Tag Archives: cpms

Key #3 DMM Breakthrough Growth: Train Don’t Teach

trainer of trainers

Do you long to see more multiplication through your discipleship training?  Are you tired of only seeing a few new disciples each year?

The last two blogs talked about Keys for seeing DMMs released. The first keys were  Key #1: Praying With Faith and Key #2: Perseverance.

There is another crucial key to releasing a movement. If you want to multiply disciples, an important change needs to happen in how you do discipleship training. You need to shift from being a teacher to becoming a trainer. read more

A Vital Key to Breakthrough: Perseverance

My previous blog was about Praying with Faith. That is the first key to seeing breakthroughs in Disciple-Making Movements. The second key for breakthrough and growth is perseverance.

Perseverance – Lessons from Snoozy

When I was a kid we had a dog named Snoozy.  She loved to play.  We would take an old sock, tie a knot in it, and let her grab hold of the end.  A game of “tug of war” soon started.  If I got the sock away, (and it was hard work to finally do that) Snoozy would lunge after it again.  The game could go on for hours! read more

Tracking and Reporting in DMMs

disciple making movements

Many people struggle with the idea of reporting progress on church or ministry growth. Reporting in disciple making movements can be controversial.

Recently, I had a meeting with some people to bring a better understanding of this issue. There was a lot of confusion related to this topic. Emotions ran high.

Why report and track? There are lots of reasons people choose not to report.

For some, it can feel controlling. Others think it isn’t loving. Some feel it isn’t necessary. It can feel too business like and not very spiritual. Some think we are obsessed with results and don’t care about people.

As I was considering this the other day I asked myself “Is the “value” reporting and accountability? Is that really the core value?” As I thought more about this I concluded that it was not. The core value is not reporting or accountability. The core value is

a deeply held commitment to be obedient to the vision God has given read more

Are Your Goals Too Small? Lessons from a Nepalese Farmer

On New Year’s Eve, I wrote a post called “3 Important Things to Do as You Start the New Year.” I hope you took the time to think about the questions I listed there. Have you started thinking about your goals for the coming year? As you are goal setting for disciple making movements, I hope you will set God-sized goals.

It is sometimes hard to know how ambitious to be in goal setting. Some of us struggle with risk aversion. We want to set nice safe discipleship goals we can achieve.

Some years ago, I was visiting Nepal, a country I had worked in years before. It was early morning and I was sitting outside in the crisp air, overlooking a beautiful valley of terraced rice fields. I remembered back to the early days in our ministry when we had traveled each week by scooter, our baby strapped on in a front pack, driving up and down the windy mountain roads to the unreached valley area God had called us to. I love Nepali villages!

For the first and only time in my life so far, God spoke to me by filling my mind with a story. It was about a Nepali farmer. God used it to speak to me about disciple making movements.

The Story Of A Nepali Farmer

A Nepali farmer had 3 sons. He worked hard, saved his money, and rather than wasting it on immediate needs invested it in a small business he heard about. Those businesses grew and some prospered greatly.

One day, one of those businesses he had invested in sold and paid off all the shareholders. He received a huge payout of about 50 lach rupees (about $75,000). This was a lot of money in the village! His years of careful investing had paid off.

“I want to share this money with my sons”, he thought. “But I don’t want to spoil them. What should I do?”

The Nepali farmer decided to call his sons and tell them that he had received some extra money and that if they had any needs they should come to him and let him know. He would see what he could do about those needs.

School Books

The oldest son was grown, married, and had a child in elementary school. He went home and thought about what his father had said. “My father is a good man,” he thought. “But he is just a simple farmer.” He wondered to himself about how much money a simple and not very well-educated man could have.

He decided to ask his father for money to pay for his son’s school books for the year- for about 1,500 rupees (about $15 USD).

He went to his father and presented his request. Lovingly, his father replied, “I’m happy to do that son.” He went to his bedroom, came out and gave him the money. The elder son left happy!

A Bicycle

The second son was working in the capital city, Kathmandu. He had a job working for a travel agency there. Every day he had to go by bus or a shared auto into the city. “If I had a bicycle, I could save money and get there faster too,” he thought. He wondered about how much money his father had received. “My father is a good man and a great farmer. But, he is just a simple guy. I don’t think he has that much money to give and my other brothers will also be asking him.” He decided to ask his father for money to buy a bicycle that cost about 5000 rupees ($50 USD).

When he asked his father, he received the same loving response. He got his 5000 rupees and left happy!

A Tata Truck

The third son was still living at home in the village. He worked closely with his father on the farm each day. He too thought about what his father had said, but his thoughts were a bit different.

goal setting for disciple making movements

“My father is the smartest man I know! He isn’t that educated, but he is incredibly wise. I’ve watched his life and how he uses money. I bet he has a huge amount of money saved,” he thought. “I am going to ask him for money to purchase a Tata truck. Maybe I can start my own business to take vegetables from our village to the city for sale.”

That was what he did. He went to his father and asked for a Tata truck. The cost would be about 22 lach (about $35,000 USD).

When his father heard his request, his response was the same as with the other sons. “Sure son, I’d be happy to do that for you.” His father went to the bank, got the money and they purchased the truck.

When the other two brothers saw that their son was starting a business and driving a new truck, they were incredulous! “How did you get the money for a truck?” they asked.

“I got it from Dad,” he replied.

Angry, they stormed into their father’s room that night. “Why didn’t you give us a truck too???” they exclaimed. “We have much greater needs than our younger brother does!”

The father calmly replied to his sons, “My beloved sons, didn’t I tell you to ask me for what you needed? And didn’t I give you what you asked for?” He then told them to stop complaining and be happy as they had been before. “I gave you, exactly what you asked. You have no reason to be upset, with me or with your brother.”

My Limiting Beliefs About God

That morning, sitting outside and looking over the fields, I thought about the story God had put in my heart. The limiting factor (Michael Hyatt calls them limiting beliefs) in the elder sons’ lives was their view of their father. They couldn’t see him for who he really was. This limited view of their father affected their ability to ask him for more.

Many times I can’t see God for who He really is. I don’t really understand or acknowledge His incredible power and greatness or His goodness. I might say I believe He is great, but my actions, my goals, show me that isn’t my real belief. My God can be pretty small.

The only thing that limits what God can do through me is 1) how much I am willing to believe in His greatness and 2) how much I am willing to ask Him for.

I knew this was His Word to me that day.

As we think about our goals for disciple making movements, as we look at what we want to see God do through our lives to impact the lost…let’s remember we serve a BIG God who is able to do the IMPOSSIBLE through us.

Don’t set too small of goals. Don’t set disciple making goals that you can accomplish on your own. read more

5 Things That Destroy Discipleship Movements

Death Factors

Some months ago I wrote about 6 Factors That Get Your Movement Moving.  It’s always good to look at positive things we can do to see greater fruit and growth!

It is also important to be aware of what kinds of things kill a Disciple Making Movement(DMM).  Sometimes we call these “Death Factors.” These are things to be extremely careful about.  While seemingly normal or innocent, if your goal is a multiplying movement, they will definitely “sink your ship.” When these things start to happen, you can be sure that the movement will stop growing.  If you are just getting started, the movement can die before it every really starts.  There are other “death factors” to consider, but here are five of the most common. read more

What Makes a Church a Church?-Part 1

church what is it

When people typically think of church, they think about a building, pastor, pulpit, church members, and a weekly meeting. Sadly, this is what the definition of a church has become. Even Merriam-Webster defines the word church as “a building for public and especially Christian worship.” This definition, though a commonly used one, is sadly not biblical.

Church – What Is It?

In the New Testament, the original Greek word for church is ekklésia. It means those who are “called out of the world to God.” To the Greeks it meant an assembly of people.*

There are two primary metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the church.

These are 1) the Body of Christ and 2) the Family of God. When the church functions as a body and a family, it begins to look like what the Bible describes as a church.

THE BODY OF CHRIST

The church is made up of people contribution different gifts.
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Baptism Questions- If They Don’t Take It, Are They A “Believer” Or Not?

baptism questions

baptism questionLast week we looked at the questions related to being ready for baptism. Today I want to look at another important baptism question.

Are They A Believer?

*Can someone be considered a “believer” or “disciple” if they don’t desire (or are not willing to take) this the step of obedience?

To find answers to this baptism question, we need to look at what scripture teaches. Many cultural and social issues exist that make this a difficult step to take. Persecution can increase after and around the question of taking baptism. In South Asian settings, many view baptism as the point at which you are “changing your religion.”

It’s better to help them see that baptism is a way to demonstrate there has been a “change of heart.” The fear of being seen by their relatives and community as having “changed religion” is a big obstacle for many.

Baptism Question Addressed By Scripture

One of the clearest directives we find related to baptism is in Acts 2:37-38 when Peter addresses the 3000 who have believed. As the Holy Spirit works, faith rises in their hearts, and they ask him what they need to do. Peter’s response is clear about two important necessary actions- Repentance and Baptism.

37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Both are still needed today. I’m convinced that when we fail to emphasize them, we end up with weak disciples rather than bold, committed and growing disciples who are able to disciple others.

In our desire to “take things slowly”, not be pushy, and in our fear of creating obstacles for those showing interest in following Christ, we sometimes fail to teach them about the things that are able to make them strong – Repentance and Baptism. I believe this is a mistake, both for that person and for the DNA of the movement.

Every context is a bit different, and we do want to uphold the theological understanding that it is not our actions that save, but Christ’s work on the cross. Baptism doesn’t save us, Jesus does. Faith, however, must be lived out in actions of obedience. Baptism is one of them.

If someone doesn’t want to be baptized or waits a long time before showing a desire to be baptized, we need to have a serious discussion with them about why. We don’t want to force anyone to be baptized. We do want to encourage obedience to Jesus’ commands and make sure that a complete shift of allegiance has happened in their lives. Is Jesus truly Lord? Has He taken a higher place than family, society, and fear?

Back to our original question, are they a “believer” if they don’t want to be baptized? Maybe, but they are not a strong disciple who will make more disciples. Will they get into Heaven? Probably. God is amazingly gracious. Getting people into Heaven when they die, however, is not out goal. We want to make strong disciples who experience and live out transformed lives here on Earth!

Pray. Gently and clearly encourage them. Raise the bar of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and don’t make this step optional. Whatever it is that is holding them back, if those things are bigger in their mind than their desire to obey Jesus as Lord and Savior, those things have to “bow the knee.”

Many times, the problem is more with us, the disciple maker, than with them. We fail to give opportunity for obedience in this area and make it difficult rather than “normal” for new believers to take this step. We will talk about that more in the coming blogs.

What Makes a Church a Church?-Part 2

church definitions

Church definitions can be confusing. As a result, this question “What makes a church a church?” is an important question to ask! Last week, in Part 1, we looked at the two primary metaphors in the New Testament used to describe the church; the Body of Christ and the Family of God. Today we want to think about the Church’s function.

Church Definitions – House Church or Preaching Point?

In my organization, we make the end of the year reports about our church planting and discipleship progress. We want to know how many new churches have been planted each year so we can celebrate what God has done and accurately report what has been happening. As we do these reports, we face the question of the difference between a church and a “preaching point” or a “fellowship group.”

Another question arises. When does a Bible study or prayer cell become a church? What needs to happen for us to call it a church?

A good passage to draw clues about how the church is to function is in Acts-Chapter Two where the first church is described.

41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:41-26 NIV read more

Baptism Questions- Who Can Baptize?

who can baptize

Here is some water! Can you baptize me?

Ever been asked this question before? There are some big questions around the issue of baptism.

  • Who can baptize others?
  • How do you know if someone is ready to be baptized?
  • Can someone be considered a “believer” or “disciple” if they don’t desire (or are not willing to take) this the step of obedience?

These are very important questions for someone trying to start a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). In the next few blogs I’d like to address these one by one.

Who Can Baptize?

We’ll start with the “Who can baptize?” question. Let’s consider some scripture as we begin.

35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [[i]And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the [j]chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”(Acts 8:35-38 NASB) read more

Baptism Questions- Are They Ready?

baptism are they ready

There is a question many disciple makers face with new believers. It centers around baptism- are they ready?

In the last few blogs, we have been looking at questions and issues around baptism. baptism-are they ready?People often delay baptism thinking the new believer is not ready to take this step. They need to grow more in their faith first, they say. Maybe we are waiting for new believers to stop certain bad habits like smoking or drinking. Sometimes we wait to baptize because we want a large group to be baptized together. Others delay for a long time because they are hoping a spouse will also believe and they can be baptized together. Some delay because the person isn’t yet a legal adult. Perhaps we don’t want to have to fill the baptism tank too often, or take time out of our church service to include this ceremony more than once or twice a year.

How Do You Know If They Are Ready To Be Baptized?

When do you baptize someone after leading them to faith in Christ?

Again, it is important to look to scripture on these issues rather than looking for guidance only at our church traditions or what we have seen done around us. Baptism- are they ready? We need to examine the scriptures for answers.

When determining if someone is ready to be baptized, the key things mentioned in scripture are faith and repentance. As we discussed in the previous blog, in Acts Chapter 2, Peter responded to those who asked “What shall we do?” with the answer “Repent and be baptized.” It was clear that faith had arisen in their hearts. The next step was repentance.

How do you know if someone has repented? How much repentance and change do you first need to see before you baptize them?

Biblical Examples

The biblical example here is different from what we see in many church traditions. In the New Testament, we almost always see immediate baptism when faith is expressed. The Philippian jailer, the crowd at Pentecost, the Ethiopian eunuch are all examples of immediate baptism. We find that while a clear directive to repent is given by Peter, he doesn’t wait to test their repentance before baptizing them. I wonder how many in that crowd had problems with alcohol, or beat their wives, or were dishonest in their business dealings?

When conviction of sin comes, when there is a realization of sin and the need for a Savior in someone’s life, they start to respond in faith and repentance. Jesus never ignored sin but called people to “go and sin no more” (consider the woman caught in adultery). Acceptance into His kingdom and family was immediate not conditional though. There was no delay or a testing period to see if they were serious. We must remember and follow this example Jesus gave.

Prior to baptism, we are not looking for full transformation and sanctification– we are all still in that process! We do look for recognition of sin- do they see they are a sinner in need of a Savior? We look for a change of heart. A change of allegiance is what we look for- that they have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. Look for a desire to turn away from sinful habits and the things which the Holy Spirit is convicting them of. (Interestingly, Holy Spirit doesn’t always highlight or convict new believers about various sins in the order that I would!)

Do What Helps Them Grow

Some sinful habits may still be a struggle. Do we go ahead and baptize? My answer, and I believe the biblical answer, is yes. Baptism is a step of faith and obedience. As they take this step, as they demonstrate outwardly their inner faith, as they rise out of the water as a symbolic act of new resurrection and life- all these things strengthen new believers in their determination to begin a new way of living, to walk the path of transformation with Jesus’ help. We must not prevent them from doing what will help them grow by denying or delaying baptism because they aren’t “perfect” yet!

There are many issues related to baptism to prayerfully consider. Cultural factors, legal issues and church traditions all influence us in various ways and must be thought about. Our foundation, however, is always the Word of God and the example given by Jesus and the apostles. We examine all we do in the light of those examples and are careful not to unnecessarily delay but help people to take this step as soon as possible. Immediate obedience as a DNA, whether with baptism or other things, will lead to disciples who multiply rapidly.