“Is there a clear pathway to follow in starting to pursue DMMs?” one of my readers asked. It is a hard question to answer. There are no magic formulas! I would hate to give the impression that if you follow these steps, Voila! You will end up with a multiplying movement and thousands of disciples of Jesus. That is simply not true.
DMMs are a move of God among a population segment or people group. They don’t happen by just following a few steps, or by applying a particular strategy or formula.
There are, however, some key things we can do that make it much more likely that a DMM will happen. These are proven fruitful practices of those who’ve seen Disciple Making Movements take off. I recommend them with confidence, along with the disclaimer that there are no guarantees. Movements are not something we as humans produce apart from God’s sovereign work.
Important Steps To Take
If you are further down the DMM road, look at these steps and make sure you’ve been active in each. Over the next few months, I will be writing more about these as we walk through this together.
“May He give you what your heart desires, and may He fulfill all your plans.”Ps. 20:4 NIV
Steps Toward A DMM
Below are ten steps to take as you start a DMM (Disciple Making Movement).
Though they do follow an order, these are not entirely linear. You can do several steps at a time, taking them in a different order as the Holy Spirit leads and opportunities arise. While practicing extraordinary prayer, for example, you might suddenly find a person of peace! Don’t completely skip the next steps, but go ahead and start a group with those people. Proceed with determining your discipleship plans.
Step One: Clarify Your Vision
What is God putting in your heart to see happen? What promises has He given you? At this stage, it is important to write down your End Vision clearly. If all you hope for comes about, what will things look like 5 or 10 years from now?
Many get confused about their goals. It is important to determine whether you are; pursuing a DMM, a cell church, or simply wanting to multiply disciples and grow your current church. Truly embracing a DMM vision means counting the cost. Some major changes may be necessary.
Step Two: Determine Your Primary Strategy
There are two main strategies used to start a DMM. Training for Trainers (T4T) and Discovery Bible Study (DBS) are well recognized as such. See books about each on my DMM Resources page. Which of these will you pursue?
Another important consideration is orality. Are the people you are reaching from an oral culture? If so, adjustments to your strategy are needed. Oral culture doesn’t mean they can’t read and write. Some can, some can’t. Oral culture peoples prefer to learn through stories. How will you incorporate this in your approach?
Many DMM practitioners use a hybrid strategy that combines elements of T4T, DBS and Storying. In the coming weeks I will share the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches. I’ll also give you a snapshot of how we came up with the hybrid strategy we used in South Asia.
Step Three: Recruit Your Team (Or get them on-board if you already have one)
Whether your team is made up of full-time staff or a group of volunteers, it is important to find other
Step Four: Gather Necessary Resources and Tools
There are a few key tools to have in place as you begin. A mentor or coach and a few key training materials will be important as you start. Access to ongoing Just-in-time training is another thing that may dramatically affect whether you see a DMM or not. I’ll give you tips and recommendations on how to find these things.
Step Five: Extraordinary Prayer
Having a prayer strategy from the beginning is crucial. No movement has ever launched without extraordinary prayer. This is actually not a step, but an integral part of the DNA which must develop. Begin with an emphasis on prayer. Make plans for prayer events like prayer walks, developing an intercessory team, spiritual mapping, etc.
Step Six: Get Focused- Do a Start and Stop Exercise
Lack of focus is one of the most common barriers to seeing a Disciple Making Movement launch. If you pursue the starting of a DMM, it will mean a much greater level of focus on disciple-making activities than you have had in the past. You will have to stop doing certain things to start doing others with greater frequency.
Step Seven: Abundant Seed Sowing
“How many people in my area will hear the gospel today?” asked Ying Kai, the pioneer of T4T. Changing this number motivated him greatly. Without thousands of new people hearing the gospel, it is unlikely that you will see a movement. Make plans for exponential growth in evangelism efforts using reproducible and simple methods. Equip existing believers to share their testimony and a short gospel presentation. Begin training in evangelism.
Step Eight: Find Persons of Peace
Study Luke 10 and understand how to identify Persons of Peace (POP). A Person of Peace is not only someone who welcomes you into their home, but they are someone who accepts both you and your message and invites others to listen. Through them, you will reach many. Eventually, they will become leaders of groups and later streams in the movement.
Step Nine: Determine Your Short Term and Long Term Discipleship Plans
Random discipleship is not reproducible. Decide as a team on what you will use to train new believers. Determine your discipleship plan for the first year as well.
Step Ten: Start Your First Groups
Decide upon what the meeting structure will be for the groups/churches you start. Understand how to incorporate a friendly accountability loop in these meetings. Then begin!
Once you have several first generation groups started, you will shift your focus to making sure those groups multiply. You never
Which of these ten steps needed to start a DMM have you already completed? Which will need more work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Or for further interaction, join the DMMs Facebook Group.
1st Generation Skills
Get a free checklist of Skills needed for first generation disciples/trainees to move forward. Assess these skills and see faithful disciples turn into fruitful disciples.