Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The 3-5 Plan

The 3-5 Plan

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3.5

The 3-5 Plan is a program designed to support Christians and churches in Uganda. The church in Uganda- particularly the United Methodist Church- has the opportunity to expand and grow in monumental ways, but there are many issues holding it back. One of those issues- perhaps the most important one- is a lack of trained and qualified pastors and leaders in local congregations. To that end this program will seek to disciple Christian believers in the basic tenets of the Christian faith, from a United Methodist perspective. There will be a special emphasis on training pastors and church leaders. In this way we will see that the local church will be built up to the glory of God.

The 3-5 Plan consists of three levels of training and involvement that will cover a time of approximately three years.

Level I. Intensive Discipleship

In the first year of the 3-5 Plan there will be an 'intensive' training component. The Intensive component of the 3-5 Plan will consist of a 'retreat setting' in which the leader and participants of the program will spend three days together at one location covering the basics of church leadership and discipleship. There will be an emphasis on face to face interaction between and among the leader and participants, relationship building and establishing accountability. Topics included in the Level I Intensive will include:

·        Basics of Bible Study.
      Old Testament.
      New Testament.
      How to study the Bible.
      How to lead others in Bible study.
·        Prayer Ministry.
      How to pray for the sick.
      Praying for the lost.
      Leading in prayer ministry.
      Public prayers and praying.
·        Preaching.
      Sermon preparation.
      Sermon planning.
      Sermon series'.
·        Discipleship.
      Church planting.
      Spiritual formation.
      Spiritual disciplines.
      Tools for spiritual growth.
·         Worship.
      Theology of worship.
      Worship practices.         
      Baptism and Communion.
      Leading worship.
      The importance of music.
·        Evangelism.
      Giving a testimony.
      Relationship building.

The second component of Level I could be called “Discipleship.” This aspect of Level I is focused on follow-up after the intensive. A sincere effort will be made to continue accountability and relationships in a 'long-distance' setting. The objective is to motivate all participants to maintain consistency in training, study and application.

There will be some follow-up materials provided for Ugandan participants of the 3-5 Plan. There are many resources that will be included, but among them will be resources on Bible Study methods and suggestions, Bible reading and small group resources and booklets and tracts that can be used on an individual basis as well as in a group setting.  Most importantly, at least to begin with, will be this book and the resources included in the Appendix.

Additionally, there will be monthly video teachings via a dedicated YouTube channel. These will be coordinated with the printed materials.  Topics of these teachings will vary according to needs in the Ugandan church and the expertise of those creating the videos, but may include:

      Youth ministry
      Developing a financial base for your congregation
      Ministry to the hurting and oppressed
      Issues in contextual ministry
      Suffering in ministry
      United Methodist Doctrine, History and Practice

Ugandan pastors and church leaders involved in the 3-5 Plan will also receive weekly emails, or have access to regular internet, facebook or blog posts. These weekly posts will be coordinated with the YouTube teachings and other printed materials. The specifics of these teachings will be based on the needs of the church, the strengths and weaknesses of the Ugandan leaders and current issues in church leadership. Each weekly contact will be original and unique, but will focus on a monthly theme.

All of these materials will serve to increase accountability and evaluation. Local participants in this program will be expected to participate fully at each of these levels. Although we anticipate that there will be difficulties in some ares with internet access and communication in general, there is a hope (and an expectation) that each of these components will serve to move each pastor to a more full and focused ministry.

The final component of the first level is prayer. The 3-5 Plan group will serve as a prayer and accountability group. Each member will covenant together to pray for one another and support all members in the Christian faith and the journey to effective and faithful discipleship. This aspect of the 3-5 Plan will continue throughout the three year program, and hopefully beyond it. The intensive will be bathed in prayer before it begins and prayer will be a hallmark of the retreat. Each piece of the follow-up procedure will be thoroughly prayed over. Video teachings and email correspondences will include times of prayer. There will always be opportunities for prayer at every turn.

There will also be a part of the entire program that allows for and encourages prayer requests and needs from Ugandan participants to US leaders and their congregations and supporters. This program will only succeed as leaders and participants pray together and for one another. We must not take this for granted. Perhaps the most important element of prayer is that the participants will be praying for one another. Meetings among participants throughout the three year program are focused on encouragement, accountability, sharing of needs and resources and prayer.

In Level I participants will be recognized for for completion of the intensive. There will be a concluding evaluation that will focus on participation and involvement in all aspects of the program. During the discipleship phase there will be check-in requirements for online assignments and regular written work that will be graded.

Leaders who complete Level I will receive a certificate.

Level II. Replication

In the second year of the 3-5 Plan each of the original five leader/ participants in Level I will find five more leaders to mentor and disciple. This means that Level I is duplicated five times over. Each leader is responsible for finding, discipling and training five others. In fact, each leader can (and is encouraged) to begin more than one group of five. The 3-5 Plan can quickly move from addition to multiplication in its impact. All of this activity should happen right away. Within one month of the original intensive there should be five Level I groups in addition to the original group that is now considered to be Level II.

Each leader is expected to recruit and disciple others. This expectation will be a part of an annual evaluation of every 3-5 Plan participant. There are no shortcuts and very few exceptions. Christians are called to make disciples and the 3-5 Plan makes this an imperative.

It could be that this aspect of the plan will manifest itself in the planting of new churches or 'faith teams.' Each 3-5 leader is expected to recruit, train and 'pastor' at least one new group.

Leaders who complete the faith team requirement will receive a recognition certificate.

Level II leadership can manifest itself in local churches, schools, workplaces, community or small group settings. Although the “intensive” three day retreat experience is not necessarily repeated at this level, there is plenty of room, opportunity and material for these groups to cover.  The focus is for each leader to begin the work of fulfilling the Great Commission right away. Each believer in Christ is responsible to share the message of the gospel with others. Leaders in the 3-5 Plan will do this by building up other believers and by recruiting new Christians within the church and alongside the church. It will be no surprise then, if new churches are started wherever 3-5 Plan participants live and work.

As a part of this replication, each student will translate one lesson (or resource) into his/her native language for use by all future leaders. Care will be taken to ensure that material is translated accurately and in a balanced way. The process of translation will have multiple benefits:

·        Access to the material will be easier for all people regardless of their ability to read and understand English.
·        Those who are involved in the translation of material will necessarily be more familiar with it and therefore have greater benefit in terms of personal discipleship.
·        Creating resources in Luganda will have a long term effect as the material will be available and used in perpetuity by those who long to grow in faith.
·        This newly translated lesson is then taught to the five leaders that follow the original participant as part of Level II.
·        Participants in Level II groups can join in and participate in the follow-up activities of Level I. There is no limit on reading on-line materials, participating in video lessons or other supplementary activities. Level II participants have access to all the resources of Level I participants. And since the material will be archived, and because new material will be consistently added, the library of available resources will quickly become significant. All of these materials will eventually be translated for use in Uganda.
·        This replication should take place among both church leaders and church members. The 3-5 Plan works to train leaders for ministry as well as leading all Christians in discipleship activities. Therefore, a leader of pastors/leaders could easily lead a group of pastors at the same time that he leads a group of his local congregational members. This will build up the church on two fronts.

Leaders who complete Level II will receive a certificate.

Level III. Instruction

The goal of all this activity is for pastors to gain the experience, knowledge and competence to plan and lead their own groups, churches and studies. In Levels I and II leaders are given the tools and experience to begin to lead of their own volition and planning. In Level III a pastor begins to take the initiative in the work of ministry with the safety net of supervision from Level I and II leaders. This will be accomplished in the third year of the 3-5 Plan.
Each leader will select one topic of local significance in his/her community. S/he will develop  a lesson plan and write resources appropriate to their setting. These resources will be used in leadership forum and training settings, as well as local church and ministry settings.

Some topics might include:
      Evangelism in a Muslim community
      Christianity and local religions
      Leading worship in the local setting
      Issues in local church ministry
      History of the church in Uganda
      Methodism in Uganda

The ultimate goal of the 3-5 Plan is that local pastors and church leaders will be able to take full responsibility for every aspect of the local church ministry. To that end, Levels I and II will seek to prepare participants to assume the reins of responsibility in Level III. Accountability, training, support and encouragement will continue, but ultimately in Level III Ugandan leaders will take charge.

Leaders who complete Level III will receive a diploma.

Those leaders who complete all requirements and courses at every level will receive a “ministerial certification.”

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