Recently, Mr. T shared how spiritual care at his Indonesian church is actually improving during Coronavirus. Before the virus hit, Mr. T had trained ten leaders at his Bible College in Bible studies, and these leaders did three sample Bible studies with 30 leaders at his church. Now, this is one of the most traditional denominations in Indonesia, with extremely liturgical services. Thirty years ago, a missionary, who is now president of our mission agency, tried and failed to bring spiritual life to this denomination.
So, when the Indonesian government banned worship services due to Coronavirus, the pastor and Mr. T immediately realized that these Bible studies are exactly what the church needs to provide spiritual care remotely. So the sample Bible studies turned into Bible study leadership training. Since they can no longer gather physically, the training happens through a messaging app. At the end of the training, the pastor will virtually commission these 30 trainees to lead their own Bible studies, either in person with their families or virtually with friends.
In the next few weeks, I plan to share Mr. T’s story with several Indonesian pastors in our ministry network. In many of their churches, some leaders already know how to lead these Bible studies, so it won’t be that difficult for them to duplicate Mr. T’s experience. If other pastors implement these Bible studies, this time of social isolation won’t be just treading water. Rather, they’ll be bringing new spiritual life to their congregations, and if the groups continue after government restrictions end, their churches will emerge from this crisis much stronger! Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work through these conversations.
Bible College Progress
Back in March, we presented our “character mentoring” study at an Indonesian Bible college. In previous years, students had not participated well in these sessions. But, I recently received an update from the Dean of Students.
She said most of the young men are sharing openly in their mentor groups, which is a first for this Bible college. The juniors and seniors are taking leadership roles and are shepherding the underclassmen. The young men and women are also reminding each other of their commitments in “character mentoring” to work on anger, jealousy, and the like. We are surprised and amazed to hear of so much progress in only a few short months. Praise God!
We made plans with one of our most effective ministries to start weekly Bible studies in six new villages. If implemented well, this is a huge breakthrough! This ministry has seen over 1,000 come to faith and over 500 baptized, but only those in the pastor’s location (+/- 150) are being regularly discipled. Please pray that our workers can effectively train, and our pastor can empower lay leaders in these six villages.
Name changed for security reasons.