Dadeville training center teaches Christians to become multiplying disciple makers
January 3, 2014
The Alabama Baptist (by Grace Thornton)
Dave Treat recently learned a question that he says will drive the rest of his life:
“Am I a disciple worth reproducing?”
He started asking this question while at MetaCamp, a new training center in Dadeville that teaches Christians to make disciples who make more disciples and eventually multiply house churches.
“I went with the feeling that a lot of what I knew about discipleship was incomplete or downright wrong and was ready to have my assumptions and practices challenged. I was not disappointed,” said Treat, director of missional communities at Asbury United Methodist Church, Madison.
After his time at MetaCamp, Treat let go of a lot of theory “in favor of the reality of changed lives,” he said.
That’s what Curtis Sergeant said he hopes MetaCamp does — take Christians from a mindset of “we’re a Christian nation, we already know how to do all this stuff” to a lifestyle of active disciple making.
The command to “make disciples” demands obedience from all Christ followers, but “if you look around, you don’t see a lot of multiplying disciple makers,” said Sergeant, a former International Mission Board (IMB) representative who founded MetaCamp. “We want to equip people to be fruitful disciples for the Kingdom.”
So far, the numbers show that is what’s happening.
Since Sergeant began the camp’s first teaching modules a couple years ago, its participants have started about 200 house churches in the U.S. and 162 overseas, with more than 10,500 new professions of faith.
“Some of those are among what were previously unengaged people groups who now have their first church ever,” he said.
The principles and processes Sergeant teaches are the type taught to full-time missionaries — but they should be used by all Christians, he said.
“There’s not a reason that missionaries would be the only people who get this sort of training,” Sergeant said. “It’s not rocket science, and the principles are applicable to everybody. We wanted to make that kind of training available to ‘ordinary’ believers so that they could be effective citizens here.”
And he said he hopes they might also catch a vision for taking the gospel to some of the world’s unreached peoples.
The first module focuses on being and making disciples who multiply.
“It helps people start simple house churches,” Sergeant said.
The second module, aimed at people who have been “fruitfully implementing” the first, teaches how to multiply house churches and steward a house church movement, he said.
Other modules offer training in missions, working with oral learners and implementing holistic ministry with disciple making.
“It’s very participatory and experiential,” Sergeant said.
“The learning for most modules is done in pairs and small groups.”
Mike Wagner, who attended one of the first MetaCamp training sessions in spring 2012, said what he gained from the experience “far exceeded” his expectations.
He and his wife serve as church planting expedition leaders and strategists for e3 Partners in India, Rwanda and the U.S.
“MetaCamp most strongly affected our problem-solving capacity,” Wagner said.
MetaCamp will hold its first one-week module at its new Lake Martin facility Jan. 27–31. Until now Sergeant, who also served with e3 Partners and as director of church planting at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., has been teaching the modules to groups in his Alabama home.
For more information, call Sergeant at 214-802-6850 or visit www.metacamp.org.