Reporting Back From CPx East Africa
I’ve successfully completed leading my first CPx East Africa (CPxEA). CPx stands for church planting experience and is [All Nations] flagship church planting & discipleship program. I’ve learned a lot about running a training event locally so I thought I’d pass on some basic details about the experience (for those that enjoy that sort of information).
The idea of CPxEA started about a year and a half ago and really began to take shape in November as I dreamed with visitors from Cape Town. I then drafted some local CPx grads from Cape Town into the process to help dream and plan and run the first CPx in the east African context.
Together we decided early on to run with it without any specific marketing. If we’d advertised & marketed it we would have gotten close to a 1000 signups but little real interest (there is a culture of moving from training to training and foreigner to foreigner). We wanted though to focus on those we knew were interested in CP through intentional discipleship. My colleagues and I specifically invited those we were discipling that were putting forth the effort to disciple others and see church planted.
In the end we had 20 students registered but 5 were unable to attend due to a variety of border and family issues. We wanted to have a smaller class size in an attempt to maximize time with students; this worked out well as all of the staff knew the students by name and even more importantly, knew their stories by the end of our time together. This ability to get to know the students I think will be invaluable in the coaching phase of CPxEA over the coming year. Another intentional decision was to cater predominantly to local culture rather than western culture. We did end up with 1 American student but that was quite random, last minute and unexpected. Surprisingly, we were also split almost down the middle in male-female numbers. I was actually encouraged and excited by this as women play a key role in mission.
Our venue was amazing but simple. It was very basic: dorm style beds, outdoor toilets, no running water (so bucket showers!) & mostly rice or ugali and a bit of veg for lunch and dinner. It was on about 70 acres of wildlife reserve so we would occasionally see antelope, giraffe or wildebeest as we walked to our training hall; being a lover of nature, I particularly enjoyed this as a quiet blessing from the Lord.
From a content standpoint, we tailored to who the students were: individuals in rural African contexts, some with limited education, sometimes struggling through life. This means we intentionally wanted to focus holistically on life & not just the practicals of mission. We ended up having 2 concurrent tracks that tied together really nicely in the end: the first was the CP & discipleship skills that made the program a CPx and the second revolved around worldview and personal development matters. About 2/3rds of our time was spent in track 1 with the rest of our time spent in track 2. We started the training off casting vision of the goal and ended by pulling most everything taught together in a comprehensive model of what sustainable and healthy movements look like.
For those that might be interested, track 2 included topics like financial management (both personal & business), time management, leading our families well, kingdom culture/worldview understanding & generally having vision for where our lives are heading. We went as deep as we could in the time that we had but we see this as the beginning - not the end - of training. We also did nightly discovery Bible studies (DBSs) walking through the book of Acts so that we could pull these varied threads from Acts together to tell the story of the first churches. Our time bringing things together worked really, really well; the students seemed to grasp it all in the model presented. It’s a slight revision to the common characteristics of CPM that David Garrison first wrote about that I found in a book called ”The Wheel Model”. Our top 4 dynamic sessions were probably Discovering Church (taught by my friend [Noah Kaye]), Biblical Family Values (taught by my Kenyan friend George), African Traditional Religion vs Jesus (introduced by me & then facilitated by George & and my Ugandan friend Wilson) & then Business as Mission (taught by the senior leader in Cape Town, Neil Hart). The middle 2 were particularly important as they pressed into & challenged the traditional African worldview.
I had 2 primary short term goals & 2 primary long term goals to be worked out for CPxEA: a) Empower East African CP coaches & trainers (ST), b) Train East African disciple makers (ST), c) identify emerging East African CP leaders for coaching & mentoring (LT) & d) Identify potential AN members (LT). A worked out well, I think. B also went well, though we view this as the start of the process. C & D are both long term goals that will be worked out in the internship process & beyond.
I’ve wrote above about an “internship”; this starts now. Each student has a primary coach (this is the person that invited them except in the case of the individuals from YWAM). I’m primary for a few students as well but will also be working directly with the coaches & intentionally visiting all of the students that are following thru in the latter half of the internship (primary coaches are taking point in the first half to build relationship & authority).
We learned a lot in this process. Hopefully future CPxEAs will run more smoothly because of the groundwork laid here. It a joy and a privilege to be able to train, mentor and coach in this context. I look forward to the years ahead as result of the groundwork laid here.