Tag Archives: dmms

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 away though. 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.

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

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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- NIV read 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- NASB read 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?
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    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

    5 Steps for Moving from 1st Generation groups to 2nd, 3rd and Beyond

    generational growth in disciple making movements

    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.

  • Before I met Jesus-what was my life like?
  • How I met Jesus- briefly who shared with me and what they shared.
  • After I met Jesus- what changed and how was my life different?
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    Getting from a Disciple Making Dream to a DMM Reality

    Disciple making movement

    Nine years ago, we had 100 teams and about 9000 believers in the churches those teams had started. We had many workers but were not seeing disciple-making movements.

    We had taught and prayed for years and years about multiplication, disciple-making, and church planting movements. We had never really experienced one. Only a few teams had second-generation growth and none of them had gone beyond the 3rd generation.

    Disciple-Making Movement: Dream or Disappointment?

    Believe me, when I say I’ve experienced deep disillusionment in this whole process of pursuing a rapidly growing disciple-making movement among the unreached! There were many times where I thought it was impossible and that DMMs were something others would see but not us.

    Today, we have about 140 teams. In 114 places those teams have seen at least one 4th generation fellowship! Total believers are now around 33,000 and rising rapidly.

    What changed? How did we move from disillusionment with disciple-making movements as an idea (often a much taught, but failed idea) to DMMs as a growing reality in our work?

    First, we had to get desperate. Then, we made significant changes.

    I was reading my Bible one day. I read the passage in Matthew 23 where Jesus talks about hypocrisy. One verse shot off the page as I read.

    “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Matt. 23:3)

    Jesus is defining hypocrisy here.

    “Am I a hypocrite?” I asked myself. “Do I teach and train about rapidly multiplying movements of Jesus followers but not practice it, not experience it? Am I all talk and no reality?”

    “Oh, God!” I cried out. “What has to change inside of me? What has to change in my organization? We simply can’t keep going this way…talking, and talking, and talking, about multiplication but not experiencing it!”

    4 Change Factors That Helped Us See Disciple Making Movements Happen

    1) The change started with me

    Bottom line, as the leader, I had to be willing to model growth. I had to stop saying, “I’m not a good evangelist.” I had to model a lifestyle that showed I believed the harvest was ripe around me. I had to stop being an “expert” who didn’t personally make disciples myself. I had to change my priorities to make room in my schedule to personally start a Discovery Bible Study/T4T group.

    2 ) Let go of old systems that weren’t working anymore

    We were willing to re-evaluate everything, and I mean EVERYTHING we did in disciple making. If it wasn’t bearing fruit, we asked God if we should drop it or how to change it. This made a lot of people angry with us. We had to be willing to give up systems and things we had emphasized before. This made space for the new things God was releasing.

    3) Examine our Disciple Making Movement Beliefs (not the ones on paper, but those our practical behavior revealed)

    We went through a process (with a group of other leaders) of looking carefully at our beliefs and assumptions about disciple making movements and church planting. We then intentionally embraced “New Beliefs” based on God’s Word. We shared these with our teams and grassroots workers, helping them to understand and own these new beliefs. This is a lengthy but critical process and it is still ongoing.

    4) Start tracking different Disciple Making Movement factors
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    Tracking Generational Growth in your Disciple Making Movement

    “We never had any idea what was really happening until we started using generational growth charts in our training,” the church planting leader said with a broad smile. “Now we can actually see our progress and where the problems are!”

    It is not uncommon for Disciple Making Movement trainers to be in a similar position. You keep training. You keep mentoring. Testimonies are heard. It seems like things are going well, but you really don’t know how well. You feel somewhat confused and can’t visualize progress.

    confused disciple maker
    What is really happening in my disciple making work?

    That is where Generational Maps or Charts can really help!

    What do we mean when we talk about 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of DMM growth?

    When we speak of generational growth, we are describing the process by which one house church or discipleship group reproduces another one (or more). As this process continues and one church starts another and that one another, we can see that new generations of groups are growing.

    Sometimes it is referred to as mother churches (1st generation), daughter churches (2nd generation) and grand-daughter churches (3rd generation). More often we just call it 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G growth.

    This “generational growth” happens on both an individual and group level. When we make a Gen Chart though, we are tracking the multiplication of groups.

    Dalia’s Story

    Her name was Dalia*. She was sixteen years old and came from a strongly Buddhist family. One of our local team members had led her to faith but was unable to disciple her because she was a young woman. There were cultural barriers to his spending time with her. He asked if we would help.

    Dalia moved in with us and became a temporary family member. When we first began to pray with her, she had no idea what to do! From the very simple basics of what it meant to follow Jesus, we began to train her. We prayed together, studied God’s Word together, ate food together and visited others in the community together. We prayed for the sick, shared the gospel and washed dishes together. Dalia grew rapidly in her faith and relationship with Jesus.

    After a month or so, Dalia began sharing the good news with her friends at school. One of her classmates expressed a desire to follow Christ. Dalia led her in making a decision to become a disciple. She then came to me and said, “My friend Sunita has decided to follow Jesus…can you train her to be a disciple?”

    “No,” I replied. “That is your job! Just teach her what I’ve been teaching you.”

    discipleship

    I discipled Dalia. Dalia discipled Sunita. Sunita led others to the Lord who she then discipled. The movement spread.

    First generation (Dalia), second generation (Sunita), third generation (other classmates).

    2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

    Paul discipled Timothy (1G), Timothy discipled “reliable people” 2G) and they were able to teach “others” (3G). We see this multiplication again and again in the book of Acts.

    Churches that Paul started, sent missionaries out to new areas where new churches were formed. Those groups started other groups in new areas and on it went until all of Asia had heard the gospel (Acts 19:10).

    It is helpful to track this generational growth on a chart and to update it each time you do Just In Time Training. We recommend a simple chart rather than a complex one.

    As you do this, referring each training to the previous charts (it’s easy these days to take a picture and have it on your phone to look back at) you can see whether or not new growth is happening. You can also identify where the strongest growth is happening and then try to understand why.

    This diagnosis of the movement is a major key to seeing ongoing and sustained growth. read more