We just completed a Chronological Bible Teaching (CBT) workshop in the Philippines for New Tribes Mission’s Filipino missionaries which included church planters, trainers and future missionaries. I want to thank everyone who prayed for, encouraged me and gave financially so this workshop could happen!
Was it profitable? You bet! Here is an excerpt from letter I received from an attendee and a dear brother in Jesus
“Dear David…We were encouraged very much with your presence and thankful for the all things you’ve taught us in Bataan. We realized that we have a lot of things to learn especially with the presentation of the CBT. Thank you also for the money, books, DVDs that you gave…They are blessings to us.”
Jun Fabra-NTMPI CEO / Mission Services
What was the workshop all about? The Chronological Bible Teaching (CBT) or Building on Firm Foundations (BOFF). The BOFF is New Tribes Mission’s seven phase “pathway of discipleship” based upon Matthew 28:19-20, in which the Lord Jesus Christ gives this directive to “…go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…“
Many Christians tend to limit the scope of this mandate to evangelism by the words, “… make disciples…baptizing…” However the passage continues with, “… teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This implies not only seeing people saved but includes discipling them to spiritual maturity in which they are obeying all that the Lord Jesus’ commands. Some evidences of this spiritual maturity will be: When they understand who they are, how they came to be, and why they exist as believers, when they treasure God’s Word as their final authority, when they are applying God’s Word to their everyday lives in practical and genuine ways in all their relationships motivated by a solid understanding of God’s grace and their position in Christ and when they are intentionally witnessing to the lost by their lives and words.
Bringing believers to maturity will require a long term commitment and divine help. The Lord has provided an example for us to follow for the fulfillment of His Mandate. It is the basis for New Tribes Mission’s Building on Firm Foundations. This seven phase program is designed in harmony with the way God revealed Himself to Man beginning in Genesis until the book of Revelations. Here is a brief overview.
- Phase One is primarily for unbelievers and is an overview of Genesis to Christ’s ascension emphasizing the person and work of God, the Father, the person and work of Satan, the “lostness” of man and the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation.
- Phase Two is a brief overview again of Genesis to Christ’s ascension highlighting the security of the new believers in Christ along with some altered themes in preparation for teaching the Book of Acts.
- Phase Three is a brief synopsis of the Book of Acts for new believers, majoring on the development and example of the New Testament churches and the spread of Christianity in the first century.
- Phase Four is a summary of the remainder of the Books of the New Testament with the focus being to establish new believers in the knowledge of their position in Christ, their walk with Christ, and their function as a local church.
- Phase Five is for maturing believers. It is an overview of Genesis to the ascension, emphasizing God’s methods of sanctifying and maturing his children.
- Phase Six is also for maturing believers and is a detailed exposition of the Book of Acts.
- Phase Seven is a detailed exposition of the remainder of the New Testament. By the completion of Phase Seven the believers will have covered almost the entire Bible in detail two times.
Bringing believers to maturity is no small task however we are confident in the Lord Jesus’ authorization to “Go and make disciples…” We find direction in His objective to have His people “…observe all things…” He commanded. Finally, we are grateful for His Word which, when taught foundationally through the seven phases, moves the believers from infancy to spiritual maturation. The outcome of this strategy is mature believers evidencing the life and character of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Building on Firm Foundations method requires a long term commitment however New Tribes Mission has found it provides believers the best fertile ground for serious growth and development of their spiritual lives!
What a blessing to honor our graduates this past May 18 here at NTM’s Missionary Training Center! Sixty-seven students walked the aisle to finish their cross-cultural ministry training and receive their degrees! The theme was, “Expanding the Reach of the Gospel” taken from Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” State Representative – Dr. Wayne Cooper, a dear friend and strong community supporter of NTM brought the opening greetings and prayer.
From the moment a missionary sets foot in the tribe, their life is a living, breathing example of God’s Word. But God’s Word not only needs to be seen it must to be introduced to the mind…stored in the heart …applied to life’s everyday situations. It’s what every missionary dreams of and prays for.
The application of God’s Word into tribal people’s lives requires a careful translation of the Bible into their “tongue” so they can read and understand it for themselves. This is all awesome in theory but how is possible to produce a meaningful scripture translation for people with no written language!? How will God’s Word ever be woven into their lives? Praise God, with Him all things are possible!
Here at MTC , we are training our missionary students to do just that with the teaching of phonemics. What is phonemics? Does it have to do with phones? No, and it’s not "techno" babel of a communication company either but it is related to communcation. Phonemics is the principle used in creating an alphabet. Our students are taught the processes and reasoning for not only learning and reproducing the way a language is spoken (verbal) but to also produce an alphabet for the language (written). Phonemics is this process which takes the “verbal” sounds in a language (only spoken) and produces a “written” form of those sounds (orthography-alphabet).
But just producing an alphabet is not enough! The people must be taught to recognize and read their own alphabet if they’re to be introduced to the written Word of God in their own language. When the people begin to "read" God’s Word for themselves based on their own alphabet, it’s light will boldly make an entrance where only darkness reigned before and it’s truth will penetrate their empty, searching souls, and engage them to turn their eyes to the life-changing person of Jesus Christ!
Sleet, ice, snow and cold! Snap…a tree limb falls to the ground! More sleet, ice, snow and cold! Thud…a power line pole with three transformers smashes to the frozen ground! Long into the night, one could hear the crack and severing of tree limbs and trunks under the weight of the accumulating ice. Limbs and trees fell on power lines! No more electric power.
For many there was no heat. Car doors were welded shut by the 3/4” think layer of ice! One small town was completely evacuated. Businesses and churches were closed. Many people were stranded in their homes as the roads were impassable! The Governor declared our little corner of the state a disaster area. The weather here in southwest Missouri has been the topic of conversation. It was the worst ice storm in twenty years! Many people, after two weeks, have recently had their power restored. We even cancelled classes here at the Missionary Training Center for a week.
But…crisis has an “up side” too! People tend to bond together caring and spending time with each other because there was no TV, Cable, Internet, Computer Games and other electronic gismos. In our home because of the power outage there were just old fashion “board games”, hide and seek in the dark and that lost art of conversing with each other around candles or kerosene lanterns. When the power returned and life got back to “normal”, it wasn’t long before my youngest daughter of nine said, “I wish the power would go off again because we spent more time together as a family when we didn’t have it.” Keep the candles handy! I’m thinking of throwing the main power switch off at my house at least one weekend a month!
We certainly have many things to thank the Lord for this season; first and foremost – His Son, Who made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form!
We also appreciate all the Lord is doing in the hearts and lives of our srudents. One student commented that, before coming here, he had fallen in love with the written Word and now he’s falling in love with the Person whom the Word is written of! We desire for the Word to come alive to them and be relevant in everyday, practical living!
Part of this first semester included a Field Fair. All of our fields we work in were represented before the candidates to help make them aware of what God’s doing around the world and just where He might have them fit in His work of making disciples.
Dave has not been able to operate at his best lately. For about three weeks now he has not been well at all. We would appreciate your prayers for Dave to regain strength and for God’s direction in leading us to a doctor that can help.
Corissa is in the midst of applying for college. This is all new territory for us. By the time Lindsey is ready for college, our youngest, we should be pros at this kind of thing! Anyway, we know Corissa would appreciate your prayers as we head through this process.
What seemed like the Lord closing one ministry was His way to open another. We have a passion to see cultural minority groups reached with the Gospel and discipled to maturity in Jesus Christ. The Lord has graciously allowed us to join the MTC team, the NTM Missionary Training Center here in Missouri.
We now have the privilege of informing and inspiring future missionaries in church planting principles and methodolgy. Right now the candidates are involved with Teaching Skills, Effective Parenting and Phonetics classes.
We were excited to be part of serving as missionaries to "one" cultural minority group for the Gospel, but now we are thrilled to be reaching "many" people groups through training the candidates represented here for future ministry to the uttermost parts of the earth, by God’s grace.
Dave has another module coming up titled New Testament Church Principles. We ask your prayers on his behalf as he has not been well these last couple of weeks. Pray that he will regain his strength and pray for wisdom as we ask the Lord where to direct us in regards to seeking out help from a doctor. We appreciate you praying with us. Thank you!