Were you ever lost in the woods and couldn’t find your way out? Maybe you’ve played a video game and were stuck in a room (in the game). You couldn’t find the door to get to the next passageway or level. That is a difficult place to be! You wander around not making progress, getting more frustrated each moment; searching, searching, searching. Disciple making among the unreached can feel similar! “Where is that key person?” we wonder. Finding the Person of Peace is important to starting a Disciple Making Movement. It takes you to the next level.
“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.
There is no time like Christmas to share the story of Jesus! A few days ago, a pastor friend asked in a group of pastors “How will you keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebrations?” My response flew immediately to my fingers (and keyboard). The best way to keep Jesus central is to share His story with those waiting to hear it!
I realize this can be easier said than done. Not everyone wants to hear the message. Some feel they’ve heard it before and are not interested. Others, though, are longing…waiting for someone to point them toward the only One who can turn their darkness into light.
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:
“All men are equally lost, but not all men are equally needy.” Do you agree? Dr. Ralph Winter, a missionary pioneer, and one of the founders of the modern frontier missions movement made this claim. The assertion that unreached peoples must receive greater focus sparked debate. It also brought a new emphasis for many agencies. YWAM was touched by Winter’s trumpet call to the unreached. YWAM Frontier Missions is part of the result.
Are DMMs Reaching the Least Reached?
Yet still today, many decades later, much of our focus in evangelism remains on those who already have an opportunity to hear. Should they choose to. As Disciple Making Movements continue to grow around the world, we must continue to champion the cause of the unreached. DMMs that start, must be missional in nature. They need to have a clear focus not only on the lost, but on the least reached lost around them.
Practice. Practice. Practice. “But I don’t like to practice, I like to play.” When I was a teenager, I played on a basketball team. I hated practices. We would dribble the ball up and down the court and shoot layups for hours. It was tiring and boring. I preferred the games. They were fun! Without practice though, we didn’t win games. Practicing disciple making skills is no different.
For some reason, we think that doing things like evangelism and disciple making shouldn’t need practice. It should flow out of us without any training or effort. This is not actually what either Jesus or Paul said. They used the word practice to describe the learning and applying process.
If you had to choose between building relationships with lost people and going to church, which one would you do? Seriously. Most would answer, “Go to church, obviously.” Going to church is what “good” Christians do.
True. It’s a worthy thing to do, especially if being part of that church community is causing you to grow as a disciple. So often, though, there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple.
What do “good” disciples do? I believe that engaging with, befriending, and loving on lost people and sharing the good news with them, is what disciples do. It’s what Jesus did. He hung out with lost people a lot more than he went to synagogue meetings and conferences right?
A Disciple Making Movement trainer I know uses this question with potential seekers. “If God were to do a miracle for you today, what would it be?” Let them answer, then pray for whatever they said. Watch and see what God will do. This simple evangelism strategy makes room for God to show off His power and tremendous love.
It’s a somewhat scary strategy for some.
When we pray for a miracle, we can feel like we will be evaluated based on what happens. If God does something unusual, great. If not, then we wonder if we will be discredited somehow. People might think we are dishonest, fraudulent promoters of kooky religious ideas. Or they may reject us as just plain weird. Others might feel we are trying to be someone great, but aren’t able to deliver the goods.
What does it take to become the kind of person who launches movements? Last week I wrote about twelve important characteristics we must develop in our lives. Becoming the kind of person who is bold and faithful in their witness was #2 on my list. For some, this is incredibly obvious. For others, it’s uncomfortable and difficult.
A few days ago I met with someone for a coaching call. They told me, “A brother I am working with is excited about DMMs and wants to train many others in this. The problem I see, though, is he rarely shares the gospel with those in his neighborhood or life.” Probing a bit further, I discovered a common problem. Many of us are better theorists than we are practitioners.
“I feel a bit sad,” she said. “I’ve been trying to share with Muslim neighbors about my faith. Now they are avoiding talking with me! I’m not sure what to do.” I could hear the frustration and concern in her voice. When you begin to share boldly with those around you, opposition and resistance are sure to come.
How will you respond?
Abundant gospel sowing sounds great and is an important principle of DMMs. It is clear that bold witness is a characteristic of every Disciple Making Movement. There is a price to pay.