Tag Archives: disciple making movements

Prayer- A Leader’s First Ministry

prayer and leadership

A Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) leader’s most important job is to intercede for those they lead. Leader’s who accomplish much, do so on their knees. It is in the place of prayer that we hear His voice, gain direction, strength, perspective, encouragement and where ultimately our real breakthroughs happen. Prayer in leadership is essential.

Prayer Can Not Be Delegated

The work on our knees can not be delegated to others. It is the responsibility of every Christian leader to pray themselves. We need to lead the way in prayer. That is not to say that we don’t also mobilize and raise up many others to intercede. We do. We must. There are others who may spend more actual hours in prayer than we do, or who may carry the work of intercession in very significant ways. As leaders, delegation is an important skill. This is one that you cannot delegate awaythough.read more

Do I Start With Believers? It’s Hard For Them To Change!

new believers

The harvesters are in the harvest,” the trainer said. “Hmm…I thought. What could that mean?” I was curious to know more. Would it be possible to start a Disciple Making Movement with brand new believers instead of older Christians?

A few days ago, one of my readers wrote this to me. “It’s hard for people to change,” they said. It is a common complaint of DMM practitioners. We, humans, are slow to change our paradigms.

It is not the new believers they were talking about. The older, more mature Christians they were training were not quick to shift their ideas about the nature of the church. My suggestion? Cast vision to all, but focus effort on new disciples. Give the most time to those who readily accept the Word of God as truth and aren’t steeped in church culture already.read more

Top 15 Barriers to Starting a Disciple Making Movement

Barriers to starting a disciple-making movement

On May 6th, 1954 Sir Roger Bannister did something that everyone said was impossible. He ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Up until then, people had said it was an unbreakable barrier. Doctors made strong statements saying it was not only dangerous to try to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. They, in fact, said that it was humanly impossible. This was a record that would never be broken. Until it was. After Roger did it, in a few short months, many others also ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Today the world record is held by a man named Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco. He ran a mile in 3:43:13. We think some things are impossible and difficult barriers to Disciple-Making Movements. They are not.

Instead, they are problems waiting for a faith-filled person to turn them into an opportunity. When we do that, we not only change our own idea of the impossibility of that barrier. We open the door, like Roger Bannister did, for others to also follow us. As you overcome barriers to seeing Disciple-Making Movements, you make a path for others to follow. Be a creative, persistent, barrier breaker in DMMs!

All things are difficult, before they are easy- Thomas Fuller

Attitude Is Everything

One of my oldest leadership mentors is John Maxwell. I’ve read many of his books and greatly benefited from his leadership teachings. He often speaks of the importance of having a “Winning Attitude.”

Our attitude can turn our problems into blessings- John Maxwell

Maxwell didn’t originate this idea! Jesus was the ultimate leader in turning a painful cross into a bridge of salvation. He turned death into resurrection. Because of Jesus, we can break through any difficult problem finding victory and hope.

Paul wrote, in the book of Philippians, “I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 NKJV. With God’s strength, Spirit, creativity, and mind at work in us, every barrier we face becomes an opportunity for growth. Barriers become breakthroughs. Obstacles become opportunities.

I’ve been surveying people who are involved in starting Disciple-Making Movements. From their input, I have come up with a list of their top 15 barriers people face when trying to start a DMM. I’ll share these below.

Over the coming months, I will be writing blogs about these different barriers. I may take a break once in a while. But you will be seeing regular articles about these over the coming months.

An Invitation

As I start this series, I’d like to invite you into the process of praying, thinking and working with me on it.

None of these are new to me, though they mostly come from you, my readers. I’ve experienced and encountered each one. I’ve also seen them overcome. I’ll be sharing examples of how people have broken through these barriers. I’ll share how they have been turned them into opportunities for growth.

Before I start the series, I wanted to focus though, on our attitude, as we consider these barriers. Are you someone who sees a problem as a chance to grow? Do you see it as an opportunity for God to lead you in creative ways?

2 Questions

As you read through the list, identify the one that is most present in your area.

Then think with me about two questions:
– How could this problem become an opportunity for growth? In me and in those I am discipling?
– What solutions could be experimented with to creatively overcome this difficulty?

Before I publish an article related to the problem you are facing, God will have begun to give you solutions! I’m sure of it!

The 15 Most Common Barriers to Starting A Disciple Making Movement

  • Resistance from Pastors and Traditional Churches
    2. Human Nature- Need to “join” is higher than the desire to form/create a new group
    3. Cultural and Worldview Backgrounds related to Priesthood of All vs. an Ordained Leader
    4. Societal Fears- Rejection, Marriage, Burial concerns
    5. Unwise Partnerships with those who have resources but are not like-minded
    6. Difficulty in finding Person of Peace quickly
    7. Distractions and Lack of Focus- a post-modern idea that everything is equal. A need to be inclusive of other’s visions and priorities, so feel they can’t make DMMs a higher purpose to pursue.
    8. Cultural Misunderstandings of Christianity
    9. Wrong Focus- On Strategy instead of Lostness
    10. The desire for Quick Success and Results- Not willing to take time to build the right DNA
    11. Transient or Migrant People group- Believers Scatter
    12. Platform Issues- Takes Time, need for a visa, need to explain yourself, security issues
    13. Unable to Self Start and Plan (easier to join a program)
    14. Member Care related issues- team, burnout, loneliness
    15. Ignorance – Lack of understanding of the basics of how to get started in multiplying disciples
  • read more

    What Do You Have In Common With Winston Churchill?

    tenacity in disciple making movements

    Never, never, never, give in!” These were the words of Winston Churchill during one of England’s bleakest moments. It was 1941 and Hitler’s troops were advancing. The American forces had not yet entered the war and things looked bad for Europe. He went on to say, *“Never yield to force; tenacity in disciple making movementsnever yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” We need great tenacity in Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs). We must never, never, never give in until God’s Kingdom is established and growing among the unreached.

    What Exactly Is The Meaning Of Tenacity?

    Tenacity is defined as “the quality of being very determined.” I love those words- very determined. How tenacious are you about seeing your people group reached? Or the one God called you to work among? Victory is ours in Jesus. We already know that. But there is still an enemy who so often looks hard to defeat. Like in Churchill’s quote, sometimes we are tempted to “yield to the overwhelming might” that is displayed around us. We must not.

    We must be extremely determined to overcome the obstacles.read more

    Disciple Making Urgency and the Kingdom of God

    disciple making movements

    Whether it is a cricket match between England and Australia or two teams playing in the Super Bowl- we like to pick a side. Who are you cheering for? The same is true in many other aspects of life. Disciple making urgency or transformational discipleship? Which is more important? Put more simply- what matters most? Getting people saved or transformed?

    Both-And Not Either-Or

    Many Kingdom priorities are not either/or issues. Instead, they are very much both/and. Jesus is both God and man. We must both love God and also love our neighbor. Our human tendency, however, is to put ourselves into one camp or the other on theological issues.

    The Urgency to reach the lost versus transforming disciples in Disciple Making Movements (DMMs), is a both/and issue. We can not emphasize one and forget the other.

    note-2762271_1280

    Apart from a relationship with Jesus and accepting Him as Savior, unreached people are on a path toward a literal Hell.

    and

    Discipleship that changes lives and brings the Kingdom of God to Earth is a critical part of the gospel message.

    We don’t get people saved just to give them a “get out of Hell” card and then think our work is done. They are not saved “from” something alone. They are also saved “to” something- a new life with Jesus here on Earth!

    We have to fully embrace both of these things to see Disciple Making Movements that lead to the transformation of individuals, communities, people groups, and nations.

    How I Accepted Christ- Is Hell A Real Place?

    My own personal testimony connects with both of these important theological truths.

    I was born in a missionary family and grew up in Africa. My mom and dad taught me from childhood about Jesus. I learned about God’s story from the time I was a baby.

    When I was about four years old, I remember asking my mother a question. Is Hell a real place? My mom stopped whatever she was doing and took the time to talk to me.

    “Yes, it is. But, you don’t have to be afraid of Hell. Put your trust in Jesus, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. You can know for sure that you will go to Heaven when you die,” she explained to me. After a bit fuller description of the gospel message, she asked me, “Do you want to invite Jesus into your life to be your Savior?”

    I wasn’t sure. Off I went to play. I kept thinking though. After some time I returned with the same question for my mom. “Is Hell a real place?”

    This happened a time or two until finally I knelt beside my mother’s bed and prayed to invite Jesus to be Lord of my life. Though I was very young, I still remember the sense of joy that entered my little heart. I knew I was saved! My sins were forgiven and Jesus was now my best friend!

    From that point so many years ago, I’ve been sure that if something happened to me and I died, I would spend eternity in Heaven with Him. The critical journey of discipleship, however, has been lifelong.

    Lake Of Fire And The New Earth

    In Revelation 20:15 and 21:1 both Hell and the New Heaven and Earth are mentioned together. That is interesting. Remember, chapter breaks and verses were added later.

    “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Rev. 20:15-21:1 NIV

    We cannot deny or in any way soften (in our own minds – or our message) the scriptural reality of Hell as a literal place. read more

    Women in Disciple Making Movements- Why Not Women?

    women in ministry

    There is a simple way to almost immediately double or triple the number of people you are reaching with the gospel. Do you want to hear how? Most people would! Here it is. When you properly understand the key role of women in disciple making movements, your disciple making efforts will take a leap forward.

    The tremendous potential of mobilizing and releasing women is a blind spot for many people. There are various reasons for hesitation to release women in ministry. This article will not address them all. Instead, I hope to shine some light on this topic, share my story, and take a look at scripture. The goal is not to convince you of a particular position on this topic. I hope, instead, to give you a key to growing your movement rapidly. By considering changes in how you release women, many more lost people come into the Kingdom of God.

    Women In Disciple Making Movements- Key Players

    Female disciples can serve as evangelists, disciple makers, trainers of disciple makers, and as very key players in disciple making movements. Jesus certainly saw this! So did Paul. Modern-day apostles like Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission have also lifted up women to important roles. Doing this has always brought an increase in spiritual harvest.

    women in disciple making movements

    Women played key roles in the movement that started in Jesus’ time. We find them playing a key role in the new churches described in the book of Acts as well. Historically there are also many instances where the release of women in ministry was key to the rapid growth of the church in a nation or people group. China and Korea are just two examples.

    If you are serious about seeing thousands of unreached people become disciples of Jesus quickly, you can not afford to ignore the vital need for women to be active in disciple making movements. They can and should serve in key roles such as; evangelists, disciple makers and even leaders of a growing movement.

    The Struggle To Embrace My Call & Gifts

    My husband and I both felt a call to church planting among the unreached when we were in our twenties. Obeying God’s call, we moved to Asia and began to learn a local language.

    In our early years of ministry, we were still figuring out who we were. We experimented with many different types of things. We were discovering our spiritual gifts.

    As the years passed, it became clear that God had given me the gifts of teaching and leadership. I also began to flow in a gift of faith. My deep passion and desire for pioneering work in new areas and for work with the unreached made me wonder if I may have an apostolic gifting as well.

    My husband’s gifts also became more clear as we worked in various roles. He is very strong in the gift of helps and hospitality.

    Wait! These were not the typical giftings that our denomination normally ascribed to men and women. Were we wrong to use these gifts? Should we try to be different or more “normal”?

    I then studied 1 Corinthians 12 and was especially struck by verses 7 and 11. Verse seven said that it was God who gave gifts to each person. Verse eleven emphasizes how the Spirit is the One who distributes these gifts as He determines.

    “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”- 1 Cor 12:11- NIVread more

    Want to start a DMM? Heal the Sick!

    Healing the sick is an important part of a disciple maker’s life.

    What? Heal the sick? How can I do that? Only God can heal the sick! True. Not true. Wait! It can’t be both. Or can it?

    There are several foundational things needed in disciple making movements. Obedience to God’s Word is one of them. In DMM training, we often focus on obedience to Christ’s command to share the gospel or be baptized. These are vitally important! If movements are built only on miracles, they tend to be shallow and often don’t see generational growth. At the same time, Jesus gave us an important model. He healed the sick and trained His disciples to do the same.

    Jesus said, “Heal the sick.”

    It is interesting that Jesus told His disciples not just to pray for the sick, but to heal the sick.

    8 “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you;9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”– Luke 10:8 & 9- NASBread more

    What is Just In Time Training?

    “Just in Time Training” was an unfamiliar concept for me. Why are they not applying what I taught them? We taught how to create a set of stories for discipleship in the Orientation Program, but they are just preaching. They seem to have completely forgotten everything they learned in the training! Argghh!!

    Have you ever felt frustrated that you invest a lot in training people only to see little field application happen?

    I sure was! Then I put into practice what is called Just in Time Training. Just in Time Training (sometimes called Micro-Learning) is when you give people only what they need to use immediately. You train in small learning segments.

    You start with where they are and train them step by step.

  • Do they already have five 1st generation groups? What do they need to see those multiply?
  • Can they share the gospel effectively? Maybe they need help with choosing a gospel story?
  • Are they just beginning to learn the language?
  • read more

    The Struggle to Believe for Disciple Making Movements

    Do you ever struggle for faith that disciple making movements are possible? Or possible in your place? Or possible through you? I certainly have. I’m not proud of it, but it is true.

    Sometimes in what Michael Hyatt calls the “messy middle” we stop believing. The “messy middle” is a place between the vision’s beginning and it’s realization. It’s the place where we wonder if our dream is possible.

    My Struggle For Faith

    There was a long “messy middle” for me. It was 20 years from when I heard about DMMs (back then we spoke of multiplying daughter and grand-daughter churches) and the time I first saw 4th generation groups. On that journey, I often wanted to quit. I regularly doubted it could happen.

    struggle for faith

    I remember saying, “This isn’t a fair thing to ask people to do. For the vast majority of people, movements are just a dream. It’s like asking a junior league baseball team to attempt to win the World Series.”

    Stuck In Unbelief

    Let’s just call it what it was. I was stuck in the sin of unbelief. I didn’t believe God was able to do this through me or through the people I was training. Thank God, He took me through a process and convicted me of my unbelief. He renewed my faith. Faith not in myself, but in Him.

    Jesus was never soft with his disciples regarding the sin of unbelief. He regularly rebuked them for their lack of faith.

    Stubborn Refusal

    I recently re-read the account of His resurrection. The words “stubborn refusal to believe” jumped out at me.

    9 “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,out of whom he had driven seven demons.10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”

    12 “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.read more