Tonight I just finished a training session on the island of Mindanao, Philippines. There are over 100 new students and about 75 students who are nearing graduation from our 10 level training program. I wanted to start with testimonies so that everyone could be encouraged about what God is doing. My first question was, “How many of you have a testimony about starting churches since August (a period of four months). Nearly everyone’s hands went up.
That is a normal response for our trainings. Obviously I couldn’t have all 175 people give a testimony, so I had to narrow it down. I said, “How many of you have started more than five churches in the last four months?” Three hands went up. I called on one young man to share.
He came up to the front and shared, with his head looking toward the ground, “I don’t like to talk much, but I wouldn’t stand up here if I wasn’t faithful in what God called me to do.” He explained that after the August training session he went back to his area determined to reach 9 more villages around him with a new church. So he and his wife got permission from the nine villages to show the gospel. Each of the villages were named after the nine planets, from Mercury all the way to Pluto.
After showing a gospel film they made contacts for people who wanted to know more about Jesus in each village. They go each week to each of the nine villages where they are now discipling new believers and forming them into groups of believers (churches). I wanted to confirm how many group he had started since August and he replied, matter-of-factly, “nine, one for each village we went to.” He also noted that some have already built small buildings to meet in as well.
That is absolutely fantastic. That is an average of one church start every 10 days!
We all rejoiced in amazing fruit in ministry. As he was about to step down he added one more additional comment. He said, we went to our local elementary school and asked them if we could teach the section on “values education” (Values education is a part of all Philippine education). They agreed and he said right now he is teaching all the 4th through 6th graders every day our discipleship training program for their “values education” course in school.
I only had one more leading question for him. So I asked, “How much money did you have to do this project?” His response was exactly what I expected, for it is a focus of our training. He said, “We have no money at all do to this, we only have faith in God.” Everyone cheered! Nine churches started in four months, buildings built, hundreds of people come to Christ, voluntary teaching hundreds of kids about Jesus on a total budget of $0.00.
Faith: It is a higher standard. It has much more impressive results!