Updated: Sep 2, 2021
If you expect to see fruit in ministry, also expect spiritual opposition
Peter is a disciple-maker in West Africa who is reaching out to Muslims to start Discovery Bible Studies that multiply to the next generation. In today's story, he recounts his experience of pushing through spiritual warfare while on the cusp of reaching second-generation DBS.
Everything Went Well Until We Started Multiplying Disciples
We're in a situation where it seems like there's a lot of spiritual warfare going on. For the last 4-5 years, things have been going well for me and my family of 4 kids. Ministry and work have gone smoothly.
Then, just a couple of months ago, as we were beginning to reach second-generation Discovery Bible Studies, something happened. Things started off well for our second-gen DBS's, but after a few months, it seemed nothing was moving forward. Nobody was getting past the third meeting. Gatherings were cancelled, people got sick, deaths and funerals interrupted our rhythms, and Ramadan took precedence for many of our Muslim DBS attendees.
As all this was happening, we thought, "Something is going wrong here."
As all this was happening, we thought, "Something is going wrong here." So, we began to lean into prayer. One of my Discovery Groups is comprised of three Muslim men. We were smooth sailing until lesson 19—where we read in Scripture that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Some of them started cancelling on me.
Pushing Through Endless Interruptions, Domestic Violence, and Sickness
Once we finally got together, someone was working on their motorcycle outside the compound where we were meeting. It seemed that every time I tried to speak, the mechanic would rev the engine and drown out my words. We pushed through and completed the Discovery Study for that week.
However, I was anxious for the next lesson when we would follow up on their lessons and action steps. Unfortunately, the next week we had more cancellations! I was disappointed, but we still met after delaying a few weeks.
At last, we met. Right as we began the meeting, one of my Persons of Peace grew agitated with his wife about something. They began fighting right in front of us. The husband started chasing after and taking swings at his wife. The others pulled him away, but he returned, fuming, with a wooden bat in hand.
The husband started chasing after and taking swings at his wife.
Once we finally diffused the situation, we sat down to study. The spiritual atmosphere I was hoping for, however, was gone. Right as we began settling into reading the Scripture passage, one of the men's little daughter toddled into the middle of the room and began throwing up, over and over.
Then we had to clean up the mess. Surprisingly, the men stuck with it and we actually did the Bible study. Though it seemed like everything was against us making it happen, they were able to repeat back the story and seemed to connect with Jesus being the Lamb of God.
Lessons from Peter's Ministry
I've been through a lot in my 38 years in ministry in Africa. Every time we hit a wall and experience hard times, as long as we push through it with patience, it has always resulted in the most fruitful disciple-making. Satan doesn't like it when you're doing well, so he's going to give you problems. But if you remain faithful and trust God through it, God will multiply your obedience!
Podcast: How do you Fight the Spiritual Fight in your Ministry?
Is it just stress, or is this spiritual warfare? As Christians in the West, it’s easy to forget that we are spiritually at war. Satan, our enemy, is both clever and ruthless and is actively seeking to destroy God’s children and His work. In a world so full of stress, though, how can we tell if our bad days are natural or if they’re an attack by the enemy?
In this podcast, Beck Ewing and David Watson talk about ways to identify spiritual warfare, especially in a ministry context, and how we can combat the enemy's plans.
Normal stress vs. spiritual warfare
Steps to take to prevent opening doors for Satan
Using obedience as a shield against spiritual warfare