120. Dave Coles – Cabbages in the Desert #1

In this episode we are talking to Dave Coles, hearing about his exciting new book release, ‘Cabbages in the Desert: How God transformed a devout Muslim and Catalyzed Disciple Making Movements among Unreached Peoples’. This is the story of Aila Tasse from East Africa who we have been hearing from in recent podcasts (see Aila’s list of podcasts at the bottom of these show notes).

Cabbages in the Desert is now available in both a hard or soft copy here.

Dave Coles also returns to speak with us after sharing back in episode 16 about his other great book, ‘The Bhojpuri Breakthrough: A Movement that Keeps Multiplying‘.

Why another book?

Dave Coles shares how ‘The Bhojpuri Breakthrough’ is a movement case study specific to just one movement that is happening amongst Hindus in India. More in depth stories of what is really happening amongst other movements, particularly amongst Muslims is needed. 

Movement is never one size fits all. ‘Cabbages in the Desert‘ shares how God is involved in movements across many different contexts but with the same DNA principles of DMM. 

Aila’s story is also powerful and unique since it describes a movement amongst Muslims with some identity and clarity to it. A timely case study for those who are perhaps suspicious as to whether movement is really happening amongst Muslims today.

“I don’t want to be made into a Christian”

We can see a difference in the roles of an ‘inside’ compared to an ‘outside’ leader in DMM:

When Aila first heard the Gospel, his response was, “I don’t want to be made into a Christian”. However, his powerful testimony describes a slow transition to follow Jesus as a devout Muslim searching for forgiveness. In fact he initially made fun of his Christian teacher. Yet this faithful teacher was still used by God as an ‘outsider’ to impact Aila as a spiritually zealous young Muslim.

From decision making to disciple making

Aila vulnerably models obedience to God’s call from his story:

Despite his existing fruitful ministry and initially criticising DMM, God encountered Aila in the back of a plane saying, “You need to listen” (to a DMM training from David Watson). Aila humbled himself and obeyed God’s clear call as God gave him the vision of seeing ‘Cabbages in the Desert’. Aila realised that God was calling him to something bigger than what he could do with his current ministry models. For example, one of the paradigm shifts Aila needed to make was from decision making to disciple making.

“Sometimes they meet under a tree”

When describing the evolution of his own thinking of church, Aila mentions:

“Some people call them ‘house churches’ but in our context sometimes they meet under a tree. These are still real churches since they fit a biblical criteria of what it means to be church.” Along with his co-workers, Aila describes church as “Where the people of God are gathering”. They point to Acts 2 (vs 42-47) that describes the things the church did. These days we see a variety of models of biblical ecclesiology coming out of a variety of these East African contexts and movements.  

Dave Coles also illustrates the clear difference between our western culture and models of individualistic evangelism, discipleship and fellowship and the more collective culture and approach to discipleship amongst these African movements.

Word of encouragement from Dave Coles

Dave wants us to be encouraged that God is doing amazing things amongst Muslims and that movement DNA can be worked out in a variety of ways in many different contexts. He exhorts us to discuss, look at and pray through the DMM principles we see as we believe for God to do amazing things not just in East Africa but where any of us are working.

This is the continuation of the amazing stories of movements that are being catalysed that we’ve been hearing out of East Africa from Aila Tasse.

You can listen to our previous podcasts with Aila by selecting a link to the Podcast episode below: