Sustainability was key to Jesus’ ministry. That’s why the slow and steady win the race.
Jesus came to this earth 2,000 years ago to start a movement that changed the course of history forever. And it took him three years of ministry to do it.
For those three years, Jesus ministered to and with his disciples. And it wasn’t a once-a-week sort of thing. They lived together, ate together, talked together. He taught them, asked them questions, showed them things they never could have imagined. They speculated about theology and politics together. They laughed and cried, discussed frustrations and problems, prayed a lot. Finally, after the crucifixion and the resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and left what would later become Christianity in their hands:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)
The disciples probably didn’t realize it, but for those three intensive years, Jesus was preparing them to take over his earthly ministry. That, after all, was why they were called the disciples. Jesus was discipling these leaders to minister to the future church.
At Kibo, we consider the work we do in the village ministry. We don’t always talk about Jesus or God or the gospel. We live Jesus by helping communities gain access to clean water, teaching them how to plant trees, showing them how to prevent illnesses in their families, helping them improve their economic prospects, and so much more.
But, just like Jesus, we take sustainability seriously. Jesus came to earth for a short time, but because he discipled and taught — instead of just giving handouts — his ministry and his followers live on even 2,000 years later.
At Kibo, we want the same thing. We want to be in our partner villages forever. Not literally, but through the sustainable presence of healthier, happier, better communities. That’s why we teach communities ownership and skills rather than just giving things away. That’s also why we spend a lot of time with our partner villages. We often work with communities for 3-5 years.
Because we patiently teach and disciple, Jesus will continue living on in these villages, too. Just as we show Christ’s love through action, the individuals and groups we mentor will carry on the love of Jesus in their communities — long after Kibo is gone.