They introduced me to the crowd. Camera’s flashed as I walked up to the stage to speak. “We now welcome ‘Rev. Dr. C. Anderson!,’” the MC announced with enthusiasm. The crowd’s applause was loud and vibrant. I didn’t know what to think. I was an ordained minister, so the Rev. title fit. I definitely didn’t have a doctorate degree yet. To honor me, they’d given me an extra title. With the goal in my heart of launching Disciple Making Movements, would the title help? Or, could it prevent me from training people to be disciple makers?
Urban slum communities are ethnically mixed. The desperately poor tend to live together, regardless of their ethnicity. How does this impact disciple making efforts among them? Can we focus on more than one group at a time in DMM efforts?
It is easy to become stretched too thin. Our time, energy, and effort to identify with those we’re reaching become complex when engaging with more than one group at the same time.
Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) grow through natural relationship networks. Most of the evangelism and disciple making happens with people in that circle of friends, relatives, and neighbors. Because of this, the streams of the movement naturally develop according to ethnic lines.
This is an inside look at my heart, an invitation to pray with me today. I invite you to join me in holy dissatisfaction.
As I do each year, I’ve been pondering my goals for the coming year. What is God wanting to do? What is He laying on my heart to believe Him for? I want to be focused on the right things…the God things not just the good things or the many things.
You likely do too. It’s the start not only of a new year but a new decade.
As I pray, I find myself filled with what is best described as a holy dissatisfaction. I’m longing for more.
“I don’t feel qualified to train others in DMM,” she said to me. “I haven’t started a movement yet.” Her face was downcast and sad. This active, field practitioner felt unworthy to speak to others about Disciple Making Movements. They hadn’t yet seen multiplication as they hoped. Who is qualified to train others?
The reverse is also common. “This is the way you should do it,” he declared. His speech was dogmatic. “Without this (fill in the blank) you’re wasting your time.” When asked about the fruit of his ministry, it became clear. This person was a theorist, not a practitioner. I find it hard to listen to people who teach but don’t do.
Do you have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone. We love the opportunity to have a fresh start, a new beginning. We resolve to do better this year in those difficult areas of our lives like health, exercise, and other things. At the same time, it can be disillusioning. Year after year you make the same resolutions only to abandon and forget about them. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. In contrast, setting God-inspired goals for the New Year is a powerful practice in our lives.
Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus? It’s not found in the Bible. Besides, most people know Jesus wasn’t actually born in December. These are worthy questions. There are many wonderful reasons, however, to celebrate this special time of the year.
One reason Christmas began to be celebrated was to address heresy in the church. Several hundred years after Jesus returned to Heaven, a particular false teaching was prominent. It diminished the humanity of Jesus and focused only on His divine nature. To promote the theological understanding that Christ was fully God and fully man, His birth began to be celebrated.
Christmas is a busy time of year. It’s also a perfect time to strike up spiritual conversations with people you come in contact with. How do you start? What can you say to open the door to meaningful engagement?
She sat next to me on the flight. Most of the time she had her headphones on or was watching movies. I wanted to start a conversation, but needed to watch for the appropriate time. Just before the flight landed, I got my chance. Beginning, I asked some basic questions. “Where are you going? Are you visiting family?” I also shared the same about myself.
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.