The Mission and Goals of SOWERS International
In Luke 14:15-24, Jesus tells an incredible story, a parable that reveals how God feels about the people who don’t know him, and what he expects the church to do about it.
Verse 23 shows how much God wants everyone to be a known and valued part of his family:
“Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in so that my house may be filled.”
In other words, go anywhere and everywhere you can think of, and don’t leave anyone out. Don’t write anyone off. Don’t say they’re too old, too young, too rich, too poor, too illiterate, too offensive, too dirty, or too cynical.
For anyone who is truly hungry or thirsty for “living water,” God will satisfy them.
Mission: A Big Vision for What God Can Do
We want to see every nation transformed by the power of the gospel.
We want to see churches planted, local leaders raised up, and the people who’ve been written off by the rest of the world given a chance to hear about God’s love for them. This is the mission of the church, and it’s the mission of SOWERS.
Goal: Touch Every Part of a Nation
How do we fulfill our mission? We partner with and train local churches, and empower them to go spread the gospel in their communities. After they learn our method, they go out and use it. We support them if they ask for it, but ultimately, a new church can develop its own methods of spreading further out. They can adapt what we do to their local needs, figure out what works, and keep reaching farther and deeper into their nation.
Most nations are comprised of districts, or states, or regions, or provinces of some sort. Our goal is to reach every last corner in each specific nation.
In Zambia, for example, at a 2015 open air meeting, a local Headman gave his life to Jesus. Afterward he brought all his snake skins and other charms and burned them. Even better, he’s now producing what John the Baptist calls “fruit worthy of repentance” in Matt 3:8.
What fruit is he producing? This former Headman has since been trained in both Level 1 and Level 2 of the SOWERS Training Program, and is ready to go out with a team of Sowers, having left his old life and titles behind.
Goal: Break Strongholds Across the World
How many demonic strongholds (like Paul describes in Eph 6:12) like this exist in Zambia? What about in the whole continent of Africa? What about the world?
One strategic meeting, one training, one presentation, one counselor, one witness, one testimony, and one prayer at a time, we intend to reach every last person in each nation and make sure they’ve been invited into God’s kingdom.
We are taking the gospel to the highways and hedges. We are compelling people to come to an open air meeting in the street and hear something their soul desperately needs to hear.
So far, we’ve impacted over 20 nations:
In Africa: Ivory Coasts, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Congo
In Asia: Philippines, India, Nepal, and Hong Kong
Goal: Train Local Leaders, Multiply Churches
We’ve been doing this for decades, and in that time, millions of people have heard the gospel.
Way back in 2000, just in Zambia, there were 84 teams of Sowers who planted 41 churches, shared the gospel with over 28,700 people, and discipled almost 3500 of those to a mature faith.
And that’s just one year in one nation. The numbers are staggering. But remember – it all happens one person at a time.
“Emmanual had the opportunity to lead a team of 92 church planters. At the end of the 5-day programme, 758 decisions were made and 7 new churches were planted.” - Kwesi, Regional Director West Africa, 2003
If you look at the map of Africa at the start of this page, you can see how many more nations, just in that continent, that we haven’t reached yet. And though there is lots of great work being done by other organizations, churches, and missionaries, the unique strength of SOWERS is the replication.
We don’t just start a church and leave. We train local leaders from existing churches how to use our open air method of preaching and follow-up counseling and discipleship. We help them create booklets and sketch boards.
They adapt our training and materials into their language and figure out how to best apply it to their local community and the surrounding areas. This leads to more churches that in turn get trained to use the same method again. God likes multiplication more than addition.
Need: Why Open Air Meetings? And Why Do They Work So Well?
Literacy rates in most of these African nations hovers around 60%, though it varies quite a bit by nation. It also varies by gender, with women usually less literate.
Why does this matter? Because expecting an illiterate person to read the Bible or a story from it is… not going to work for millions of people. Incidentally, this was a primary motivation back in the 1700s in the U.S. for establishing schools and universities – to increase the ability of more people to read their Bibles. The mission of the church may be linked to education, but it cannot be dependent on it.
So while the education systems of these nations continue to struggle, and lots of nonprofits do noble work to help with that, we want people to hear about God’s love today!
And that’s one reason open air meetings are so effective here. Because you don’t need to be able to read in order to understand the message. The 40% or more people who are illiterate are no longer excluded from hearing the gospel.
Touching every part of every nation, breaking strongholds, training leaders, and multiplying churches through local open air evangelism.
This is what SOWERS does.
Do you want to be a part of fulfilling the mission of the church, the Great Commission?