One of the things cross-cultural workers often struggle with is deciding what are the most important things to teach to new believers/churches. One of our goals in the School of Frontier Missions (SOFM) is to help students strip away the things our culture has attached and discover what, at its simplest, someone must do to be a disciple of Jesus.
The best teaching resource I’ve found comes from George Patterson. George worked in Honduras and has been a pioneer in the area of planting churches cross-culturally. (On a side note, I love having George speak in the SOFM because, even in his mid 70s, he’s jumping off chairs and teaches with a passion I haven’t seen from many people.) George stresses that the most important thing to teach new believers is obedience to Christ. You might say, “Duh! But how does that look?” Patterson teaches that everything Jesus commands in the gospels can be boiled down to 7 basic commands*. I’ve listed them below with a few references. He says that these are the ABCs of both discipling and church planting. I encourage you to evaluate your own obedience in each of these areas.
1. Repent and believe (Mark 1:15)
2. Be baptized and continue in the new life it initiates (Matt 28:18-20)
3. Love God and neighbor in a practical way (Matt 22:37-40)
4. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:17-20)
5. Pray (Matt 6:5-15)
6. Give (Matt 6:19-21, Luke 6:38)
7. Disciple Others (Matt 28:18-20)
* Taken from the article, “The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches,” by George Patterson.
(Aaron Herrema mobilizes and trains frontier missions workers. He lives and works with his wife and family in Florida.)