This is how Phil Graf and I felt after the first couple of sessions of our training in Kisumu Kenya. We looked out on blank and uncertain faces, as in the middle of our first session we asked the 30 leaders gathered to break into small groups and roll up their sleeves to interact and apply our teaching from Romans.
Those present weren’t used to an interactive workshop format. Their normal experience to training is a lecture format where they sit and take notes. That’s not what we came to do. Our objective was to get these leaders to interact about how to apply to their situation what we were communicating.
“KEEP AT IT!”
While the response to our workshop was uncertain at first, we knew we had to keep at it. We were upsetting their “equilibrium,” which is what we wanted to do. It is what we believe is needed in the Western world as well. Most churches are built around a “main event” in which most people sit passively and absorb more teaching. This is a passive experience for most and is what is called a “knowledge based maturity.”
By “knowledge-based maturity,” I mean that we equate maturity with “how much we know.” Jesus emphasized an action-based maturity in which maturity is connected to how much we apply what we know. That is what we were after in our training: acting on the life and mission map Paul lays out in Romans.
I am glad we didn’t give up. Here is an email that Phil Graf and I just received from one of the leaders who attended our training in Kisumu:
“Praise the LORD. It’s a while since we last heard from each other. Brother, l want to thank you and Bro. Linus for what you’re doing for the LORD. The unique way in which you exposed the Book of Romans made me change my approach. Since late April l have been teaching from the book and the response is marvelous. We’ve also changed our style of evangelism. We’re now using one-to-one style of disciple making through LOVE. It is working well and the church has started to grow. You were a blessing to us. Say hi to your family, the team and church. We continue to pray for you. God bless you abundantly.”