Facing Obstacles

When On-line Simple Church Spills Over

online simple church

A fresh wave of regulations and lock-down orders has hit many nations. It can feel discouraging.  How do we continue our disciple making efforts in times like these?  A week or so ago, I interviewed a leader from South Asia who recently tried something new.  His on-line simple church efforts rapidly multiplied. They spilled over to many in-person groups also beginning across the region.


What stood out as you watched?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • when we do what we CAN do, God does what we CANNOT.
  • creativity and innovative efforts led to fruitfulness.
  • the standstill was not accepted but they sought God for solutions.
  • the mission to start movements wasn’t hindered but advanced because of the difficulties.

Learn more about how to start a Disciple Making Movement and on-line simple church groups that multiply in the course Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements. A new cohort will open in early January.

Refuse to stop making disciples and obeying Christ’s command. No matter what comes by virus, war, or persecution we continue to obey. Ask God for new and creative ways to move forward in this time. He promises to guide as you seek His face.

What new way of reaching out could you try this week? read more

How To Motivate the Passive (And Yourself) to Multiply Disciples


Our world is saturated with easy life marketing. “Use this product, ___________ (fill in the blank) and your life will be easier.” This is part of why shifting from a church member/attendee approach can be challenging. We like things to be easy. The easier, the better. But this is not the way of Jesus. He said it’s the easy path that leads to destruction, and the hard road to life eternal (Matt. 7:13).

As Disciple Making Movement practitioners we ask the question. How do we motivate those we are sharing Jesus with, to choose a difficult path? What about those we are trying to inspire to join us in working to see a movement of disciples released?

The attraction of the easy path is real. To motivate people toward something difficult, they need to feel either pain or great hope.

Without that, there is no doubt. They will revert to the easier, less demanding (but less fruitful) system of doing church. Simply being a church member who shows up a few hours a week and is entertained. This is far easier than living the life of an obedient disciple. Why not put that reality out on the table? Then, we can look at this issue clearly. read more

Is Suffering and Pain Part of the Path to Movements? Why?


I woke early. After prayer, I glanced at my phone and found a difficult message. A dear friend and colleague lost his battle with COVID 19. My heart was broken for the many who loved him. His death is a great loss to the movement where he played a vital role. Suffering and death are part of our lives. What role do they play in pioneering movements?

I’ll be honest. Suffering is not often talked about when we cast vision for Disciple Making Movements (DMMs).

We speak of rapid growth and multiplication. The urgent need of the unreached will only be addressed through a more organic approach, we say. All true. There is a cost to movements. It must be counted and embrace by any who would seriously pursue them.

Not An Easy Price

Only His sustaining grace can enable us to identify (in suffering) with the One who paid the ultimate price.

The Bible says Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). As His followers, should we not expect to do the same?

Suffering plays a vital role in our lives as we develop into the kinds of leaders we must be to launch movements. Pain and loss develop humility and compassion within us. They transform us into His likeness. read more

Do Your Actions Demonstrate a Faith in the God of the Impossible?

demonstrate faith

It is easy to say we believe God can do anything. “He is a God of the impossible,” we declare. In reality, our actions speak louder than words. Does your daily lifestyle reflect this? What steps of faith are you taking that lean hard on God to do what you can not?

As we pursue movements, we must continually grow as people of faith. Those who catalyze, or lead movements, have a robust faith in the God of the impossible. They demonstrate this faith through both their words and actions.

How Faith Grows in Us

Faith and trust are similar. In our relationship with God, trust grows as we know Him better and experience His work in our lives. We learn to depend on Him and believe Him for greater things.

These are a few things that grow our faith in God.

  • Spending regular time in the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
  • Intentionally choosing to take faith risks and stretch ourselves.
  • Examining our childhood memories and asking God to heal. (Basic trust issues)
  • Reminding ourselves of who He is and what He has done for us in the past.

Throw Me Higher, Daddy

When our kids were little, one of the things they loved for my husband to do was to throw them up in the air. They delighted in the thrill of this. The higher he threw them, the louder they screamed “Again, daddy, again.”

He would hurl their little bodies up into the air, then catch them and pull them tight as they came down. Soon his arms would tire and he’d have to stop. They were always begging for more. read more

When a Disciple Making Group Falls Apart

group falls apart

Starting your first disciple making group is a milestone. You found someone willing to read the Bible with you. They’ve invited friends or family members and you begin. It’s exciting! That is why it can be quite disappointing when that group falls apart or discontinues. What do you do in this situation?

It is not uncommon for this to happen. Not every group that forms will grow into a strong reproducing group of obedient disciples. If it is a seeker group (Watson’s DBS approach) it’s normal to have a significant number of new groups dissolve. With the T4T approach, where they first commit to following Christ, it’s a bit less but still happens. Find out more about these two approaches here.

Its commonness doesn’t make it less disappointing. How we handle this set back is important!

Groups discontinue for a number of reasons.

Remember Jesus’ Parable?

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matt 13:3-9 NIV.

This Parable In DMM Language

A disciple maker shared their testimony with many people in their community. Some people ignored their words and showed little interest. Others listened and wanted to hear more. We invited them to read the Bible together, they were always unavailable. Our team talked to them a few more times, but nothing came of it. read more

5 Important Reasons to Face Persecution With Joy


It’s strange how we tend to overlook certain phrases in scripture while emphasizing others. It happened to me the other day. I was reading James 1:27, a verse about pure religion. I’ve always noticed the part about orphans and widows, but overlooked the phrase about keeping myself from being polluted by the world. Lately, I’ve felt a bit polluted when watching the news. I need to be careful. We do the same thing with scriptures about persecution. The fact that we easily overlook them is a bit troubling.

Persecution is something followers of Jesus must be trained to expect.

C. Anderson

They need help in how to respond to it appropriately. This is our responsibility as Disciple Making Movement catalysts, trainers, and spiritual leaders.

Back to ignoring parts of scripture. Another classic case for this is the part of the Great Commission that says we are to baptize. The go and make disciples phrase is emphasized while the baptizing part overlooked.

Turn your attention to the Sermon on the Mount. We emphasize the first seven beatitudes and overlook the eighth, “Blessed are those who are persecuted…” (Matthew 5:10). read more

When You Press Through and Persevere


What is the most important quality in a disciple maker or church planter’s life?” she asked. I was thoughtful for a moment. Many things rose to my mind. Diligence, prayer, passion for the lost, ability to call others into the vision, my list was long. One thing rose to the top. Perseverance. Without an ability to stick to the task, in spite of obstacles, to resist distractions and press on, Disciple Making Movements don’t get launched.

God gave you passion and vision or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Somewhere along the line, He breathed His heart into yours. It caught. A dream of multiplication began.

On the dusty, long road toward the release of a movement, we can get discouraged. Other ways of working seem appealing. Whatever happened to that promise that we would see a rapid multiplication of disciples transforming our area? Was it a crazy idea, or a missions fad?

You still long to see this happen, but doubts fill your mind. Maybe I’m not the right person to do this. Maybe it happens in other countries but can’t happen here. This is hard work! read more

Will You Miss What God Is Doing In This Crisis?


Crisis brings out the best and worst within us. Some personalities love a challenge. Adversity inspires them. Climbing Mount Everest, participating in a Triathalon, winning an Olympic medal…these people amaze me! Not everyone has an extreme adventure personality. Some of us freeze when there is a crisis. We have no idea what to do. Others are pessimistic by nature. When a major problem hits, they see all the possibilities of what could go wrong.

In the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis, what kind of person will you be?

While much of our natural response to a crisis is driven by our personality or background, we have a choice to make as well. Will we respond in faith? Will we look to God and seek Him for the opportunities these difficulties afford us? Or will we freeze, paralyzed, and pessimistic?

Hope is contagious. Faith is too. The world is looking for those who are full of hope, who are confident in this crisis. They will notice those who are compassionate and responsive to the needs around them. read more

Can Children and Teenagers Be Part of a DMM?

children and teenagers

My teenagers need a youth group!” they said, as they told us they were no longer going to join the regular disciple makers meeting. It was disappointing to hear. Concerned parents want to see their children’s spiritual needs met. This can be a real issue. Parents express apprehension about whether their children will get what they need in a DBS or story group. How do we best disciple the children of families in our teams and disciple making groups?

This issue requires us to speak into the parent’s lives in a unique way. It can be difficult. It also creates an opportunity to help those we are training to return to a more biblical style of parenting. One where disciple making happens within families.

As we disciple parents to become disciple makers themselves, we must think holistically. The first responsibility a parent has is to train their own children to follow God and obey Christ’s commands.

Let’s move away from the belief that children need to be entertained. Instead, we must understand that these kids can become powerful disciple makers in their own schools, communities, and contexts. read more

The Real Issue: Are You Seeing Rapid, Organic Multiplication?

rapid organic multiplication

Our team in South Asia started using the terms 1G, 2G, 3G, about ten years ago. We were trying to track the growth of emerging movements. It was kind of funny. At the very same time, Indian telephone companies were using those terms for their data plans! For us, 1G stood for a first-generation church. 2G for a second-generation church, etc. In the early days as we pursued movements, getting to the mark of fourth-generation growth was a huge milestone! As thrilling as it is to reach this point, 4G is not a magic number. There is not much in the Bible to support the emphasis we in the DMM world put on this particular milestone.

Rather than focusing on whether movements have hit 4G, we need instead to focus on whether movement dynamics are happening. While there is value in tracking milestones, we must not get confused. They are a beginning point – a worthy place to pause and celebrate. This is not the destination.

Our Real Aim

What is it we are aiming for? The goal is to see rapid, organic, sustained, growth of disciples making disciples, and churches starting new churches. We should see new generations spontaneously beginning, without a lot of “help” from the senior movement leaders. New leaders, with an apostolic passion, constantly rise up and are released. read more