In a recent blog post, I announced that the DML team would be traveling to Asia and South America over the next few months, to launch DML.
Some of you may be wondering why we would be doing this - are we not mostly an African ministry? Is there not more work to do in Africa? Has the curriculum not been mostly formed for African churches and businesses?
To these questions, I would say, "Yes, yes, and yes." And then I would add, "But..."
DML was started, formed, and developed in West and East Africa. That continues to be the place where we do most of our learning. Our DML teams across Africa are continually testing and trying ways to see how to help the local church and denominations be change agents in the marketplace, and to reclaim the marketplace for Christ through the local church. Africa will always be further ahead in the implementation of DML than any other place and we continue to learn from what are teams/church denominations are doing there.
There is still more work to be done in Africa. Our teams, in most places, have captured one or two denominations, have set up trainings in a few of the cities and there is much more opportunity in every place! Additionally, there are many more countries in Africa that can be reached with this message of the integration of faith and work through the local church.
BUT the good news is that our teams are responding to these requests. Our teams in Burkina Faso are reaching Cote d'Ivoire and Gabon. Our team in Nigeria is reaching Botswana. Our DML leader in Tanzania is speaking to a team in South Africa. This is happening naturally as people from different countries hear our teams speak. We praise God for this!
DML has committed from the beginning to work on a "pull" rather than a "push." That means that we would not look for opportunities to go to different places, but rather wait for a pull from a place and discern whether that pull was a good fit for who we are at the time.
In 2019, DML met with an organization out of Texas called "Global Advance." They serve and equip pastors and church leaders, and also had a passion for reclaiming the marketplace for Christ but didn't have the tools necessary to make that happen. Global Advance had a strong pull from their teams in Asia and South America for this. In 2020, we started a formal partnership with them, and our goal was to equip their leaders who had a desire to reach the marketplace through the local church. Since then, our teams have trained their leaders in eight countries where they are working, and this summer we will help two of those teams to officially launch.
What is exciting about this is that we don't have to vet these requests or partners but because of our relationship with Global Advance and their long-term relationships with their partners, we can jump right in and get going.
The curriculum does need to change slightly in the approach as many parts of Asia do not have nearly the number of churches/Christians as Africa. Some have very strong opposition to anything Christian being brought into the country, so I have to be careful even in writing this blog. We need to learn about the religions and cultures in these places and adjust them accordingly. Thankfully we do have partners who are helping us through that.
We thank God for these opportunities, and we covet your prayers as we go outside of the places that we know a tiny bit about, to places that we know even less about!