Checkpoint Autumn 2022: Disciple-making disciples
Posted on: 2nd March 2022
CMS missionary Norm Gorrie (serving in Kenya with Janelle) is the Director of Mission for the Anglican Diocese of Marsabit, working under Bishop Qampicha. He writes about a recent strategy for helping leaders teach others to become more like Christ.
Youth and children are a huge proportion of the population here in Kenya, and they are intentionally targeted by representatives of both Islam and tribalism. While Muslim youth are trained in how to Islamise their Christian peers, sadly, Christian youth are generally not taught how to come alongside their Muslim friends and open the Scriptures with them.
Many young people have a zeal for Christ but are exposed to false teachings such as the prosperity gospel, or triumphalism that claims ‘victory’—whether over sickness, or even landing a job promotion ‘in Jesus’ name’. Much teaching emphasises the need for personal effort, rather than leading people to rejoice in what Christ has done, and who he has made us to be in our union with him.
Young Christians are susceptible to such distorted teaching when they are not taught how to read the Bible for themselves, nor taught how to discern teaching that goes against Scripture.
Addressing the need for Bible-based discipling
We came up with a one-page double-sided sheet we called Discovery Bible Study Guide (DBS). We sought to distil the essence of several different resources focused on Mark’s gospel. The aim was to equip young Christians to lead others to discover the great truths about Jesus. We wanted to train the leaders to lead their youth to grow in their Bible knowledge, and in their love for Christ and for one another, encouraging each other to be transformed to be more like Christ. Our diocese is 500 kilometres long, so we did the initial training at three centres: Sololo in the north, Marsabit in the centre and Ngarama in the south.
What effective training means
As a team trying to lead and encourage mission, it is vital that we can determine if what we are doing is effective. If we assess effectiveness just on how many training sessions we have done, we can be kidding ourselves. Our Lord Jesus expected his disciples to make disciples who would make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Timothy was to teach faithful Christians who in turn would teach others (2 Timothy 2:2).
When those we train and disciple, are discipling others who can disciple others—that is when we can say, under God, that we are effective. It has been extremely encouraging to not only train people in the DBS, but to see them, in turn, using the material to encourage others to grow in Christ as they dig into Mark’s gospel together. In addition, we have been able to go to a high school and lead over 100 students to discover for themselves the wonderful truths of who Jesus is, why he came, and his call on our lives. Our prayer is that as we train ‘disciplers’ to make disciples, opportunities like this will continue to abound. We understand that there are many true disciples of Christ who are not yet equipped for the great task of making other disciples, and we work and pray, by God’s Spirit, to assist them in this way of serving.
Image: Norm leading Vacation Bible School Training for children and youth leaders in the Marsabit Archdeaconry.
Thank God for the many opportunities for training young people to read the Bible. Pray that God would work through his word to raise up more disciple-making disciples in Kenya.