Read this profound story shared by one of our staff members about his time as an M:28 Bible Study facilitator.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it will even be more fruitful,” John 15:12 (NLT).
If you are familiar with our blog or our ministry, you have probably heard of the M:28 Discovery Bible study. The study, which is part of the M:28 Global Discipleship initiative, goes above and beyond the “typical” Bible study. We often refer to it often as a reproducible, accessible study that anyone can participate in and even lead!
As our M:28 website states, students in the M:28 process “experience authentic biblical community and are imprinted from the very first day with the DNA of spiritual multiplication.”
One of our staff members, who helped design the M:28 Discovery Bible Study curriculum, has had the privilege of training international students to implement and facilitate the curriculum in their respective home countries. His story highlights the very reason we are so blessed to be able to share this amazing study with international students from all over the world.
When sharing his experience, our staff member mentioned that one M:28 training in particular stood out to him. He and other ISI staff members were hosting an M:28 course to train ministry leaders and mobilizers on how to implement the study.
“One of the girls who was in training came up to us and asked us if it would be okay if her friend attended the training the following day,” he said.
She and her friend, a Chinese scholar, were planning on hanging out the next day after the training. We said, “Sure why not?”
The friend, who was not a believer, came to the training the following day.
“Training is very practical,” the staff member continued. “We go through and practice doing an M:28 Discovery Bible Study. We select different passages for them to go through together as they practice the M:28 process together. We do several iterations of that in our training session so that it gets imprinted in the trainees.”
The staff member said he happened to select John 15 for the group to discuss that day.
“That’s the message of the vine where Jesus was talking about God pruning the vine and how it’s necessary for our growth and our maturing process,” he said. “It was not an easy passage for the group to deal with. I kind of hesitated when I selected the passage, but I just felt impelled to do it.”
The students wrestled with the passage. While discussing its implications, the staff member could tell that they were having a hard time with it.
“At the end of that session, we talked about it as a group. I said, ‘Now, why do you think I selected that passage?’ And it was really interesting. The visiting Chinese student shot her hand up and said, immediately, ‘I know why.’”
She was the only non-Christian in the whole group. Our staff member remembered that his ISI colleague, the one who invited the Chinese scholar to the training, had previously shared with the staff that she had been witnessing to this scholar.
“She told us the scholar just seemed to be stuck somewhere,” he said. “It was as if there was a barrier and our colleague was not sure she could get past that barrier.”
But there she was at the training. The scholar, with her hand raised told the group that she had really been thinking about “the whole faith thing.”
“She said, ‘I’m just really starting to understand why things happen the way they do in life.’ And then she asked, ‘Where’s God? And why does God allow those things to happen?’”
She told the group that in her degree program, she does a lot of work with plants.
“I work in a greenhouse,” she shared, “where we have to prune. I get it. This passage—the reason why you chose this passage today was for me.”
That was it!
Our staff member realize at that moment, that the whole point of that M:28 session was for that one person, the one non-believer in the group.
“God just impressed upon my heart to pick that passage,” he said, “because she was going to be there. Because that passage was going to clarify for her the role of God in her life!”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it will even be more fruitful.” John 15:12 (NLT).
For More Information
Learn more about the M:28 Global Discipleship Initiative.
Read testimonies from students whose lives have been touched by our ministry.