I had come to the end of several days of training leaders of an unreached people group in Africa. D. had been doing a fabulous job translating from English into his people’s language. We had been presenting to these young church leaders what it is that we must surrender to God in order to be transformed. They already had a deep knowledge of the content of Scripture, in spite of not having the whole Bible in their own tongue. But they did not know how to cooperate with the Spirit so that they could be set free from habitual sin and experience God’s power in their daily lives.

Having just a week to teach them the biblical truths of the transformational gospel, my colleague Joey Mimbs and I laid the foundation of the doctrine of salvation, starting with the Fall in Genesis 3, guiding them through the covenants that God made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel and David, to help them to understand the story of the Bible. Stories are how these students learn and relay on the truths of their faith. So stories we told—connecting the covenants found in the Old Testament to the New Covenant that God promised in Jeremiah and established through Jesus.

As we explained the story of Jesus—how the gospel has saved us, will save us, and is now saving us, these young leaders’ hunger to know these truths drew them along with us. Then I began to teach them the Heart Chart tool we use at Church Equippers, showing them that outward sinful behavior comes from the heart. I told them that in their heart are two things that do not belong there, but are the result of the Fall. These two are hurt in the heart which comes from interaction with a broken world and the damaged people we live with, and sin in me which humans use to comfort the pain of their hurt. I explained how—as the Spirit makes them aware of these issues inside themselves—they are to surrender them to God and He will heal and deliver them.

I was surprised when my translator, the leader of this group, announced, “God has spoken to us through your teaching.” But what happened next was even more astounding. The class broke out into a spontaneous prayer service, gathering into a circle and crying out to God together. I sat down, thanking God and knowing that this was why He had brought me to Africa.

During the next sessions, Joey Mimbs taught them how to pursue intimacy with God so that they would trust Him with their heart issues. Each class ended with the leaders applauding what they were learning. After some sessions, they would cluster around the note pages that D had made and taped to the wall, writing furiously.

This class of young Christian leaders graduated from their yearlong studies the week after we were there. They will go back to their churches and begin training others with the truths they learned during their year of study. And what we taught them during that final week will also become part of the discipling process they take back with them. I am grateful to have been asked to participate. It was a rare opportunity to teach critical truths to those who are taking the gospel to an isolated people group, most of whom are lost and in need of the gospel.

Thanks to those who prayed and now please join me in prayer for these dedicated leaders, that their impact will be huge for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom.

If you would like to see an explanation of our Heart Chart tool, click HERE.

For a video on the Heart Chart click HERE

-Steve Smith