Ten years ago, Kevin Sutter was leading a coaching workshop in India. The participants were learning to offer follow-up for disciple-maker and church planter’s training. As he was there working with indigenous leaders, Kevin had a new thought stirring within.
“This workshop is making a real difference, but it is only available for leaders who are able to attend an event in person. How can we get similar skills out to our grassroots disciple-makers around the world?”
A few years later, Tina Stolzfust Horst, the creator of Mission Coach Training, contacted Kevin and asked, “So, what’s next?”
Kevin responded that he had the vision to extend coaching resources to thousands of indigenous workers. He originally thought he and Tina could write a book or produce a manual. He was soon to learn God had something bigger in store.
As Tina and Kevin dialogued, they concluded that a video course might be the best training option. Tina elaborates, saying:
“We wanted to create a simple course for those who learn orally, but we realized we didn’t have the skills to do that. Then God brought along Anima and Abhishek from YWAM’s Create International, and a lot came to life – jingles, animations, videos, and more! The way this creative team came together allowed us to do much more than Kevin and I could on our own. While we had some rough spots with cultural differences and expectations, I have come to value the beauty of the team God brought together.”
A talented group of creatives spent many months producing a resource for leaders. They especially wanted to help those who see potential in those whom they walk alongside but who struggle to follow through. Encourage Them All builds skills in asking powerful questions, listening with care, and encouraging progress. This helps leaders to have life-changing conversations that enable others to grow. The practical teaching narrates the story of Barnabas from the Book of Acts in the first person. It incorporates experiential learning techniques, including catchy tunes and animated stories. The course is accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.
Designed for Oral Culture Learners
This course’s design for oral learning cultures is a key differentiator between this course and other resources. Oral culture learners are often excluded from participating in more traditional training opportunities. Creative team member Anima Martins said, “As I researched, I learned that those who come from oral cultures still prefer engaging in an oral format. I saw that we have many programs, training materials, and discipling tools, but they are all in book form. We didn’t have anything for people who come from oral traditions. This made me very sad. For this reason, it has been a joy for me to work with this team. I was very surprised by the inspiration that God has given! All glory goes to Him.”
The team’s hard work led to the launch of their first course this past October, with over 40 leaders attending from dozens of nations. Kevin reflects on the ETA launch, saying: “It has been a good experience running the course; going through it with participants. Jose, Anima, and others are leading small groups, interacting on WhatsApp and Zoom calls. Vision for the future is increasing even as a result of these small group meetings that we have. I was leading one, and my group included a missionary couple in India that has lived there for many years. The husband told me he had been through two previous courses. While both had been good, this one was different.”
Accessible and Enjoyable
He went on to share: “Encourage Them All is very practical. It’s the kind of thing we can use with our local leaders, including core ideas that are easily explained. There are opportunities to put concepts into practice so participants become more confident. The teachings are accessible and enjoyable for those we lead – and easy to understand!”
Kevin goes on to say: “This is our Beta course, we are running it and seeing how it impacts people. We are ready to evaluate and make some changes. The Lord has given me a vision of equipping 5,000 people at the growing edge of where the Gospel is being spread. This is one of the ways I believe He will do that.”
In celebration of all God has done in forming the ETA course, contributors gathered together this past month. The online gathering spanned four continents. It included those who had invested in the project through giving, prayer, encouragement, and coaching.
Co-author Tina led the call. She remarked how inspiring it is to think of the number of people who have contributed to the launch of this Kingdom-building tool. She exclaimed: “When we come together to create a resource for God’s people, we all share together in the outcome!”
We at DMI and ETA want you to know this sharing includes you as a valuable partner and friend of our ministry. Thank you for the ways you have invested in and prayed for Disciple Maker’s Increase and for this powerful new resource to equip leaders around the world.
We would also like to extend an offer to learn more about the course if this is of interest to you. Please click on this link to learn more about Encourage Them All. We hope many will benefit from the opportunity to adopt the everyday principles taught in this course. Please check it out and let us know what you enjoy about the experience!