Friday is for Heart Songs

Puting Church Planting on the MapToday I was reading the most recent DCPI (Dynamic Church Planting International) newsletter and ran across this great story from a church planting training that just occurred in Cambodia. I have said this before but it is worth saying again, DCPI is the most effective church planting organization in the history of the church. No one trains more church planters, more effectively, in more places than DCPI. No one. Ever.

The year 2014 was their most prolific complete year with over 16,520 people receiving training in one of the their training modules. This year with two months still to report they have seen approximately 18,000 people trained and are headed toward 20,000 trained for the entire year. Based on past performance, those 20,000 trainees will plant over 54,000 churches over the next 5 years.

Think about that. Think hard about it.

Think about 54,000 new communities around the world hearing the Good News, the only news that can transform murderers into lovers, terrorists into pastors, and transform communities ravaged by the savagery of human sinfulness. Think about that and then read this true story from a training in Cambodia.

As a pastor rose to greet the crowd, Visoth, the host, leaned over and whispered to the DCPI Master Trainer’s (MT) ear, ‘This pastor was a Khmer Rouge commander.’ The pastor spoke, and several men in attendance stood and were recognized with applause. ‘That was the mayor this village, and the man before him was the mayor of the town to which this village belongs. They both used to report to the pastor when they were in the Khmer Rouge. The pastor invited his former comrades to today’s building dedication service, and he’s thanking those who are here.’

As the host explained to the MT, many Christian ministries in Cambodia are not comfortable working with people who were formerly members of the Khmer Rouge. These were followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (Cambodia) which is remembered especially for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 in which 1.5 to 3 million people (25% of the population) died of torture, mass executions, forced labor, and malnutrition.

What is remarkable about Visoth’s ministry is that he was himself a victim of the Khmer Rouge. His family was forcibly relocated from Phnom Penh to the Battambang are of Cambodia, where both is parents and one of his siblings died. Visoth managed to escape Cambodian under cover of the Vietnamese invasion of 1978. He became a Christian while working in the refugee camps in Thailand, and as a Cambodian American he became pastor of the Goldenwest Christian Church in Los Angeles. He leads Hope for Cambodia, a ministry that plants churches and equips Christian leaders.

Not only former Khmer Rouge members and their victims were represented at church that Sunday. As the Master Trainer looked around the Cambodian congregation he recognized a leader from a sister church two hours away, a former member of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, an anti-communist political and paramilitary organization.

The gospel is the ‘power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile’ (Romans 1:16 NIV), to the Khmer Rouge and to their victims and to the Cambodian Freedom Fighters. History has conspired to turn people against one another in Cambodia, but the love of Christ has proven powerful enough to bring grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation among all. As with all mankind, herein is the hope of Cambodia.

Two Ways to Rejoice in the Ministry of DCPI:

  • Pray for the continued effectiveness of DCPI’s training.
  • Consider a gift to underwrite the FREE training that they offer to church planters around the world. (Here’s the link to the DCPI online giving page.)
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One thought on “The Gospel Makes Hated Enemies into Brothers

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