Innovation will pay off in Uganda

With a loan of 500 from the DCI Trust, George Purkweri in Uganda is building 10 rooms on an empty plot of land. He will then rent those rooms for 5 a month each bringing a total of 50 income a month for the foreseeable future. He will repay the interest-free loan in 12 monthly payments in the form of providing goats for orphans, extra capital for the local DCI bank for the poor and in food gifts the most destitute widow and orphan refugees. After ten months the rental income will be sufficient to fund the School of Mission that he has opened for men and women from the many refugee camps in Lira District.

Atmosphere is primitive and ethic . . .

The new training school in Chaing Mai, Thailand is already a house church before it starts.  The building has an exceptional view of the mountains and good grounds for planting fruits and vegetables, it's quiet and beautiful. The School is starting with ten young, ethnic men who will be trained to plant churches and open new training centres in other towns. The atmosphere is most certainly not Western, it's very primitive and very ethnic. The students and the pastor sleep on mats on the floor as they do in their own Karen village. There is no TV, no music, only worship from guitar and voices, the students have no distractions, just all the time they need to keep focussed on God and His word. The students are fully encouraged to grow their own veg and fruits and to start a small business that will help pay the bill. Each student is given a copy of all School bills which amount to 1,090 a month and asked to pray about them and to go out and find a way, anyway, to contribute to paying them. The students go out to serve the poor, sick and the needy with HIV/Aids. There is fellowship each evening and others have already started to come from outside to worship and praise God with us and the centre is not even ready to officially open yet.


Everything has gone wrong in Indonesia

After that crash that almost took your brother's life, then the earthquake that caused your Mother's death then another car accident you have a lot to bear in such a short time, but as you pray you will find the Lord has a way of restoring the years that locusts eat, of turning mourning into dancing, and of suddenly coming to visit, and then everything can be different. We have had some dark and hopeless situations ourselves over the years with no possible way out, but only a little later, somehow, the Lord passed by or He sent His word and we found ourselves back on our feet again wondering how it had  happened. May Jesus be the same for you.


Not everything is as it seems at first sight . . .

In these days of rapid expansion with people coming from north, south, east and west and wanting to join us either to be trained or to open new Schools of Mission it will do us no harm to recall the Gibeonite deception of Joshua 9.3-21, the key verse being, verse 14 . . they did not enquire of the Lord. The lesson is that not everyone and not everything is as it first appears to be. Safety is found in taking things easy, going one step at a time together, and in always bringing the enquiry before the Lord in prayer. Then if we (or they) are off the path and going wrong we will hear that voice behind us saying, "This is the way, walk in it." This is from Isaiah 30.21 where the Lord promises that if we will walk with Him then He will either confirm, change or cancel any direction that we are proposing. Many is the time that the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit has saved us.


Only stay very close to the Lord,
never out of hearing distance of His voice.


Learn from the people who know how to survive . . .

On a practical level, you will do very well to keep expenses down to an absolute minimum and never allow them to creep up without very good reason. We are in days when low-cost operations flourish, airlines and outreaches alike, and keep going even in the face of global downturns that affect public giving and spending. Question every expense to see if you really need to spend it and if not - why spend it ? Don't ever try and be like the well-funded western-led operations, go the other way, keep things simple like the people in the villages because they know how to survive when the going gets tough. Do all you can to create the long-term funding for your school from the country you are in.


Which way are you going ?

Dear Pastor R, Thank you for writing again, God bless you in your life, your family and vision. I am sorry but I don't think that you have really understood what our Schools of Mission are like and who they are for. We provide first-class materials, friendship and advice for hundreds of Schools which are located amongst some of the poorest peoples of the world, including schools in a refugee camps and prisons.

All the Schools are free or very low cost and most of them meet in homes, borrowed church buildings or even under the trees in the open air. No one receives a salary, not even me but thousands of people who could never go to Bible School receive teaching in God's ways.

Now, you have asked me to buy you Bibles, a motor bike, expenses for training staff and salaries for the teachers before you even start. I am sorry but this is something we have never done and could never do. We do our best to support simple Schools where the leader, who may be a graduate from a previous Course, simply prays and then gathers people together, and makes a start in any way that he can, wherever he can do it.

Later on, it may be that we can help an establish School with some things that they need, but not with motor bikes and salaries. I am sorry we just do not have the funds for this and it would be very unhelpful to create this kind of model for the students to see because they will want the same themselves later on.

You might want to see the example of the Schools of Mission in Nairobi which have grown from one mother School into very many new Schools in villages all over Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Malawi. The page is  We will help you if we can but I am very sorry that it cannot be in the way you have asked.


You ask how all the schools that your graduates
are opening can be funded by your mother school ?

I think we have to go back time and time and time again to the example of Jesus in the gospels, and to the example of Paul in his missions journeys. There were no monthly gifts in the post and no micro-businesses provided for them by somebody overseas. There was self-support business for Paul, there were people who made things possible for Jesus' team, many of these were women. Somehow Jesus provided enough money for His own needs, enough for his team and enough to give to the poor, and in such abundance that he needed a treasurer, Judas. Paul said that he did the same, Acts 20.

I think it is our job to teach these principles as matters of faith, but it is not our job to replace Jesus and His creativity. If Jesus is alive today, which He is, then He is just as able to bring about the support for the disciples He calls, as He did way back then. If men will seek first the Kingdom of God and His right way of doing things, then everything they need will be given to them. If it is not given to them we have to ask some questions about if these men are really called at this time, if their hearts are really seeking God's Kingdom above all and if they are going about things the right way. God promise stands firm, over and above our experience.

The sacrifice and the suffering involved in seeing a new school or church emerge can be painful to watch but through it all the Holy Spirit makes some very strong men of God. Our Kenyan and Korean friends do not provide one penny for the students and do not lift a finger to help them live and pay their way. Either God provides or they go home and I suppose that is how we have lived our lives here. Some students go home, the rest go forward very strongly. I heard the ones who wanted to stay and succeed at prayer and it was impressive.

I don't like the idea of our network being funded from one central source. 
In any event this is humanly very insecure and I feel it goes against the spirit of the New Testament, where local churches and missions are autonomous bodies dependent on Christ alone, while remaining in fellowship with each other and helping each other.  Central funding takes us right back to denominations, institutions, control and conditions and even if we start righteous and flexible, by the next generation the structure will be as rigid as concrete with a rule book written by men.

Let's keep things simple, faith-based and with everyone, everywhere looking to Jesus and His creativity for their location and their future expansion. At the same time let's stay in close touch with each other because it could easily be that resources in one part of the network can help someone in another part.

Our way of working was given to us by the Lord back in 1987 after a year or so of prayer, and part of what He said to us is what we call "Riding a Three-Humped Camel" as uncomfortable as that surely is.

It comes from Acts 20.33: "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

The context is not to covet anyone else's resources and their ways of getting them.

The key for us from Jesus was the phrase: "These hands of mine . . ."

1. Have supplied my own needs
2. Have supplied some of the needs of the team working with me
3. Have supplied enough to help the poor

Three humps makes for an uncomfortable ride through life but it is a good way to travel and you get through the dry desert on this beast. This is our lifestyle and has been for years now. For me, we have to teach this principle of revelation and faith to the leader of every new training school and see what he does about it.

HE or she (not you or me) must see what he pr she can do with his or her own hands either in employment, tent-making, micro-business or in support raising for the family. For example the leader can work daytime and teach 4 till 8 at night for the six months or nine months of the course.


Can we teach the full
School of Mission course in 3 months ?

Well, you can but that hardly gives enough time for the students to do the written and practical projects. At that speed they will only hear the lessons which is no more than impartation of knowledge, not discipleship. Disciples hear what Jesus says and do what Jesus did, then come back and report how they got on.


The only way to stop
struggling with money . . .

As you say, money is a tormenting question for many people and I think that the only way to escape from it's pressures is to surrender all that we have to the Lord. In any event whatever money we have was never ours to begin with, it is not ours now and it never will be for we can take nothing with us into eternity. When that decision of surrender is made and the decision fixed forever in your soul then neither money (nor the spiritual power of materialism called mammon) has any further hold over you to tempt you or torment you because Christ takes over as your one and only provider and as your financial director. As you give and give to others which is the trigger which releases His blessing He will return to you more than enough for yourself and a great deal more to give to others. All of this will keep you dependent upon Him for your daily bread, and then you shall see His glory.


The very best way
is to train the trainers . . .

I like the idea of the second School of Mission in the next town, but let me try and take you one step further. It is very good to train the people, there is no doubt about that. However, it is very many times more effective to train trainers who will then go and start their own Schools of Mission. It is they and not you who will go and train the people (or even more trainer-leaders). See 2 Timothy 2.2 for the principle. So, if you could think about doing a special session to train men and women who will go and start their own schools, and equip them with the materials to go with, then through them you could see hundreds of people in training at once, not just one class. See this page for how Nairobi do it so well.



Can a pastor or Bible school principle
automatically run a School of Mission ?

A pastoral local church is very different to an outward-facing School of Mission and a caring pastor is not automatically qualified or called to lead a School of Mission although the Lord can give him the call and the gifting. A theological school is also very different to a School of Mission. Many theological schools often fail to produce results because the students go back to their churches with lots of knowledge and degrees but often with little passion and vision, and often with almost no experience of doing what Jesus did among the lost and the poor. The leader of a theological school may need to go through a School of Mission for himself before he can lead a new school, otherwise he just changes the lessons but does not put the discipleship principles into practice because he has never learned them for himself. It is hard to teach what you have never done. So in reality very little changes. Having said that, some of our best Schools of Mission around the world are being run by men who failed to see results from their theological schools, until Jesus showed them how He personally raised up passionate and envisioned leaders and they changed to His way of doing things.



What is the difference
between Bible College
and discipleship ?


The principles of discipleship are that the people like the first disciples, spend time with Jesus, they hear what Jesus says and they continually go under supervision and do themselves what Jesus did, and report back. They learn by hearing and by doing, and they learn the value of fellowship, working in team and accountability. Read the gospels and see how Jesus taught His disciples and notice the atmosphere of community and friendship. This is the model we have adopted to handle the harvest in the developing nations and it works as well today as it did for Jesus.

The concept of our Schools of Mission is that poor men and women without prior qualifications can have first-class discipleship style learning, in a safe, community atmosphere, maybe even in homes, where they are known and loved by name, at no cost or for very little cost. This is the very opposite of the traditional Bible School which is great for people who can afford to go there full-time and pay the fees. The School of Mission meets part-time in someone else's property, like Paul's school in Acts 19 where the concept came from, and the students work part-time to maintain themselves and their families while they are spending time with Jesus and learning to live in His grace and provision.

If I were you I would resist all pressure to turn from the low-cost simplicity of the School of Mission concept of discipleship towards having a traditional Bible School with buildings, prestige, staff and so on just because that is the way it is always done.


Teaching is much more
than communicating facts . . .

We pass on our heart, and our attitudes, our hopes, our hurts and wounds, deep calls unto deep as the Psalm says, and it all comes out in the classes, because out of the heart the mouth speaks. If two of your teachers are fighting with each other, what are they going to impart to their students at heart level ?  This is the question. It sounds to me like both of them need to attend a full School of Mission themselves before trying to teach it to others. They need some maturity and a much bigger Kingdom vision from the Lord. We are not in competition with each other, we are in a war with the world, the flesh and the devil. Psalm 133 says that when the brothers dwell in unity, there the Lord commands the blessing. So if teachers are in dis-unity you can imagine just how little blessing there is going to be in the school.



Are you as tired out as the rest of us ?

Here is a brilliant short article to read, scanned from Messy Spirituality, Christianity for the rest of us, by Mike Yaconelli. Click here  We all need to read this. Available second hand from Amazon


Extra materials for the Schools of Mission . .
You asked for  . . .

Where to go for help with understanding Muslims and Islam

For lots ready made advice and teaching go to For a book on Muslims in Britain and if you want advice and brilliant seminars on how Christians can communicate and be friends with Muslims, Steve Bell is a world expert who does nothing else, I know him well.

For material to prepare Theology Lessons: Systematic Theology (500 pages) or Summary of Christian Doctrine (Paperback 200 pages) by Louis Berkhof, or Foundations of Christian Doctrine by Kevin J. Conner, Bible Temple Oregon. Nobody agrees with everything in theology but for simplicity and seriousness combined there is no beating these classic books, available second hand at bargain prices on Amazon, ABE Books, CBE Books, Oasis Books and Quartermelon

For Leadership Lessons: The Making of a Leader, Frank Damazio, and Leaders Guide is superb. Available second hand as above.

For Lessons on AIDS Understanding and Response, here is a complete set of AIDS education and prevention handouts in English, with a bit of Chinese in some of the games here and there. Highly recommended for the developing world. Ready to print in Word. Download here  The best book you can have is AIDS is Real And It's In Your Church. This beautiful and deeply moving book needs to be on every pastor's desk wherever AIDS is striking hard. It is written in Africa in plain simple language with rivers of compassion and feeling by two health professionals who have worked with AIDS sufferers and their families for many years. Dismiss the myths, save the lives of thousands every year killed first by ignorance then by AIDS. ISBN 1-59452-026-7 Oasis International. Naira 350 / 1.30p from Africa Christian Text Books at  The classic book is The Truth About AIDS: A Practical Christian Response by Patrick Dixon available new and used on the book sellers links above.

Facts to make lessons and handouts on Cults and Sects can be found here: Reach Out Trust and Deo Gloria Trust For pages on Apologetics; Christian Scientists; Deception; Doctrine; Evolution; Jehovah's Witnesses; Latter-day Saints (Mormons); Martial Arts; New Age; Occult and other groups go to: 

To help you teach Micro-enterprise as a means of reducing poverty use here is a Leader's Manual for the DCI Banking for the Poor projects:

For the theology and practice of ministry to the poor, sick and disabled, the leader of the School of Mission in Russia, Robert Hosken has just gained his doctorate with a thesis this very subject.  You can get a copy here:

To explain and teach Creation, Evolution and Big Bangs, the best and simplest overview I have ever read that gives all the alternative views is from Christianity Magazine last year. Here's all the options and you can teach from these articles with 100% confidence: Take both part One and part two:

To teach Tentmaking to provide self-support for graduates and workers, the place to go for help is and they have excellent free complete course to download at  Also take this short Challenge of Tentmaking book which you can teach from:
Another good website is:


You asked how to handle
the harvest that God is giving you . .

As far as I understand you have one School of your own with 50 or so students, in session. You have three of last year's graduates out on other continents requiring cover, prayer and counsel. You have been asked to supervise 10 new Schools of Mission in ten cities in your own nation, all in first stage of launch. You have a relationship with, but not an ownership of, 11 existing Bible Schools across the continent, 10 of which are trying to change to the 2 Timothy 2.2 model. You are also supervising three of banking projects for the poor and you have a family, you have finances to find and manage, you have students who will graduate this year, and you have a church to look after. So what advice can I give you ?

1. Exodus 18, 13 - 24 is timeless, essential advice from God's word which any of us ignore at our peril, as also is Luke 14,28-30.

2. If you are to support all these people as the lowest servant in the upside down triangle of servant leadership as opposed to the ownership and domination model of the common pyramid system then you will need to find extraordinary strength from the Lord. This means that you will need:

An increased dedication to spend time alone with the Lord and His word.

A better use of the hours of each day, working smarter not longer.

A disciplined and determined effort to have a sabbath, or physical rest period in each day and in each week.

A move forward which is strictly in line and in time with God's provision of men, money and materials to confirm each and every new step, which brings you right back to Exodus 18 and Luke 14 as above.

It will be very demanding if you have all these leaders looking to you personally for help all in one year. The harvest is plentiful, of that there is no doubt, but you may find like all of us that the workers who will come to work with you in your call and anointing, are few. So you have to move forward carefully and slowly. Personally I would concentrate heavily on integrating those graduates of your own into the vision, because they know you and your heart by now and should have a growing love and loyalty towards you. And by now you know them which is very important.


Where is your Bible ?
In your bag or in your phone ?

You say that Brazilians don't like reading and because of that always answer your  questions from their own personal experience without searching for the answer in the lesson or in a Bible text. People in the west are now very screen orientated and can't live without fast moving images from the TV, videos, games and DVD's. We have a generation who do not know how to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time and do not like reading because it is "boring" just too slow and non-visual. You will have to persevere to solve this problem and maybe employ some "cool" 21st century creativity like getting the students to download the Bible in their mobile phones, or into PDA's or in PC's. They might like that better than to be seen carrying the black book. One way or another discipleship has to be all about taking people back to the word of God all the time and for everything, teaching them to rely upon God's word and not their personal experiences, their feelings or worse on the fiction from the TV shows. In the long run everything else will fail us except for the Word of God and that is why we all have to be trained to know our Bibles and the God who gave His word to us. Where we keep our Bibles is another question altogether, I confess to having three free versions and a concordance in my phone from


Banking for the Poor
Answering questions from project leaders

You ask if anyone start a banking for the poor
project . . .

People who like the concept need to do study the idea quietly and carefully in prayer before the Lord to see if it His will or not that they get involved in something like this, because it is certainly not for everybody. Some people grasp at the idea hoping for money, but never think to ask Jesus about it. Without the Lord's command and approval this scheme can be a disaster for everyone concerned. If the Lord does give the green light for a project leader to go ahead then he or she should lead the way in making a start with his or her own money, or with money saved up by the church or community, before ever thinking about asking someone like us to help. We started years ago with less than $100 that we had saved out of our family shopping money and we soon lost the lot in Burkina Faso through inexperience and trusting the wrong people. But the Lord is gracious and forgiving, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

What do you do when
the loan shark gets there first ?

You have some ladies in your project who still have debts to loan sharks and are struggling to repay your project. What you have here is a selection and training issue that we can all learn from. I should have said to you that it is always a mistake to give a loan to anyone who is still engaged with a loan shark, because he will come and take all the money. Watch out also for ladies who have predatory husbands, fathers or sons with drinking or drug habits because they demand the money, sometimes with violence. There is no way that a first micro-business can provide enough money to pay off the loan sharks I fear your loan to this lady is lost because the loan shark has the first call on all her income.

What do you do when
the lady has spent the repayment ?

You say that some of your poor ladies have many children and now say they can't make their repayment this week. Here is another selection and training issue. Before you start a project you need to gently teach your ladies that their responsibility is to make their repayments with no excuses for the sake of the whole project. You mustn't be afraid to ask some ladies to wait for a micro-loan if you foresee problems with them. A Yes must be Yes when it comes to responsibilities. But what do you do now ? I would have them repay their loan daily. Later on the business and all the income is theirs so it is short-term pain for long term gain. If you relax gentle discipline you will lose your money. It always happens.

When a good idea is not enough  . .

You tell me that several businesses have failed to gain profit due to mistakes in the production process, or the products were hard to sell. These people did not have a good plan before they started, only a good idea. That is why applicants must do good research to see if there is a market for their product or service, calculate some realistic figures and check how much competition there is. And you must check their plans before you give the OK for them to have a micro-loan. Count the cost before you start, that is Jesus said.  He was right, as always.  I would quickly sell the stocks that remain and re-invest the money in a better business otherwise the client will soon lose everything.


Peter of Alcantara used to ask God to teach him the patient obedience of a donkey. He said, "Every time I do not behave like a donkey it is worse for me. How does a donkey behave ? If it is slandered, it keeps silent. If it is not fed, it keeps silent; if it is forgotten, it keeps silent. It never complains, however much it is beaten or ill-used, because it has a donkey's patience.  That is how the servant of God must behave, so I stand before you, Lord, like a donkey."


" A few years ago I met an old professor at the University of Notre Dame, Paris. Looking back on his long life of teaching, he said with a funny twinkle in his eyes, " I have always been complaining that my work was constantly being interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work."

Henri Nouwen.

Answering some of your
e-mails in more depth

June - July 2006

Useful links

Free Schools of Mission

Banking for the Poor

World Christians News

The DCI Trust, England
International Development
and Training

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