Purpose: Accelerate reproduction of congregations by training bi-vocational church planters and shepherds in a reproductive way, following New Testament guidelines to do these ten tasks:
Co-ordinators, coaches, shepherds work with self-supporting church planters
· These first new flocks, like the congregation in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3), prepare and send their own church planters, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reproduce flocks nearby in the remaining, neglected villages and cities of their own region.
Church planters from outside of the region move on to
other regions that are still neglected, as the apostles did.
First few flocks of a region à daughter & granddaughter flocks in remaining villages
Regional trainer à novice leaders à new flocks & newer leaders
· Coaches at all levels must listen to each trainee report what his flock is doing, and they decide what its next step should be. This decision is easier if the coaches make use of a menu (see task 8, below).
· Training session groups must be small enough for coaches to listen to each worker. If a trainer meets with a group too big to listen to each participant, then, for a time during the meeting, he must name some leaders who coach each worker in a small groups.
· Co-ordinators and regional trainers coach the first few bi-vocational leaders.
· Bi-vocational leaders imitate their coaches, coaching others to multiply new flocks.
· Leaders at all levels form training ‘chain reactions’ as seen in 2 Timothy 2:2.
· Every kind of biblical education is valuable, but only bi-vocational leaders who train novice leaders can prepare enough shepherds for an increasingly wide-spread reproduction of many new flocks.
Current training effort à workshops à coaching
· Each shepherd should also be a trainer who coaches newer shepherds who lead the new flocks that the trainer’s flock reproduces.
· They will be able to do so, if they themselves were trained by a coach.
· An enthusiastic co-ordinator must oversee coaching in his region in three ways:
(1) He arranges for church planters and shepherds to
coach leaders (2 Tim 2:2).
· As leaders mature they no longer require frequent coaching. They should seek further education through workshops, advanced textbooks and formal training.
· At the same time, they must keep on coaching new leaders as the apostles did, keep flocks reproducing, and train others to do likewise.
· Caution: Influenced by traditional teachers and writers, too many leaders neglect coaching others once their own needs are met.
· Co-ordinators and trainers provide studies for ongoing education, to balance coaching with advanced education. Download such supplementary studies from www.paul-timothy.net, indicated by the word ‘Supplement’ or ‘More’ in the User Menu.
· The menu lists activities that the New Testament requires of every flock, with corresponding studies. Materials like Paul-Timothy require only what God requires in His Word that flocks should learn and do.
· A coach and his trainees talk together about their new flocks’ activities, and they choose studies from the menu that deal with current needs of each trainee’s flock.
Each novice shepherd carries home a study to read and to
teach to his flock.
Materials that coaches can use easily include:
· Train & Multiply® (T&M) — 63 small books. These were written before house churches movements became common, and they refer to ‘pastors’ and ‘chapels’, but they have been used in church planting movements in many languages including Hindi. Visit site www.TrainAndMultiply.com, then write to PWR@telus.net.
· Paul-Timothy — 100 short studies for both shepherds and children, and supplementary studies for ongoing training. Download from www.Paul-Timothy.net.
Basic Topics to Use before Longer Studies Are Translated — a brief list of truths, duties, Bible stories and
discussion questions, for new shepherds to teach their flocks.
Shepherd’s Storybook — Training for new leaders, written as a story, based on
Bible stories that teach vital truths and duties, for less educated
1) This same list of Ten Tasks. A few initial workshops will explain these principles and practices to regional workshop leaders. These leaders then pass on this ‘lightweight baton’ to shepherds who will present it to their flocks. A ‘lightweight baton’ avoids methods and instruction that fail to extend training and congregational reproduction.
2) Role-plays. The ‘lightweight baton’ might include brief role-plays that shepherds can easily help their congregations to do. Such role-plays should illustrate vital New Testament guidelines, and demonstrate how to reproduce flocks, coach new leaders and mobilize bi-vocational workers, all in one combined effort.
Role-plays for Coordinators and Trainers to Explain Coaching
Here is an easy way to do role-plays in a congregational
meeting. A shepherd’s coach will explain it to him beforehand. The
shepherd, or another leader, will choose and coach some volunteers to
play the parts of two people, called Mr. Faithful and Mr.
Foolish. (The shepherd will also coach any other minor players that
are needed.) These two characters bring vital truths into focus by
arguing about them in a humorous way. When they stop, the shepherd
should explain in more detail what the flock should do. Here is an
· Mr. Faithful, prepared ahead of time by their shepherd, urges the flock to start a daughter congregation, sowing and reaping the “Heavenly Wheat” that Jesus has given us. Jesus said that grain seed can reproduces up to 100 times when sown in good soil. Jesus meant that every a congregation has its own God-given, heavenly seed having in itself power to reproduce after its own kind, multiplying its members as well as new congregations.
· Mr. Foolish, prepared ahead of time by the shepherd, argues in turn, in a loud, exaggerated way, against “such reckless activity” citing common, traditional objections in his own words:“It would cost too much!” “We would lose control!” “False doctrine would creep in!”.
· Mr. Faithful replies in his own words: “God provides for his workers!” “The Holy Spirit will be in control!” “False doctrine comes from old, sterile churches, not from new, Spirit-filled flocks that are reproducing.”
Bringing both viewpoints into sharp contrast helps even the newest believers to understand.
· Shepherd (or another leader named by a shepherding elder) summarizes for the congregation what it should do. A shepherd’s coach, who may come from a mother church, should explain the role-plays and the truths that they impart, and encourage the shepherd to prepare them well.
Heavenly Wheat Role-play
Here is how three additional role plays can develop the theme of ‘Heavenly Wheat’. Earthly grains of wheat have three sections: a small ‘germ’ that reproduces a wheat plant, plus two sides of the grain that nourish the sprouting seed. Heavenly Wheat will reproduce if we fulfil three tasks:
1. Sow in neglected fields
2. Reproduce both believers and flocks.
3. Reap as new believers and flocks bear fruit.
1. Sow! All congregations are to carry out this task.
Go where people have not heard the Word and sow it. Believers must obey God’s command to take the Good News about Jesus to nearby, neglected towns and neighbourhoods and make disciples. Obedient shepherds and their flocks train volunteer workers, send them, and provide their travel fare.
Here is another sample role-play…
Shepherd: Introduce ‘Mr. Faithful’ and ‘Mr. Foolish’ as ‘members of a new flock’. Then, begin the role-play by saying, “Hear what Mr. Faithful says to Mr. Foolish.”
Mr. Faithful: (Say in your own words) “I request our congregation send me and some helpers to my cousin’s village to start a flock, because they need Jesus.”
Mr. Foolish: (Speak loudly and angrily, in your own words) “No! Only professional, well-paid, travelling church planters can start flocks.”
(Let them argue in this way briefly in their own words, until their arguments are clear. Practice this ahead of time.)
Shepherd: Thank those who helped with the role-play. Then, explain the congregation’s biblical role and plan with believers to do it. Explain the following tasks, and your plan for your flock to implement them:
· The main responsibility for reproducing new ‘daughter’ flocks in an area lies with the existing congregations, not with church-planters or missionaries from the outside.
· The main responsibility for training new leaders in the new flocks lies with the shepherds of their mother flocks, not with professional educators.
· Like the apostles in the New Testament, church planters who travel far to neglected places outside of their own region should start only the first few congregations. Then, these new flocks should reproduce in the normal way, as local volunteer workers sow the Heavenly Wheat, the Good News about Jesus, in nearby towns and neighbourhoods, to finish the task in that region.
· Each flock, including very new ones, should send volunteer workers to sow the Heavenly Wheat. Normally, their shepherds should accompany them on some trips. These workers tell the Good News about our beloved Lord, Jesus Christ, and gather new believers into a congregation.
2. Reproduce! It is shepherds and their flocks that are to carry out this task.
Shepherd: Introduce Mr. Faithful and Mr. Foolish as ‘shepherds of a flock’. Then, begin by saying, “Hear what Mr. Faithful tells Mr. Foolish.”
Mr. Faithful: (Say in your own words) “Mr. Foolish, you and I are shepherding elders of our new flock. Let us go with other volunteers to my cousin’s village to tell them about Jesus. It is our responsibility to start new flocks nearby. The many villages in our region can never be reached for Jesus if only paid, professional church planters do it.”
Mr. Foolish: (Say angrily, in your own words) “No! Our job as shepherds is only to take care of our own flock, not to start new ones. It is the responsibility of big, rich organizations to start new churches!” (Let them argue in this way in their own words.)
Shepherd: Explain your flock’s biblical responsibilities:
· Each new flock should quickly sow the powerful Heavenly Wheat in neglected places nearby. Thus, they will reproduce by starting daughter flocks. New flocks need the power of the Holy Spirit to do this; Jesus promised this power in Acts 1:8.
· The ‘church’ in Jerusalem, like other ‘congregations of the New Testament, was a cluster of house flocks that worked closely together. Avoid the non-biblical tradition that flocks are isolated, local congregations whose leaders care only for their own flock!
· To this day, all shepherds have a God-given responsibility to help start daughter flocks.
· Each shepherd also has a God-given responsibility to coach new shepherds, both in their own flock and in their daughter flocks. In this way, the burden of training new shepherds does not lie so heavily on church planters from far away, whose time is limited and who must travel to other, neglected regions.
Shepherds coach newer shepherds even if there are other
3. Reap! It is new flocks that are to carry out this task.
Shepherd: Introduce Mr. Faithful and Mr. Foolish as ‘novice shepherds of a very new flock’. Then say, “Hear what Mr. Faithful tells Mr. Foolish.”
Mr. Faithful: (In your own words) “Mr. Foolish, some of my friends and relatives live in villages up the river. Let us go and tell them about Jesus. Workers from our mother flock sowed seed in our hearts, and we must let the seed bear fruit.”
Mr. Foolish: (Angrily, in your own words) “No! We are too new and inexperienced to start flocks. Let the workers who recently started our flock do it! They know more about the Bible and are more mature.” (Let them argue in this way for a while.)
Shepherd: Explain your flock’s biblical responsibilities:
· No flock, and no believer, is too new to obey Jesus. He said that if we abide in Him we will bear fruit. This requires obeying His commands in love (John 15:4-16). Jesus commands all believers to witness to others about what he has done for them.
· The best coach for novice leaders is often another novice leader, one who is also being coached by another leader who is a little more mature. New leaders sympathize well with the needs of other new leaders and new flocks.
· An experienced regional co-ordinator should constantly evaluate the fruit of the harvest while it is being reaped. All who coach give progress reports to their own coaches. Thus, their reports reach the co-ordinator. He keeps records of who is coaching whom and of what new congregations are doing.
· The most important goal is to reap the fruit that God produces. Reaping keeps the Heavenly Wheat reproducing in a never-ending harvest.