Greetings from the Increase Association!
Tim Green, General Secretary of Increase
Increase works to connect and strengthen church-based training organizations across Asia. In the past, each national group just worked within its own country. But now, more than ever before, people are scattered abroad as diaspora. Believers from many Asian nations live in many other countries. So how can they keep growing in Christ and witness for him wherever they are located?
In this edition of the Increase bulletin we focus on discipling the diaspora. Future editions will feature other cutting-edge issues. To receive the bulletins four times a year, write to us on . And feel free to forward or retweet this article to your friends! Our Twitter handle is @IncreaseAssoc.
A World on the Move
Official UN statistics in 2015 found that 244 million people, that's 3.3% of the world's population, live outside their country of origin. Click around on this fascinating interactive map to see where they migrated from ("Out") and where they have arrived ("In").
Discipling the Nations in our Midst
David Ball, Increase Equipper and Asia Coordinator for SEAN International.
What if the people of the world were on the move as never before?
They are. As short-term workers, refugees, international workers and settled migrants.
What if this diaspora were part of Gods plan to reach and disciple the nations?
We believe it is. Just as on the day of Pentecost, people today are turning to Christ in significant numbers when away from their country of origin. Diaspora churches are being planted across the world. Diaspora believers are sharing their faith with those from their home countries. Diaspora believers are returning to their home countries to share their faith with friends, family and others.
What if systematic discipleship materials were available for local churches to disciple diaspora believers in their own languages?
They are. For example, TEE courses from SEAN International are now widely used in around 100 countries of the world and are available in more than 70 languages. So a local church in any country which has diaspora members can easily form a discipleship group in their mother tongue. This is an effective way to equip new disciples and to enable them to move to maturity as leaders in their diaspora fellowships.
What if I could get involved in this exciting move of God throughout the world?
You can. You could start a discipleship group for diaspora believers in your local church or help and pray for others involved in this work. If in Britain, you could get involved in the Group-based Open Learning Discipleship (GOLD) Project. If in another country, contact us.
This is a summary of some points in Davids blog. Go here for the full text.
Diaspora believers being equipped through TEE
Rachel Green and Anneta Vysotskaya, members of Increase's Task Group for Diaspora TEE
What do Russian-speaking domestic workers in Turkey, Nepali security guards in Malaysia, Chinese immigrants in Australia and British expatriates in Spain all have in common? In each of these places diaspora Christians are being equipped through the tried and tested TEE method. Each week:
- First they do the personal study from the workbook;
- Then they learn together as a group led by a trained facilitator;
- Then they put it into practice in their daily life and work.
Migrants often have to work long hours in tough conditions. Within their limited time and finances, TEE gives them a practical, affordable way to get equipped in their own mother tongue. (TEE is officially Theological Education by Extension but more easily understood as Tools to Equip and Empower).
In a Russian-speaking migrant church in Istanbul the majority of believers are women labour migrants. They work as house cleaners or nannies in Turkish families, working all week from early morning till late night. Sunday is their only day off. Last year the church leaders decided to use TEE as tool for discipleship. The group of 12-15 enthusiastic students enjoy the studies and group discussion very much. Pastor Anton said they want to continue using TEE as they see good spiritual growth since they started. The vision is to later train the students so that they can train others using TEE.
The same courses in the Nepali language are being studied by around 200 migrant workers in Malaysia. 25 Nepali TEE groups have started since last year and some of them have already completed four courses! Read more here.
For TEE groups to run well, it is vital to train the leaders. This is a challenge for diaspora groups who may be thousands of miles away from the original TEE organizations in their language. Pray for us in the Task Group as we tackle this and other practical issues to help diaspora TEE run well.
Foreigners and Exiles: a Biblical Reflection
David Ball, writing here as a theologian and director of the GOLD Project
This longer article links themes from the 1st century diaspora readers of 1 Peter, with 21st century issues. These include mission to the diaspora, mission in the diaspora and mission by the diaspora. For the full article click here.
Increases Task Group on Diaspora TEE
Arising out of papers presented at the Exploring New Horizons conference in Kuala Lumpur in April 2015 a Task Group was set up to look at issues related to Increase and the Diaspora. Since then we have been working with SEAN International to explore ways to facilitate the training of diaspora believers. For example we have worked on ways for courses in different languages to be shared easily as well as collecting examples of those using courses to train diaspora believers. With the growing issues around enabling TEE among the Diaspora, we hope to help Increase Members respond in a positive and healthy manner.
Increases new Logo
- It combines the ideas of growth and reaching a target;
- The green colour symbolizes organic growth;
- The circles bond with each other but are also different unity with diversity.
We hope you enjoyed this bulletin!
Feel free to forward this to your friends as we want to expand the mailing list.
God bless you!
and the Task Group on Diaspora and TEE: David Ball (convenor), Anneta Vysotskaya, Rachel Green and Lyn Pearson.
For more information on Increase or to support its work, visit IncreaseAssociation.org