What Do We Mean by 2nd Generation Growth in a DMM?


If you’ve been around DMMs much, you’ve likely heard the term “generational growth.” There is nothing related to DMM terminology that I’ve seen more people get confused about that this! In the picture above you see three generations. Mom and Dad, daughters, and a granddaughter. What does it mean when we refer to second or third or fourth generations in a Disciple Making Movement?

We have a definition of Disciple Making Movements on our website. It says, “Within a short space of time (three to five years) we see at least four generations of groups.”

It’s important to define these terms.

In next week’s blog, I’ll be writing about the importance of tracking your movement’s growth. Before that, we need a clear understanding of key DMM terms like first generation, second generation, third generation, and multiple streams.

Not Really a 2G Group

Yesterday I was coaching someone on Zoom. I was excited! God was doing great things through this amazing woman of God. She was clearly a woman of prayer. I felt it a privilege to walk with her on her DMM journey. read more

How to Assess Reproducibility at Every Level


Everything we do must be reproducible.” It’s a simple statement. Not quite as easy to put it into practice. In Disciple Making Movements, we must think about multiplication at every level. This requires radical changes in our actions. It is these adjustments, however, that cause your disciple making efforts to grow rapidly.

Remember the rabbit and elephant principle? Rabbits reproduce rapidly. They multiply. Elephants reproduce slowly. They add only a few new members to their families in a lifetime. We want to start rabbit groups that become rabbit churches.

Assessing Reproducibility

To do this we must regularly ask the question – “Is this reproducible?

  • If your disciples can not immediately teach what you teach to others, you need to simplify.
  • If new believers can’t turn around and do evangelism in the same style you use, reconsider how you do evangelism.
  • The same goes for prayer. Is your style of praying something a new believer can easily adopt? Or do you use fancy words and religious language? You may need to consider changes.

There is another obvious application as well. It has to do with what we do in church. If you need years of training in an expensive theological institution to be able to start a church, you will not start thousands in a few years! Or we could speak of building church buildings and the reproducibility of that. Let me give an example from my life.

How Simple Language Skills Helped

I’ve lived in several different countries over the years. Its always my desire to learn the local language. This is a high personal value. I always want to communicate in the heart language of the people I am trying to reach. read more

Money- It Both Helps and Hurts


One of the greatest indicators that a true move of God is taking place is when new believers are generous in their giving.  This was true in the New Testament (see the Book of Acts). It is true today. In contrast, one of the greatest warning signs that a movement is headed toward a major slow-down or death is when the money a movement uses is coming from outside the movement.

It’s a serious dual reality: Money helps. Money hurts.

Boots in Bangladesh – Little Things Matter

Even rain boots given can stop a movements growth!

A friend and co-worker from Bangladesh told me a true story. It shows how fragile a new movement is in relationship to external finances and help

He had been working in a village area and seen really great things happening.  The new disciples of Jesus were excited about their faith. They wanted to share it with others.  They had a heart for their relatives and friends in neighboring villages who had yet to hear the good news.  In spite of heavy monsoon rains, mud, slippery footpaths, and other obstacles, they joyfully went out regularly to these nearby villages to share the gospel.  New groups of disciples were rapidly being formed as people believed in Jesus.  It was amazing! read more

What to Measure in an Emerging Movement


I felt overwhelmed. How in the world would I gather all this information? I had to answer twenty-five different questions about our disciple making work. While I understood it might be valuable to have that data, it was too much. I put off the request and didn’t complete my report. How do you know what is most important to ask for data on, as you measure the growth of the movement?

It’s an important question to ask. Keep things simple. Only measure what is most important to evaluate. Track what is most valuable in relation to DMM indicators you must see happening if you want to multiply. If you make the process of tracking too complex, it will fail. Your reporting process will not be sustainable.

Should We Measure This?

Many of our teams had not yet seen fourth generation growth. Should we even ask about generational growth when many teams were still only at first or second gen? We already knew that only a few of the teams would be able to say they had seen things reach three or four generations.

If we ask about it, will they aim for it? We were curious. Unsure if this was a good idea or not, we added it to our set of reporting questions. It was a significant change in reporting that led to an increase in generational growth. read more

Will You Focus on the Living or the Dead this Easter?


The news has been full of death statistics of late. New York Post headlines from April 8th read “Coronavirus kills 1,000 in NYC in just 36 hours.” Not good news! On April 5th, the death toll in Spain had crossed 12,000 dead. How are we to celebrate Easter in such a time?

If there ever was a time for us to proclaim the incredible news of Christ’s resurrection it is now.

Jesus is alive. He conquered death and the grave. By His stripes, those He suffered on Calvary, we are healed (Is. 53:5). The coronavirus has no grip on Him…nor on us! What a wonderful message we have to share.

And God’s people are sharing it! There is evidence that Disciple Making Movements are growing in this season. Many are coming to Christ. It is time to press in and make disciples like never before.

Accepting Christ Online

One of the Nepali church planters I previously coached shared this. “A Nepali brother in Malaysia accepted Christ online yesterday. He was having trouble sleeping. We prayed for him and shared the good news.” Others from Africa report similar online responses to the gospel. It’s important that these people are followed up and trained as disciple makers. We don’t want to just see “conversions.” We want to see multiplication! read more

Why It’s Better Not to Meet in a Church Building

church building

We’ve been looking for a place to have our Discovery Bible Study. I’m so excited! The pastor has said we can use the church! It solves our childcare problem too. We can use the nursery area for the kids.” She sounded so happy. Inside, I cringed. “Oh no! That doesn’t sound like the best option. How do I help her avoid making this strategic mistake?” Gently, I began asking questions. Eventually, she began to see. It’s probably better not to have Discovery groups meet within the church building. Not if her goal is to start a Disciple Making Movement.

When you’ve grown up in a traditional church environment, this can feel strange. Everything we do as DMM practitioners must be run through a reproducibility test.

Let me explain further.

Discovery groups (whether they are DBS, T4T or story groups) have two primary goals;
1) to introduce people to Jesus who don’t know Him yet,
2) to train every disciple to make disciples themselves.

In deciding where to have your group meet, you need to ask these questions.
– Does this venue help us reach new people easily?
– Or could it be a barrier for them?
– Is the venue itself going to lend toward multiplication and second-generation groups?
– Or hinder that from happening? read more

Quickly Finding and Activating Persons of Peace in a New Area

entry strategy

“How do I get started with DMMs? I’m finding it difficult to find a Person of Peace. I can’t even find someone ready to have a spiritual conversation!” my trainee said. The frustration in her voice was notable. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting an Asian movement leader who has seen incredible fruit. Their movement is now well over 20,000 believers. He shared an excellent entry strategy. As my trainee asked this question, his example came to mind.

To find a Person of Peace, or several at one time, you have to cast your net wide. You can’t “fish” with a pole…you need a big net. The Asian movement leader’s example demonstrated how he did this.

Agricultural Training Opens Doors

This is how I heard him describe what he did.

Several years ago, a person from another part of the country came to my area. He was struggling to see his agricultural work succeed. Knowing I had some expertise in this area, he asked me to come to his area to train. He was connected to the government, an employee in the agricultural department. 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

What is M.A.W.L.?


Acronyms are funny. They don’t translate well into other languages. At the same time, they do help us remember things. One of the acronyms I’ve heard used from my early days in church planting is M.A.W.L. I believe it was first used by David Garrison in his Church Planting Movements booklet. What does it stand for and how can it help your disciple-making?

M.A.W.L. stands for Model, Assist, Watch and Leave. It has to do with the disciple making process.

Jesus used this process with His disciples. He modeled how to do the work of the Kingdom. They went with Him, watched Him and learned. He then invited them to assist Him in the work. They joined Him in feeding the five thousand, and in healing the sick, casting out demons, etc. He then sent them out to do the same. Then He checked in with them (watch) to see how they were doing. Jesus left and returned to Heaven, giving them a command and commission to carry on the work.

The mission I have worked with for years is good at model and good at leaving. We don’t do so well on the assist and watch parts of M.A.W.L. Modeling is fun and exciting. If you are a natural pioneer, you also like to leave, moving on to new places and visions. read more