Church Planting

10 Important Things To Do In Pursuing A DMM

start a DMM

“Is there a clear pathway to follow in starting to pursue DMMs?” one of my readers asked. It is a hard question to answer. There are no magic formulas! I would hate to give the impression that if you follow these steps, Voila! You will end up with a multiplying movement and thousands of disciples of Jesus. That is simply not true.

DMMs are a move of God among a population segment or people group. They don’t happen by just following a few steps, or by applying a particular strategy or formula. read more

Want Groups to Multiply? Stay Simple & Consistent

groups multiply

Imagine someone running in a baton race carrying a large, heavy piece of wood. It would be hard to pass on to the next runner, right? One person may be large and strong and able to run with it. But the next runner may not. Discipleship groups are very similar to this.

 

The baton used in a race is lightweight. It is designed to be easily transferred from the hands of one runner to another.

 

It is the same in a Disciple Making Movement. Discipleship methods must be simple and light. In DMMs, we are intentional about making everything we do easy for others to also do.

Reproducible Discipleship

Keeping your discipleship structure and meeting format consistent lends toward multiplication. While it is fun and interesting to do things with a lot of variety, it often doesn’t reproduce well.

 

Random discipleship doesn’t reproduce. Follow a simple plan. This is much more effective in rapidly equipping new disciple-makers.

 
A Coaching Conversation

 

What did you talk about in your Discovery Bible Study (DBS) today?” I asked.

We chose one of my favorite passages,” he said.

That is a good one! I like it too,” was my reply after hearing the Bible reference.

I’m curious. How do you decide which scripture to study each week?” was my next question.

We pray and find something that we think will be good,” he said.

Hmm,” I pondered, considering his situation.

 

This DMM effort had been struggling to see multiplication. They were doing regular Discovery Bible Studies. But the group members seemed hesitant to start their own groups. They lacked confidence and self-initiative.

 

Have you ever considered using an established set of stories? Or a list of verses everyone leading DBS groups follows? Instead of choosing verses randomly?” I asked.

 

This was a new idea to him.

We talked about how to go about deciding on a short and read more

Why and How to Track Progress in a Disciple Making Movement

track progress

Why track DMM progress?  Let me illustrate.

I come from a city in America called Minneapolis. It has many beautiful lakes. We like to rent canoes and go boating on them. I learned something about canoeing. Keeping my eyes fixed on the other side of the lake matters. Otherwise, it is easy to paddle around on the lake for hours without actually crossing it.

Some people engage in disciple-making efforts without tracking their progress. They are a bit like me on the lake.  They take their eyes off their goal.

That is fine if you just want a fun way to spend a day off. But if you are serious about making progress in starting a DMM, you have to measure forward movement.

You need to know where you are at. You must be able to determine whether or not the movement is multiplying.

Multiplication is your destination.  Stay focused on it. The only way to know if you are getting there (or not) is to keep careful records and regularly measure progress. Are you seeing multiplication growth or only addition? Tracking allows you to celebrate, assess, and make needed changes.

“How do I do this well?” you may ask. Few people like to fill out monthly reports! Especially volunteers and unpaid workers like we have in house church movements.

Indicators, Charts, and Evaluation

  • First, identify which DMM indicators you want to track.
  • Then, create a simple way of monitoring those things. Many people use generation charts or maps to help them do this. Particularly with oral culture people, a visual picture is very helpful. Compare previous charts with current ones. This makes it easy for trainees to see their progress (or lack of it).
  • Lastly, evaluate. Diagnose problems and make plans in response to what you have learned through the reporting process.

Big Reports- Pride and Exaggeration

In an email from a mentor, I read the following words.

“Big reports are driven by one of two reasons; Ego/pride, or the desire to influence funders and donors.  The first is always sin and the second can become sin when it leads to exaggeration, claiming other’s fruit and dishonesty.”

Wise words of caution when we talk about reporting.  If your goal in tracking movement progress is either of these things, take note. Carefully guard your heart.

Building Trust

There is often resistance to gathering data. I used to get frustrated with this. Wanting to understand their reasons, I asked further questions.

The reasons eventually surfaced. They didn’t want to give me their numbers if I was going to use them to raise funds for myself.  I could understand that! They didn’t want to be used for my gain. Others feared being viewed as a failure if they didn’t have big “numbers” to report.

Building trust took time. We needed to go through a process of helping our trainees understand. The reason we were gathering reports was to help the movements grow. It was not to build our own egos or to raise funds. We certainly didn’t want to make them feel like a failure!  The reports were to help them.

A few others had concerns about whether it was Biblical to track numbers. They were concerned about God’s judgment on David when he wanted to count his army. If that is a concern for you, please see this blog I wrote on that years ago.

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” 1 Cor. 9:26 NIV.

How To Track Progress in a DMM

1. Identify which DMM indicators you want to measure.

There are many different things you can track as it relates to a movement’s growth. Keep it simple. Make a list of things you want to know, then cut it down to the absolute essentials. The shorter the report, the more likely they will complete it.

At the bottom of this post a free pdf download  with a list of indicators you could consider choosing from.  It’s not complete but will get you started.

2. Devise a simple way of monitoring that works for your group.

Many people use generation charts to track progress. When we began doing that with our teams, we saw a huge difference. Each training we had, the trainees made updated charts.

A circle represented a house church or disciple-making group. Looking at the chart you could easily see which generation it was (1st, 2nd or 3rd). You could also quickly see which groups were multiplying and which were not.

Then, as a coach/trainer you ask questions like this. “This group seems to be starting other groups. What is happening here that isn’t happening in your other groups?”

See my video that explains how to make a generational growth chart.

 

3. Determine how often and where you will collect reports and track progress. read more

How to Turn the Problem of Migrant Workers into an Opportunity

migrant

“How is your new disciple doing?” I asked. “Last week you said *Ram Bahadur took a step to follow Jesus and was baptized. That was so great to hear!”  With disappointment, *Ashok told me this new person had moved away. He had found work in another area. It was unclear, but he would likely not return for a year or so.

It can be difficult to make disciples who make disciples when the people you are focused on are constantly moving. Whether they are seeking work or moving for other reasons!

For the past several months I have been writing about key barriers to launching a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). See the full list here. Trying to make disciple-makers among a nomadic people group can feel impossible. It can seem like a major blockade to the movement’s growth.

Obstacle Or Catalyst?

This doesn’t need to be a barrier, however, to starting a DMM. It can instead become a major cause of movement expansion.

The key is to disciple the new believers rapidly using simple, reproducible approaches. Then, teach them to train others and start groups wherever they go. This was the model that led to much growth in the New Testament.

“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” Acts 8:1 NIV

Scripture Guides Us

Always look to scripture for foundational answers to the DMM problems you encounter. This problem of believers scattering was very present in the book of Acts!

The cause of the believers constantly moving was persecution, not searching for work. There are great parallels to learn from, however.

We read in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts how persecution caused many of the believers to move away from Jerusalem. The growing church was still in its early stages of development. Many had not received much training yet. Most had only been following Jesus for less than a year.

Interestingly, it says in Acts 8:4, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

How was it possible that they were equipped enough (in such a short amount of time) to preach the gospel effectively? They were able to start new groups (churches) in so many new locations as they scattered!

How Scattering Believers Became Church Planters

1) They powerfully received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, Acts 8:15).

This is an important reason. Those who came to faith received the power of the Holy Spirit and developed a relationship with Him. They used their spiritual gifts and learned to listen to the Spirit’s voice. When no mentor was present, the Holy Spirit was there to correct, guide and instruct them.

The apostles trusted the Holy Spirit in the new disciples’ lives. They encouraged them to obey His leading. That doesn’t mean they never brought correction or instruction to them. They did! But their default mode was the empowerment of local believers, not control and restriction.

Be sure to pray for new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.

2) They met daily for fellowship and discipleship (Acts 2:46).

Daily discipleship of new believers is key to developing them into disciple-makers. In the short-term discipleship phase, much contact is necessary. They are still new babes in Christ.

Meet as often as possible with those coming to faith. This is especially needed the first few weeks after they believe.

Training them quickly in the basics of what it means to follow Jesus will bear much fruit. Make sure they are encouraged to immediately begin sharing their testimony with others.

Using the T4T “Baby Lessons” can be a good way to do this. Train them until they can train others. Then if they disperse, they will pass on what they have learned from you.

3) They learned the stories of Jesus well enough to reproduce them (Acts 2:42).

It takes many years to train a new disciple to the point where they can preach an expository sermon. Do you still think hearing a weekly sermon is what it means to be a church? I hope not!

If that is what you need, new believers on the move will probably not end up being church planters!

Instead, using a storytelling or Discovery Bible Study (DBS) approach works much better. As we practice and repeat the stories of scripture, it becomes natural to tell them to others.

In the book of Acts, when the believers gathered, the apostles told stories of Jesus’ life. They were first-hand witnesses. They shared about His miracles, His parables, and what it was like to be with Him. Then, those stories were passed on to others following an oral tradition. We can do the same today!

4) Though there was a council of elders, they practiced the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9).

The New Testament church was not without leadership. But the structure was different from what is typical in churches today. There was no part of the Great Commission that the leaders reserved only for themselves.

Jesus’ gave some basic commands. He told us to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, practice the Lord’s Supper often, give to those in need, love God and our neighbor, etc.

In the New Testament church, these were the responsibility of every Jesus follower. They were not only for the apostles or leaders.  Spiritual hierarchy and the professional clergy came much later. This slowed the growth of the church.

As you train disciples immediately empower them to be disciple-makers. Help them to start new groups themselves rather than just adding to existing groups.  Then, when they have to move for work, they will naturally do this in the new places where they go. Your movement will expand into regions you never dreamed of reaching.

5) Churches mostly met in homes (Acts 16:40, Acts 2:46, Acts 21:8,16).

In the New Testament church, they didn’t suffer from the same misconception of what the church was. They knew the church was people, not a building.

As you disciple new believers, be sure to instill this New Testament understanding in them.

6) The apostles visited and wrote to them (Acts 8:14, Rom. 15:23,28).

New Jesus followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, did share the gospel and start new churches. But they were not without input and care.

The apostles visited them as often as they were able to. They sent letters to encourage (as well as correct them) in areas of church practice and doctrine.

When people you’ve led to faith scatter, stay in touch with them. Call, message and visit them. As they lead others to Christ, do what you can to help them stay on track.

Today we have the ease of text messaging, phone calls and many means of ongoing discipleship. Consider those moving to new places church planters rather than as people who have left your church. Keep investing. The result might be multiplication rather than a loss for the movement.

Multiplication Through Migration? read more

How to Make Sure Your DMM Efforts Are Headed in the Right Direction

Dmm basics

Have you ever gotten on the wrong bus or train and not realized it? I have! Without a good understanding of Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, we can easily get off track. We waste time going in the wrong direction in our discipleship or church planting efforts.

Oh No! I’m On The Wrong Train!

A few years ago, I was heading to Bangladesh to train a group of church planters. I went to the train station. A local porter helped me carry my bag and get on my train. Being a bit late and in a rush, I didn’t check the name of the train carefully. I was lazy to read the Hindi script fully, so only read the first part of the train’s name. It was Kanchan something.

Not a good idea! Instead of getting on the Kanchenjunga train, I boarded the Kanchankanya train instead. I went in the completely wrong direction.

A few hours later the train conductor came to my berth. He checked my ticket. “You are not on the right train!” he announced.

I had to get off at the next station, board another train and return back to where I had started from. Arghh!! My husband kindly booked me a new ticket and the next day I started my journey again. This time, I got on the right train.

In our attempts to multiply disciples among the unreached, we can similarly go the wrong way.

When we aren’t familiar with the basic DMM principles we end up on the wrong path. read more

Are You Tired of Initiating All the Momentum for Growth?

initiative in disciple making movements

My husband and I like to run half-marathons together. A few years ago, we were running a race in a South Asian city. The day before the race, one of the church planters there heard about our upcoming event. Excitedly he declared, “Next year I will run the race with you!” I looked at his short, quite round body and smiled. I appreciated his enthusiasm. But I wondered if he truly had the initiative or self-discipline to train for a 21-kilometer race.

Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs) are a bit like a long-distance run. They require a significant amount of self-discipline. It takes initiative and perseverance to launch, grow and sustain a multiplying movement. Often, when hearing about movements, people are excited to get involved. They like the vision of multiplication. But they are like my friend who wanted to run the marathon. They lack the self-initiative and perseverance needed.

We also experience this within the movements we are trying to launch. Some disciples show great passion for the Kingdom. Others seem so passive.

Without the ability to self-motivate, it is hard to see a DMM get going. Initiative is “taking responsibility for disciple-making efforts without having to be told to do so.” Lack of initiative can be a major obstacle to the release of a movement.

Overcoming The Barrier Of Motivation

How do we overcome this obstacle? What action can a trainer take when disciples you train lack initiative? You may notice this problem in yourself as well.

I have been writing a series of blogs on how to overcome common obstacles to starting a DMM. Click here to see the full list. Search the archives for many other articles on some of the most typical barriers.

Initiative Flows From Purpose

Some personalities have more of a bent toward self-initiative than others. For everyone, however, self-initiative flows from a sense of purpose. This is true no matter what your individual temperament. The desire to take action comes from passion motivated by compelling truth.

The desire to take action comes from passion motivated by compelling truth.

That is why it is critical that we make vision casting a vital part of every training session. Regularly share about the urgent need of lost people in your region. Also, work to increase the disciple-makers’ understanding of their Biblical identity. Build a sense of ownership in the trainees. This will release them to do the work of disciple-making in their own ways. The result will be an increase in the kind of initiative needed to grow a DMM.

Two Very Different Personalities

This week I had the chance to visit a house church we started many years ago. It was wonderful to see them. They have grown strong in their faith, despite many challenges.

In the group, there are two disciples who are very different from one another. One is a young, fairly educated man. His personality is outgoing. As the oldest, somewhat spoiled son of the family, he has a lot of natural confidence. It has always been easy to motivate him to share Jesus with others.

Another person in the group, *Asha, is the mother of three young boys. She is also very smart, but she sometimes lacks confidence. Her poverty affects the way she thinks about herself. This is also true of her gender. As a woman in an Indian society, she has little voice or recognized value.

When we first started training her as a disciple-maker, she didn’t take initiative. She didn’t know she could. Asha had no idea how valuable, gifted and powerful she was in God.

Working with these two disciples required different efforts. One was a natural leader, one quite reluctant. With both, we spent a lot of time helping them to understand their gifts and roles in the Kingdom. We talked about how they were royal priests. We taught them that God Himself had chosen them to bear fruit. He had given them spiritual authority.

The Great Commission was a powerful scripture for them. “All authority on Heaven and Earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:18-20). “Jesus has given you His authority,” we declared to them.

Another thing that helped was regular vision-casting about the need to reach the lost. Each week when we met, we told short stories or shared scriptures about God’s heart for the unreached around them. Asha soon started to lead a women’s fellowship. She brought her neighbors and relatives to Christ. One after another, her brothers believed. A passion to see others know the Jesus who had saved and transformed her own life grew strong inside of her.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18a

What Can Turn Someone Into An Initiator?

1) Vision + faith inspires initiative.

Every single time you meet, take a few moments to talk about the need to reach lost people around you. Share scriptures that inspire faith. Testimonies of what God is doing in other places can also be very powerful. These stories build faith and hope that God can also use them. Make sure that the disciples get their regular faith and vision “vitamin” intake!

2) Understanding of identity makes room for self-leadership.

One of the first things I encourage people to train disciples about is their identity in Christ. As disciples learn: who they are as a son or daughter, as a royal priest, and as someone chosen by God to bear fruit, confidence grows.

3) Buy-in and ownership are necessary for initiative.

Participatory, discussion-based discipleship meetings build a sense of ownership. Instead of just receiving their teaching, they discover principles from the Word of God themselves. Give them an opportunity to make their own decisions about Bible application. This builds a sense of ownership rather than just obedience to you, as the trainer.

4) Freedom to take action without too much control encourages initiative in trainees. read more

Is Your Culture in a Fight with a New Testament Worldview?

qualifications for ministry

“If you want the movement to multiply, ordinary believers must be released to baptize and serve the Lord’s Supper,” George Patterson, our speaker, announced. “What? Is that right?” I thought. “Did ordinary believers have the necessary qualifications for ministry?”

We were a group of young church planters and missionaries. We had come to this seminar to learn from George, a church planting expert.

It Sounded Strange

It sounded strange to me. I had well-established ideas from my upbringing and education about the qualifications for ministry.

Those ideas didn’t include brand new believers serving the Lord’s Supper. That was for sure!

I did not know that many of my ideas about who was allowed to do what in the church came from my own church traditions. They didn’t come from the model given in the New Testament.

Mindsets About Qualifications For Ministry – An Internal Obstacle

Many barriers to the growth of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) are external. But this one is a barrier in our own minds. Our culture and background often influence us more than the New Testament example. It did in my life until I was exposed to teaching about how to multiply disciple-makers.

I Had Arrived

“You are now an ordained pastor!” the District Superintendent said as he shook my hand. I felt so proud. I had done it.

The requirements were not unusually high. They were similar to most denominations, but it had taken me many years to complete them.

I’d gone through Bible college, completing a four-year degree in Bible and Theology. I had finished my master’s degree from a seminary. There were tests and interviews with committees. Now it was done. I was Reverend C. Anderson.

I now had the full blessing of my denomination to officiate any religious ceremony; a wedding, burial, baptism or baby dedication. Woohoo! I had arrived.

A Disclaimer

In this article, I in no way want to put down the significant role of spiritual leaders in the church today. I admire, respect and honor pastors for their the devoted and sacrificial service. They give so freely to the Lord and to their churches.

Pastors work hard under very tough conditions. They are paid little and under tremendous continual stress and demands. They deserve our love and appreciation. Like I said above, I am a pastor and an ordained minister.

Instead, my goal is to address what can be a major barrier to the growth of a movement.

When we elevate the role of pastor above what the New Testament does, we create a barrier. It can prevent us from multiplying disciples in a rapid way.

So often, our own cultural worldview about leadership gets in the way. We read scripture through the filter of our personal backgrounds.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…”

1. The Non-Christian Worldview And It’s Impact

Let’s look first at the person coming from a non-Christian worldview. In organized religions like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, there is an established clergy.

For the Muslim, it is the Imam.

In the Hindu religious worldview, there is a special caste of people- the Brahmins. They are uniquely qualified to do religious work.

For the Buddhist, it is the monk or the Lamma. Only those who wear the orange robes can perform certain religious duties.

The idea that an ordinary person can do spiritual work is very much against the norm. This is true in almost all non-Christian cultures. The priesthood of all believers is a radical shift of thinking for them. For those coming out of Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, their default thinking is this: only special people meet the qualifications for performing religious duties.

Bringing a shift to this worldview is absolutely central to seeing multiplication happen.

You will not have lay disciple-makers who; start groups, baptize, train and take initiative unless you strongly teach on this. Without clear Biblical teaching, their natural cultural bias will hinder them from stepping up to do “spiritual work.”

2. The Christian Worldview And It’s Impact

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom (Luke 23:45). God’s sovereign action in doing that was an incredible symbol to the Jewish disciples of Jesus.

Now everyone had access to God! No longer was it only the priests who could come into His presence. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was over and a new age of the Spirit began. It was to be a time when all who followed Jesus would serve as His chosen ambassadors, His priests.

Hierarchy ended when the New Covenant began.

Study Hebrews 8 and what it has to say about the New Covenant if you’d like to dig deeper.

Sadly, in Christianity today, many shadows of the Old Testament remain.

In the book of Acts, we see certain roles played by apostles, deacons and elders. You also see ordinary believers, filled with the Holy Spirit going everywhere making disciples. Wherever they went they shared their faith. They started groups of disciples (churches) and the movement multiplied.

The word pastor in the New Testament describes a spiritual gift (Eph. 4:11). In the Bible, the word pastor is not a title describing a special position in a spiritual hierarchy.

Many of us come from Christian backgrounds. Like Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims or others, we too have been influenced strongly by our worldview. The religion of Christianity seems to say that there are certain spiritual tasks that are only to be performed by a pastor. This is why we often face resistance from traditional pastors when starting a DMM.

qualifications for ministry

But is that typical Christian view Biblical? Or is it something that developed later in the history of the church?

The church’s structure was dramatically influenced in the 3rd century by the Roman Emperor Constantine. At that time, a hierarchy elevating the clergy above ordinary believers developed. Christian leaders took on the rank and even began to wear the clothing of the Roman elite.

Start With Your Own Mindset

If you want the movement you start to grow and multiply, you will need to address this mindset in yourself first.

As a trainer or leader, what makes me qualified? Is it my special training? My education?

Issues of spiritual pride creep in quickly causing us to want to control rather than empower. Remind yourself often of the priesthood of all believers and that your job is to equip them to do the ministry (Eph. 4:12).

Let’s Assess And Examine Ourselves

Ask yourself these questions.

  • How much do I equip and release ordinary (even brand new) believers, to do ministry?
  • Does my cultural worldview influence me more than the New Testament example in this area?
  • Have I set up any qualifications for ministry not in line with the model of the New Testament and book of Acts? (Asking them to attend this or that training before they can serve for example).
  • read more

    When Disciple-Making Strategy Becomes a Hidden Barrier to Growth

    disciple-making strategy

    Effective movement leaders don’t focus on disciple-making strategy. Instead, the focus that consumes them is a passionate urgency to reach lost people. Concentrating on the wrong thing (even good disciple-making strategy) can hinder a movement starting.

    Strategy is important and has its place. It’s not, however, what drives a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). A sense of urgency to reach the lost at every level in the movement does. This compelling love for the lost has to start with the trainers and 1st generation leaders.

    How It Feels To Be Lost

    It is an awful feeling to be lost.  I remember a time when I was seven or eight years old. We were visiting some of my parent’s friends in a new city in America.

    As adults do when they meet old friends, mom and dad were talking and having fun. I was bored. For some reason, I didn’t enjoy whatever the other kids were doing. I decided to go for a walk.

    I don’t remember exactly how it all happened, but I left.

    Wandering down the street, I enjoyed the various scenes around me. At some point though, I wanted to go back.

    The problem was that I didn’t know where back was. I couldn’t find the house. Nor was I even sure what it looked like anymore.

    Completely lost, I sat down on the side of the road and cried. It was not a nice feeling. Some hours later, my parents came and found me. Now that felt good!

    I had no idea what to do in my lostness. I had to just wait for someone who loved me to come searching.

    There are many who are spiritually lost in the same way I was physically lost that day. They don’t know what Heaven (or the presence of God) look like. They wait for someone who loves them to come and show them the way home.

    “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV

    The Terms Lost and Lostness

    Some Christian workers don’t like to use the term “lost” or talk about “lostness.” I guess I see their point. If you are an Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim, you may not like to be labeled as “lost.” I guess it isn’t following some of the 3D communication principles to use this term on-line as I am here.

    At the same time,

    it is crucial to talk about the reality of the condition of people apart from God. read more

    Desire for Quick Disciple-Making Results

    disciple-making results

    My husband and I like to run at least one half-marathon each year. To get a decent time in a 21 K race, you need a good strategy. If you start too fast in the beginning, you won’t get a good time. You have to slow yourself down at the start, to speed up at the end. This isn’t easy. At the beginning of the race, there is a lot of adrenaline and excitement. It is similar in starting a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). Start too fast and push for results too soon? Big mistake. You won’t get the acceleration and multiplication you want later. The desire for rapid disciple-making results can be a major DMM obstacle.

    It sounds kind of funny because with DMMs we are always talking about rabbit churches right? So why is it taking so long to get those first babies?

    The past few weeks I’ve been writing about some of the major obstacles to seeing a movement take off.  Though the obstacles seem many, there are ways to overcome them!

    Start Off With The Right Principles In Place

    Instill a value for principles of multiplication in the first believers and groups. Often, in the initial stages, progress looks slow. There are definitely other methods to more quickly get a group of people together and call them a church.

    Healing crusades, Jesus film showings, and other public events are “faster” ways. The problem is they often don’t multiply well later. In the end, the disciple-making results are far less. Why? Because those methods aren’t reproducible.

    What are other examples of efforts that get quick results but don’t produce multiplication later? One is compassion oriented, “free give away” outreaches. It isn’t that I am against some of these things. There are times when people are in genuine need of relief. The difficulty is that relief, after a crisis, needs to shift quickly to development. It often doesn’t.  We have a tendency to give relief (giveaways) when a more sustainable approach is needed.

    Pursuing a Disciple Making Movement means a willingness to slow down. Create and model simple, reproducible habits of evangelism and discipleship. These things will multiply. They may be slower now, but they will be much faster later. Instead of addition growth, you will get multiplication growth.

    My Medical Camp Lesson

    “Everything you do in the community needs to be immediately reproducible.”

    I knew that. I even taught that. In spite of this, the temptation was strong. We wanted to do something that quickly gave us disciple-making results.

    When a team from the USA approached my husband and I with the offer of a medical camp, we said yes. They would bring excellent foreign doctors and nurses. They would provide funds to purchase free medicine to give away. It seemed like a good idea. Who wouldn’t want to bless people in such great need?

    This would build favor with community leaders we were trying to get to know. It would also give us a lot of new contacts. We would share the gospel with each person who came through the camp. Some might even pray to receive Jesus. They might become our first believers.

    My heart longed to do something for the desperate poverty in the slum communities. I was filled with compassion. This seemed a good way to help.

    Amazing People- Weak Results

    We had a truly excellent team come in. They were amazing people. We were so blessed by their attitudes and expertise. We had a good team working on the setup and evangelism too. We saw hundreds of patients. The initial results were quite good. We got many new contacts and were able to follow-up on several who showed interest when they heard the gospel. It felt like we had “raced forward” in our DMM work there.

    Years later, as I look back, I am not so sure. In spite of all the positive things on the surface, there were significant negatives too. I now ask myself questions like:

    – Did that camp establish us as outsiders who bring in money and foreigners to “help”?
    – Did it contribute to an unhealthy dependency model? Rather than a locally sustainable model of evangelism and church planting?

    There were people from the camp with an early interest in Jesus. But they never grew into strong disciples who made disciples or became our persons of peace.

    We must evaluate and learn from both our successes and failures. In hindsight, I wouldn’t do it the same way next time.

    Can They Do What You Are Doing?

    Jesus did feed the multitudes and heal crowds of sick people. He extended compassion to all. There is a place for big crowds, meetings and maybe even medical camps. I want to be clear that I am not against those things.

    Jesus invested much of his time in the 12. He spent much more effort on them than on organizing big events. He took these disciples with Him everywhere. He created opportunities for them to go out on their own too. Very quickly, He encouraged them to do what He was doing. Jesus didn’t do anything that they couldn’t, with His authority and power, also do. In fact, He told them that they would do greater things than Him.

    “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 NIV.

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