A Spiritual Partnership
Encouraging Christian Growth and Maturity
One of the questions we had after our first visit to DR Congo was, "how can we partner with CDLA to strengthen and encourage local churches?"
The answer we got from the CDLA leadership team was that they were desperate for church leadership and discipleship materials directly suited to Congolese culture and educational levels. With this in mind, we began to produce church-based training materials utilising work Geoff had been involved in back in the 1980s for the New Zealand context (the organisation is now called Living Stones).
These church-based learning materials were well suited to the Congolese context in terms of their learning style, and after being heavily revised and updated, are proving to be extremely useful in both equipping leaders, maturing the church, and discipling new Christians.
Each course is structured in the same way, and each lesson includes an introduction along with a relevatent Case Study. Group members then work through key Bible passages relating to the lesson and read a summarised (or "hand crafted") article on the subject. Participants are then encouraged to Respond Personally to what they have learned in practical ways (including prayer, further thinking and writing, and a "hands-on" exercise or task).
Finally, small groups of people come together in order to discuss what they have learned, thus learning together and encouraging one another in community.
The methodolgy does not assume the presence of an all-knowing group leader. Instead, the Word of God and the Spirit of God become the primary means of instruction.
The first of these courses, Church Leadership, was produced in 2015. Translation into French was done in New Zealand, and final proofing completed in DR Congo before the material was taught to a small group of around 30 church leaders in Lubumbashi. These leaders then went out and taught the material to others in the various villages and regions within a 750km radius. This process was then repeated at a local level as church leaders contacted others in their area and repeated the process.
While the first edition was only available in French, the team at CDLA set about translating the materials into the primary languages used in the South and South-East areas of the DR Congo. All materials are now translated into Congolese Swahili, Luba, Chokwe, Sanga, Ndembu and Bemba.
Since these initial small steps in 2015, we have now produced an good range of materials in conjunction with the team at CDLA. The latest course, called Sharing the Gospel, is going live in May 2023.
The next stage in the writing process is to have a CDLA team of writers work together in producing a course that has been identified as being needed: Christian Marriage. This new course will set in place a process for CDLA to produce its own resources in the coming years, with less assistance from outside the country. Congolese Christians are obviosuly able to speak to issues around Christian Marriage in the Congolese context far more accurately than someone coming to the subject with western presuppositions. As always, the goal is to present Biblical insights into how married couples can honour God, and each other, as they live and grow together in the faith.