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.
Gospel Sharing- Some Big Concerns
I’ve been concerned as we have been training in various locations. How do we approach gospel sharing and evangelism? We have been training people in how to share the Jesus story, Creation to Christ stories, and the basic gospel message. I’m quite shocked at the number of pastors, church planters, elders and local believers who seem to have little understanding of what the gospel is. Many cannot easily and clearly share a simple gospel story. Some of those unable to do this went through credible Christian training and discipleship programs. This is worrying.
One of the important aspects of a growing movement is that it becomes indigenous. Disciples are free to live out the gospel message in a contextual way. What does the word indigenous mean and how can we contextualize without going too far?
Miriam Webster defines indigenous as: produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment. We speak of indigenous plants, indigenous people, indigenous culture. What we mean by indigenous Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) is that within these movements disciples grow naturally in their own context and culture.
When I first heard the term “filtering” being used in DMM/CPM circles I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. It was definitely NOT a part of my organizational culture to do this! I wasn’t sure it was biblical. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I particularly didn’t like the idea of “filtering people out” of our trainings and priorities. It just sounded kind of….mean. The pastoral, member care side of me reacted to it.
After a few years of working with this concept, I have seen however, that it is necessary to “filter” for what I call the 3F people- the faithful, fruitful and focused. I like to call it “filtering up” rather than “filtering out”.
I personally don’t like saying no. It feels…not nice. It seems…unkind, or like I don’t value the person who is asking me to do something. Yet saying no, and meaning it, is a crucial skill for those of us pursuing DMMs. This is why we need to learn not only what to say no to, but also how to say no with honor and respect.
Lets start with the what part. What do we need to say no to as a DMMer? (Is that a thing? Can I call us that?) Sorry. Rabbit trail. Okay, so my point is, we need to say “No” to things that side track us, that pull us away from the main vision we are going after- a Disciple Making Movement. Anything that seems good but isn’t related to making disciples who make more disciples or to reaching lost people should go on our “I might need to say no” list.
One of the greatest indicators that a true move of God is taking place is when new believers are generous in their giving. This was true in the New Testament (see the Book of Acts for example). It is true today. In contrast, one of the greatest warning signs that a movement is headed toward major slow-down or death is when the money a movement uses is coming from outside the movement.
Its a serious dual reality: Money helps. Money hurts.
A friend and co-worker from Bangladesh told me a story which represents how fragile a new movement is in relationship to external finances and help. He had been working in a village area and had seen really great things happening. The new disciples of Jesus were really excited about their faith. They wanted to share it with others. They had a heart for their relatives and friends in neighboring villages who had yet to hear the good news. In spite of heavy monsoon rains, muddy and slippery foot paths, and other obstacles, they joyfully went regularly to these places to share the gospel. New groups of disciples were rapidly being formed as people were believing in Jesus. It was amazing!
One of the beliefs my organization is promoting these days is this…
We must humbly and deliberately evaluate our tools, methods and schools in light of the results we desire.
This is truly important! Without evaluation we get stuck in old ways of doing things and patterns of behavior that don’t lead to fruit. We need to evaluate all that we do and make it a priority to take the time to regularly do this. We must be willing to look at what we do and then be willing to change if what we are doing isn’t working!
Accountability and what I call the “friendly accountability loop” is a vital part of disciple making. It is one of the greatest strengths I find in the T4T meeting approach. It is a major key in coaching as well. What is the friendly accountability loop? It is the habit of always starting with a report of progress on actions (application, obedience to Christ’s leading, prior goal setting) and ending the coaching, T4T meeting or discipleship one on one with application decisions of what you are going to do to obey what God has been speaking to you. You always start with a progress report and end with new goals.
An interesting and profound story is found in Joshua chapter seventeen. It speaks of a man named Zelophehad who had no sons but only daughters. This is an amazing tale with many lessons about spiritual inheritance.
Inheritance For the Daughters
There must have been others in Israel who only had girls. These daughters of Zelophehad were different though. What was different about them? What does this have to do with seeing disciple making movements released??
Joshua 17:3 “However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4 They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the [c]command of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. 5 Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, 6 because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.” (NASB)
If you had to choose between building relationships with lost people and going to church, which one would you do? Seriously. Most would answer, “Go to church, obviously.” Going to church is what “good” Christians do. True. It’s a worthy thing to do, especially if being part of that church community is causing you to grow as a disciple. So often, though, there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. What do “good” disciples do? I believe that engaging with, befriending, and loving on lost people and sharing good news with them, is what disciples do. It’s what Jesus did. He hung out with lost people a lot more than he went to synagogue meetings and conferences right?