Month: June 2022

Part Four: How Does Eldership Function in Disciple Making Movements?

elders in Disciple-making Movements

There is a well-respected man who has come to Christ. He used to be an imam. The whole community honors him and his testimony is solid. But he has two wives. Can he serve as an elder?” A church planter asked me this on a coaching call. Not a simple question to answer. This man was the cultural elder and the Person of Peace. Could he not be a spiritual leader too?

Many questions swirl around these issues as we start movements.

What do elders in a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) do? How are they appointed? Who decides who is appointed as an elder?

This is the fourth in a series of articles I’ve been writing about spiritual leadership in Disciple Making Movements.

Each movement needs to prayerfully determine how they will handle these questions. They must consider their own context in light of Biblical principles and the examples found there.

Biblical Principles on Eldership

There are 68 references to the word elder or elders in the New Testament. The Greek word used is presbuteros which has several meanings. According to Bible Study tools, any of these references simply mean those advanced in age. It was also used to mean the Jewish leaders in the council or Sanhedrin. This same word is used for various leadership roles in the Church. Sometimes it is translated elder, other times overseer. read more

4 Powerful Ways To Rekindle Your Passion For the Lost


Whatever will be will be, the saying goes. That’s not the Gospel. Nor is it the heart of God. Jesus described His purpose on earth by saying “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). A sense of urgency about lostness is one of the most common characteristics found in Disciple Making Movement leaders.

Some months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of my mentors, Bill Smith. We talked about the issue of lostness.

Hearts Broken For the Lost

Jeremiah cried out, “I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people. I mourn; horror has taken hold of me” (Jer. 8:21).

Jesus wept as he looked at Jerusalem, calling them sheep without a shepherd.

Does lostness cause us to weep? Or have we become casual in our attitude toward those apart from God?

Ask God to give you His heart in a fresh way today.

What Keeps a Sense of Urgency to Reach the Lost Burning In Our Souls?

1. A proper theological understanding of lostness.

The world tells us it is arrogant to think that others are lost and we have been found. “All roads lead to God,” say Hindus or New Agers. “Do your own thing. You be you, I’ll be me” is the millennial mantra of the West. read more

Looking For Recommendations? 5 Good Books to Read in 2022


If knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1), why read books? Reading is not as important as applying what you read. Practicing what you know has a far greater value than gaining more and more knowledge. Having said this, good leaders continually learn and grow. Books help us do that. Visionary leaders read. No doubt about it.

Invest money and time in reading. Read widely. Read authors who share your perspective and passions, and those who don’t. Try reading different types or genres of books. As in relationships with people, it is good to listen to new voices and be updated in current viewpoints.

Reading and listening to audiobooks has been my habit for a long time. Some years, I read more than others, but I’m always reading or listening to new books.

Here are some recommended books for the new year and a short summary of my take-aways from them. If you purchase these via the button below, I get a tiny commission from Amazon that will help this platform continue to grow.

1. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship by Peter Scazzero

Chapter one of this book highlights four failures in disciple-making. read more

Are Ministerial Titles Helpful or Can They Harm Movements?

ministerial titles

Pastor Cindy”…ahh! That had a nice ring to it! Being called pastor somehow set me apart. I was special. When my husband and I first started pastoring, we were quite young…fresh out of Bible college. We served as youth ministers in a church that instructed us to call ourselves “Pastor Todd” and “Pastor Cindy.” Only later I came to understand the danger of titles, and what it did to increase the separation between myself and those I served.

Titles put you on a pedestal. It’s one you will sooner or later fall off of. It may be in a very visible way that hurts many. Or it could be in a hidden way, which hurts you. We all fail to live up to that standard of perfection and holiness. We’re human. The titles of Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Reverend, sometimes cause more harm than good. This is certainly true when it comes to Disciple Making Movements and releasing the priesthood of all believers.

Where Do Ministerial Titles Come From?

This article won’t be able to go into depth or be complete on this topic. I simply want to give a brief summary to help us understand a bit of the historical context. read more

Leadership in a Disciple-Making Movement: Part 1: What is Servant Leadership?

servant leadership

The world celebrates strong leaders. Watching the news the other night, I heard a poll referenced. It was about two leaders. The poll asked, “Who is the stronger leader?” The show went on to discuss these two leaders; casting the one considered weaker in a negative light. Is strong, decisive leadership what is always needed? Is that how Jesus taught that we should lead?

When Church Planting Movements (CPMs) were first talked about, I read about the characteristics of a movement. One was that they were led by strong, charismatic leaders with apostolic giftings. This is not completely incorrect. Time and wisdom, however, have changed how we think about that.

Strong leaders are not always good leaders, and good leadership is not always the most charismatic.

C Anderson
Leadership in a Disciple-Making Movement: Part 1: What is Servant Leadership? Click To Tweet

The well-known book on leadership, Good to Great, mentions this fact. The author, Jim Collins, describes what he calls Level 5 leaders. They are those who have a “compelling modesty” and are more committed to the organization’s success than to their own.

In the book’s extensive research, they found that charismatic leaders were good. But they didn’t rise to the same level (what Collins calls great leaders) because their egos got in the way. The same is definitely true in movements. read more

Five Ministry Gifts – Part 3 on DMM Leadership Development

Five Fold Gifts

Some people have all the fun,” my kids would say. “Why don’t we get to have fun too??” When we look at gifts in others, a similar question can creep into our hearts. “Why do they get all the spiritual gifts?” God gives His gifts generously. He told us to desire the gifts of His Spirit. Five of those gifts are described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

In my last article, I wrote about the dangers of ministerial titles. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul mentions five important ministry gifts.

And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as [a]pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the [b]saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the [c]knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature [d]which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

– Eph 4:11-13 NASB

I also like the way Eugene Peterson translated this in the Message Bible.

He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. read more

What Does Spiritual Leadership in a Movement Look Like? Elders, Bishops, Deacons and So On

leadership in movements

Countless questions and controversies happen around the topic of Biblical eldership in churches. Denominations split over these issues and the divisions caused. Twitter and other social media recently blew up with angry posts about whether women could serve as elders. A prominent female Bible teacher I know of recently left her fellowship over this issue. She joined another group leaving a wake of debate behind.

The intention of this article is not to stir up controversy. Nor do I want to engage in heated theological debates on this.

Many people shy away from this topic because it can cause strong reactions. When I surveyed various leaders about this, many were silent. David Watson responded and said he will be writing about this in his next book. I’ll look forward to reading it.

For Whom Will These Articles Be Most Helpful

In this blog series, I will seek to provide insights by looking at scripture (apostolic instructions and practices). I will also relate what leaders of large movements (and those who train them) are saying about eldership. read more

Want an Effective Strategy for Multiplication? Embrace Simple Training For All

simple training

Our passion is to empower lost people to become obedient disciples of Jesus. We want to help them start transformational Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). Disciple-makers who we work with to see movements do not need to be part of our own organization or denomination. In fact, for fruit to multiply rapidly, we need an open-handed approach. We must train every believer to be an active disciple-maker.

We’ve struggled with this in YWAM (my particular organization). Some of us were tempted to think that for local believers to plant churches, they needed to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS). We thought they should first join Youth With a Mission, and then be equipped through a School of Frontier Missions (SOFM). After that, they’d be ready to plant churches among the unreached or join our teams.

That was a long and expensive process for people to go through! Not everyone could do this. That process radically limited the growth of active “harvesters” working with us among the unreached. read more

5 Problems With Our Current Discipleship Models and Suggestions For Change

discipleship models

My job is to honestly preach the word, not to hold people accountable,” said the slightly defensive Christian leader to my friend. It is a common perception among us pastors. A hands-off approach lets us off the hook. We say things like; “I will do my part, God will do His.” Or “Everyone has free will. Our job is to give them the Gospel (information), they choose what they want to do with it.”

There is truth to these statements. Where we go wrong is when we label the above as discipleship. Is the idea of “live and let live”, a Biblical approach to discipleship? Is a “you do you” worldview taking precedence over living and ministering like Jesus?

discipleship models
Are we deceiving ourselves?

5 Problems With Our Current Models

1. We are afraid to call people to become disciples.

Jesus wasn’t. He boldly confronted the casual follower who proclaimed allegiance. “I will follow you wherever you go,” they said. Jesus answered by making clear the cost involved in becoming His disciple.

Our Lord didn’t try to make it easy. He wanted potential disciples to count the cost. Our focus so often is on church attendance. It is the metric used to measure success. When we use that as our standard, what people do with what they hear is not our concern. This must change. Jesus’ kingdom is not made up of church adherents or Instagram followers. It is built on committed disciples of Christ who walk in obedience to His commands and are consistently growing in their allegiance to Him. read more