For more than 10 years Horn of Africa has observed great results from hardest places. For us, the key was the principles we learned from Disciple Making Movements. Our church planters are trained to make it a lifestyle to fast and pray — not just to pray fast. Abundant prayer is a major key to a successful church planting movement.
We also train our leaders how to gain access to a community. The title of “missionary” or “church planter” is often a hindrance so we focus on access ministry. In order to win many, we focus on a few. The access ministry helps the church planter to prayerfully look for the person of peace. Once this person is identified we start a Discovery Bible Study with the person of peace and his relatives. Often the church is planted before the people even realize it is a church. Many of these churches meet in the home of the person of peace or under a shade of a big tree. It is a moving experience to worship God under a tree. Every time the shade moves you have to move!
Melaku is one good example of such a church planter. He was sent to a very gospel-resistant community after a season of fasting and prayer. Though he was alone, he knows he is covered by prayers of many of his brothers and sisters hundreds of miles away. In order to gain both trust and acceptance, he entered the community as a farmer. He rented a plot of land for farming and planted red onion seedlings in a row. The stand of the plants looked so impressive that the local farmers approached him for seedlings to plant on their plots. Melaku soon found himself as an extension worker handing out seedlings and, giving advice, and making friendship.
As harvest time came in few months, the farmers did very well and Melaku became the talk of the village. Realizing that onions were not their only needs, Melaku approached the farmers about their spiritual lives. A well-known person became the first believer because of the testimony of Melaku. Hence, this new brother became the person of peace which God used to open the community for the gospel. The church was planted in his home and today many are coming to love and follow our Lord Jesus.
Melaku and many others like him are living the principles we learned: Go slow to go fast; focus on a few in the beginning to win many later… a lesson we learn when we study the ministry of Jesus.