In the Great Commission, Jesus commands his followers to "make disciples of all nations." Unfortunately, throughout much of history, the Church has often been content to make converts, people who attend religious services and claim allegiance to the Christian faith but whose worldview and behavior are little different from those of unbelievers around them. Hope In View exists to help churches become more effective at making disciples, people who think and act increasingly like Jesus.
How are disciples made? Not usually through information transfer alone. To change our worldview and behavior usually requires lots of interaction around Jesus' teachings with fellow followers who love us, with whom we can be honest, and who will hold us accountable. This kind of thing takes place best in small groups. There are examples of this kind of small group throughout Scripture, including Jesus' own ministry to his disciples, and throughout church history. Furthermore, both Old and New Testaments give instructions on how such groups are to be shepherded and mentored so that together they form healthy communities whose life together, lived under God's rule, is so attractive to non-believers that they become open to hearing the Good News. Hope In View therefore works to help churches develop such disciple-making small groups, with networks of "shepherds" providing ongoing training and personal pastoral care to every one of the small number of people in each group. Our goal is to produce visible Christian communities of people who have been noticeably transformed by the gospel, and whose lives and actions model what life is like in the kingdom of God.
And what is life like in the kingdom of God? It involves more than spiritual matters. Jesus commanded his followers to "teach everything I have commanded." Spiritual life is at the core of the Good News, but the Bible contains instructions for how to prosper socially, politically, economically, health-wise, and in many other ways. Jesus didn't just invite people to "pray this prayer so you can go to heaven;" He announced that "the kingdom of God is at hand." This is a far bigger gospel, with far bigger implications about all areas of our lives, than many people realize. Hope In View strives to explain this "gospel of the kingdom" to everyone with whom we work.
As a part of this gospel of the kingdom, Hope In View helps followers grasp and implement the economic teachings in the Bible, with a view toward the fact that it is not God's will for poverty to grind down His beloved children. This has led to the development of self-help savings groups and other economic development projects for individuals. Biblical teachings on dependency have likewise given rise to strategies for churches to become self-sustaining without outside support. In addition, various small groups have already created ingenious local applications of this gospel of the kingdom which have improved life for their communities. And they're just getting started....
For more details on our model of ministry, see A Model for Sustainable Transformation: Lessons Learned from Ethiopia