CONVERSION, DISCIPLESHIP, AND LIGHTING UP THE DARKNESS
Global Training Network just concluded its annual Leadership Gathering. One of the books we chewed on was Bill Hull’s “Conversion and Discipleship: You Can’t Have One Without the Other.” It was a challenging read, pointing to Christ’s Great Commission to “make disciples of all people.” Among other things, Hull emphasizes that all God’s people are disciples who are to make disciples.” That is what we are meant to be (disciples) and do (make disciples).
A phrase toward the end of Hull’s book that especially struck me was that as disciples and disciple-makers we are to “light up the darkness…live with moral clarity…love others…and live to serve others.” I love the image and challenge that we are to “light up the darkness.”
GTN: LIGHTING UP THE DARKNESS
During the leadership gathering in Phoenix, president, Paul Madson, gave an update on the “grace-oriented, Gospel-centered, globally-focused” ministry of GTN. He emphasized that GTN’s purpose is to “glorify God” by its mission to “equip and encourage indigenous church planters, pastors, and leaders in the majority world—so that they can evangelize and disciple their nations.”
GTN was started in 2004 by Paul and Lisa Madson. As they completed a training in India, Paul became compelled to help the more than 80% of leaders with little if any biblical and theological training. As Paul and Lisa sat on a rooftop in India, Paul turned to Lisa and said, “I have to do this!” Upon returning home, he resigned as pastor of a thriving church and with Lisa launched Global Training Network.
From this 2004 beginning, GTN grew to 25 staff by 2008, and to 45 staff by 2011. The ministry has now grown to 130 staff, and in just 14 years, GTN has trained 250,000 pastors and leaders in 75 countries. Assuming that each pastor influences 100 others, the scope of GTN’s ministry reaches into the millions.
THE DIVINE EXPEDITION: LIGHTING UP THE DARKNESS
As a part of GTN, the Divine Expedition training has now begun on our third continent (Africa, South America, and now Asia). Our goal to equip leaders to multiply viral, missional, disciple-making, leadership-developing, church-planting movements.
I mentioned in our last On Expedition update that we recently conducted our Phase 1 training (Romans as a Life Transformation and Missional Impact Map) in two of the three districts of Kathmandu, Nepal. In that ministry update we included several responses to our training from the district of Bhaktapur. We recently received the translated responses to our second training in the district of Lalitpur. Here a several of them:
“I would like to thank you my God and you all divine expedition team for this wonderful training here in Nepal. Since the last couple months, I felt that I was not spiritually well. So many questions came in my mind about christian faith and other things, and I didn’t saw any changes in my life. So when I just attended this training I feel sure about my faith, my authority, and my plan in the kingdom of God.” — Anonymous
“The thing that was the most important for me through this training was the transformation of my own life. That keyword helped me to know more about building relationships and connecting with other people. This training helped me know how to share the good news with other people. Thanks to Divine Expedition.” — Anonymous
I feel like we need this kind of training in continuous way in Nepal. From this teaching Churches will stand against the challenges like fear of the anti-conversion law and persecution, so that we can fulfill the great commission.” — Anonymous
“I learned so many things during the sessions but the thing that impacted me more is the zeal for gospel sharing to non-believers. We must not be stopped by any situation to share the Good news. The Lord will help us and guide us through everything and every situation. The message of gospel is so powerful and effective that it can change anyone and everyone’s heart, and it can transform lives.” — Anonymous
“God told me to share the gospel of Jesus in far western part of Nepal.” —Anonymous
SHARON: LIGHTING UP THE DARKNESS
Sharon has so amazed me during the trauma of and recovery from her brain-bleed. While in the hospital she made friends with the doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff. Her primary doctor was concerned that she might become depressed. When we returned for a follow up appointment, Sharon thanked the doctor for her concern and said she thought about it, then said, “I am not depressed because I have so much to be thankful for.”
She even put me in the list of things she is thankful for but most of all, she is thankful to know Jesus. Sharon is deeply rooted in Christ. She loves Christ, she looks forward to Christ’s return, and she radiates Christ.
Sharon has made progress in regaining her left-side strength. I estimate she is at the 50% recovery mark, and we are hopeful that she will reach the 80% mark by June.
Her eyesight has been affected so her Bible reading is limited but she daily listens to podcasts that buoy her faith. A couple nights ago at dinner she told her sister Marilyn and me about a podcast where the speaker talked about how God excitingly gathered angels around him because someone was about to pray! “Hey, quick, come over here, and listen up as (put your name here) is going to pray!”
Sharon’s description was so cute. Actually, I think she is cute, really cute, always have (well, maybe most of the time :-). Sharon lights up the darkness wherever she goes (and whatever life’s circumstances bring)—because she knows the light of the world, Jesus.
I am thankful I know Him too.
Proclaiming Him because of His great grace,
Linus and Sharon