How to Grow Leaders….

From Brian Hogan’s account of the CPM in Mongolia:

Visitors from Ulaanbaatar also brought a challenge. One missionary was so shocked at the responsibility he saw being given to “unready” Mongolians that he took over the meeting he was visiting. He said that he couldn’t sit by and let Communion be served by new believers. Then he forbade their use of store-bought bread for Holy Communion. His visit and others by Mongolian believers from older churches in Ulaanbaatar brought confusion to the new believers in Erdenet. These visitors accused Magnus and Maria of putting into leadership young believers who would “make mistakes.” “Of course they will!” Magnus responded. “That’s how we learn.” The new leaders did make many mistakes, but they accepted correction, gaining confidence and skill. They benefited from Maria and Magnus’ trust and became competent leaders. As the girls took over the leadership of the house churches, Magnus shifted his focus to training them. Both Maria and Magnus invested much time with the first two “elders-to-be”: Bayaraa and Odgerel, the first male believer. In its first year, the Church in Erdenet had come a long way. Their approach to church planting was based around gathering the believers into small simple home fellowships, or house churches. The believers would gather in an apartment and “do church”; sharing the Lord’s Supper, fellowshipping, worshiping together (not necessarily in song), praying, giving, ministering to each other, and interacting with God’s Word. Magnus and Bayaraa prepared Bible teachings together. They focused on Old Testament stories and simple obedience to Jesus’ commands. On Monday nights the leaders dutifully wrote down every word of the new lesson. These emerging leaders would then use exactly the same lesson during the week in their house church. Empty grocery shelves in Erdenet meant that having the groups share a meal would have hindered reproduction, so they saved that for special occasions. It was this strategy that began bearing fruit. We didn’t visit the house groups. The presence of a Westerner caused new believers to clam up and stifled interaction and worship. Our teammates wisely banned any foreigners, except those who moved to Erdenet and got to know the believers. This was our goal, and we hoped to pull it off by September of 1993. Getting out of Ulaanbaatar was as vital to our success as making sure we didn’t end up living in the Sansar Missionary Ghetto. We had observed firsthand how working in an environment crowded with other missionaries prevents bonding with the locals while we were living in Hardrock, Arizona. We needed to do more than flee Sansar, we needed out of the capital city where the mission community was constantly enlarging.

From There’s A Sheep in My Bathtub
by Brian Hogan