I had to start teaching just hours after the long trip from Grand Rapids to Accra, Ghana. I felt pretty good, but I knew it was a stretch to be my best. It turned out well and after teaching we were to go to dinner (although I was ready to go to bed). God’s timing does not wait for my rest! During the dinner a key business lady began to share her excitement about the DML message and work. It is always nice to hear from busy people that the message is appreciated. But my eyes (beginning to droop) snapped open when she told us that she had shared about the message and upcoming workshop of DML with another Christian business leader; she told her how work is worship and God’s plan is to disciple every member of the congregation to be disciple makers in every corner of the community. She then really got my attention when she said this important, successful business person got up and danced at the news! Really, I asked, they danced? She said yes, because it affirms business as a calling through which the message of making disciples is to flow.
At the heart of DML is discipleship. While business training is critical to our mission, discipleship is critical to God’s desire of developing ambassadors of the Good News. To make effective business people without making effective disciples is to major on the minor part. We are all called in a variety of occupations, but also called to be disciples who make disciples. DML is first about making disciples and second about making good business practitioners. It is what makes our feet dance and our hearts sing. We love business and making disciples, and we will not do one without the other.
Discipleship in the Local Church Fuels the Ministry
By the end of 2018, we will have formally introduced DML in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Ghana, with initial discussions in Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Our focus has been on understanding the best way to introduce DML so that it is both effective and sustainable.
The holistic approach of integrating faith and work is becoming a major concern for churches and denominations in Africa. Africa will double in population by 2050 and then double again by 2100 (if current projections hold true). Economically the African economy is expected to grow 10-fold, from 1 trillion dollars now, to over 10 trillion dollars in the next 30 years.
The African Church understands that it cannot hide behind the walls of a building if African Christianity wants to impact the continent and world. African church leaders have seen a correlation between church decline and increased prosperity in Europe and America. Leaders do not want to follow the same path. They want to move their model of church from a place to gather to a place from which to scatter. Discipling Marketplace Leaders (DML) provides a solid Biblical basis for seeing work as a God given directive (Gen. 1:28, 2:15). This affirming of work as a holy calling has begun to give leaders hope that the church has relevance in a growing economy. The rising generation wants a faith that is relevant to every area of life. DML connects the Sunday service with life lived out the other six days of the week.
Our “official” date of launching Discipling Marketplace Leaders was 2016. Starting with a few dozen participants in 2016 we have seen over 20,000 leaders attend one or more of our trainings in 2018. We are now being approached by Christian leaders who want to implement the vision and ministry across their denominations. One denomination has 10,000 churches and over 10 million members. Another has over 5,500 churches and a million members. Another wants to field test it in one diocese and then roll it out in other diocese across their country.
We have the message, we have the delivery, and we are building the structures to help implement this ministry across Africa. But to do business training without discipleship is to take away from the church its greatest resource for sharing the love of Jesus in every community. We desire to see every local congregation discipling every member to be released as light, salt, and leaven in every community.
Discipleship Leads to Amazing Growth (i.e. God is Good!!)
The following tables show the expansion of DML over the past two years. The cost per person per training is kept low as DML partners with other ministries rather than setting up its own organization in a country. We also require participants to provide a portion of the training costs. This keeps the training cost per person to under $10 per event.
As you review this report, we ask you to try and look beyond the numbers to the faces of men and women who are beginning to understand the role they play in God’s economy. They are moving out of the shadows and into the light of understanding their call to be God’s chosen ambassadors whose parish is the auto shop, corner kiosk, small market garden and hundreds of other small businesses. It is in these places where they are in touch with thousands of vendors and customers in need of the love of Christ.
The starter gun has sounded, and we have a strong surge out of the blocks. But we know and understand that we are in a marathon race to see the local church reenergized to move from the four walls of a building to be the Church in the four corners of the community. Your prayers and support are part of the foundation that makes this ministry possible. On behalf of the global DML team, thank you for joining us as we seek to disciple the next generation to be God’s light in the marketplace.
Some Numbers to Consider:
Introducing Florence Nyirira from Uganda
(written by Moses Musasizi, DML Trainer in Uganda)
Florence is a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church and she took the DML training which had a positive impact on her business and hence her life.
Florence has a business of making and selling liquid soap at a wholesale level. Before training she had only one customer. However, after learning about branding, customer care, marketing, and other important business issues, her business has grown significantly. She can now make 40 – 80 Jerry cans of 20 liters of this soap on a monthly basis. She now supplies her product to a petrol station, a hospital and several schools.
As a result, Florence is in position to meet her bills in terms of school fees for her children. She also testifies of being in position to connect piped water to her home. This solved a problem she previously had of fetching too much water for her business. She has been in position to buy a solar panel to be able to have affordable and reliable electricity in her home.
In addition to paying her tithes regularly now, she is also periodically giving this liquid soap to the church for mopping and cleaning the church.
Florence gratefully asserts her increased income to the knowledge acquired by training in DML.
Together with a number of her other church members who also went through the training, they are seeing church growth and business growth at the same time.