It all started with 100 people groups in Southern Africa…
In 1999, World Mission Centre (WMC), a missions organization located in Pretoria, South Africa, was burdened by the plight of the 100 least reached people groups in the 21 countries of Southern Africa. These people groups had no access to the Gospel, and yet, were relatively close to a highly evangelized South Africa.
World Mission Centre decided to create a missionary force whose sole aim and purpose was to enter and live amongst these people groups, preach the gospel, make disciples, and plant churches.
A team would be sent to each people group and each team would have two leaders. But the question soon became: How do you train leaders who are equipped to oversee a team and evangelize a people group from start to finish?
At that time, there was simply no missions training available to train believers without sending them to a seminary for at least two years. And even with seminary training, reaching an unreached people group required training in specific, practical, and often unusual ways that were rarely taught in seminaries.
In the absence of a curriculum, WMC director, Willie Crew, worked with an international coalition of pastors, professors, businessmen, and missionaries to custom design a curriculum that would train believers in the usual subjects of theology, leadership, evangelism, folk religion, and cross cultural communication, but also in specific needs for the project such as community health, perseverance in ministry, Islam, and cell church planting.
In addition, the development team recognized that for the leaders to be fully equipped and able to persevere in ministry, there needed to be a large amount of character development within the curriculum.
The developing team was made up of leaders such as Dr. Bill Taylor of the Missions Commission of World Evangelical Alliance, Dr. Jon Lewis, the Associate Director of the Missions Commission, Dr. John Kayser, the Africa Coordinator of Bethany Fellowship International, Pastor Willie Crew, Bayo Famonure of Nigeria, and twenty other South African missions trainers.
Once the curriculum was created and the lecturers secured, 51 students of many different ages and from around the world came to Pretoria to participate in the nine month program at that time called Project Focus.
In a chance – but God-ordained – way the directors decided to film the lectures in case anyone would want to go back and review the courses. God miraculously provided professional cameras, filming equipment, a film crew and a studio to record the class lectures.
After six months of lectures and small outreaches, the students were given a team and sent out to the 100 least reached people groups of Southern Africa. Some of the people groups the students ministered amongst lived in areas difficult, isolated areas and held worldviews steeped in animism and Islam.
Despite the hardships during their months in the field, students saw extraordinary breakthroughs in healing, deliverance and salvation. Breakthroughs also came through acts of kindness, such as digging water wells or plowing and planting a field with corn. By the end of that one outreach phase, 33 least reached and unreached people groups had the beginnings of a church for the first time in history.
Today, 99 out of the 100 unreached people groups in Southern Africa have self-sustaining and multiplying churches.
The first team of students to go through the curriculum was so successful that WMC decided to send another group of believers through the video lectures. They too did immensely well in the field and planted churches among new people groups.
After two or three years, WMC, with a heart for the local church, edited and codified the videos into a series of DVDs that could be transported to small, local churches all across Africa so that pastors could train their members to be missionaries in their own and surrounding people groups.
The curriculum was named Live School and the task of the Great Commission was given to indigenous, national believers who could now receive seminary-level training to reach their own community.
Live School was so successful at training indigenous believers in Southern Africa – believers who not only reached their own people group but went as full time missionaries to other countries – that WMC decided to translate and dub the English curriculum into various languages so that indigenous believers all over the world could be equipped and sent out.
In 2006, the Russian translation was launched and fifteen schools started immediately within the Former Soviet Union (or Commonwealth of Independent States). In 2007, the Arabic translation was completed. Soon, Swahili, Farsi, Turkish, Korean, and French versions were launched.
Today, over 900 Live Schools are running in 65 countries. Live School has trained, or is currently training, over 10,900 believers, most of whom are full-time missionaries in their own or neighboring countries.
With changing technology, the curriculum is now transported on a small device that can be connected to a television, computer or tablet.
Live School works across the whole of Africa, the Former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Central America, and Korea. Portuguese and Spanish translations are near completion and plans for Hindi, Mandarin, Indonesian (Bahasa) and Mongolian translations are underway. We pray these new translations will train many believers in South America, Asia, and Europe.
The dream of Live School is to train one million missionaries who will reach the last unreached people groups and will finish the task of the Great Commission. We are convinced the task can only be completed if local, indigenous believers are inspired, equipped, and sent out to reach their own people.
Be a part of equipping and sending thousands of passionate, local laborers into the harvest.