What if we ran Church Online not like a Pastor would run a church, but like a missionary would run a missional movement. Crazy idea, I know. But that's really what we set out to do through Christ Fellowship Miami years ago. To that end, we're introducing Mike Christian to The Church Digital Podcast today.
Mike worked with Jeff over at Christ Fellowship Miami as the Online Small Groups director. Mike was a vital part of Christ Fellowship's Online Strategy of Groups and Microchurch movement. The effectiveness of the movement was grounded in a simple-to-say, hard-to-execute philosophy: how can Church Online effectively create disciples for the purpose of multiplication.
Honestly, Mike had a little bit of experience in this area before Church Online. Mike served as a missionary in India for a number of years, and was actually had his passport revoked by the Indian government. While India was trying to squash Mike's ability to disciple people in the country, Online Tools (and the Holy Spirit, of course) have allowed Mike's ministry to expand far beyond anyone would think possible. As a result, churches are being planted and multiplied in India, in Nepal, in Kenya... all because of a man's faithfulness to be obedient to make disciples of all nations utilizing Church Online.
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ON THE SHOW
Guest: Mike Christian
- Four Fields Material
- Patrick's Story
- Timothy Initiative
- Ronald Reagan Quote: There's no limit to the good one can do as long as he doesn't care who gets credit.
- Perspectives Church Course
- Jeff's Book: What Happens When Church Online Grows Up
HELP ANOTHER CHURCH. LEAVE A REVIEW.
Jeff Reed (00:00:00):
All right, we got episode 48 here of the church digital podcast. And I love this episode. I feel like I say that every week, but I really, really, really am excited for you guys to hear this guy. We're bringing Mike Christian to the conversation. I'm willing to bet right now that none of you have heard of of Mike Christian. And that's okay. Mike Christian is really not a non online guy. He's not, doesn't really float around those circles. What he is is a missionary. The first time I met him, an executive pastor introduced them to me as the guy who got kicked out of India for planting too many churches. And I gotta tell you I was floored at debt. But what came of of that initial conversation and subsequent conversations became a really good relationship as I sat and learned multiplication as I sat and learned disciple-making misseology in, in context of these international countries.
Jeff Reed (00:00:55):
Now, what's really interesting, and I challenged Mike with this and we're gonna talk about it in the podcast, is a lot of this, this missiology a lot of this disciple-making that he was doing internationally. What if we applied it to church online? What if we looked at church online in that same context where we are out there planting churches, utilizing online technology, utilizing zoom, how would that affect us here locally, domestically, here in America? How would that affect us internationally? How aware could we see the gospel spread in areas that, that we as a church may not be able to get to physically? It's this really scary, fascinating conversation as we're seeing the pieces start to come together. Mike even references a book that I had written called what happens when church online grows up? And I gotta tell ya. I love it. And so I'm actually as, as part of that, it's going to be in the show notes where we're going to give it away for free because there's so much good content in this podcast, in this book that this is the podcast that can change the way your church utilize this church online.
Jeff Reed (00:02:02):
You are going to reach a whole other set of people if you just start to listen to this and apply some of these disciple-making processes to your church online. This is awesome. He literally talking about how discipling somebody on another continent and how that's affecting hundreds of churches as a result of being obedient. Just to train one dude, this is a crazy conversation to that in a bring it in. Raid the RMS currently online pastor at Christ fellowship Miami. I'm bringing in Mike Christian who is currently lives in Naples, but he is the former online groups director for Christ fellowship, Miami and myself, Jeff with the church digital and a conversation that I am calling the global missiological impact for church online. Everybody, here you go.
Mike Christian (00:02:53):
I originally went over for the purpose of disciple-making. My purpose was to come alongside the church planting movements and to work on the church planting movement health. Basically, the God was blessing the church planting movements. They were growing. There was a recognized need to disciple the new believers in the church leaders. But shortly after I arrived the person who was working basically at the strategic level of strategy coordinator for two of the church planting movements had to leave the field. There was a medical situation with a family member. He could no longer remain in India and had to depart. So I, I stepped into the role of also being a strategy coordinator for the church planting movements, the multiplication of churches, which was absolutely outstanding to be able to work on both the church planting side, the laying the foundations, but also the side of the disciple-making and developing and mentoring and disciple-making in that area as well.
Mike Christian (00:04:02):
So in terms of the church planting side, the multiplication side we were generally going and utilizing a process known as the four fields church kind of thing. And essentially it was going into an empty field, choosing an empty field which in India there were nerous empty fields. It's one of the areas where there are the most unreached people groups unengaged, unreached people groups as well. There were many, many fields available and the need was great. So the first was to enter that empty field. That was a very much a GoTo type process rather than an invite to come and see. Very few would come and see in that Hindu culture. Persecution was rampant. People who would become involved in a Christian organization, a Christian Church or be baptized, would often suffer family Austra's, ostracization or persecution. So it was very much a go rather than a, an invitation to come.
Mike Christian (00:05:05):
Also, there just aren't very many church buildings, buildings like a church with a cross or a steeple or anything like that. They're just not many of them. So the other thing that was very important is it was important to find a person of peace, somebody who is a recognized leader, an influencer, and to then develop relationships. It was very much relationship relational. I almost called it the chai tea ministry because in the culture, Asian culture, hospitality is vitally important when guests come over. They want to show hospitality and usually that means serving chai tea, which is a team with Buffalo milk. Very sweet. I did not like it at all, but I drank an awful lot of it because it was about building relationships. Sure. And so we worked on building relationships and finding that person of peace. Often when a person of peace, a leader in a, in an extended family, many, many times people live usually with extended family.
Mike Christian (00:06:04):
When that person would come to accept Christ soon after that, the whole family would, and that was the ideal situation. Certainly there were many occasions where it would be a person, especially a person that would be in the late teens, early twenties, who would come, but we'd then be persecuted, ostracized abandoned by the family, thrown out of the home. Those things would happen. But in an ideal situation, you'd find a family leader, the family leader, you'd develop a relationship. And then that person, in fact, we had two of those who were just phenomenal. One of my early experiences was meeting with really a real life. Paul. We had driven up into the mountains late at night. It got dark, the roads were crbling and windy. And we got to where we were getting close and they were turning off the lights on the vehicle.
Mike Christian (00:06:51):
And finally they pulled over and we pulled over to this spot in the dark and there were two people in the dark waiting on us. And I was getting a little concerned about what was going on. It was one of my early experiences. It was me and one other person from the U S and then a, a person who was with us, a national partner. And then we walked. And what fortunately was a bright moonlit night and we walked and walked and it turned out while we were walking, while I didn't realize it at the time, it was along the these mountain, there were these rice fields where they had sorta edged out the mountain to make it level. But there were these drop-offs it's certain places where they had built it into the mountain and then level of for rice. And then so we're walking along these places where they build up the rice fields and we finally come into this place where just recently a person a patriarch, a man who was sort of probably in his late forties who was seen as the patriarchy of this extended family and sort of a elder in this community.
Mike Christian (00:07:51):
I say community, very small community up in a rural area in the mountains had just recently become a believer. And it, the interesting thing about him is not long before that he had actually murdered a person for being a Christian. But then he became a believer and after becoming a believer, he was bringing not only his extended family but his community. So we were invited in there to do disciple-making and it was a phenomenal experience. We had another experience where a person of a similar age in Nepal living in what's called the railroad area had been a witch doctor. He became a believer. And when he did, he actually brought along his whole family and then we went out to do disciple-making and I'd been to his home a nber of times to disciple-making and then had to leave the country of India.
Mike Christian (00:08:42):
But after that sometime past, and I went back to Nepal cause I could still go back into Nepal and went back to Nepal to visit him. And he had built in addition to his house where he was hosting church. So that's an ideal situation for entering a field is to find the person of peace but find an empty field. The next thing was to go in and to seed that field. We'd need to go in and first make opportunities to where we could see it developing relationships in whatever way that took. But then once we had a relationship, it was all about telling my story and telling God's story. I mean it was all about giving our own testimony and then giving a gospel presentation not only because of the, the cultural, the language barriers and those types of things. It, it's very important to keep it simple, not only for getting our point across, getting a competent comprehension, but everything we did was with an eye towards multiplication.
Mike Christian (00:09:36):
We weren't just wanting to share the gospel, we were wanting to share it and then have them share it and then have the people they share it with, share it. And that was in the thought of everything we did. So we would often use the simple Romans road type presentation with pictures. Pictures were a big help. So we would often use that to seed the field. And then after that when somebody would become a believer, we would often do a discipleship, a disciple making. A great example of this was one time I actually went up to a church in Ben Kabe, which is a beautiful area in Northeastern India and what I would call their, their West Virginia. It was in this beautiful status that came a very unique area where you've got Nepal to the West China, to the North Butan to the East, and just beautiful. Anyways, we went high in the mountains and I was just there to do disciple-making and I was at, I'm actually a structure that was used as a church.
Mike Christian (00:10:29):
We were doing our first night of disciple-making and in an elderly, an elderly man showed up to the disciple-making course. We were teaching from the book of Exodus. We were teaching about God setting his people free. It was the perfect, it turned out to be the perfect lesson for a people that had grown up in a workspace religion all their lives and felt like they'd been in slavery. But this wasn't supposed to be for nonbelievers. This was for, was it cycle making course? Well, it turned out this old gentleman came up, he, he interrupted the training. He said, you know, I, I saw all these people walking up the mountain tonight and I didn't know what was going on. So I just got off my porch and followed him up the mountain and turned out his name is IDB or he's 72 years old.
Mike Christian (00:11:20):
He's a not, he's not a believer, but he says, you know what, I heard this about God set people free and have one day. He says, I've wanted that for decades. And so we obviously stopped the training and we started telling you about the gospel. The local, a local pastor from up there in the, they call it the Hills, it's mountains started sharing with him in this it bear becomes a believer right there that night and the training. And when he gets up from praying, he's just radiant, just glowing. He's amazing. He's just filled with joy. And then in less than a week, he had gone and led his wife and other children to become believers and brought them to the disciple disciple-making courses. It was just fabulous. We see that the disciple making is important. But the disciple-making, it always had to be replicable.
Mike Christian (00:12:14):
It always had to be within an idea towards multiplication. We also found that when it came to disciple-making, we needed to make it to where it was very relevant to the people who were hearing it. So for example, it's an oral culture. Not only many of the people are illiterate, but even those who read, they liked stories. That's how they pass down traditions. That's how they do lessons. And there were many advantages of that, but we did oral culture. They learn by telling stories. So we would use Bible stories to sort of do a new Testament and an old Testament survey when we were teaching them to understand the Bible, to be able to see a passage and understand it for themselves. Often in addition to having the Bible, we would also read it. We would always want to make it verbally available as well.
Mike Christian (00:13:02):
So very, very much in alignment with what would work there. The thing that was amazing though, since we wanted it to multiply, and since they didn't have it in writing, that meant they were memorizing it. So that meant I would have to be a good example of memorize it. So I would spend a couple of weeks memorizing the stories that we were going to teach them and they would learn it in about a two hour time frame where we'd use these seven steps, what I had taken several weeks to memorize. They would memorize it very quickly. So there were definitely advantages of the oral culture.
Jeff Reed (00:13:36):
Yeah. T tell me this because, and I love, I love where this is going. How many, how many churches multiplied out? I know like your, and the definition of church by the way in context like these are house churches, you know, here in the Western we maybe would call them micro locations underground. Like describe the church for me and maybe what that physically kind of looked like.
Mike Christian (00:13:59):
Sure. In India. Sure. Okay. So there were some places that actually had a building that was called church, small building, often made out of bamboo, often on the side of a mountain. And so there that there were places that actually there was a building in which they could gather and they could have worship services. They could have this disciple, a discipleship training, they could do those type things. But that was the exception. Most of the multiplying churches would meet in a somebody's home or often, for example, if we were working with the [inaudible] people group, that's the untouchable people group that work in the tea fields. A church would be in the tea field or sometimes church would be under a tree in the shade. Sometimes church would be just in an outside by the field. Church definitely was not defined as a building or a place church was a gathering of followers of Jesus.
Mike Christian (00:15:01):
Church was a gathering of people who would come together unified by their love of Jesus Christ and their desire to follow Jesus Christ and to worship Jesus Christ and, and to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ, whatever that gathering wood would be probably in terms of the most of them. It was meeting in a home or living room or something like that. And that was the most common location, but certainly not the only, the only model. Now these churches would get together and for the most part they would perform in a, in a, in a gathering the functions of, of a church. And that was taught early on that what the core functions were. So they would, you know, they would engage in praise and worship and, and especially some people groups the Nepali people group and some of the people groups in India, they loved music and in an oral culture, in a culture where those types of things are valuable, it was essential.
Mike Christian (00:16:00):
Yeah. Disciple-making and being culturally, culturally relevant, very important. But yeah, worship, praise, important fellowship again, in that culture, relationships are so important. I'm very task oriented. I come from a military background to do lists, tasks, time oriented. In that culture it's relationship oriented. Probably one of my most difficult things. They did well at the disciple-making function, the teaching function. There was always teaching relevant teaching, but they were very good at keeping their teaching simple but also practical and requiring accountability. So when they would teach, they would actually basically very much like from James, not to be just hearers, but doers the word. They would give assignments. So they would say, okay, today we taught you how to go and give your own testimony. We told you how to share the three parts of my story. So you're to go and do that with at least five people this week.
Mike Christian (00:17:00):
And the next week they would ask them, tell me about who you shared with and how'd it go. And there'd be some accountability. So they did the teaching. They did that very well. It was enjoyable ministry. They, they were starting to get that it was coming along. Of course they would do ministry to people in their community ministry to people in their church. They would certainly go out and pray in the homes, in that culture. They don't just say, I will pray for you. They stop and they pray right away, right then on the spot. So they don't say, I will do it. It's not a future type verb. It is, let's pray right now. And they do that. They were very good about that comforting those who are sick making meals, those types of things. About the time, shortly before I left, they were also starting to do ministry outside of their own state, outside of their areas in that type of thing, especially disaster relief oriented ministry, that type of thing.
Mike Christian (00:17:52):
And so it was becoming not just a ministry to people in the church and believers but to ministry, to people outside which went well with the other function of evangelism because they were taught to share the gospel and then there was accountability for going and doing that and they were generally obedient to that. But again, five functions of church as a general rule, they were engaging in the five functions at church, but obviously on a smaller scale, if these were house churches, they would be somewhere from seven to 15 people in there maybe. And another reason too is if they became 15 people, they were often encouraged to multiply and not just keep expanding but to multiply also because if it became me, he helped me with this cause I'm really curious the word multiply and I want to unpack this. How, what, what is the literal process of a house church in India and how, how it multiplies.
Mike Christian (00:18:46):
Explain. Okay, what happens, there may be one of the higher level church planners who will at least in the early start be attending and participating and training the, the leader or shepherd of that church and helping and very soon another person will also be encouraged to be developing in that church, developing under that leader. So there's multiple levels of leadership multiplication going on to where the original church planter is training and equipping somebody. But then that person is also training and equipping somebody very soon. And some of this is just out of necessity, but also it's because of how they're taught from the beginning person who has been groomed. That person who's also being developed reaches a level and is encouraged to, okay, now go and do it. And likewise amongst your, what we'd call the oil, close a bunch of your circle of influence amongst your extended family.
Mike Christian (00:19:43):
Go and do likewise and they'd be given the same level of support. We were always trying to see at least fourth generational growth so that there were fourth generation church plants and that was usually a sign, an indication that of health that it's working, that the DNA is going well. But even with that, it was often the church planter would still check for health, several several levels down. They could make sure that there was not false teaching creeping in to make sure that the multiplication ideology, the multiplication mindset was continuing. It was it was relational just like everything else. And it was developing just like everything else. It was generally the things that the, you know, business schools teach. It was just on a simple scale of where you develop somebody. And first you will show them and then you will do it in conjunction with them.
Mike Christian (00:20:42):
And then they will do it with you watching and then so forth and so on. It was also kept with an emphasis on the Bible. Everything had to be based on the Bible to prevent false teaching from coming in. So it was very important to, it had to be the teaching the disciple-making it had to be in the Bible. And can you show us that in the Bible and, and, and that was why the, you know, we had two levels of the swab. We're on that disciple-making level. We usually had two levels of disciple-making and actually sometimes there was even more, but two main levels. The initial the orientation and the milk level or the new believer level. And then we'd have sort of the more advanced for the meet level, usually right from the start early on in the milk level, they were given a very simple hermeneutic tool to be able to find out from the Bible, what does the Bible say?
Mike Christian (00:21:39):
And if they couldn't read the Bible, then they would often get it by hearing, either by an audio tape or by somebody who could read it to them. And then they were given a hermeneutic tool to utilize so that they could understand that so that they could S could examine that and make sure that they were examining that and making sure everything in the teaching, making sure everything in the speaking and the message was based on the Bible. So that was very important to is part of the disciple-making is the hermeneutic tool the ability to be able to look into the word of God and use that, use that rather than han teaching as the basis of what, what is it that is true? What is it that we should believe?
Jeff Reed (00:22:24):
Yup. And so Mike, the first time I met you, and this is maybe 2015, I'm like, I remember I was introduced to you as, yeah, this is the guy that got kicked out of India. And evidently like, I, I'm like, what? And he's like, yeah, they, they removed this, his passport. He's no longer allowed in the, in the country. I mean, tell us, like, tell us a little bit of the circstances around that. Like as I'm recalling, you were literally kicked out of the country for multiplying to many of these churches for, for creating, like what, what, what's, what happened to,
Mike Christian (00:22:56):
Right, right. So before I went to India, I got a passport of in a vase up and my visa for India was for 10 years. So it was a multiple entry 10 year visa. After I arrived there there was a change in administration, a party known as the RSS party came into power. There is, this party would like is is basically a Hindu nationalist party. They would like India to be something like a Hindu stay in a land of the Hindus. For Hindus. There were certainly some institutional requirements that came in. There were certainly some rules implemented that had to do with the rules against evangelizing rules against conversion. Some States were more hard line on that than other States. One state in particular where we had some church planting going on. We had a church planter who regularly going down there and he was saying that Christians were not being allowed to continue to be in a government subsidized housing, which in that area was important or to be in public schools.
Mike Christian (00:23:56):
There were there was a church planner who from that area, from that state who also reported that he had seen banners and signs where they had put out their goals and they had 20, 20 goal to be a Christian free 0% Christian by 2020. So things like that. There were some States where it was just not receptive, not open, certainly to hearing the gospel and where it was more likely that people would be persecuted. There were certainly those types of things going on. People sometimes who would come to a training or would go to a Christian event at the house might be persecuted. For example, one place I was teaching a three day Bible course. Most of them at that course, there were a few who were older but a large nber were just high school age. And so a bunch of the high school students had gone to a Christian meeting you know, at home in the evening, they came back to the teaching.
Mike Christian (00:24:51):
The third day there was on the second day of the teaching and the evening that they went out, they came back to our teaching on the third day and they'd been beaten that previous night by a mile. And they said, yeah, they'd been beaten by a mob. And it was found out after that. It was actually their parents would organize the mob, did not want them going to this gathering. And all of them, every one of them came back to the teaching the next day and said, well, we want to keep hearing about Jesus. So we regularly encountered that. We ha, as I said, we were very practical in our teaching. We would do disciple making tamps entire camps, but we'd send them out. Pastor Jorge that I know you both know was a speaker by Skype at one of those camps and he spoke on evangelism and the great commission going out and sharing and five of the young men who were at that camp when it came time for their time to be you out on their practical and to go out and share, they crossed the board, the state border into another state to state one of the States that's not very receptive.
Mike Christian (00:25:49):
And all five of them got beat pretty badly. Came back with bruises to the camp for going out and doing that. So it was, we would see that a lot. I began to have more and more questioning when I, when I'd have to travel, if I'd have to go through a major airport, if I'd have to travel, if I'd have to go out of the country, it would take longer and longer. We also had other missionaries over there who had been there for long periods of time, but their visas were no longer being continued when they were coming up. People, we had actually quite a few living in India in the same area at this time. I mean today none of them are living in that area of India and only one is of them. And there was still, there is still an India now.
Mike Christian (00:26:29):
So people were having difficulties with their, their visas getting renewed visas. Much of my work was up in remote areas up in the, in the mountains, they call it the Hills, but way out in remote remote areas in the mountains. But I had a area that was in what was called a second tier city, a fairly larger area. It was in a apartment complex a very large apartment building. You know, we would have gatherings there and we would sing worship songs and we would pray. And so I would make most secret of it. I hadn't, you know, I would have, there would be Bibles in my apartment and certainly the landlord would come by. My next door neighbor. Interestingly he was, he was a Hindu and he would worship, he would post his idol on a wall and he would hang it up there on the wall and then worship it and he'd have his door open and you'd hear him worship being over there.
Mike Christian (00:27:16):
One time I went over to Thailand for a missions conference. So I had to leave the country. I flew out of Thailand. I flew out to Thailand, went to the missions conference. I was coming back to the second tier of Syria city where I was based and had flown into the airport along with other Western missionaries who had been to the conference. When I came back, they detained me at the at customs there. It's kind of interesting cause at that same airport I had been stopped on the way out and they held me for quite a while and, but then let me go just in time, I barely made it on that plane to Thailand. Going out. So then when I came back in, I thought, okay, it's gonna just be the same thing. But then they kept bringing in more and more senior people into interrogation.
Mike Christian (00:28:02):
So it started getting pretty crowded in this, in this room with more and more people coming into interrogate during the interrogation. They were very strict. And they were very firm. They seem to know what they wanted. And, but they were not, they were not wanting to share any information at all. And so the interrogation went on for quite a while, and then they decided that they were going to hold me overnight. I was left in the room with one of the interrogation officials and he, they were always looking at their computer screen and information, and he shared with me that they'd been looking for me. This was in July, so this was in middle of July. And he shared with me that they'd been actually looking for me since may a couple months earlier. And, but he wouldn't share why he wouldn't reveal information.
Mike Christian (00:28:55):
And so I was kinda surprised that he actually shared that with me, that they'd actually been, had me on their radar and had been looking for me for that for that long. Yeah. Finally, after holding me overnight, they said, okay, we are canceling your visa. You are banned from the country for life and you're required to sign this statement acknowledging that you're banned and that you will not return to the country. Then they said since I'd come in from Thailand, I had to go back to Thailand. It was a process. I was not allowed to go back and get my belongings. I was not allowed to go back to my apartment. So I had to basically leave with what I had with me flew. I flew back out to Thailand and it just happened that one of my mentors in missions a person that who's placed, I took as a church planter in the country as I had mentioned, when he had to leave for a medical reason for his family, he was in Thailand and he said, you know, I always told the people who were working in India, if they ever got thrown out of the country, I was going to buy him a meal.
Mike Christian (00:29:56):
So let me buy you a meal here in the airport. He took me out to eat the airport. So I flew to Spain and then I got a flight, the cutter and then back to the U S
Jeff Reed (00:30:07):
So did they ever give you like clarity of the reason why or
Mike Christian (00:30:13):
They did not give me much explanation at all. They were obviously wanting to put on a very strong front, a very forceful front and come off as you know, in this interrogation mode, the mode where they wanted to pretty much intimidate it. Obviously it was one of the times I often would have to conceal, you know, a Bible when I traveled, traveled with the Bible. And it was always interesting that that's what they would find in my backpack is the Bible, no matter how well you hit it. And that's what they would be most interested in was a Bible in the backpack. You know, it was always one of those challenges. You wanted to carry the word with you, but it was also one of those things they could get you into challenges.
Jeff Reed (00:30:52):
I, I can remember you mentioned to Jorge, Jorge Molina, who's with Mariner's church and we've had Mariners on the podcast here a couple of times now. And I, I literally, I can remember driving through coral Gables with Jorge and we're driving from point a to point B and we're trying to figure out like who to bring on to be like a, an online groups director for Christ fellowship when I was the online pastor there. And just, you know, we're throwing out names of different people and I'd suggest somebody, it'd be like, no, I'm not. I'm not feeling that. And he'd throw out somebody and and I'd be like, no. And so we're just really having this conversation and I, I, it's clear as day. I can remember the stoplight I was stuck at [inaudible] when Mike, when when Jorge's like what about Mike Christian? And I literally turned to him, I started yelling at Jorge, are you telling me you think we could get Mike Christian to be an online groups director at Christ fellowship? Why have you not opened up with that name first? Why have you made me wait this long to have this conversation?
Mike Christian (00:31:55):
It's fascinating how everything, you know, sometimes you've got an incident, you can't just call it a coincidence. It's a God incidence that now I do because of what I learned through working with you with online, I'm able to do the same type of work with people in India all online and it's been phenomenal. So I'm still able to keep in touch and work with and disciple the people in India and Nepal and now adding Kenya to that. And it's been amazing how effective it's been. There are many people groups in India and they have many different languages and when people group is called the Raj bots, shortly before they got the Bible in their language, they just recently got the new Testament in their language. Raj Bazzi, people in a community in Northeastern India had tried to form a church in their community and not been able to, the community just wouldn't tolerate it in a home or a building or anything.
Mike Christian (00:32:54):
So here's this group of people they want to be followers of Jesus, but they need discipleship. They need to hear and be taught the word of God. There's a young man there who's brilliant, he's smart, he's in his early twenties who speaks very good English. He also speaks Raj Bansi. And so he approaches me about doing some disciple making with this group of young people who are of the Raj Bazzi people group. And of course I'm excited, I'm thrilled. And it turns out most of them are women. So my wife gets involved in disciple-making as well. Friday evenings our time actually Friday night and which was early Saturday mornings, they're kind of about six in the morning. We would do the disciple making course. We would teach basic things like just start with salvation, the basics of salvation, the foundation, salvation. And then we would teach them about a testimony and how to give a testimony and my story.
Mike Christian (00:33:52):
And then we teach about God's story and how to present God's story and to share the gospel with others. We teach them about prayer, the importance of prayer, communication, relationship with God. We would teach them about devotional time, quiet time about developing that relationship. It's important to have with God. We would teach them some about what is church so that they would understand church, its importance, what is it, what does it do? And of course we teach them about the essence of God, the heavenly father, his characteristics, his love. Finally, we would teach the a hermeneutic tool. He, the translator was using a Bible in Hindi and he would translate it into Raj bouncy for him. So we, you know, these basic teachings cause they were still very much on milk but it was, it was phenomenal how well that went.
Mike Christian (00:34:42):
Who would have ever believed that not only it could be done digitally but also cross-culturally and across pretty much halfway around the world. We actually were able to even do some of the practical things. So whenever we would teach something like the my story, you have my story, well everyone on that side would give me, given each individual an opportunity to stand up and do my story in front of the group. If we were doing the Romans road gospel presentation, every person would be given an opportunity to stand up and practice presenting that and drawing the picture that goes with it. And they would stand up and present it to the group and it would be on the video and they would have their drawing and they would hold it, their drawing. So we were able to, you know, do that and give feedback. It also, you know, there were times of prayer, there were times of fellowship, there were times of worship and all of that.
Mike Christian (00:35:33):
But most importantly, it was disciple-making and it was just phenomenal how well that worked and how well it met a need for that Raj bouncy people group at that particular time when they did not yet have even the new Testament and their own language and did not have a church. But yeah, it was just just phenomenal. And again, it was that perfect blend of what had happened in India and what had happened with you online coming together. But another great story too is, and this goes to the not only the, this goes to the multiplication side. When I went there I said, you know, I really went there to do disciple-making objective, original plan. The original request was to try to teach this course six which was a consistent of six courses with 30 Bible stories and to do so to six different locations. Now each time I went to tell a story, it would take maybe three or four days and the location.
Mike Christian (00:36:24):
So what we would try to do is get to the six different locations, maybe every other month. So as we began to do this, it was going well. The people who were receiving the disciple-making training were loving it is we reflected at the end of, about a little over a year, we saw, okay, well we've now reached six or seven churches. Okay, it was great for those six or seven churches and they've been well discipled and they're doing great. But you know what? These church planters, we're, we're working with four different church planting movement networks. Each network is starting about three new churches a month. So between the four networks, we're looking at around 2012 new churches a month. So in other words, their growth in a year is significantly greater than what I'm doing here. Disciple-Making so I thought, okay, we've got to apply the same multiplication principle that's being applied in laying the foundation and starting new churches.
Mike Christian (00:37:25):
We've got to apply that same multiplication principle to disciple-making. We've got to multiply disciples who will multiply disciples, who will multiply disciples. Or as one person coined the phrase, we've got to do this. Catalytically so I totally shifted my focus and it was a difficult, I gotta say it was a difficult thing to do. And this is all about pride. Ego in me is a cause. I love going to the churches and teaching. I love being the ones speaking and I love that they were loving it. So it was very difficult for me to hand that off to give that away and to not be the one standing up front being the center of attention. So, but what I had to be done. So we started out with a group of 12 from each of two church planting movement networks. So each network was sort of picking their people who seemed called you had the character.
Mike Christian (00:38:18):
And so what I did is I worked and spent my time instead of going to churches and teaching myself to teaching these 12 to teach and then 12 others, 12 times two for the two for two networks and teaching them to teach again, working with them in the same type of model where they would observe me. Then I would work together with them. I would observe them, I would then go and see. It didn't take long before they were reaching more churches than I had, but then they had developed more teachers than I had. And that was key. That not only were reaching more churches, they were multiplying teachers faster than I was. And so by the time I had left they had made far more teachers than I had and they had also reached far more churches. The most significant example occurred in the state that's hard to reach.
Mike Christian (00:39:11):
I was asked to go there and instead of going like three or four days a month, every month or every other month, I was asked to just come in and do a month straight. He was, much of the teaching is going to be covered. It was amazing. It was in September in a dry season. It was over a hundred degrees, no air conditioning. And usually the electricity could fail in the heat ceiling. Fans would go off, but 41 people packed the end of this place for about 30 days and received the training. And you know, it was, they loved it. And that was early on. I, that was my first year there. I arrived in July, this is in September. I hadn't been there long and at the end of it you know, we gave them a certificate presentation, which they couldn't read.
Mike Christian (00:39:57):
And in the picture, many of them were holding it up upside down, but they just loved it. We got great teaching and I'm thinking, wow, how 41 people have been taught. But this was a different church planting movement network that had been planting many churches and that doesn't even, it didn't even come close to keeping up with them. So I was asked to just at the end, got to change the mindset, got to do it. Catalytically teach other people to teach. And they had five people. They'd been to the original training, they had some more information, just equip them, train them to teach. So that's what I did. And it was not long after that I got kicked out of the country and I still kept in touch with them. 16 months later after they'd finished their training, after I'd been kicked out of the country, they lost track of how many altogether it was. But their estimate was that somewhere around 10,000 people had been taught. So me 41 multiplication ten thousand ten thousand. Yeah. So that's unbelievable. It was phenomenal. I was, I was just blown away when I heard that. I thought, well, you know what? I can't feel too bad about getting thrown out of the country. They just needed me to get out of the way. Get out. I'm like, you know, I was holding them back.
Jeff Reed (00:41:17):
So like, you shifted to this church online role and you know, crazy Jeff, which is totally a thing. I admit I'm nuts. I'm like, Hey, whatever you did in India, we need to figure out how to like package this down. Multiplication groups, micro locations. We got to really experiment with a lot of that in context of Christ fellowship, Miami, their church online. How we, we we kind of approached it. What I'd love to hear from you is, so we've talked about multiplication. We've talked about some of these crazy stories that are happening on the other side of the planet and in a completely separate culture. What were some of the challenges? What were the, some of the lessons as you tried to move that multiplication micro location movement? It's kind of like all goes together. That's cool. I'll have to remember that later. That movement that worked in India and, and apply it to like a virtual digital space. What'd you learn
Mike Christian (00:42:13):
In the virtual digital space? People are more willing to participate and maybe that's because many people are shy or they're more introverted, but they're not that way always in a virtual digital space. So I found the level of participation, the willingness to engage, the willingness to share, to be terrific. You know, you might go to give a presentation somewhere or a message somewhere and only be a few people, a small percentage who will actually dare to engage, to talk, to, to share. But online it was pretty close to 100% were willing to share, to participate. That was really exciting to see. Another thing that I, I wasn't ready for, I didn't expect but was pleasantly surprised by in the digital environment was the willingness of people to get personal, to get intimate. And I was surprised how close people people could become, who had never met physically, personally.
Mike Christian (00:43:19):
So we would have small groups, the same group get together, whether it was a discipleship type group where we were doing a teaching or it was just a small group. It was regular getting together and very quickly formed bonds. Very quickly start to share things that were very personal and intimate. People would talk about their sins, people would talk about their failures and stblings people would talk about their temptations. I think for the most part, people were sharing things that they probably were not sharing with their physical group or their physical church or their neighbors. But for some reason there was something about being geographically separated or something and something, I'm still something, I'm still trying to answer why it is, but I observed time and time again that it is. Another thing I found too, and this is kind of interesting is when we would have these groups and of course the group itself would maybe officially meet by video call once a week and that was great and those were close.
Mike Christian (00:44:16):
But I also saw that when we also established something like a WhatsApp group that would go in conjunction with the online virtual group meeting, closeness developed, even bonds were developed even more. And here, here's what got surprising is people who would have prayer requests or needs would reach out via WhatsApp midweek so that you know that they were reaching out to their digital group instead of waiting until they went to a church or their physical group on the weekend. And so as you know, some of those groups developed four years ago and their WhatsApp groups are still active and still in fact daily messages going back and forth. I'm still on the sea on the WhatsApp groups and they're still communicating. I found that that was good too, was to not just have one medi and to not just have it be at one official time because you know, as you hear, life happens.
Mike Christian (00:45:18):
And so for example, one group had two students, one was working on his J D one working on his PhD smart guys, but it was amazing how many times midweek they would be stressed and reached out or they'd have a prayer request related to you know, needing to needing prayers for this test and where would they reach out to their WhatsApp group? Their online group or we'd have people who were struggling with things. A person who'd been in prison probably wasn't sharing that with the local community, but was sharing that with the online group and the temptations and the stresses and things going on across the different state. So it was always phenomenal to me about the, none of the participation, but the intimacy, the bonds that could be developed. And of course, it's there all the time. I also have been pleasantly surprised.
Mike Christian (00:46:05):
I gave some examples of this from what we're doing on indeed. We've done within the online is just how much information can be shared and developed and learned online. Another thing too that I found online, whether it's small group or church, it's important that the online, wherever you want to call it, group, community, whatever your word is, it needs to do more than just one function. Patrick is an amazing example of that. I've never met him in person, but very close with him. Patrick is a church planter and church leader in Kenya. Kenya. Patrick started a church in his home. He lives in the sl area of a major city. He was a paramedic by training. He started a church in his home and it grew, grew pretty quickly to where it could not be contained within his home. They couldn't meet his home, so they started looking for other space where things space Hettrick realized he wanted some support, some discipleship type training, some guidance, some assistance.
Mike Christian (00:47:09):
And so he reached out through an online program through Christ fellowship online. He got he entered a connection card. What he wanted was not money but training teaching guidance. And so I started working with Patrick. Patrick went through sort of what we would call the orientation course, which was just one session. They went through what we call our meat milk course, our initial for new believer type course, although he was not a new believer. He went through that and then we started into the meat type course and at this point some three and a half going on four years later, Patrick and I still get together once a week. Sunday mornings it's usually early Sunday my time. But then late Sundays, his time, usually we alternate with one week we're doing teaching that he can then use to teach the church or teach Bible study groups there.
Mike Christian (00:48:02):
He will multiply it in the alternate weeks. From that, we are studying a Bible passage associated with that teaching. It's still sitting with the story and we go deeply into the passages using a hermeneutic tool. So sometimes we'll get through maybe six verses in an hour, but he'll come away with a great study of that passage, which will also result in an outline for a message to give his church. It's a sermon outline. So we're doing that as well. We actually now have more than just Patrick participating. There are also people from India who are participating, so we've got people, you know, three different continents, multiple languages, but we're coming together, we're studying the Bible together and these are all church planters, church leaders, and we're really in, these are getting to be very informative because as you know, when you study the Bible alone, there's, there's value in that.
Mike Christian (00:48:58):
But when you study with a group and God gives some revelation, some insight, some wisdom, each person in the group and then you share it, everyone's knowledge expands, everyone's gross. So we have that, but also they're coming at it from the perspective of a person in a major city, in a sl in Africa, and people in remote areas in the mountains, unreached areas in Asia and in North America. And I find that I am learning a great deal every time we get together and do this Bible study every other week when we do the hermeneutic tool. It's amazing how much I learned, even from passages that I've studied and taught in the past. It's always valuable in always I gained new insights and revelations.
Rey De Armas (00:49:43):
Right. Mike, can you talk about how that's making a missional impact on where Patrick is currently? Because a lot of people think this is something that, look, don't get me wrong. I love mission trips and I love that stuff, but this has potential, you know what you've been doing with Patrick, you've been giving him training, you've been doing all this stuff and you're not even set foot in Kenya and now what's resulting in his home country?
Mike Christian (00:50:05):
Patrick is taking that teaching. He is teaching others to do it and to teach it. He's developing people in his church to become church leaders and church planters, but also other members of the congregation. So for example, we are teaching him not only to teach the stories to his church, but to teach those people to teach it as well, to multiply them. We didn't know this was going to happen when we started, but after we started teaching Patrick these courses and this multiplication and four fields, church planting, Patrick was invited to a leadership smit for pastors in Kenya. It was originally expected that 300 would ten five hundred people, 500 pastors in Kenya attended. And Patrick taught what we had been teaching by video there in Kenya to that group of 500. Patrick has also been invited to Uganda. Patrick is now working with some 30 church plants in Uganda and teaching it there.
Mike Christian (00:51:11):
He's asked me, he's asked me if I wanted to go to Uganda when I'm, while I'm there in Africa. I don't know that I'll have time, but I, that would be exciting to get to go over there as well. But he said he's invited me to go see the work that's going on in Uganda as well. Patrick is, he's in a unique position as a paramedic in an area that's a sl area where people don't receive medical treatment. Patrick has a ministry where he ministers through his medical skills to the orphans, eh, there who are living on the streets in this major city. And it gives him an great opportunity to share the gospel, but his church is able to come alongside and to learn and devalue this as well. When we teach, for example, the Romans road method of teaching the gospel, it's always encouraged that Patrick, this isn't just for you and it's not just for your church. It is to go out and tell it to everybody to multiply it to everybody. And Patrick has, has been incredibly obedient doing that. Then yeah, some of the things that have been happening are just a, it's a patient's three 20 exceeding abundantly above all we could ever have imagined some of it. So yeah, I'm looking very much forward to actually in April seeing it, but so far as, as as has been mentioned, I've never personally and you know, shaking hands type of meeting that Patrick, but we continue to get together.
Jeff Reed (00:52:32):
What an incredible story of, I mean, listen, I was the one who first got the the card and, and, and as, as I've mentioned before, like I thought it was spam. I mean, like you get into like the email from the Prince in South Africa who needs two point $4 billion. But if you give him 100,000, he can unleash the whatever and then you can, he'll pay you back plus. And so I'm literally, I'm looking at this card via email, come in and, and I, I can distinctly remember my, the cursor is on the spam button in the web browser because cause I'm like, I want to see how much this guy wants from me. And once I can read how much this guy wants, I'm going to laugh at it. And then I'll Mark it as spam. And so I'm reading this email from this guy, Patrick and Kenya, and I'm like, there's no amount here.
Jeff Reed (00:53:21):
He's not asking for East, literally not asking for money. He's to be discipled and and to see, okay, let's, let's see what happens. And just being obedient with that, that one relationship that's gone, what, three to four years at this point if not longer, Mike, man, it's, it's, it's powerful to see how God has used that. And, and honestly, part of me is like, man, this would be inspirational for others. How many others of us are out there that, that, that how many of our church online to have something like that where we're, we're engaging with somebody from the outside who, who wants discipleship, who wants to training, who wants to be empowered on personal mission and, and you know, thank God that, that, that you were able to do that for, for, for Patrick. But how many others have, have we missed in the process of that?
Mike Christian (00:54:11):
I think that's a really important point. It actually essential in that there are nerous others and the need is, is, is even greater than, than what we're reaching. What is needed is not some great expertise is just willingness. This whole, whatever it is, the three and a half to four years, it really, the cost has been zero. It's been time, but it's, it's paid back in terms of my learning and growth and the spiritual blessings. It's paid back great dividends, but there hasn't been any expense to the church at all. Really. It doesn't cost a thing and it's phenomenal. The results and what's being achieved. The growth. And Patrick has just been amazing. He's gone from, from the initial course to where he's now teaching, not only teaching that course, but teaching others to teach it. And when I get together with him and we studied the Bible, he's developed phenomenal biblical knowledge and it's amazing how the Holy spirit is working in, within him, giving him insights and wisdom and as we study the Bible and look for and study different passages, his insight into those passages and what the Bible is revealing and how it can be used and applied is just phenomenal.
Mike Christian (00:55:29):
He is an inspiration. That was a good word that you used
Jeff Reed (00:55:31):
And I'm excited to hear. And we were talking about off air a little bit, like even Christ fellowship. Miami's considering licensing Patrick and, and working through some things. So excited to see, you know, even just the, the church recognizing, Hey, there's a, there's ministry that's happening online through this. Honestly, the story of Patrick makes me and, and I don't know that I want to dive down this well cause I think it's another conversation, but like some of this stuff's making me even re-imagine what, what global missions looks like, you know? And so yes, it's incredibly awesome to, to go over there and have, have the resources. But Mike via zoom, you've had such an impact on that region through Patrick and just through a one-on-one discipleship conversation that,
Mike Christian (00:56:17):
And in India, WhatsApp, they love to use WhatsApp. I still continue to keep in touch with a nber of the church planters as well as the church leaders over there. So they continue to send me pictures, video, prayer requests, praise reports and just communications from there as well. In Nepal there's a pastor in Nepal actually a pastor in Nepal and a church planner in Nepal who are doing very well and they communicate via WhatsApp. They enjoy that and it works well for them.
Jeff Reed (00:56:47):
Well, we're going to include the, I've got some photos. We actually, I wrote a blog about Patrick I don't know, maybe a year or so ago. But we'll link to it in the show notes. You can just see a picture of his church.
Rey De Armas (00:56:57):
It's so funny because Mike, you nailed it on the head. We put so much emphasis on asking questions like, well, what if and how do we do acts? And really the answers are right in front of us in terms of the digital tools that God's given us. You know, when you were there in India, you spent so much time invested in people and you did such a great job of having a multiplying movement. You know, Jeff's quoted Ronald Reagan before in saying there's no limit to what man can do what the full quote Jeff, if he doesn't care who gets the credit
Jeff Reed (00:57:25):
There, there is no limit to the good woman can do as long as he doesn't care who gets credit.
Rey De Armas (00:57:30):
You know, Mike, you've leveraged a lot of this for the sake of church planting. Disciple-Making all of this happening missionally and you've done it in a sexual way that you know, stewardship wise, I wish that more pastors would take the challenge to basically take like a fellow pastor underneath their, their stewardship or you know, their flock or whatever else and just kind of invest in them digitally in this way. Mike, how would you encourage ministers here in the state to leverage some of the technology to possibly pass on grant? Great theology or great training mission.
Mike Christian (00:58:08):
I've been involved with the course perspectives on the world Christian movement and on one of the opening nights they shared a statistic, if I get it wrong, you'll get the concept. And that was that in North America, 90% of those who are trained in ministry are ministering to 7% of the believers in North America. So if you think about that, there are these huge areas of the world, huge areas of the population that are outside of North America craving hungry to somebody to teach them like that Raj bouncy people group an hour a week would mean a great deal to them, especially in route that doesn't yet have the Bible in their language or is prohibited hasn't been able to start a church. It would be extremely valuable to them. It would mean so much to them. It would certainly make them it would be great for their own for disciple-making, for helping them grow in Christ, but also for equipping them.
Mike Christian (00:59:06):
We find that in the, in the Asian culture, they, they're very obedient to the commands of Christ. You know that when it says in the great convention, it doesn't say teach them the commands. This does teach them to obey the commands, to be obedient to the commands. And we do find that they're anxious to obey, to be obedient in that culture. When I think about some of these groups that we're teaching online, here's, here's how much they went to learn. Let's just use that Raj Montse group as an example. They are in a rural area. They, most of those who are attending didn't have the computer themselves. It was during their colder season. They were coming out and gathering at six in the morning, their time, which means they had to walk to get there in a rural area in the dark. There are streetlights communities, so they're probably getting up at somewhere around four 30 walking for several kilometers in the dark, in the cold, and then they're gathering in what appeared to be a shed.
Mike Christian (01:00:03):
In fact, we heard the cows mooing in the background, so we had a, we had cows and chickens and that in the background noises, we could see their breath because it was so cold, but they didn't miss a week. Every week. They were there at six in the morning in the dark huddled together to get this discipleship training to hear and to receive this tech training and they were excited and loved it. Imagine what that, imagine how excited a pastor would get to have a congregation who was willing to walk for an hour in the cold to hear them speak. And then they have no chairs to sit on, no tables, nobody conveniences and no heat. And to sit there in an area where cows are moving and chickens and you can see them walking past it and sometimes on the video screen and they're just excited and anxious to learn and hear that.
Mike Christian (01:00:55):
And it's the same thing with the people that Patrick will bring some people to sh to listen and they'll share with them and they're excited as well. It's the same with the, even the leaders who have been believers for awhile, their desire to receive training that they can pass on, there's received praying that they can multiply is a myths. Jeff, I like that booklet that you had published about the online church growing up and, and there are three questions in there that I think we've covered, but I want to make sure that we do question. One of the questions is, is it possible to share Christ's love with someone online? Well there's Patrick, thank you for the loving, but, but also we saw that time and time again, not just with the groups in Africa and in India, but with the groups that we were doing through teaching a discipleship course online.
Mike Christian (01:01:45):
When we were doing that, which was mainly people in North America, people who had connected to it through online church. The main purpose again was discipleship training. But again, we tried to do those other functions and people turn to that. They became, they bonded. And to the point that long after that discipleship training was completed, the WhatsApp groups are still going, they're still submitting prayer requests. They're still bonding and loving and doing the one another's. So yeah, I'd say the answer to that is a resounding yes. And they can do a lot of the one another's. The second question in your brochure, your book is what about creating biblical community online? I think that I've seen some people develop closer relationships online than they have with their next door neighbors and certainly more willing to share things. And, and, and actually it's kind of a condemning in a way, but it's also shows the power of online that we had people who felt closer to this online person who doesn't even live in the same state than they may from the person three doors down and certainly communicate with them more frequently, share prayer requests with them more frequently.
Mike Christian (01:02:56):
Share their trials, tribulations, their stresses, their stblings more frequently. So I think that word community is right on the Mark. It's definitely, we've seen it happen and continue true discipleship happen virtually seen many examples of that obviously both at the milk level and the meat level, both with initial discipleship with that Raj bouncy group to the point of working with people who are church leaders, church planters, and even to the point of developing sermons where it's almost become a homiletics tool. Even not only sermon prep, but we'll get together with people like before Easter, we always make a point of, Hey, we're going to everyone from the Indian church who's giving a sermon on Easter, let's do it online with us here. Let all of us look at it and give you feedback. Patrick, same thing. Do your sermon online and we'll listen to it and give you feedback. So even that's happening, people who are pastoring churches are valuing it. Yeah, it's, it works well.
Jeff Reed (01:03:56):
Well first off I want to thank you for reading my book. I mean like other than you and my mother, it's a very small list. So Ray Ray shaking. So maybe there's, maybe there's more than okay. All right. You're good. But so thank you for that. But it brings up and, and honestly that, that was a and we'll, we'll include link in the show notes it right now it's five bucks in the website. I've been wanting to give it away for free and change it. So we'll just link to it where you guys can download it for straight cause you know, information is free. Go change the world with it. But that's really is, is a, is a piece of the story of, of kind of how we at Christ fellowship Miami, the questions that we wrestled with in this process of how do we apply discipleship level multiplication strategies.
Jeff Reed (01:04:38):
And I love how you're, you're separating the milk from the meat. Cause that was almost a unspoken within the book and sensing some of the things that we struggled with with during that season of Christ fellowship Miami as we were multiplying and growing and almost learning a while no one else was really, or very few people were doing it, people were asking questions. I believe this. There were tons of people in in those days that asking questions, but leadership wasn't. And in many churches in many facets, they weren't, weren't on board with it yet. It was really a bleeding edge tech. Fast forward, you know, four or five years later there's a lot more churches that are doing micro site. There's a lot more churches that are even doing you know, a global strategy in context of that. Some of the things that we're wrestling with right here, man.
Jeff Reed (01:05:25):
I think this changes the way that churches look at global. You know, we see Christ fellowship starting to do global campuses. You know, West side family Jason Morrison who will be on a podcast later. We actually had to rerecord, did like prerecorded podcast with them super early because he's going to be in Africa as well working with partner churches and things because they are a through West side family has this same thing where they're starting to mentor and develop and disciple and train natives on how to do a micro church movement over there. Some of the systems that they're using here, they're implementing their overseas and that's not like white man coming to save the day. Cause I don't want to be the guy that says that I truly, from a misseology standpoint, I don't believe that. But I think that we can train others to train. And so the more that we can empower either people in our own, use our people on the other side of the planet on how to utilize and spread the gospel, utilizing some of these online tools, I think the better the world is going to be for the cause of Christ.
Mike Christian (01:06:23):
We shouldn't be thinking of it as an either or situation online or physical. It's not an either or. And it in no two may be the same whether you want to call it blended or mixed or anything. But the important point is you don't even make these barriers. And this was something that I didn't know at first when I started online. You know, I was in this either or we're online, we just do online. It didn't turn out that way. It turned out to be into evolve and to grow in its own way almost organically, which is important. So for example, there's that church that was started through online, but then in New York, interestingly, that wasn't just online. So for example, when we were doing some of the discipleship, we may have myself online, I wasn't in New York and we may have one or two others online, but the vast majority of people were getting together physically and watching and doing the training together physically that we were presenting on why, but they were together in a group and sometimes they'd get the entire rest of the people who were going to receive the training were going to participate together in a group together in one person's house.
Mike Christian (01:07:28):
So we had some online myself online and everybody else not, or they'd have a mixture. I work with a church planter who is in sort of North central India. I will teach him something, he will practice it and then he'll go out and do it that week or the next week or teach it to others and teach others to do it. And then we'll come back in another week and we'll do the same thing. I'll teach you something and then he'll go out and multiply it that week and then come back. So it's very blended. I'm not there. He's there, I'm teaching it to him, but teaching it to him in a way that he can go teach it to others and he's there physically. Patrick is, is sort of a blended as well. And then we certainly do a lot online, but a lot of what we're doing online, he then goes and does through Bible studies, the church in his city through leadership conferences and churches outside of his country. So it's not purely online, it's not purely physical, but in, in a way the online teaching the online disciple-making is having an effect in a city on another continent. In the physical world.
Rey De Armas (01:08:34):
The good news of this, and this is just the curious and Mike, you alluded to this, it's the power of being connected every day. It's the power of that and having that ability to be in somebody's life on a regular basis. It's that kind of thing that draws us together, that keeps us together, that despite time, despite circstances, whatever else, it's to know that people are in your life and that we can leverage technology and sexual way to help facilitate that. That makes it powerful and God willing, you know, as church movements continue, as these things happen, that technology can continue to be used just as a tool in the arsenal of folks to help disciple others. It's not that the technology is the all encompassing thing. It's said it's a tool to help disciple others in the health, keeping communication and community with,
Jeff Reed (01:09:21):
Man, this has been a great podcast. Mike, I could listen to you tell stories all day long. And there's, there's a lot to learn from a, a missiological level from disciple-making multiplication like [inaudible] and even how we've started to apply some of these principles to an online environment. It has just been awesome. You know, I mean, you said it was funny at some point you were talking about one of your Indian cultures and you mentioned, Oh, well they're very, really relationship oriented, not task oriented. Was, was the language of that. And that's, that's really the sense that church online needs to take and to church needs to take in digital spaces. Yeah. Developing those communities, developing community, allowing other people, multiplying them to allow them to create community and digital space. And so like there's, there's so much of this principle that can be carried over and, and applied to our, to our online churches or to our digital churches as well. So man my thanks for thanks for the time with this Ray and any thoughts as, as we're landing the plane here?
Rey De Armas (01:10:24):
No, Mike, I agree. I think Mike needs to start his own podcast story time with Mike and I'm here for it. So when the spin off podcast happens, I want it to be there as part of the church digital network. That'd be great.
Jeff Reed (01:10:36):
Straight up. Could you imagine that like maybe we need to have that con, that conversation because there's so much wealth of information in this that there's no, like this has been a two hour conversation that I'm going to have to hack down to get like into an hour is to have like maybe I should split this into multiple conversations or maybe we just need to get Mike to like do his, his own thing. Separate and figure that out. So yeah, we'll we'll have to, we'll have to talk to stadia, see what they think about that, but we'll we'll continue that conversation at some point, so. Well, awesome. Hey, Mike. Man, any last thoughts as we're wrapping up here?
Mike Christian (01:11:10):
Just what are the thank you both. I've enjoyed immensely and appreciate all that you're both doing. Very grateful. And thank you very much. This has been a very enjoyable time getting together.
Jeff Reed (01:11:21):
Yes, sir. You are a pleasure to work with to hang with. And I could literally spend another two hours just talking through this with you, but my my Microsoft outlook moving the Microsoft outlook up in paint mine. Yeah. I'm sorry, but my, my Microsoft outlook is blowing me up right now saying that I've got to go. So for Ray, for Mike this is Jeff with the church digital. Thanks for joining us again this week and we'll see you next time here at the church digital podcast. Y'all have a good day.