Today there is such a great need to train church planting disciples who will plant Bible believing gospel preaching churches in sub-Saharan Africa. Civil wars, politically motivated atrocities, AIDS, and the rapid advancement of Islam have hit this continent hard and stripped its people of hope.
We at XPONENT Ministries felt the incredible need to not only train disciples but to combine a discipleship program with church planting at the core. We wanted a program which can be sustained, reproduced and empowered on a regional or local level in cooperation with a national strategy.
Knowing that Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all the nations in Matthew 28:19, and that Paul gave us the methodology through 2 Timothy 2:2, and knowing that any long lasting, far reaching strategy must be as indigenous as possible, we earnestly sought God's direction and wisdom and developed the XPONENT MINISTRIES Discipleship Centers.
In order to best utilize the XPONENT Discipleship Centers, part of our strategy is to position them as near as possible to some of Africa's many Least Reached People Groups. According to statistics, at least 98% of the people in these groups do not believe in Christ and place their faith in other false gods, therefore the opportunity to share Jesus where few have gone is very real and exciting, yet not without its challenges!
This approach also gives the Discipleship Center students very practical and hands on opportunities to grow in Christ in ways they could never have imagined otherwise and start reaching the unreached at the same time. It is definitely a win-win situation and the strategy is showing incredible fruit!
Who are the least-reached? In today's missions circles, the term unreached people groups, as they used to be referred to, has been replaced by least-reached. A tribe or people group that is referred to as least-reached has less than 2% of its total population as believers in Christ. Obviously, less than 2% means they probably have no Bible in their language, few translated gospel tracts or texts, and probably no church. We are commanded to "go…and make disciples of all the nations" in Matthew 28:18-20.
That means I am to go to the lost, reach them for Christ, disciple them, and give them opportunities to do the same! We know that everyone has not heard of Jesus yet so our role as a believer is not finished. We know we have a mission now that our eyes have been opened to the huge need of the least- reached. How much the Father in heaven must love and adore them!
So few believers and missionaries have been able to penetrate their culture or religious beliefs so they may know freedom in Christ! Positioning our Discipleship Centers near the least-reached offers us the opportunity to assist our students to maximize their talents, gifts, and resources to reach their neighbors for Christ before the harvest spoils in the fields.