LeaderSource - ConneXions Church Network Impact

ConneXions Church Network Impact

God is transforming leaders and revitalizing churches in East Asia.

Brother B leads a network of several hundred house churches in East Asia. This church network had been heading downhill for some time, and they had not had a substantial vision for new ministry for years. All that the leaders could do was to maintain the current network and system. Ministry co-workers were losing their passion and withdrawing from their commitments to be leaders in the churches.
Brother B tried conventional methods to develop new leaders in his network. He and the leader of another network decided to send a number of their young people to a one-year Bible school run by one of the national church movements. As soon as these young people returned home, he knew that they were unprepared for ministry work. They had head knowledge, but there was nothing different about their lives that gave him any indication that they could be effective in the ministry of the church.
The church network was stagnant, conventional methods of developing new leaders were not working, and Brother B knew he needed to do something different in order to bring about revitalization.
God placed a desire in Brother B’s heart to start his own training school for emerging leaders. The vision became stronger and clearer as he continued to pray and explore different training paradigms. He heard about our successful school that had brought about a high level of transformation in the lives of young leaders and churches. He desired the same transformation in his network and among his leaders. He and one of his key co-workers attended a training with us. This experience convinced him of the value of our principles in building healthy spiritual leaders. Brother B’s team supported his vision to begin their first ConneXions program, so they did just that.
Since then, he has led three one-year programs for emerging leaders. Throughout the duration of the schools and since, Brother B has seen extensive growth and transformation both in the lives of the students, and also the life and ministry of the churches throughout his network.
Here are some specific areas of student life transformation:
    • Union with Christ: Some students had not truly professed faith in Christ when they first came to the school. When asked about their faith and their reason for coming to the school, they said they had come only because their parents had asked them to do so. These students had little or no prayer life, and many did not regularly attend church meetings. Most of them quickly realized their need to give their lives to Christ and then to know Him deeply.
    • Growing in Accountable Community: Many of the students came with a twisted view of life, values, relationships (especially marriage), and ethics. One student thought serving God was a way to become famous and superior to others. His one-year experience in the ConneXions learning community transformed his character, and he is now humbly serving others for the glory of God. All of the students experienced similar changes as they were immersed in the accountable community of the local church, with teachers, coaches, mentors and intercessors focused on building them holistically.
    • Godly Character: Some students were saved, but were immature in their spiritual lives and character. These students had entered the ConneXions school with rebellious, rude, self-centered, lazy and disrespectful attitudes. By the time they graduated from the school, however, their transformed character was evident in true obedience, respect, gentleness and passion for the work of ministry. The students had come to a deep experience of union with Christ and were now constantly encouraging their families to love and follow Jesus Christ as well.
    • Embracing God’s Call to Ministry: When many of the students first came to the school, they professed a willingness to serve God. But it soon became obvious that they did not care about their own spiritual lives, and they certainly did not have any burden for others. One year later, they not only were passionate in pursuing their own spiritual growth but they also had a strong and growing burden for the spiritual condition of their families, local churches and communities.
    • Doctrinal Purity: Some of the students came to the school with unbiblical beliefs and practices. One student confessed that he had always prayed to an image in his mind. When he was taught that God was not an image, he found it very hard to accept at first. However, through sound biblical teaching and instruction, he gradually came to an accurate knowledge of the nature of God and learned to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Transformation continues to be evident in the lives and ministry capacities of these young people. Eighty percent of the graduates from the three one-year ConneXions programs are actively involved in ministry with the church networks. (Included in the first program were the students who had previously been sent off to the national movement’s school, because Brother B believed they needed to be “retrained.”)
As the first ConneXions school was just starting, there was also a noticeable change beginning in the church network. Because the training program was for their own young people in their own churches, many co-workers who had been drifting away began to take an interest and to see what they could contribute. Even co-workers who had left ministry for a number of years began to come back to help in whatever way they could. Church members throughout the entire network were excited that they could participate in training their own spiritual sons and daughters. Brother B described it as a stagnating pool of water suddenly getting stirred up, with refreshment of life.
Here are some specific areas of church transformation:
    • Through the influence of the schools, many church members began to give themselves more fully to ministry service. For example, some members who believed they were gifted in showing hospitality had done little other than receiving traveling co-workers on an occasional basis. But after the school began, these people became much more active and joyful in receiving and hosting students when they came for practical field experience in the local churches. They were greatly blessed as they saw the change in the students and experienced their effective ministry. All the members of the host families devoted themselves passionately to the ministry of hospitality.
    • Other local church families engaged in the support of the schools through giving. Some gave food; some gave money. The church members gave so generously that the schools had no need to purchase rice for two years. The church network had to fund only a quarter of the total expenses for the year, because so much was graciously given by local believers.
    • Many people from the home churches of the students were assigned as intercessors and mentors. They had been spiritually passive and lukewarm toward God prior to the school’s start. But as they took on these important ConneXions-related roles, these church members visited the students regularly at the school and were encouraged and challenged by the students’ passion and love for God. The intercessors and mentors found that they, too, were experiencing spiritual growth. All the local church leaders who participated in the training of the students were greatly motivated to pour their love, time and energy into additional ministry service to God.
    • Interest in ConneXions schools grew. The success of the schools, the change in the lives of the students, and the blessings that came to the local churches, resulted in many more local young people expressing a desire to be trained and equipped for ministry. Many parents are now overjoyed to send their sons and daughters to be built as spiritual leaders at schools. This used to be a very rare thing in the local churches. Many local church ministries have been revitalized because of the students, and new believers are coming to faith in Christ regularly.
    • The first school’s host family experienced great financial blessing. A local family was appointed as the host for the first school. At that time, this family had a significant amount of debt, but while serving as host for the year, their family income grew so much that they were able to pay off the entire debt. In the second year, their income doubled, allowing them to purchase a much-needed motorcycle. As a result of this, the whole family recognized God’s generous blessing on them, and they were motivated to serve with greater willingness and joy.
Before the first training school began, the annual income for the church network’s administration was small. Finances were always a challenge for the network, and they had little discretionary money. The thought of paying as much as 80% of their budget for the school was daunting. However, since the start of the first ConneXions school, financial provision has been rapid and remarkable. Not only has the network been able to fund the schools, but the collective giving from all of the network’s churches has enabled the network to fund an increased budget, new ministry projects, and the construction of their first-ever church building.
Brother B and his team have continued to see the effectiveness of the ConneXions schools in building strong leaders.
After the first experience with the national-movement Bible School, the friend decided to send one group of young people back to the national school, and another group to Brother B’s school. Of 12 young people the friend sent to the national school, only two are in ministry; the other 10 have sought other pursuits. Some of them never made their way back home. They decided to give up the idea of spiritual service right upon graduation, and went from the Bible school to other jobs.
In contrast to that, of the 17 young people the friend sent to Brother B’s school, 14 are still in ministry, actively serving the church. His friend has asked Brother B to come and train his leaders more fully on the ConneXions Model so they can continue to mobilize their own young people for greater ministry service.
Brother B has now completed three one-year programs for emerging leaders. He says,
“In the last three years, our training school has been the center of our whole church network. If it were not for the sake of our three years of training work, I just can’t imagine what the church would be like today. It would probably be struggling to survive, with hardly any co-workers to guard God’s flocks. Without the ConneXions Model, we would probably have just raised a handful of new co-workers, whose quality would have been questionable.”
Today, the majority of our co-workers’ teams are ConneXions graduates. They shoulder most of the ministry responsibilities in the church – teaching, pastoral work, and traveling among all our house churches. The church relies heavily on these young graduates, and they are doing a great job.
ConneXions leader development has revitalized the life of the entire church network. Churches throughout the network have been actively involved in the training of their young leaders through intercession, teaching, pastoral care, ministry mentoring, and giving of both money and material; in return, they have received great blessing from God, both spiritual and physical.


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