Archives For Radical Muslims

Playing with the children during a training break in Togo, West Africa last week.

After years (since 2006) of cultivating and sowing the gospel through training indigenous church planters in the hard soil in Muslim West Africa, we’re beginning to reap a great harvest. Three years ago we launched our phase one, 3-year West Africa pilot project (2017-2019). We chose the northern regions of Togo because they’re among the most needy and neglected regions with highest levels of poverty and highest concentration of Muslims.

The northern regions are filled with “under-served church leaders” – gifted and called leaders who do not have access to the training and tools they need to start and develop churches that transform lives and communities. We believe that healthy churches are the most effective means of evangelism, discipleship, and mercy ministry. And the key to healthy churches is well-equipped, healthy church leaders.

Daily training of the facilitators of church planters from 12 regions. See the laptop video.

During the last 3 years we “trained their trainers” (approx. 50) and established an innovative learning platform, using cell phones and laptops with no WIFI or cell service, from which they can now provide practical, high quality seminary courses for their church leaders where they live, in their language, and adapted to their culture.

Church leaders from 12 regions completed their 3rd year of church planter training.

Last week, I passed the training baton to Sylvain, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) denomination’s Presbytery Chairman over all these regions. In 2020, Sylvain will continue training church leaders in northern Togo by teaching the next Pathway Learning courses completely without us. We just need to provide them with new courses in French. Now we can move on to our next phase of our project – helping them establish another reproducible, learning platform for underserved church leaders in Togo’s Central region in 2020.

Nathaniel Adawonu (PL’s NHMI Partner), Sylvain (EPC Presbytery Chairman), Steve

During the last 3 years many positive reports about our training in these neglected northern regions reached the EPC denomination headquarters in southern Togo’s coastal regions. The EPC is the largest indigenous evangelical denomination in Togo. So, to my surprise, after this year’s training, the top 3 executive leaders of the EPC met with me at their headquarters in Togo’s capitol to begin forming a national partnership. (see photo below)

New National Partnership: EPC Clerk, Steve, EPC Moderator, EPC Secretary, and Nathaniel Adawanu (NHMI)

These leaders asked us train more of their church leaders in Pathway Learning courses next year, allowing them to select 30 of their top church leaders in Togo for us to begin training when we return in 2020. We agreed. This is exactly our Pathway Learning strategy: not to do the training for the denominations, but to help them build their capacity as an indigenous denomination to be more effective in training their own church leaders. This is what I mean by a great harvest now coming, by God’s grace, after many years of cultivating and sowing in West Africa.

The vision is not merely to reach Togo for Christ, but for Togo to become a sending nation to other nations of West Africa. The training of these under-served church leaders and the fulfillment of this vision is directly related to the prayers and support of faithful people like you. Thank you for helping us continue developing these strategic initiatives God is opening before us. Your investment has already made a significant impact on our work, but more importantly on our world.

For the King!

steve

PS: Please pray that God will raise up many more partners to pray, give, and go with us as we continue equipping under-served church leaders – especially in the persecuted, underground church in China and among the poorest of the poor in West Africa. Thank you!

A church member’s little girl inside the church’s Christian school next to where we did our training. She’s not sure if Im friend or foe.

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Pathway arning

To learn first-hand about gospel-centered church planting in Muslim-dominated West Africa watch this brief Pathway Learning video taken from the conclusion of one of my recent public presentations.

New reports are now coming out of West Africa regarding the increase of Islamic Terrorism. This week’s report includes a brutal attack by radical Muslims on an American owned Mali hotel in which innocent people were killed at random as the terrorists yelled, “Allahu akbar” (Arabic “Allah is Great”).

Steve Q&A West Africa (1)When I began training national church planters in West Africa (2006), including church planters from Mali, I had never known church leaders willing to give their lives for the sake of advancing the Gospel.

As a seminary professor I’d also never been asked the kinds of questions they asked me. Like questions regarding whether or not they should kill the Islamic terrorists who were killing their families. I’d also never wondered if the church leaders I was training might actually give their lives doing what I was training them to do among the Islamic terrorists before I returned.

Should We Pray for ISIS To Be Defeated or Converted?

Russell Moore recently wrote an article entitled, “Should We Pray for ISIS to Be Defeated or Converted?” in which he makes a case for followers of Christ to answer yes to both questions.

Moore makes the case that Christians should be praying, with the martyrs in heaven, for justice against Islamic Terrorists–especially when our own brothers and sisters in Christ are being martyred. And followers of Christ should also be passionately praying for God’s mercy toward them.

Mali Church Leader

Church planter from Mali being trained (via French Translation) by Childers in West Africa

The single most effective way for the gospel to go forward with great power into the Islamic State is through church planting. The church is the only institution Jesus Christ promises to build and bless (Matt 16).

But the only kind of churches that can bring true hope in a terror-filled world are gospel-centered churches that produce the kind evangelism, discipleship and acts of mercy that result in both transformed lives and societies.

 

The global war with the Islamic State will not ultimately be won in the military battles on the field but in the battles for hearts and minds.

The greatest threat of Islamic terrorism is not their rapidly accumulating weapons of warfare but their rapidly disseminating evil ideology and worldview that is now able to self-radicalize masses through social media.

This is why the gospel must be understood as not only a way of salvation but also a way of holistic transformation that includes a true ideology and worldview that is able to reshape every sphere of life–cultural, social, economic, and political–for good.

This is also why there must be a renewed focus on equipping church leaders globally to start, grow, and multiply the kinds of churches that result in authentic conversions, holistic discipleship, and acts of justice and mercy drawn deeply from a true ideology and worldview rooted in Scripture.

We’re now living in a time of war–not a time of peace.

We’re facing war on the military battlefields and war on the battlefields for hearts and minds. And war is hell. So we cannot afford to be naïve. Like all wars, there will be casualties. Some church planters called to the frontlines to establish the first kingdom outposts in enemy’s domain of darkness will be killed. The blood of Christian martyrs has always served as the seed of the church in the hardest places where it’s most needed.

From Pathway Learning video "Islamic Terrorism and Church Planting in West Africa"

From Pathway Learning video “Islamic Terrorism and Church Planting in West Africa”

So we should be praying for both God’s swift justice to be poured out against evildoers through the mission of the state (Rom 13:4) and for God’s mercy to be poured out on evildoers through the mission of the church using the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6) against the spiritual forces of evil. These are not contradictory prayers but a reflection of God’s holy justice and holy mercy displayed in the cross.

Followers of Christ are called to be a people of the cross–a people of both radical justice and radical mercy.

Christ followers are called to be a people whom Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount not only to hunger and thirst for justice (Matt 5:6) but also to be merciful (Matt 5:7). A people whom God calls “…to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

So we must pray and stand against every form of Islamic terrorism that continues to ruthlessly murder thousands of innocent people. But we must also pray for their conversion and transformation–including the transformation of their ideology and worldview.

Childers praying with West Africa Leaders

Childers leading West African church planters in final prayer after their training.

Join me and begin praying with others that God would raise up a host of new converts from within Islamic terrorism who would become like Saul of Tarsus among them, transformed from being murderers to being church planting movement leaders turning their world upside down with the gospel.

These church planters in West Africa know they may not live to see the result of their ministries. But their hope and prayer is that the children and grandchildren of these terrorists will choose Christ instead of terrorism.