Kenya: Atop the massive volcanic mountain known as Mt. Elgon, “rabbit” churches are quickly reproducing despite the persecution they are facing from the powerful “elephant” churches. Elephant churches represent the traditional churches of this area that focus on traditional buildings and legalism, squandering the work and movement of the Holy Spirit. The rabbit churches represent those who have parted from the elephant churches out of a desire to be obedient to the call of Scripture to “make disciples,” meeting together regularly and sharing their faith.
In July 2009, an East-West team introduced for the first time the concept of obedience-based discipleship. Within this teaching, a believer is trained in how to find persons of peace (people who are open to the gospel), baptize them and teach them the other six commands of Christ. The goal is to immediately empower the new disciple to do ministry. As a result of this training, the first spark of rabbit churches quickly ignited.
Because rabbit churches follow New Testament discipleship methods instead of the customs created by the local, traditional church, persecution from the traditional churches immediately ensued. The rabbit believers were ostracized by the local church, kicked out of their rental houses and labeled as heretics. The persecution brought these followers of Jesus to a defining moment in their faith— they could obey men or Jesus, but they could not obey both. The key national leader of this movement and a few others stood firm in their newfound purpose . . . they would not deny their call to obey Jesus.
Over the last 20 months, East-West teams have continued to return to Mt. Elgon to offer further discipleship and encouragement. Additionally, one of our East-West missionaries is reinforcing the concepts of discipleship and multiplication through bi-weekly text message communication with the key leader. “Praise GOD! A total of 2,569 rabbit believers in Elgon are in soul-winning. Word of wisdom??” one text read from the key leader. The East-West missionary responded, “Every one of them needs to find a person of peace this week and baptize them themselves.” This constant training has resulted in a continual multiplication of rabbit churches.
Once a month, the key national leader gathers a group of leaders to provide biblical instruction on how to overcome current problems being faced. They find their own answers to their questions from praying, listening to God, and reading His Word. Now, this group of leaders not only has a vision to reach its own tribe . . . but to reach all of Kenya!
PRAY \ Give \ Go: Pray for the national leaders of this movement as they seek God’s wisdom in finding persons of peace and in training new disciples. Also pray for those in elephant churches to be pierced by the truth of the gospel and by God’s call to ultimate obedience.
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