As I sit down to write this blog I find myself thinking “I can’t believe we have only been here 1 month.” We thank God every day for the blessing of being able to attend this school. We are learning so much! Our teachers are all current long term missionaries or long term missionaries who are now back in the U.S. The wealth of knowledge that they are sharing with us is an amazing blessing. We have learned so much just in the first few weeks. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for long term missionaries who only have a few weeks training and then head to another country. They always have had my respect but even more so now as we glean knowledge and learn lessons from them that we hopefully will be able to avoid having to learn for ourselves. We started off with orientation and learned some great things from the policies of NLAI. Then we had our first meeting with the psychologist for our monthly psychological evaluations. Nothing much exciting there…yet 🙂 We took some personality testing and will get the result of that this weekend when Dr. Walker returns. If they are good we’ll tell you all about it…if they’re bad we’ll just pretend like we never mentioned this part of our training…hahahahaha!!!
We then went on to our first classes called “Knowing God” and “The Spirit Controlled Life” these classes centered on making our spiritual life and relationship with God healthy so that our ministry would flow out of an intimate relationship with God rather than becoming consumed with our ministry to the point that we hardly ever have time for God and asking Him to bless what we’re doing along the way. One of the principles he presented to us was what if we changed our way of thinking about our ministry and made prayer our ministry and then let everything God wants to achieve through us flow our of that healthy prayer life. In our busy American culture it takes effort and we have to make that time with God a sacred part of every day but the benefits are worth more than all the time in the world. Part of this class involved us reading a book by Ruth Haley Barton called Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership and it is one of the best books on leadership we have ever read. Please check it out if you have a chance you WILL NOT regret it.
For the last 2 weeks our classes have been a detailed study on the Gospel of John and studying church planting movements. We learned some interesting things about the Gospel of John such as how the Gospel of John is the only Gospel that talks about the Holy Spirit and how 92 percent of what is in the Gospel of John is unique where as the other 3 Gospels have many stories that overlap each other.
Our church planting class has been very interesting and we’ve learned things such as the ONLY 5 things you NEED to start a church are: prayer, teaching of God’s Word, ministry, fellowship among believers, and evangelism/missions. This is based on the account of the first church in Acts 2:37-47. All the rest is just extra “stuff” that can sometimes get in the way specifically in countries where they don’t have access to the extra stuff. We also learned that one of the most important things to do when starting or helping a new church is to M.A.W.L. This means:
Model – means teaching them to do things right (biblically)
Assist – means help, when you can shed some light
Watch – means observe, keeping everything in sight
Leave – means go, you have to take a hike (move on to the next church and let them take have ownership of THEIR church)
We even came up with a little song and dance for this so we would remember it and now it’s been in our head for days.
Hope you enjoyed the video of our little song and the summary of what we have been learning in our first month. Thank you for all of your continued prayers, love, encouragement, and support! We miss you all so very much!