Fourteen people sat around tables, passionately discussing the video they’d just watched. They ranged from kids to grandparents, all desiring to grow in their faith. The two-and-a-half-hour session was supposed to end at 8:30 p.m., but they’d be talking until 9. That’s how it usually went when the people of Hokah, Minnesota, came together for Contenders Discipleship Initiative classes.
Village Missionary David Possing has always been passionate about discipleship, but after 20 years in Village Missions, he’d finally found something that just seemed to click with his congregation.
David heard about the CDI at Staff Conference and was sold on the idea, though never imagining just how committed his students would be.
Over the course of nearly three years, these same people came together for three hours, twice a week.
“There was a real hunger,” said David. “They were filled with the hunger pains of growing. I was excited to see all the homework they were doing. It was a growing process for all of us.” Outside class sessions, David worked one-on-one with the students, mentoring them in practical ministry as well, such as visitation and teaching.
Even when the group had to wait for new courses to be released, they would continue meeting together to study related topics, because they wanted to keep the class together.
“Everyone involved was sold out and committed to it… It was more than a Bible study.”
Life-changing results quickly followed.
“After working on my passage in James that I was assigned in the class, I researched James and really felt like I got to know him,” said Amanda Billings. “I never thought I could stand up there and talk for 20-30 min about 13 verses in James, but I had a hard time fitting it all in. It was really exciting.”
Amanda took the courses with her husband and two sons and was excited to see the Lord powerfully at work in her sons.
“I cried when I saw and heard my 16 and 15-year-old sons standing up behind the pulpit giving their sermons,” said Amanda. “I think about the Bible study skills they have at 16 that I am just learning after being a Christian for 40 years.”
Since going through the CDI, students have begun regularly teaching children and adult Sunday School classes, and four men have preached at Sunday morning worship for the first time.
Students finished the final course this spring, but David continues to mentor them, and they continue to lead and teach in the church. No longer relying on “someone else” to teach, these graduates feel a sense of ownership in their church. And with a church of 100 people, having qualified teachers makes all the difference.
“We feel like we’re an established local church, and the CDI played a big part of that. I wish I could have done this years ago.”
The task was difficult, but the results were well worth it, and David plans to teach CDI again in the future, with this year’s graduates, of course.
The CDI and Village Missions
Many Village Missionaries, like Dave and Kathy, are successfully using the CDI in their churches today. Through these six courses, people of all ages are growing in their faith and becoming equipped to serve in their church.
As the church becomes spiritually vital, they, in turn, send out people from their own congregation to share the good news of Christ with others. Many CDI graduates are becoming Village Missionaries, helping revitalize rural churches just like the ones where they were trained in the faith.
Contenders Disciple Initiative is more than Bible Study curriculum. Designed to strengthen the entire church body, the CDI equips people of all ages to use the gifts God has given them to serve the congregation and reach the community and the world with the gospel of Christ.
By giving to the CDI, you provide FREE bible courses, helping strengthen people in churches like Hokah across North America!