Planting and Watering
Taking Part in the Discipleship-Making Movement and Leadership Training in Indonesia
The agricultural metaphors of planting and watering a seed is elaborated by Paul in 1 Cor. 3:5-9. We know that the elaboration was given by Paul to overcome the problem of divisions among the Christians in Corinth, but I think Paul is also giving us an indication about the principal of collaboration in the mission fields that God has given us.
The fields are God’s possessions, and God also determines the growth — but God uses instruments to accomplish His will. That’s the way it is within the ministries of the church; every person’s ministry is significant. The statement Paul uses in 1 Cor. 3:9, “we are God’s fellow workers,” refers to Paul and Apollos. This is the Near Eastern metaphor of a family working together in the field (cf. 2 Cor. 6:1). This verse has three possessive genitives: Paul and Apollos belong to God, as does the church in Corinth. The aim of the collaboration is to enhance the well-being of the church.
Together in partnership, Fellowship International and the Missions Department of the Convention of Indonesian Baptist Churches have a thriving evangelism ministry. In one area they have been able to reach approximately 140,000 people with the Gospel of Christ and have baptized 70,000 since 2005. These new converts are scattered in close to 17,000 house churches, with only eight people in every house church.
The numbers are astonishing, and they will continue to grow. We praise God for these amazing results, yet we still see the need for sustainable discipleship and leadership training programs. These leaders are focusing their time and energy on evangelizing. They need more people to come alongside and help with discipleship and leadership training. In light of this, Fellowship International, through LeadersFormation (our leadership training and discipleship program), will come alongside the Convention of Indonesian Baptist Churches to disciple as many people as we can. We plan to do this through leadership training programs among the leaders of at least 20 house churches in that area. LeadersFormation will have another cohort at the Seminary in Manado, which will involve 30 Seminary graduates who are now leading their own churches. We hope to be able to begin these two cohorts soon and continue for five years to come. I hope that at the end of those five years those who are being trained in both locations will carry on the works that LeadersFormation has begun in their areas and beyond.
— Edwin Karwur is President of the Indonesian Theological Seminary in Manado, Indonesia.
R. J. Utley, Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Marshall: Bible Lessons International, 2002), 44.
C. H. Talbert, Reading Corinthians: A Literary and Theological Commentary On 1 & 2 Corinthians (Macon: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2002), 19.