By Brooke Helder, GACX Content Creator
This is an amazing story of adaptation and unlikely partners: one partner with years of experience and demonstrated effectiveness, and the other with contemporary methodology and an urgency to change lives.
For more than 75 years, Our Daily Bread Ministries devotionals have been on church welcome tables, providing inspirational learning material. Over the last eight decades, Our Daily Bread Ministries has remained steady in its mission to “make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible accessible to all.”
Fast forward in time, and another ministry, New Generations, was formed in 1995. New Generations is a young ministry aiming to see more churches and disciples by catalyzing movements through Disciple Making Movement (DMM) training. They are “boots on the ground” around the world, moving fast to see anywhere between 4-35 generations of churches planting churches. New Generations is finding its place in the historic movements the Spirit has created.
These two organizations found common ground through Our Daily Bread University, a member of GACX, which is bridging the gap from church welcome tables to the world's unreached.
Around the same time that New Generations was founded, Our Daily Bread Ministries leveraged its available technologies to found Our Daily Bread University. ODBU is an informal, online school with the intention to make quality biblical content available for free or low-cost, in online or printable form, and in as many languages as possible. Over 650,000 people use their services each month. In addition to online educational resources, ODBU has a self-directed Foundations of Biblical Ministry Certificate program. All of these OBDU courses are easily accessible on a thumb drive.
Currently, OBDU is pursuing a competency-based approach to training, aiming to offer a variety of learning paths that are specifically designed to train global leaders.
This initiative grew from a partnership that began at the 2022 GACX Forum. Tim Laniak, Senior Vice President of Global Content at ODBU, attended the Forum and connected with Harry Brown, President of New Generations. Brown particularly challenged ODBU to collaborate with them on building a competency-based training program for church planters. Their goal was to find a way marry world-class learning design with lifelong informal training.
Laniak elaborates by saying, “The synergy between the two ministries comes from a sense of stewardship: Hundreds of thousands of leaders are emerging without contextually suitable training. And for many reasons, traditional seminaries and Bible colleges aren't the answer. Something home-grown in the movement itself was necessary”.
This past summer, ODBU went to Kenya to work with New Generations by meeting with church planters and conducting interviews. ODBU worked to uncover core elements to make training applicable and sustainable to multiple generations of leaders.
“We're not looking to say to an Ecuadorian, here's something that's just for Ecuador. We're saying, here's something from Rwanda and Malaysia as a way to get outside of your own zone while you're also trying to reflect on your own context,” explains Laniak.
Without disclosing their findings too soon, ODBU hopes to start vetting a draft proposal for the program that includes the proposed courses. The program will be strongly mentor-driven and partnership-anchored. They seek feedback to ensure that the program is globally sourced, featuring a global faculty and a global platform.
This story of collaboration is a great example of two seemingly different organizations finding common ground in working together on God's mission. We encourage your ministry to collaborate with an organization that may be completely unique from your own to see what God may have in store.
If you are interested in providing feedback to ODBU or partnering with their organization, please visit odbu.org to learn more.