Report from Indonesian trip

ON JULY 3rd, Dominique and I traveled to Jakarta for a learning experience that was tremendous in so many ways. We spent 5 days with the Jakarta church, a congregation of almost 2,500 disciples and visited two smaller congregations, Tangerang and Surabaya (each one consisting of 300 disciples.) While in Surabaya, (the second largest city of Indonesia with a population of 4 Million people) we spent a day with a mayoral candidate and visited a “Pesantren” (Islamic boarding school) attended by 12,000 students. It was encouraging to see the way the disciples in Indonesia build partnerships with various community leaders to promote peace, education, inclusion and share the gospel. We also visited the HOPE orphanage in Bogor and that was a moving and inspiring experience.

The idea for this “pilgrimage” first came into our minds more than two years ago when Danny Brisebois sent me some videos from a church building workshop that Harliem and Vonia Salim, leaders of the mission work in South East Asia, conducted in Virginia Beach. After watching those videos, I was inspired by the wisdom, faith and humility with which the Salims were building churches in their geographic region of the world and how God was putting his seal of approval on them by the way he was blessing their work.

 

FURTHERMORE, in July of last year, Dominique and I, in search of discipling and training for our marriage and ministry work, went to the Potomac Valley Church to connect with Will and Tosha Archer.  They not only helped us with our marriage but gave us a vision for building the church in Montreal. We were inspired by what we saw in POVA, a church that came back to life after years of stagnancy and went from 130 to over 200 in 4 years, with elders and deacons appointed and many signs of healthy growth. The Archers told us that they were being trained by the Indonesian ministry leaders and were committed to keep learning from them. They thus invited Dominique and I to accompany them on this trip so we could see for ourselves what God was doing there.

 

INDONESIA is a country of more than 17,000 islands in Southeast Asia. It is the 14th largest country in the world by land area, the 7th by land and sea area combined and the 4th most populous with 261 Million people. It is also the largest Muslim nation of the world (87% of Indonesia’s population is Muslim.) Indonesia has been growing a strong economy and is the world’s 16th largest by nominal GDP (gross domestic product) and 7th by GDP at PPP (purchasing power parity.) Jakarta, the capital, is a city of 10 Million people. It is the second largest urban center in the world.

 

THE CHURCH began here 30 years ago. Today they have 35 congregations with a combined membership of 4,500 members (2500 in Jakarta.) Other churches in the region are Singapore with over 1,000 disciples, Indochina and Japan, 800 and Malaysia with over 500.

 

KEY LESSONS LEARNED from our trip: We learned many lessons. Naturally, the temptation to try to figure out the formula (methodology, programs and approaches) that guarantees success and seek to replicate was there. We tried to resist this urge by looking deeper into the culture of the Indonesian churches and recognizing key Biblical principles not just in what they do but in who they try to be. Below, are what we saw and identified as pillars in the way they are building God’s church.

  1. A culture of faith- “Cursed is the man who trusts in men…but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…” Jeremiah 17:5-8. The leaders of the church teach and practice reliance on God, and not on self, for everything. We saw many examples that illustrate this principle:

    • The one that stood out the most to us was the inspiring and incredible story of how the church was able to purchase a $1.6 M dollar church building without having any portion of the funds initially.  Through prayer, fasting and the beseeching of members of the community, they saw non-disciples, and disciples alike, offer them funds to get the building.

    • We also saw a thriving ministry of entrepreneurs, actors, singers and people from various strata of the Indonesian society in the church.

    • They started an online ministry through which they have reached out to millions and a few hundreds have become disciples as a result.

    • Because of their faith and reliance on God, the disciples in Indonesia are incredibly generous with their time and money.

  2. A culture of unconditional love and service-“I have set you and example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15. One of the biggest and most convicting lessons (convicting because it is nothing new. It is what we have known all along since it is said repeatedly in Scripture by our Lord) was the way the disciples practice love and service. They do it simply because it is the right thing to do; expecting nothing in return. The expression that sticks with me is “relational versus transactional.” The church seeks to serve the community, partnering with other organizations, public, private and non-profit. They simply try to meet needs in the community. Even in their ministry approach, Bible talks are centered on marriage and parenting tools to equip members and non-members to have successful marriages and family. They do this by using the “I Choose Us” and “Good Enough Parenting” programs. They serve the poor wholeheartedly, simply because God cares for them. They teach and expect everyone in the church to serve and treat the poor with dignity.

  3. A culture of humility- “Be completely humble and gentle…” Ephesians 4:2. It was encouraging to see how everyone we encountered was so humble and eager to learn. “How can I be more like Jesus?” and “How can we be better?” seem to be the prevailing attitude and mentality.

  4. A culture of intentionality- “But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” Isaiah 32:8. Rather than moving from one program (or gimmick) to another in search of quick results, the churches in Indonesia seem to be engaged in long term plans (5-10 years), building with “costly materials”, so to speak, and taking the time necessary to build well. To borrow a term used by our friend, Will Archer, the leaders in Indonesia try to build “legacy rather than become legends.”

 

In summary, the pillars we saw were Faith, love and service, humility, and intentionality.

 

HOW DO WE APPLY THOSE LESSONS PRACTICALLY in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec which counts a total of 8 million people? As a reminder, our vision is to build, with God’s help, a thriving ministry of hundreds of disciples. A church that glorifies God, serves the community and is a launchpad for mission efforts throughout the French speaking world. The task is a daunting one-there are over 275 million French speakers in the world today.

First, here is a brief summary of what we have experienced over the last six months. We began the year with a call to corporate repentance followed by a 21-day fast that ended with a memorable solemn assembly where we saw the leaders and members of our church confess our corporate sins for many hours and recommit themselves to God. It is the general consensus, that already in this first half of the year, we have seen God work his miracles through the conversions, renewed spirit in our worship services and greater humility and unity in our fellowship. Nevertheless, there remains much work to be done. The question is then, how do we continue to build on what God has started while implementing these new lessons from Indonesia in a way that will lead to successfully achieving our goals?

 

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS:

  1. We must seek to multiply and not simply add. Faith and prayer are our strongest weapons. We must depend on God to see the kind of growth that is mind boggling so that he alone can get the glory. A continued focus must be placed on prayer, fasting and asking God to do more than can be humanly explained.

  2. We must seek to become more like him. Reminding everyone that the goal is to imitate Jesus. Everyone encouraging everyone to become more and more like Jesus every day.

  3. We must seek to keep growing at every level:

    1. Young Christian classes to begin this Fall

    2. Leaders training to continue in an even more intentional way

    3. Conversion study classes to begin this Fall

    4. Ministry training classes (MTP) to begin this Fall

    5. Planting of satellite ministries around Montreal: Laval, South Shore, West Island, Anjou.

  4. We must continue to seek partnership with governments, private and other not for profit organizations to better serve the community and do this with the attitude of humility and unconditional love. Seek to serve the community in the following specific ways:

    1. Offer “I Choose Us”, “Good Enough Parenting” and other equipping tools we have as a church to our community through our Bible talk discussions and workshops.

    2. Identifying the needs by asking people who are responsible in the community. And based on our strengths and our passion/interest as a church, begin initiatives to serve in those ways.

 

Dominique and I are grateful for the opportunity the Montreal church afforded us to go to Indonesia to learn these lessons. We came back inspired, motivated and driven to work towards producing a church culture based on faith, love, humility and intentionality.

 

In him,

Stanley and Dominique Dumornay

Une communauté chrétienne désireuse de faire connaître Jésus et de participer au mieux-être collectif.

514 575 1699

      info@ecmontreal.org

9820 rue Meilleur, Montréal, Suite 200, QC H3L 3J4

      

    A Christian community that strives to help others know Jesus and to contribute to the well-being of the community.    

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