On May 6th, 1954 Sir Roger Bannister did something that everyone said was impossible. He ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Up until then, people had said it was an unbreakable barrier. Doctors made strong statements saying it was not only dangerous to try to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. They, in fact, said that it was humanly impossible. This was a record that would never be broken. Until it was. After Roger did it, in a few short months, many others also ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Today the world record is held by a man named Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco. He ran a mile in 3:43:13. We think some things are impossible and difficult barriers to Disciple-Making Movements. They are not.
“Never, never, never, give in!” These were the words of Winston Churchill during one of England’s bleakest moments. It was 1941 and Hitler’s troops were advancing. The American forces had not yet entered the war and things looked bad for Europe. He went on to say, *“Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” We need great tenacity in Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs). We must never, never, never give in until God’s Kingdom is established and growing among the unreached.
Kidnapping and even martyrdom are possibilities. Unusual illnesses are common. Intense spiritual warfare and stressed out marriages- sign me up! I want to start a DMM. Or not. It is no joke to pursue the launching of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) among the Unreached. Suffering and Disciple Making Movements seem to go hand in hand.
The costs are real and the challenges great. How do we keep from being destroyed by the incredible cost of this effort?
What Makes It Worth It?
Suffering is inevitable in everyone’s life. It is particularly noticeable though, in the lives of those who pursue DMMs. It is not just likely, it is highly probable that you will face intense suffering as you work to start a movement. Some would say that experiencing suffering is characteristic of those who launch movements.
Every single second someone in India dies not having heard the gospel. That’s 60 people in a minute. Each one is precious to God. The number of hairs on their head are known by Him. He watched them cry and laugh. He saw their joys and pain. Yet they die, having never heard of His love. India is one of many places where the needs of the unreached are massive. We could talk about the Middle East, China, Africa, or Bangladesh. Sometimes, when we see this great need, we feel completely overwhelmed by the task.
Do you ever struggle for faith that disciple making movements are possible? Or possible in your place? Or possible through you? I certainly have. I’m not proud of it, but it is true.
Sometimes in what Michael Hyatt calls the “messy middle” we stop believing. The “messy middle” is a place between the vision’s beginning and it’s realization. It’s the place where we wonder if our dream is possible.
My Struggle For Faith
There was a long “messy middle” for me. It was 20 years from when I heard about DMMs (back then we spoke of multiplying daughter and grand-daughter churches) and the time I first saw 4th generation groups. On that journey, I often wanted to quit. I regularly doubted it could happen.
Last week’s blog was about Praying with Faith. That is the first key to seeing breakthroughs in disciple making movements. The second key for breakthrough and growth is perseverance.
Perseverance – Lessons from Snoozy
When I was a kid we had a dog named Snoozy. She loved to play. We would take an old sock, tie a knot in it, and let her grab hold of the end. A game of “tug of war” then started. As soon as we got the sock away, (and it was hard work to finally do that) Snoozy would lunge after it again. The game could go on for hours!
The New Year approaches! One of my favorite moments this Christmas came the day after. I sat for a few hours beside our Christmas tree. It was early morning. I found myself reflecting on the goodness of God in my life over this past year. I allowed those moments to surface in my memory- the times when He had protected me, given guidance to me, surprised me with His kindness or favor. How very, very good He has been!
Remembering His goodness in the past year
-How has God shown you His goodness this past year?
When sharing the vision for Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) most people are excited to hear what God is doing. As a Christian worker, who wouldn’t want to see a movement of genuine Jesus followers? We all do! It’s not hard to get people on board with the vision. It is more difficult motivating people to make necessary changes in what they believe and how they do ministry. Many also struggle with believing it is possible to see these kinds of movements in their area, or through them.
Our beliefs about who we are, dramatically impact how we behave. In the last blog I talked about who we are as people God has chosen to bear much fruit. We are the chosen ones. Today I want to focus on another aspect of identity – who you are as a royal priest of God.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- NIV
It’s important to understand the major shift Jesus brought about when he went to the cross and rose again. He destroyed the old system of Levitical priesthood and established a new system where all who followed Him would be royal priests. In the new covenant you are not physically born into the priesthood. Instead, when you receive Jesus, you are spiritually born into this status.