Discipleship for Disciplers during COVID-19
Ministry is meaningful work, but it’s challenging—and the coronavirus pandemic has made ministry especially demanding for ministry leaders throughout the world.
When COVID-19 caused restrictions, Paul Yu, Resonate Global Mission’s regional mission leader for East and Central Asia, noticed that the needs of communities weighed heavily on missionaries in the region he leads.
The people they ministered with were struggling with sickness, loss, and fear. With worries and challenges of their own, it wasn’t long before missionaries were exhausted and burned out.
“[Missionaries] have been giving themselves to the people around them as if they were running a 100-meter dash. Their souls are tired and broken,” said Paul.
As a regional leader for Resonate, part of Paul’s job is to support ministry leaders in the field. He prayed and asked God for direction on how to come alongside missionaries during the pandemic—and God led the way.
A few years ago, Paul became certified as a trainer with Spiritual Direction, a ministry that walks alongside people as they deepen their relationship with God. With the Holy Spirit’s leading, Paul offered discipleship courses over video call for missionaries in the region who needed support during the coronavirus pandemic.
In less than 24 hours, the discipleship course was full: 30 people from four different countries serving with many different ministries signed up.
“The need is great,” said Paul. “I can see they have been really hungry for genuine and intimate connection with God.”
Each week, missionaries gathered together online to read Scripture, pray together, and share about their worries and challenges. Paul was able to provide precious support and discipleship for missionaries who are often busy supporting and discipling others.
The Holy Spirit has worked in powerful and surprising ways to heal ministry leaders in the discipleship course.
Mark (not his real name) said that he’s been able to heal from past hurts and change his posture in ministry through Paul’s discipleship. Mark’s parents couldn’t take care of him and left him at a young age with a family who didn’t seem to care for him. It stirred something inside of him to prove his worth.
“I wanted to prove my life through my achievements,” he said. “I lived an insanely busy life without taking care of and spending quality time with my wife and children.”
Through the discipleship course, Mark finally understood what had been driving his behavior. “I focused only on ‘doing’ rather ‘being,’” he said. “I repented of my sin. I am a changed person now. I am so joyful that the relationship with my family has been reconciled...we have lots of laughter in my family nowadays.”
Mark’s wife, who was also in the training, cried as she shared about the change she noticed in her husband. “I feel as if something like a scale has finally been peeled off from his eyes,” she said. “He is a different person now.”
Mark said that the discipleship course gave him “new life.” He’s better equipped and energized for ministry now!
“Marks’ story is one of the many testimonies who took the training,” said Paul. “Another participant said that the course was like an oasis in the desert.”
Missionaries constantly point people to God, but sometimes missionaries need someone to guide them in taking time to slow down and spend time with God, too. That’s why sending agencies like Resonate are important.