Discipleship

When On-line Simple Church Spills Over

online simple church

A fresh wave of regulations and lock-down orders has hit many nations. It can feel discouraging.  How do we continue our disciple making efforts in times like these?  A week or so ago, I interviewed a leader from South Asia who recently tried something new.  His on-line simple church efforts rapidly multiplied. They spilled over to many in-person groups also beginning across the region.

WATCH THE FULL 9 MINUTE INTERVIEW 

What stood out as you watched?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • when we do what we CAN do, God does what we CANNOT.
  • creativity and innovative efforts led to fruitfulness.
  • the standstill was not accepted but they sought God for solutions.
  • the mission to start movements wasn’t hindered but advanced because of the difficulties.

Learn more about how to start a Disciple Making Movement and on-line simple church groups that multiply in the course Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements. A new cohort will open in early January. read more

Why We Need to Stop Doing Good Things

fruitful

Pruning makes things ugly. We don’t usually like the way it looks at first. In front of my home in Thailand, we have flowering shrubs. They must be pruned to stay healthy. Every few months, I go outside and trim away branches. It’s especially hard to cut off the ones that still have flowers on them. Pruning unfruitful activities and investing in fruitful actions is a must if we want to see a Disciple Making Movement.

In the last few articles, I’ve written about the key characteristics of leaders God trusts with movements. Let’s add one more. read more

5 Important Reasons to Face Persecution With Joy

persecution

It’s strange how we tend to overlook certain phrases in scripture while emphasizing others. It happened to me the other day. I was reading James 1:27, a verse about pure religion. I’ve always noticed the part about orphans and widows, but overlooked the phrase about keeping myself from being polluted by the world. Lately, I’ve felt a bit polluted when watching the news. I need to be careful. We do the same thing with scriptures about persecution. The fact that we easily overlook them is a bit troubling. read more

Will You Leave a Lasting Legacy?

legacy

Passing the baton to others is easier to talk about than to do.  Fears prevent us from trusting our disciples and handing over true authority to them. Without the passing on of both authority and tasks, we will not be able to multiply disciples.

This week I had the privilege of training together with an African movement leader who has seen many generations of disciples.  We learned much from this man of God. Below is an excerpt from one of his sessions.

“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

2 Tim 2:2

To Timothy, you therefore my son be strong in the grace that is in Christ. So firstly is to be strong, OK? And the second thing he said, the things which you have heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, entrust this to faithful men. Give this to the faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Now Timothy is getting instruction from Paul, which is like Paul spending much time with Timothy. He is discipling Timothy in whatever he has seen Paul doing. 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

How Can Local New Testament Churches Challenge Us Today?

New testament church

In previous posts, we looked at the characteristics of Jesus’ movement. We also looked at the movement the apostles continued in Jerusalem. As the movement developed, we see what local assemblies (house churches) looked like. This adds to our understanding of New Testament movements. As we study the scripture below, we can examine our existing views of the church. Let us try to see the passage from the perspective of the early disciples, instead of our own.

What did the disciples in Jerusalem regularly do?

A summary of what the disciples regularly did in their local context, Jerusalem, is found in Acts 2:41-47. read more

Converts or Disciples? Why Leading Someone To Christ Isn’t Enough

converts or disciples

People are opening up like never before…” he said. My friend works in a restricted access nation. He described an unusual openness in his country. “Persecution has reduced by many, many times. There is almost none right now,” he told me. We continue to talk. Those he trains are leading people to Christ on the phone every single day. While excited about this, a question arose in my mind. Are they making converts or disciples?

Are these what we might call rice Christians?

I wonder if a new term will surface. Will we call them COVID Christians? Those who in a time of global crisis prayed a sinner’s prayer but were never disciples? When the crisis is over, will they return to their former lifestyle and ways? read more

Do I Think About Reproducibility at Every Level?

reproducibility

There is a big difference between the way rabbits and elephants reproduce! We know this. It is often referred to when explaining what a Disciple Making Movement is. Movements multiply rapidly. They grow and reproduce organically. Getting your disciples to take off and multiply like rabbits can be easier said than done.

To see rapid, rabbit-style reproduction of disciple makers, you must depend heavily on the Holy Spirit. Many of us lean too much on our own skills and experience as we train disciples. The Holy Spirit lives within even the newest of believers. read more

Why You Can’t Make Disciples In a Meeting

Meetings don’t make disciples, people do. Disciple making happens life on life.

We have a tendency to revert to old ways of thinking, even as we pursue a Disciple Making Movement. Christianity has become very meeting and event-oriented.

Discipleship is so much more than a weekly meeting! To make disciples who will make disciples, you must be willing to invest in deep relationships with those you train. You will need to practice life on life discipleship.

Jesus Invested Well

Jesus didn’t train disciples in a weekly meeting. He lived His life in close daily relationships with a group of twelve. He trained and invested in them. If we want to see movements, we must shift our understanding of discipleship away from meetings and toward relationships. read more

4 Principles of Integral Mission and DMMs

integral mission

Can community development and Disciple Making Movements flow together? This guest blog on integral mission was written by my friend Martine. Her story and input provide a clear answer to this question.

My first experiences in mission were in a time of famine. We worked among a nomadic tribe. They were one hundred percent of another faith and lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a medical doctor, I treated them during the day, and as a missionary evangelized in the evening.

During an epidemic, many children were dying of cholera. Often, too often, mothers brought me back the medicine I gave them, with their dead baby in their arms. They would tell me: “Thank you, Dr. M., for what you did to help us. But it was God’s will to take my child away “. As a young doctor, I felt more and more inadequate and desperate. read more