to see change in the Middle East, we need to stop trying to take short cuts and follow in the footsteps of Christ.

As far as teaching the new disciples how to share the faith, at the beginning some of the different methods can be useful. However, like training wheels the believer needs to eventually be comfortable and ready not just to preach the elementary things but as Christ commanded,

Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things which I commanded you.

Previous parts in the series:

Using stories to share the Gospel to illiterate people

Using Audio Bibles

Teaching them to read

Discipling the illiterate: no shortcuts

Using Media


Evangelism to illiterate people p4: Discipling the illiterate
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