Using the ChronoBridge in a Togo Village
TOGO--WEST AFRICA—Yesterday, I used the Chronological Bridge to Life (ChronoBridge), from the Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship resources, to share the Gospel in a group setting. We were in a village in the bush here in Togo called Tagbolo-Kopé, an animist village where our small church is the only church. Two weeks previously I had asked the minimally-trained pastor if I could come and preach so that I could say good-bye to the church before our furlough.
He asked if I could have someone show an evangelistic film on the Saturday night before, to which I agreed to do. Beky Poteat, who handles the films in the villages, sent an African brother and one of our pastors out for that evening. They showed the film and the pastor preached a Gospel message, to essentially the entire village.
I knew that my Sunday ministry would be a follow-up to this so as I prayed and considered what to do. I was led to the idea of using the Chronological Bridge to Life because I knew I only had the one day to talk to this group and that this particular Gospel presentation provided a solid framework for understanding the Gospel. On Sunday the little church was filled with about 35 people. I had decided to divide the presentation into two parts since I was teaching Sunday school and then preaching in the morning service. My wife had made a poster for each truth on the ChronoBridge. At the end of Sunday school and then at the end of the church service, I had children come and hold the posters as I gave a summary. In the Sunday school hour I taught about God, man, sin, and death and then left them in tension as we stopped to sing and take a little break before the next service (I taught for about an hour). In the morning service (which was approximately another hour of teaching), I started by asking if there was anyone who could explain the first four truths on the ChronoBridge. One woman stood up and did an excellent job of explaining each of the truths and its relationship to the others. This was encouraging because I initially had a hard time getting responses to questions during the teaching time (many times the people are intimidated to answer questions). During the remainder of the service, I taught the additional four truths to the group and concluded by asking if anyone was interested in learning how to accept Christ as Savior.
The pastor then gave an invitation and five people responded by coming forward. He explained to those who responded that if they were genuinely interested they would need to stay after everyone else left and all five people stayed. I then spent the next 45 minutes talking with each person individually. The thing that was encouraging to me was that each person seemed to have an excellent grasp on the truths presented and their relationship to each other. Even as I asked questions to clarify what they understood, it came back to the foundational truths we had discussed. In this cultural setting, it is very important to make sure that the people truly understand the Gospel because the people are so open to receiving what you say. I am thankful for the solid framework the ChronoBridge provides—I believe it is essential especially in this culture. Yesterday, five souls were added to the family of God as God used this tool to work in their hearts in such an understandable fashion. I would have to say from a teacher’s perspective, this is the first time I have ever used this tool in a group format and it discovered that really provides a versatile format for teaching. I will be using this again in the future as opportunities such as this present themselves in this field of Togo, which is definitely white for harvest.
-ABWE Missionary Jim Gerhart