Our movement in Germany began over 300 years ago. Swimming upstream against the current model of “church,” eight men and women were willing to risk all in their efforts to establish a church that reflected the priorities and values of the New Testament.
For a decade or so, their efforts were rewarded and the church steadily grew. Then came a change in provincial leadership, and persecution caused them to immigrate to the newly founded Penn’s Colony (Pennsylvania).
I’d like to take us back to that historic moment when the original eight stepped out in faith and were baptized as adults, a practice that drew persecution in many parts of Europe:
“All eight were baptized in an early morning hour. After they had all emerged from the water, and had dressed themselves again, they were all immediately clothed inwardly with great joyfulness. This significant word was then impressed upon them through grace: ‘Be fruitful and multiply!’“1
What a great way to capture the essence of our movement! In spite of a few significant setbacks over the years, our “branch” continues to encourage sacrificial lifestyles that position us to bear much fruit for God around the world.
At Encompass World Partners, we are striving to reflect this early commitment to “Be fruitful and multiply” in terms that also capture our passion for deploying teams to make disciples and plant churches among the least-reached of our world. It is captured in four, simple and compelling words: More fruitful disciple-making teams.
Take a moment to repeat this phrase four times, pausing each time to emphasize a different word. Do you sense how each reading shines a spotlight on a different Encompass value? I encourage you to join those of us who daily are asking God for more fruitful disciple-making teams! 1 See Brethren Beginnings: The Origin of the Church of the Brethren in Early Eighteenth-Century Europe by Donald F. Durnbaugh (Brethren Encyclopedia: 1992) pg. 23.
Originally published in April 2013
by Dave Guiles