The Timothy Project
What is the Timothy Project?
Imagine walking into your church, here in America, or Canada, or England, etc.
- Imagine receiving a message from a Chinese pastor, visiting from China, who was born and raised in China.
- Imagine he presents you with a new way to live, and gives you stories from the Chinese people, drawing examples from Chinese culture, in a culturally Chinese context, with Chinese heritage and social structure.
- Imagine him saying, "This is the way to live out life as a Christ follower. You must do that here in America (or Canada, England, etc.).
You see the problem. We westerners are simply not eastern and, by and large, have a difficult time applying eastern thought to our western lifestyle.
The Timothy Project (known in Turkish as "Derin Değişim Projesi" ("Deep Change" Project) was born during a consultation in 2002.
It emerged with a mandate to produce discipleship lessons for small group ministry written by Turkish people, for Turkish people, in a culturally Turkish-relevant language, that cover key discipleship issues identified by local pastors.
The Martins and their ministry partners have poured their efforts into the development of the Timothy Project materials so that the people in Turkey have a more relevant way to study the Bible and apply its deep truths to their lives.
Changing how we think is the key factor to changing how we behave...
...changing how we FOLLOW GOD.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
2 Timothy 2:1-2
The distinctives of the Timothy Project lessons
- Inductive rather than deductive.
- Begin with Old Testament stories, which have less cultural distance for the people of Turkey than New Testament theology.
- Holistic, and use integrative thinking instead of linear thinking, which is more culturally relevant for the people of Turkey.
- Non-academic, informal, and relational.
- Geared toward oral learners, using storytelling as a foundation.
- Uses illustrations from Turkish society.
- Encourage creativity; uses music, drama and art as creative expressions.
- Focused on inner transformation, character development, and Christ-likeness.
- Obedience-oriented, rather than knowledge-oriented.
- Affective, relational, and integrated with daily life; targeting change at the worldview level.
- Simple and easily replicable.
The Leadership Team
There are currently six people on the leadership team, with members from 5 countries. The leadership team guides the project and is the contact for funding agencies. The team sets the broad parameters of what the lessons should look like and oversees the writing.
The Writing Team
There are currently eight writers, an editor, a layout expert, and trainers for the writers. The writers are responsible for the content of the lessons.
What We've Finished:
- The team has finished over 100 lessons for small group facilitation on the following topics: Knowing yourself, heart attitude, commitment, judging one another, use of the tongue, active listening, forgiveness, peacemaking, guilt-shame feelings, taking responsibility, accountability, servant leadership, righteous living, work ethic, giving, child-rearing, husband-wife relationships, extended family relationships, money, enduring hardship, compromise/fear of man.
- The team has a part-time Turkish representative in Turkey who promotes and helps co-ordinate the Timothy Project there.
- The team has developed a website (derindegisim.com), from which people can download lessons and learn more about resources available for the people in Turkey. We are working on apps for smart phones. The website has been optimized in order to be user-friendly. The team conducts small group leader facilitation training.
Why the Timothy Project has been successful:
- We have done extensive research into how people in Turkey learn and how the churches can help make disciples.
- There are currently around 25 churches in Turkey who are using Timothy Project materials for their small group ministries.
What we are presently doing:
We are writing lessons currently for women's groups, young adults, and lessons based on the book of Genesis and Matthew 18. We are revising the lessons which have already been written and putting together 12 television programs based on the materials.