Introduction by Roy Moran, Senior Pastor of Shoal Creek Community Church in Liberty, Missouri.
Two years ago, two 20-somethings, Derek and Shea Poe, set out from Shoal Creek Community Church in Pleasant Valley, Missouri, on the journey of a lifetime. Shea grew up in the Shoal Creek family. After graduating from Northwest Missouri State University with her husband Derek, they moved back to Kansas City, where they got this crazy idea to change the world.
As they were going through their pre-marriage counseling with me,they started to dream of what life could look like on the other side of the pond. Shoal Creek has been in relationships with a few ministries and organizations in South Africa for the past five years. Through these relationships, Derek and Shea were provided the opportunity to leave Kansas City to disciple young people in South Africa.
Derek and Shea consider Shoal Creek their home and count it a privilege to be the liaison between this Kansas City community and South Africa. Shoal Creek continues to organize and host trips to South Africa to add strength to the existing teams and work there.
Transforming a Region Through Transformed Goals
by Derek and Shea Poe
The past two years have proved to be some of the most exciting times in terms of our involvement in South Africa. With that excitement, comes a daunting question we've had to ask ourselves. What will it take to get past the religious veneer and finally address the countless issues plaguing South Africa?
After a long journey, who would have thought getting back to what Jesus did, making obedient disciples, would be the answer. We have discovered a way to disciple people that has exponential implications where entire families, communities, villages, provinces, and in the end, nations are being discipled. We are still in the early days in South Africa, but God is on the move.
A movement can't be done alone. A movement is not one person doing many great things, but many people doing significant, yet small, things. In May of last year we partnered with the TAN (Transform a Nation) Foundation, and David Broodryk began helping us learn the ins and outs of CPM (Church Planting Movements).
We've applied our learning to everything that we presently do in South Africa. We work in a village located in the Eastern Cape called Bhukwini. For years we had been supporting a child sponsorship program bringing in food parcels on a monthly basis. This proved to be a good thing that fed orphaned children of 60 different families in the community.
After many years of doing this, we began to realize that this was never going to become a great thing until we were no longer seen as the provider in the community. When we tried to point to God as the provider of the parcels, we in turn always got the praise. We have now revamped our work there to help people in the community begin their own self-sustaining garden through a type of farming called Farming God's Way.
A local man named Vumile has done some amazing work with the people there. The people of Bhukwini love the fact that they now can show us what they are doing instead of showing up every month for a food parcel. Through this process, we hope to start finding people who are open to spirituality and discovering for themselves who God is.
These are the types of people through whom the Gospel can be planted and perpetuated. We have learned and seen that only when the bride of Christ is planted within a community will true transformation emerge. The orphans and widows can be cared for from within their own community, a woman's value can be renewed, crime can be reduced, and HIV's destructive path can be detoured.
Through partnerships with other ministries, the east coast of South Africa has become a huge focus. Most political and spiritual power comes from the Zulu and Xhosa tribes who live in this region. There have been two coalitions of ministries and business leaders who want to see CPM happen in this country. The east coast is ripe for a movement of people who are sick of religion and ready for true transformation in the lives of the people who live here.
All of this is big-picture information, but the beautiful part of what we do is the stuff that is seemingly small, yet is the most vital part of this whole thing. Watching people actually read the Bible—many for the first time—and realize that this book actually applies to how they live each and every day is incredible.
In CPM, we use a process called a discovery group where people not only learn to read the Bible but, most importantly, obey the things they are learning. When people say things like, “I didn't realize God created the earth to be good and that we’ve messed that up, this week I will pick up the trash I've been throwing down” and “Through reading this I’ve realized that God is with me all the time. This week I will say I’m sorry for the things I do,” it becomes addicting. And we are so addicted to seeing God transform Southern Africa through many people becoming obedient to His word!
The exciting thing is that our work in South Africa is just a start. We are a part of a team, composed of different ministries, asking the question of how we can disciple the 15 countries that reside in Southern Africa. One leader from Madagascar has seen a movement begin among the people in the rain forest. The people he reaches out to are isolated and landlocked; not counted by the government. These specific people groups and tribes have never heard the Gospel before. He has seen thousands of churches planted through the discovery-group process over the past few years. Within the next year we hope to begin breaking into some of these countries alongside Xhosa and Zulu leaders emerging from the harvest in South Africa.