If you are in ministry, you most likely already know what evangelism and discipleship is. With the numerous onslaughts of training and development focused on evangelism and discipleship coming from churches, seminaries and mission agencies, one may think that it is a very basic concept. Yet when you apply it to a regional, cultural and ethnic situation, most programs can be tossed out the window. Many over the years have become frustrated with the lack of response to the Gospel. Though they base their message on strong biblical truths, there seems to be little fruit. This lack of success could lead one to wonder if they are being effective at all in their outreach and discipleship to the people they are ministering to.
Although many churches are starting to consider cross-cultural training, they are still using the same basic “Western” ways of evangelism and discipleship that their churches and forefathers have developed over the years. It is not that those ways are wrong, but they lack effectiveness in a Southeast Asian context. Imagine individuals who have been taught to trust only in themself since they were children. Or what about a person who has had their parents controlling their life from the time they were born until university. They may have even allowed their parents to decide whom they should marry. Salvation and grace might be the last thing on their mind.
Many missionaries and Church leaders find themselves in a position where the people whom they have reached out to were only interested in what was provided for personal gain. These “converts” were not willing to pass on the biblical knowledge that they had gained through discipleship. Many working in Southeast Asia have sat back and reflected on past experiences realizing that often they were just being used. The gospel message they had proclaimed did not take root.
The focus of the Evangelism and Discipleship workshop at the Southeast Asia Reformed Conference is geared to help provide tips and suggestions on ways to do effective evangelism and discipleship that is biblically based, yet addresses the cultural and regional focus that our beloved Lord has sent us to work in. The hope is that through our time together we can overcome some of these challenges and be more effective in our ministry.