We have always known our ministry in Portugal would be long term. To this end we believe making disciples that make disciples is key to helping people come to know Jesus.
Part of our team, in 2016, went to Brazil to look into a small group discipleship model which had been successful there. We liked what we saw and what we participated in, however as we thought of how to implement that model here in Portugal we discovered the structure and time constraints seemed heavy and not adaptable to our ministry and life situation here. We kept praying to find something that would work.
In November of 2017 I attended two conferences. During the first, a church planting conference, God gave me the long term vision of seeing 1000 discipleship groups growing, multiplying and being involved in missions throughout Portugal. (I thought to myself, this is crazy! That is a very long term goal….. it will take 15+ years to reach this goal.) Then the speaker challenged us to share the vision God gave because if we don’t we will never work towards it’s completion. Immediately I texted our team and said I wanted to meet with them once I got home to talk about a crazy dream God had given me.
While struggling with this idea of 1000 groups, the next week, I went to the second conference. There I participated in a 4 day training about how to start a small group discipleship movement. I was so excited. The model presented was so simple and reproducible. It does not require leaders to participate in lots of extra training classes, does not seem controlling and it functions in a way to help identify future group leaders.
God had set everything up! The dream/vision and how to get it done. Of course this will take time. It is a LONG TERM GOAL. There will be ups and downs. It will not be simple as Satan does not want to lose ground; he does not want this to happen.
Once I got home I talked with Robin and we met with our teammates. Each one of them is excited and on board for this. We have already implemented this model in one of our groups. As a team we are going together in May to participate in a training so we are all on the same page and can move forward together. I will also go to a conference in April to meet with people from Europe who are working in and with Disciple Making Movements. This will give me more understanding of the European context.
Please keep praying….because “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”