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.
“I love the idea of making disciples of new believers and seeing those discipleship groups multiply! I’m in!” you might be saying. “But where do I start? What do I need to do first to see a disciple-making movement begin?”
There Are 3 “Basics” That Are Needed As Every DMM Gets Started.
- A Prayer Strategy
- Abundant Seed Sowing
- Finding the Person of Peace
I played basketball in college. I wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed it. It was fun to be a part of a team. I loved the games. I hated the practices. Our coach would push us hard on the court in the early morning practice. We had to dribble, shoot lay-ups and free throws until we were sick of it. We ran back and forth, up and down the court dribbling and passing the ball until we could do it in our sleep. It was these basics that won the games.
Inheritance For the Daughters
There must have been others in Israel who only had girls. These daughters of Zelophehad were different though. What was different about them? What does this have to do with seeing disciple making movements released??
Joshua 17:3 “However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4 They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the [c]command of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. 5 Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, 6 because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.” (NASB)
These daughters of Zelophehad were willing to ask for their inheritance along with their cousins or as we say in India “cousin brothers.” The fact that they were women didn’t stop them from thinking that they were worthy of receiving an inheritance in the land. It stopped many other women. It didn’t stop them. They asked…and they received.
In Psalms, God says…
“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the [f]nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” Ps 2:8 NASB
“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24 NASB
To see a movement of Jesus follower’s released, every believer must get involved. Every believer needs to ask God for their inheritance among lost people. Every believer must begin to see themselves as a disciple maker, as a trainer of trainers, not just a church member. This most definitely includes women!
God Calls Women To Ask For Their Spiritual Inheritance
God is calling women today from every strata of society and from every class; educated, uneducated, urban, village, old and young to join with their husbands and brothers in asking God to release their inheritance among the nations.
He wants women to be bold and ask Him for the lost people around them.
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 away though.
“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.
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.
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.
Apart from a relationship with Jesus and accepting Him as Savior, unreached people are on a path toward a literal Hell.
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.
Lessons From Our Superheros
How Do You Get Generational Growth In Disciple Making Movements?
They were a faithful and passionate team of local workers. They shared the gospel often and led people to the Lord. They worked hard. They had started 10 1st generation groups of disciples. Not too bad by most peoples’ standards. Generational growth in disciple making had not yet begun though.
They were stuck at 1st generation (1G) growth. They only knew how to start groups themselves. They didn’t know how to get the believers in those groups to start new groups. Sound familiar?
Is This Your Team? Or A Team You Are Training?
As we began to work with them, things began to change. Today, they have reached 6th generation growth and the movement has grown by about 400%!
What do you do to get from seeing only 1st Generation growth in disciple-making to seeing many generations?
5 Steps To Increase DMM Generational Growth:
1. Share A Clear Vision For A Disciple Making Movement.
A Clear Vision for a DMM must be understood and owned by the existing churches and believers or you will find it difficult to see generational growth. Do all the believers understand what a Disciple Making Movement is? Do they understand why a DMM will reach more lost people than if you are just a traditional church? Have they prayed and received this as their own? Have you shared scriptures about how the gospel spread and multiplied in the book of Acts?
Regularly share the Vision for a Movement until it takes root in their hearts.
Then share the Vision over and over each time you meet.
2. Train Everyone To Share Their Testimony
Use a simple method to train everyone to share their testimony in 3-5 minutes. I like to use Ying Kai’s 3 steps from T4T.
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 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- NIV