I played basketball in high school and college. Our coach made us spend hours on the fundamentals. Dribbling, passing the ball, shooting layups…over and over again. “Fundamentals win games,” he said with confidence. I felt bored. I wanted to learn how to spin the ball on my finger or shoot a fancy shot. Nope. Fundamentals were what he drilled us on. In starting Disciple-Making movements, there are some key fundamentals. One is the skill of learning to share your story (testimony), quickly and with clarity.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year! I love the lights, music, and joy in the air. The delicious food is great too! What I love the most though, is how easy it is to start conversations about Jesus in the month of December. As advent begins, my heart longs to draw closer to Jesus. I’ll be setting aside some special time for greater intimacy with Him.
I also really want to bless Him this year. Already, I’ve made my Christmas shopping list and am thinking about what to buy for my hubby and kids. But what about Jesus? What is the best gift I could give to my Lord? It’s His birthday after all!
The fastest growing church in the world is in a country where we would least expect it. According to the recently released movie, Sheep Among Wolves II, the church is growing faster in Iran than anywhere else on the planet. This film is well worth watching if you are interested in, or actively pursuing Disciple Making Movements. If you haven’t yet taken a look, set aside a few hours, grab a coffee or some popcorn, and be ready to be encouraged.
Where the Film Inspires
The high level of commitment in the Iranian believers lives is deeply challenging. As the producers clearly say, Western churches and Christians have much to learn from the church in Iran. To be a disciple there means to be ready to die. For a woman it means being ready to be raped for sharing your faith. This was quite shocking to comprehend.
“I must be doing something wrong,” she thought. They had been working for almost ten years in a restricted access nation. They’d pressed through to learn the language, worked hard to build relationships and led a few people to the Lord. Talking with a key church planting movement mentor she asked, “What are we doing wrong? I thought by now we would have seen hundreds of groups/churches begin!”
The mentor carefully listened to them describe their disciple making activity. Then he said, “You aren’t doing anything wrong. Movements take time.” This mentor had coached well-known movement leaders. They had started thousands and thousands of churches, pioneering the largest movements in history to date. He knew what he was talking about.
Human beings are complex. We like to complicate things. Jesus knew how to keep it simple. This is easier said than done. Simple doesn’t mean easy or light. When we keep things straight-forward, they are easily reproduced by others. The baton we try to pass to others can quickly become heavy. If you want to see a multiplication of disciples and leaders, work hard to keep things simple.
Experiencing the Kingdom
I sat on the floor in their tiny home. A group of women and a few kids had joined me. We chatted about their children. It was then time for the Bible story. The day before I had come to this same home. I’d shared the story with the beautiful lady whose house we now occupied. We’d practiced it until she could repeat it easily. She was not highly literate, but she was a fantastic storyteller.
You’ve got to ask if you want to make the sale. It’s basic business practice. After presenting your product, you ask them to buy. A salesperson who never asks the customer to commit will not make sales. Though what we are doing is not business, the principle applies. If you never ask people to commit to following Christ, you will make very few (if any) disciples.
We can not let fear prevent us from asking people to commit. After sharing a gospel presentation, testimony, or praying for someone, you must ask. You must extend the invitation.
In recent weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with people. The topic of tracking has surfaced more than once. Is it biblical?
Tracking numbers and setting goals can feel like it isn’t relational. While the feeling is real, it doesn’t need to be true. We can be both relational and also track fruitfulness. Led by the Holy Spirit and deeply dependent on Him, we can set goals and evaluate progress while still valuing each individual involved.
Admittedly, some people swing one way or the other. Many leaders don’t hold this tension well. We tend to err on one side or the other. Sometimes we say we don’t care about results at all- “God knows my heart and how much I want to see people saved! That is enough.” It sounds spiritual, but is it?
“What is the primary reason the Great Commission task is not yet finished?” I asked this question to a group of students this week. Many different answers surfaced. None of them matched my own. I believe the main reason we haven’t yet made disciples of all nations is related to the priesthood of all believers. In elevating professional pastors, we have somehow overshadowed a powerful truth. Jesus died to make everyone a priest of God. There are no more high and low castes. Everyone who follows Jesus is fully empowered to do the work of the Kingdom. Disciple-making Movements embrace this.
The mountain was high, the trail steep. I’d started out enthusiastic. Now each step felt hard. Up, up, up, I went. What would keep me going till I reached the top? Starting a Disciple Making Movement can be a bit like that hike. We start well, our passion high. A few months (or years) later, it’s an uphill climb. We need solid motivations clear in our hearts. They will carry us upward toward the release of a DMM.
As mentioned in previous blogs, some motivations will sustain you on the DMM journey. Others will not. In my last article, we talked about the number one reason for wanting to start DMMs all over the world. A passion for God’s glory will keep you through the messy, dry or painful seasons of launching DMMs.
Motivations matter. Your why comes before your what. Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why is a best-selling business book. His premise is true in more than business. It’s true in life. Motivations affect us as we pursue Disciple Making Movements. If your reason for wanting to launch a movement is not clear, you may not experience what you are hoping for. Our first important motivation must be a passion for God’s glory.
How deeply do you long for His glory? What does that mean?
In my last article, I described the many different motivations we have for wanting to multiply disciples. Some of those motivations are inappropriate. Some are healthy and good. Not all motivations will sustain you in the long road of launching a movement.