I played basketball in high school and college. Our coach made us spend hours on the fundamentals. Dribbling, passing the ball, shooting layups…over and over again. “Fundamentals win games,” he said with confidence. I felt bored. I wanted to learn how to spin the ball on my finger or shoot a fancy shot. Nope. Fundamentals were what he drilled us on. In starting Disciple-Making movements, there are some key fundamentals. One is the skill of learning to share your story (testimony), quickly and with clarity.
You’ve got to ask if you want to make the sale. It’s basic business practice. After presenting your product, you ask them to buy. A salesperson who never asks the customer to commit will not make sales. Though what we are doing is not business, the principle applies. If you never ask people to commit to following Christ, you will make very few (if any) disciples.
We can not let fear prevent us from asking people to commit. After sharing a gospel presentation, testimony, or praying for someone, you must ask. You must extend the invitation.
“It sounds so easy on the mission field to share the gospel! It is harder here,” said a young woman attending one of our talks. She went on to explain. The people around her didn’t want to hear the gospel. She was afraid of offending them. So, she kept quiet. Inside, she longed to share the good news of Jesus. Outwardly, she found it difficult. The key issue was her belief that the people around her really didn’t want to hear the message she had to share. This false belief can paralyze us in evangelism.
Long-term, pioneer, frontier missionaries can get a bit cynical. We’ve seen lots of problems. Many things have gone wrong over years of service. It is easy to start to see the negative, rather than the positive in both people and situations. Seeing young people God sends your way on short-term mission teams, as God sees them, is important. Finding ways to help them be a blessing, as well as being blessed, is even more vital.
Not a New Phenomenon
Short-term teams are actually not a new invention! Pioneers like Loren Cunningham (and others) led the way in their acceptance in modern missions. Yet they are a very ancient (and Biblical) strategy.
Green people? Are we talking about Martians? Nope. In every disciple-making group there are different kinds of people. Check out this video to find out more about the four kinds of people in every group. Read further to understand how to help red and yellow people become green or blue!
Red People – come to the group faithfully but don’t obey.
Yellow People- come to the group, share the gospel, but don’t disciple others.
Green People- come, share the gospel and disciple others. They don’t train them to start new groups though.
Short cuts seem good in the beginning but often take longer in the end. We can be tempted to take alternate routes as we work in a new area. The Person of Peace concept comes from Luke Chapter 10. In verses five and six, Jesus tells them to look for someone who promotes peace. The disciples He sent out were to stay with that person and receive their hospitality. Through them they would reach the community. This is one DMM principle you can’t afford to take a short cut on.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:5,6
If someone was raised from the dead would it launch a movement? Most of us, as DMM practitioners, would absolutely love to see that kind of a miracle happen in our area! “If only we could see more signs and wonders,” we think. These supernatural interventions are definitely catalysts for much abundant gospel sowing. When combined with quality disciple-making and prayer, they can bear much fruit. It can lead to a dramatic transformation of communities.
In today’s blog I share what I learned from a movement leader who has seen someone raised from the dead. You can read the full story about that miracle here.
One of my favorite things to do on a day off is to play in my garden. I’m not a “green thumb” but something about being out in the yard with my hands in the soil is very relaxing. God often speaks to me about spiritual things while I am gardening. As I fertilize, weed, and water, my mind drifts to my passion to see disciples multiply among unreached peoples. One key principle stands out. If we want to reap a great harvest, we must sow many seeds of the gospel. We need to practice what is called “abundant gospel sowing.”
“Salaam Alaikum,” said the Muslim man who greeted me. I replied with the traditional response, “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.” The phrase means “Peace be upon you.” My response meant “And upon you as well.” The Jews use a similar phrase of salutation. It is the word “shalom.” Blessing those you greet with peace is a well-known tradition in Middle Eastern cultures. Is this what Jesus referred to when He spoke to His disciples about the Person of Peace in Luke 10?
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”
“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.