What is a DMM?

Disciple Making Movement (DMM) Definitions

Various definitions of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) are used in the world of global evangelism.  The unfamiliar can easily be confused by the terms. CPMs, DMMs, DBS, T4T…there is a lot of terminology and jargon that is thrown around! For our purposes, we try to keep things pretty simple.

The terms  Disciple Making Movement (DMM) and Church Planting Movement (CPM) are basically interchangeable. Some would say that a DMM emphasizes disciples making disciples while a CPM emphasizes church planting churches.  For common purposes, however, the concepts are basically the same.  If you have disciples making disciples, you generally will also have some kind of discipleship groups multiplying as well.

4 Important Characteristics of A DMM

Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) are:

1) fast growing

2) indigenous (of the local culture)

3) multiplying groups

4) obedient Jesus followers (disciples).

Disciples gather themselves into groups that we sometimes call “house churches” though these groups can meet anywhere, not only in homes.  In some DMMs, groups meet in a tea shop or under a tree. The groups can be called discipleship groups, story groups, T4T groups, etc. The name is not important.  What matters is that they are a group of people who are following Jesus and committed to obey His commands together.

Whatever you call these groups of Jesus followers, in Disciple Making Movements (DMMs), they multiply quickly and start more groups.

The first generation group of disciples start a second generation.  Usually more than one group is started from the first one.  The second generation groups do the same. True DMMs experience multiplication growth, not simply addition growth.

In a Disciple Making Movement, the emphasis is not on growing an ever increasingly large church, but in mutliplying small groups of disciples who make disciples.

When within a short space of time (three to five years) we see:

  1. at least four generations of groups,
  2. a significant overall number of groups (I like to think of seeing at least 50)
  3. a growing number of obedient disciples (there is no exact number but likely you will see at least 500 baptized)

we can say that a genuine Disciple Making Movement (DMM) has begun.

Disciple Making Movement (DMM)
A DMM/CPM is a supernatural move of God’s Spirit sweeping through a people group or area where thousands of lives are transformed as people enter God’s Kingdom and become part of His family. These movements use simple methods and are indigenous.

An addition that some organizations like Beyond have added is that there need to be multiple streams of disciple-making groups.  So in other words, not just one fourth-generation church, but many of the groups are reaching the fourth generation and beyond.

While definitions like this are important, let’s not over-complicate it.  Let the researchers and strategists debate the definitions…let’s focus on multiplying disciples among the unreached!

When there is a move of God, disciples are rapidly multiplying, thousands of people are coming into the kingdom in a short amount of time through ordinary disciples passionately obeying Christ and boldly spreading the gospel everywhere they go…that is a Biblical movement!

The rapid multiplication of disciples among the unreached is incredibly exciting and very much needed if we are to see the Kingdom of God advance! Without it, if we allow ourselves to be content with only addition growth of Jesus followers, we can barely keep up with natural population growth rates among most of the unreached. There are many other reasons why we need to see more DMMs taking place.

Following are several definitions by leading writers and teachers of CPMs and DMMs from their various perspectives.

David Garrison author of Church Planting Movements:

A definition for Church Planting Movements: “a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches, planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment.”

David Watson author of Contagious Disciple Making:

To see a CPM, the equipping of leadership is critical.  Our definition of leadership includes reproduction of leaders.  A leader makes more leaders regularly, and…

To see a CPM, the obedience-based discipleship of all people is essential.  Our definition of a disciple includes obedience to Jesus and the reproduction of disciples.  An obedient disciple makes more disciples regularly, and…

To see a CPM, Bible story/study groups reproduce regularly, and…

To see a CPM, churches reproduce regularly, and…

To see a CPM, church members are ministering to their communities, and the Kingdom of God is expanding from individual to individual, family to family, community to community, city to city, and nation to nation.

YWAM Frontier Missions:

Our goal is never only to plant one church.  We want to start groups of Jesus followers (disciples) that then start other groups of disciples growing into movements of disciples.  Everything we do should lead to multiplication.  Apostolic teams should carefully evaluate their strategies and ways of working to make sure they are reproducible.  We avoid doing things that have proven to hinder multiplication, such as building church buildings, paying local pastors or elders, or bringing in a lot of foreign finances and forms.

Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) Are Happening

These are exciting times in the history of world evangelization.  There has never been greater challenge or greater openess than we see today.  In many parts of the world, among some of the hardest places and most resistant people, DMMs are sweeping through communities and nations as people encounter Jesus. 

As Jesus said, “the harvest is ripe.”  We have a great privilege to partner with Him in the things that are on His heart in our generation.  One of them, very obviously, is to release Disciple Making Movements among the unreached.

Want to know how to get started in pursuing a DMM in your area?  Subscribe here! We would be honored to walk with you on this journey.


  1. Clando Brownlee

    Yes I’m very much interested in the movement training and materials for DMM would like to receive some information and even follow up from someone on your team Lord bless you.

    Thanks Clando Brownlee Jr.

  2. Mansuk Milton

    This is powerful!

    I’m a South Sudanese, working with south Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Wondering if I can get access to your DMM materials?


    1. dmmsfrontiermi

      Wow, that sounds like a wonderful work. So happy to hear of it. Sure, you are most welcome to our materials. What in particular do you need? Have you subscribed to receive the weekly blogs? That is a great place to start. Feel free to email about specific issues or things you need and to share more about where you are at in your work so I can help you in the most appropriate way. Blessings and I look forward to connecting more.

      1. Pastor Lawrence Chitedze

        That’s powerful and implementing great commission. Am in for it. I already having five discipleship groups but needed direction and materials to multiply the disciples

  3. richard emokol papa

    really i believe its God a pointed time to restore back priesthood of every believer through DMM.
    please i request more material.

  4. James Lilly

    Where are you located? One of the members of our network of DM practitioners in the Twin Cities thought that you were in the metro area.

  5. Lance Glendenning

    Do you believe that a disciple can be a non-Christian? Your materials talk a lot about obedience and discipleship and not much about Salvation. I’m a little confused, I always thought that disciples were Christians seeking to grow closer to their savior….

    1. dmmsfrontiermi

      Thanks for your question. To answer simply, no, I don’t think you can be a disciple without first receiving salvation. I’m curious what gave you the idea that I thought that! The first step of obedience to Christ is to repent and believe in Jesus, accepting His free gift of salvation. You then begin that love relationship with Him you spoke about…growing closer to your Savior. The first of the discipleship lessons we use has to do with salvation- our spiritual birth. See the blog post on how to work with new believers https://www.dmmsfrontiermissions.com/starting-strong-new-believers/ for more information on this. Discipleship does involve obedience and it is definitely a characteristic of movements that they are obedience based, not knowledge based, but they are also definitely relationship based as well. Hope this clears things up for you. Blessings!

  6. zablon makanga

    Currently working with PLWHIV in Coast region of Kenya; both Muslims and christian involved. I would love to hear from you how i can effectively win souls for Christ especially the Muslims in my group. Looking forward to hearing from you soon

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