What happens when printing Christian study materials—such as our DDK discipleship curriculum—abruptly stops?
We just learned that the Bible Societies bookstore/print shop in Algiers, Algeria, was closed down by the local authorities. Another print shop run by the church in Oran was closed a couple months ago. One of our partners is still able to print, but for how long?
At this time, anyone caught with more than one Bible or any printed Christian materials is subject to arrest, a fine, and imprisonment. Authorities are now randomly stopping and searching vehicles at roadblocks in an effort to stop the circulation of Christian materials. One brother reported that police stopped and questioned him when he was transporting some DDK First Principles booklets. Fortunately, they did not see the materials or search his car.
So, what can we do about this problem? Firstly, we format our materials so they can be printed out on a personal printer at home. They are also easy to photocopy. Secondly, small groups can share booklets, and can even effectively do the study with one booklet, with people writing on separate pieces of paper.
Next, the digital revolution can help us. We can put the materials on our website or on the cloud and people can access them and read them on their computers, cell phones, and tablets.
In the future, we plan to make TV programs of groups doing a live Bible study. These shows could be viewed on our satellite TV channel, on the Internet through YouTube, or as video on demand on our website.
Finally, group leaders could commit to memory the main skeleton of each study in the First Principles—the passage and topic in question, the key discussion questions, and the key points of the readings.
AND THEN THERE’S NO BUILDING
Another major hurdle North African churches face is the closure of their buildings. For this reason, the main subject of our 2nd annual DDK Network North Africa conference, set for June 2-6 in Tunisia, will be helping churches learn to function as complex networks of house churches.
Forty leaders from several countries plan to attend. We pray they will be free to do so, and that together, we can follow the example of the early church, carrying on in spite of challenges.