How to Make Sure Your DMM Efforts Are Headed in the Right Direction

Dmm basics

Have you ever gotten on the wrong bus or train and not realized it? I have! Without a good understanding of Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, we can easily get off track. We waste time going in the wrong direction in our discipleship or church planting efforts.

Oh No! I’m On The Wrong Train!

A few years ago, I was heading to Bangladesh to train a group of church planters. I went to the train station. A local porter helped me carry my bag and get on my train. Being a bit late and in a rush, I didn’t check the name of the train carefully. I was lazy to read the Hindi script fully, so only read the first part of the train’s name. It was Kanchan something.

Not a good idea! Instead of getting on the Kanchenjunga train, I boarded the Kanchankanya train instead. I went in the completely wrong direction.

A few hours later the train conductor came to my berth. He checked my ticket. “You are not on the right train!” he announced.

I had to get off at the next station, board another train and return back to where I had started from. Arghh!! My husband kindly booked me a new ticket and the next day I started my journey again. This time, I got on the right train.

In our attempts to multiply disciples among the unreached, we can similarly go the wrong way. When we aren’t familiar with the basic DMM principles we end up on the wrong path. Our efforts take us toward addition rather than multiplication growth.

We then have to return to the beginning and start again. This can be discouraging. There are key DMM principles we need to understand (and be ready to apply) for multiplication to begin. Otherwise, we will be blocked in our efforts to see a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). Click here to read about other obstacles to DMMs.

Ugly Unfinished Buildings

When we visit South Asia, we often see houses that have been started but are not completed. When driving along a national highway, these are commonplace. Steel rebar sticks up out of the pillars. It is quite an ugly thing. Many seem to start building a house but run out of the money to finish.

dmm basics

Jesus must have seen something similar with towers. He used this as an illustration and told his disciples, before starting something, count the cost. Understand what is needed to see it completed. This is true of starting a Disciple Making Movement.

For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”  Luke 14:29-30 NIV.

What are the basic things you need to understand and apply for a DMM to start in the right direction?

6 Powerful Understandings You Need To Start A Movement

1) Understand the power of releasing all believers as royal priests.
The priesthood of all believers is one of the most foundational DMM concepts. It’s crucial to seeing a movement grow. Knowing their identity and authority in Christ will help disciples multiply. Without it, they will hesitate to do what are considered “pastoral” tasks.

2) Understand the power of simplicity.
Our human nature tells us simple things are less valuable. We like to make things complicated. Jesus is our model in simplicity. His teaching was not complex, but it was deeply transformational. He used stories and real-life illustrations to teach and shape the worldview. The simpler our Bible study methods, the more likely new disciples will train others. Bringing in complicated or expensive methods dramatically slows down growth. Those launching DMMs must highly value simplicity, guarding it carefully.

3) Understand the power of multiplication vs. addition growth.
Addition growth is when one person (or team) starts a new church every year or two. Multiplication growth happens when the disciples in those churches start new churches. If all the new growth is coming from you and your team, it is addition, not multiplication growth.

Many teams struggle to break out of addition growth and into multiplication. There are many reasons for this, but the first is that they have not fully understood the necessity to do so. Instead of applying principles that lead to reproducing churches, they do things in complicated ways. Ordinary believers lack the confidence to do the same. Consequently, these fellowships do not multiply.

4) Understand the power of “going local” with language and culture.
Churches and DBS/T4T groups that function in the local language are much more likely to multiply. Be careful about bringing in foreign ways of singing, using English songs, etc. The data is clear on this. Fellowships operating in the heart language of the people multiply much faster.

5) Understand the power of participatory worship and study.
In a recent training in India, they coined the phrase “discussion church.” This is in contrast to a “preaching church.” Why is dialogue in disciple-making groups so powerful?

It builds understanding, ownership and leads to obedience-based discipleship. When you practice the story/lesson and then discuss it, everyone is involved. They remember what they talk about. This gives a much greater chance that the disciple will pass on what they have learned to others. That is how you get multiplication to begin!

6) Understand the power of the three-part meeting.
T4T uses a three-part model for the discipleship meetings (house churches). The first part is “Look Back”. In this section, the disciples remember what they learned last week. They discuss how they obeyed God’s word. The middle section is “Look Up.” They learn a new story or do a discovery Bible study. The third part is “Look Ahead.” In part three, they set goals for how they will obey God’s Word in the coming week. They also decide who they will share the gospel with.

This three-part meeting includes a friendly accountability cycle. Report, train, goals. Report, train, goals. This helps produce obedient disciples whose lives are rapidly transformed.

This is not an all-inclusive list, but these six things will definitely get you started!

Do Your Trainees Have the Basics?

Take a moment to evaluate yourself and your team. How well have you or your trainees understood these 6 powerful DMM concepts? Do you need more understanding on any of them? Or maybe you understand them but aren’t applying them fully in your actual context. Make sure your “DMM train” is headed in the right direction!

Let me know in the comments (or on the Facebook page) what you will do this week to move forward.

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