He looked like an “insider.” His hair was black, his skin brown. When he wore a kurtah shirt and walked down the street, he looked like an Indian. He had even picked up some Hindi language skills. My friend Jordan* was definitely not an insider though! He had been raised in America by adoptive parents. Though born in India, he was definitely an outsider. Movements that grow rapidly are led by insiders. Who is an insider? Who is an outsider? This week’s blog explains the difference and why it matters.
Money can easily destroy a life…or a movement. A few days ago I was talking to another Disciple Making Movement trainer. In the course of our conversation, I blurted out, “I think we have killed as many movements as we have started.” It is not difficult to destroy a budding movement. Money can be a major movement killer. Or, if offerings are handled well, they can greatly help it grow.
The early church struggled with money issues too. In 1st Timothy, Paul (the trainer) writes to his trainee Timothy. He warns him of two big problems that come in a growing movement; false teaching and money problems. It is in this context that we find the well-known phrase, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10)
“Is what we are doing really a church? I thought churches were buildings with crosses on top. Don’t we need to have a pastor? And a pulpit?” These are typical questions people ask when we talk about multiplying house churches. We must help new believers understand what the church is.
This is much easier to do after they’ve experienced church life together. For most, it is a significant paradigm shift to understand that the church is not a building. Without a deep change in this kind of thinking, the movement will struggle to grow.
Many people who come to our discovery home groups would never enter a church building. As a devout Muslim, they may be afraid of what their relatives would say if they saw them go to a “church.” They may have attended church at some point and had a bad experience. People want to know God, but some have little interest in organized religion.
Introducing the concept of church in your home group is important in launching a Disciple Making Movement. After people have committed to following Jesus, move them gently toward becoming a body of believers.
Studying God’s Word brings life, transformation, and hope. Both believers and seekers encounter God in His living Word. Studying the Bible together, however, is not enough. Disciples need to function and grow together as the body of Christ. DMM practitioners must learn to transition Discovery Bible Studies into fully functioning churches. Without this critical transition, a Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) will not take place.
In the next few blogs, I will be writing about how to go about doing this. We will look at five steps; 1) Call to Commit 2) Introduce Church 3) Elements of Church 4) Life of the Church 5) Multiply Church.
Long-term, pioneer, frontier missionaries can get a bit cynical. We’ve seen lots of problems. Many things have gone wrong over years of service. It is easy to start to see the negative, rather than the positive in both people and situations. Seeing young people God sends your way on short-term mission teams, as God sees them, is important. Finding ways to help them be a blessing, as well as being blessed, is even more vital.
Not a New Phenomenon
Short-term teams are actually not a new invention! Pioneers like Loren Cunningham (and others) led the way in their acceptance in modern missions. Yet they are a very ancient (and Biblical) strategy.
Rabbits are one of the fastest animals in the world to multiply. Did you know that one rabbit averages around 1000 babies in a lifetime? If one rabbit has 1000, and those rabbits have another 1000 babies…you do the math. Within a very short amount of time, you have a lot of rabbits! When talking about the rapid multiplication of disciples, we often compare the growth to that of rabbits. Thus the term, “rabbit churches“.
DMM trainers, like myself, contrast these “rabbit churches” to what we sometimes call “elephant churches.” Elephants are big, heavy and they reproduce very, very slowly. In fact, for an elephant to give birth, the gestation (pregnancy} period is twenty-two months! Most elephants average around five or six babies in a lifetime.
Green people? Are we talking about Martians? Nope. In every disciple-making group there are different kinds of people. Check out this video to find out more about the four kinds of people in every group. Read further to understand how to help red and yellow people become green or blue!
Red People – come to the group faithfully but don’t obey.
Yellow People- come to the group, share the gospel, but don’t disciple others.
Green People- come, share the gospel and disciple others. They don’t train them to start new groups though.
Short cuts seem good in the beginning but often take longer in the end. We can be tempted to take alternate routes as we work in a new area. The Person of Peace concept comes from Luke Chapter 10. In verses five and six, Jesus tells them to look for someone who promotes peace. The disciples He sent out were to stay with that person and receive their hospitality. Through them they would reach the community. This is one DMM principle you can’t afford to take a short cut on.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:5,6
“We practiced Discovery Bible Study groups in our training. Everyone understood the concepts and liked them. But when the school was over, only a few people started groups.” The trainer I was talking with seemed frustrated. “What am I doing wrong?” He wondered. As we train people in Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, we must communicate more than the method. Our mindset and lifestyle matters. In many ways, disciple-making is much more caught than taught. Are you living as a disciple-maker or just training people about it?