Evangelism

Need a Great List of the Most Vital DMM Startup Tools?

DMM Tools

Rice, meat, spices, herbs, onion, garlic…you make your list and go to the market. Before making a special meal, you first prepare the ingredients you need. You wouldn’t want to start cooking and then have to stop and run to the store. In the same way, as you begin your journey with Disciple Making Movements (DMMs), it is good to get your tools, training, and material in place. This will give you a better chance of moving forward in your DMM journey.

Invest in Your DMM Toolbox

There are many different tools you can add to your “toolbox” as you make disciples. But there are several things that are most essential. Get those basics in place. Then, as a builder or carpenter does, when you come across various new materials and skills, you can also add them to your DMM tool belt. read more

DMM Obstacle: Cultural Misunderstanding Gets In the Way

cultural misunderstandings about Christianity

“Nobody likes you. It would be better if you and your Jesus had never been born. We hear that you are all cannibals–you eat the flesh of your children in your sacred meetings.” This was said by Caecilius to his friend Octavius in the 2nd century. Pretty significant cultural misunderstanding about Christianity, don’t you think? Cultural barriers are not new to us today.

As we work with people from other faith backgrounds, these misunderstandings feel huge. Could they even prevent the starting of a Disciple Making Movement? How can they be overcome?

Good News: It’s A Short-Term Problem

Many cultural misunderstandings about Christianity exist. These do create difficulty in the early stages of the movement. Over time, the problem lessens. More and more indigenous people come to Christ and express the gospel in simple ways. Barriers fall.

One of the characteristics of DMMs is that they are locally led. As outsiders recede into the background, cultural expressions of the gospel emerge naturally. The image of Christianity (and of Jesus followers) in the region begins to shift.

Aren’t You A Christian?

I was riding first class on an Indian train. I almost never did that, but no other seat was available. A well-educated Muslim businessman sat in the opposite seat in my compartment. I was tired, so I relaxed and read a book.

He was busy on his cell phone, talking to clients. I noticed that he was articulate. He spoke excellent English and was clearly well-traveled.

After a few hours, he too relaxed a bit and pulled a book out of his briefcase. He began to read a publication put out by a group called Osho. Having had some experience with this group, I was surprised to see him reading this.

We began a conversation. I asked what he thought of the book and the Osho philosophy of life. “What do you think about their attitudes toward freedom and sexuality?” I inquired.

Slowly, the door opened to share that I believed God (using the Muslim word- Allah). “He has given us guidelines about how to function well in this aspect of life,” I shared.

I believe the all-powerful Creator loves us and gave these rules to us for our good and blessing,” I said. Surprise showed on his face.

He then asked a revealing question. “Aren’t you a Christian?”

He automatically assumed I was. After all, I was from a Western country.

“I am a follower of Jesus,” I replied. “I worship the Creator of the world.”

His face twisted into a confused look. “I thought all Christians believed in free sex,” he said.

Though educated and well-traveled, he had never met a genuine follower of Christ. His only perception of Christianity came from Hollywood movies. I was so happy to share with him more about who Jesus is and how He taught us to live.

4 Tips For Overcoming Initial Cultural Barriers

1) Don’t promote Christianity, share Jesus.

“It is He whom we proclaim as we admonish and wisely teach everyone, so that we may present everyone mature in the Messiah.” Col 1:28 ISV (Italics added).

Many times, cultural misunderstandings about Christianity relate to organized religion. I often say, “I don’t care if people become Christians or not, I want them to become disciples of Jesus.”

Our goal should not be to promote our religion or to convince anyone to change religions. We must change our mindset.

We are there to share about Jesus. Introduce people to Him. Focus on who He is, what He taught and that He is alive today.

Barriers fall away when we stop trying to get people to become Christians and simply introduce them to the One who changed our lives. If it helps, call yourself a Jesus follower, and don’t use the term Christian at the beginning (or at all).

2) Learn about the cultural barriers and how to bridge them without watering down the power of the gospel. read more

Not Immediately Finding a Man of Peace?

man of peace

Days, weeks and months go by. For some teams, it can even be years. You have prayed, fasted and have been doing evangelism. But you still haven’t found the man of peace in your village or city. Frustration and hopelessness build inside.

The temptation to give up on Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles is growing.

“Maybe this doesn’t work and I should just try a more traditional method of evangelism,” you think. Or perhaps anger toward God is also there. “If the harvest truly is ripe as Jesus said it was, why doesn’t God bring them to me?”

I have been writing a series about common DMM obstacles. Not finding a man of peace (or woman either!) can feel like an immovable barrier.

In the early stages of pioneering a Disciple Making Movement, the battle is intense. This is true both inside of you and in the spiritual realm. Faith is tested and tried.

The bigger the coming breakthrough, the more obstacles you will face. Don’t lose heart. The man of peace is there. Who they are will be revealed. Continue to walk forward in faith and follow best practices in this area.

Movement Leaders On Hold

Last year I was working with a group of South Asians who were pioneering in new places. They were national missionaries who already spoke the language. Good evangelists, they were very solid guys.

They had already seen churches planted in other areas. Those churches had multiplied and grown. Raising up elders, they handed the work over and moved on to new locations.

Suddenly, they went from leading growing movements with hundreds of believers to zero. read more

Pushy Evangelism- Is it Wrong?

evangelism

There is a part of the shopping mall I avoid. It’s where they give out free samples of perfume and makeup. The salespeople there are quite annoying. If I even glance their direction, I end up stuck. I have to listen to their speech about a product I don’t want. Pushy evangelists feel the same way. I hate the idea of forcing people, in any way, to “listen to the gospel.” Yet, we have a life-saving message. How pushy should we be in our evangelism?

Many cultures teach us that to make anyone feel uncomfortable, or forced to do anything, is wrong. The big unspoken rule in evangelism today is “Don’t make them feel pressured.” I have been wondering. Is that a biblical way of thinking about sharing the gospel or not?

evangelismJesus Said Compel Them To Come In

Jesus told a story in Luke 14 about a great banquet. The master invited many guests. But those people made excuses and didn’t want to come to His feast. He then told His servant to go and invite the lame, blind and poor. Having done this, there was still room at the party table. Finally, this.

 

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:23 NIV

God’s Passion For His House To Be Full

This passage shows us God’s great passion. It’s reflected in the instruction of the master. The master is determined that His house be full. It is not okay with Him that only a few come to the great feast He has prepared.

God is not happy with an underpopulated Heaven. It’s not a neutral issue for God. Sometimes we get the idea that God doesn’t care that much. Here is the gospel. Take it or leave it. Not very interested? No problem. I wouldn’t want you to feel uncomfortable.

That is not a biblical way to think! It’s not how Jesus described the Father. No. Instead, He tells us to compel people to come into His Kingdom. The word compel means to “force or oblige (someone) to do something.” It definitely has the sense of pressure being applied.

In many cultures, there is a high value for tolerance. This is true in the West and it’s also seen in Buddhism and Hinduism. These worldviews say, “All roads lead to god. You do your thing, I will do mine. There is no such thing as truth. If you think your way is better or right, you are being arrogant.”

It’s difficult in this environment to present a message that says Jesus is the only way to the Father. read more

Evangelism Starts With Love

evangelism starts

Ding, dong. They are at your door. Or maybe they are walking through the train. They’re selling something you don’t need or want. It is a children’s encyclopedia set, some kind of kitchen gadget, or cheaply made toys. How do you feel? The primary thought in my mind is always, “How do I get rid of these people as fast as possible?” I want to stay polite and kind, but not have to listen to them! Many people feel that way toward us when we share the gospel. Are we just salespeople, pushing our goods? No. Absolutely not. But, our evangelism is no more than a slick sales tactic, if it doesn’t flow from genuine love for the unreached.

It’s Love Not Performance

Evangelism starts with love. Allow God to continually fill you with His heart for lost people. If we are doing evangelism out of a sense of duty, obligation, or an “I should”, we will not be effective. Nor will our efforts bring pleasure to God. He wants us to have His heart. Is this still your primary motivation for sharing His story? God’s aching heart for the lost?

Our tendency toward performance orientation can affect us. We may develop an underlying sense that we must do evangelism to win (or keep) God’s love. It is a lie. But it can still impact us. Instead of sharing good news from a heart of love, we start to share it out of duty. We begin to do it because we should. We need to return again and again to our loving Father. Let Him fill us once more with His heart, with His love- for us and for others.

Love Is Always More Important Than Methods

It is helpful as we train people to have them learn a method of evangelism. We teach them how to share their testimony and the Jesus story. It builds confidence and competency. This is important. But in training, always start with the trainee’s heart. Evangelism starts there. People sense whether you love them. They know if you are sharing the gospel to “convert” them, or because you genuinely care about them.

Ask God For A Luke 15 Heart

My “go to” chapter when love for the lost is getting a bit cool is Luke 15. There are three stories in a row about God’s heart for the lost; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Take a few minutes to read and meditate on this chapter sometime this week.

1 Cor 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”- NIV

Are we “gongs and cymbals”?

5 Signs You’re Loving The Lost

Sign 1- If I love the lost, I sincerely and specifically pray for lost people. read more

What is a Lost and Saved List?

Lost and Saved List

Do you have a favorite tool for gardening or working in the kitchen? At our house, we have a favorite knife. It is sharp and the handle is just the right size. It works well for chopping about anything. If my husband and I are both in the kitchen, there sometimes is a competition for who gets to use that knife! Tools are important in seeing progress and becoming effective. The T4T Lost and Saved list is one of the best tools I have used. It will help you train people to start Disciple Making Movements.

What Makes This Tool Powerful?

What is a T4T Lost and Saved List? How does it work? What are the benefits of using one? The simplicity and power of this tool is amazing. It helps us identify people in our lives who we already have relationships with, but they do not know the Lord. The list also shows us who we could begin to train. Using this inventory of people we already know helps to shift our mindset from thinking of ourselves only as a trainee. We begin to think of ourselves as a trainer of trainers. It also gets us started with a regular habit of prayer that will deeply impact our disciple making.

My Lost And Saved List

On one side of my list are the names of my neighbors. The name of the girl who works at the coffee shop I frequent once a week is on my list. My language helper’s names are there too. On the other side of the list are names of movement leaders and people I have trained. Every day I spend time praying for these people. I pray for their children and for their health issues. I pray that their hearts will open to the gospel. Boldness and faith for the movement leaders, as well as protection from persecution, are other things I pray. I keep this Lost and Saved List in my Bible and also on my computer. The daily habit of praying for these people makes a big difference in my heart attitudes. It has affected my fruitfulness too.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Rom. 12:12- NIV

Learning to Make A Lost And Saved List

I first learned about making a Lost and Saved List from Ying Kai, the man who started T4T. I am so grateful to him for teaching me about this tool! Ying came to our region and ran a seminar for us about T4T. One of the first things he had us do was to make a two-column list on a piece of paper. On one side we were to write down a list of “Lost” people we knew. On the other side, we were to write down a list of “Saved” people we knew.

Lost and Saved List
Ying and Grace Kai of T4T (Training for Trainers).

It was actually kind of hard for me at that point to write down very many lost people’s names. I was able to list three or four. I realized that I didn’t have that many relationships with people who didn’t already know Jesus!

My right-hand column, the “Saved” List, was easier. I wrote down the names of 15 or 20 people.
Then, Ying challenged us to pray daily for these two lists of people in a detailed way. That was the starting point- regular, daily prayer for them. As we prayed, we were also to choose 5 people from each column that we would take an action with.

For the “Lost” people, we were to choose 5 people that we would share our testimony with that week. We might have 15 or 20 names there. Every day, he encouraged us, we should pray for each person.

But we don’t stop only with prayer. As we pray, we also share the good news read more

3 Keys to Finding a Person of Peace

person of peace

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.

A Person of Peace acts much like a doorway. They open the community to you and your message. They are a key influencers God has chosen. You work through them to reach the area. There are important points to remember when trying to find a Person of Peace.

The Person Of Peace Isn’t Always Who You Think They Will Be

We were working in a slum community. We wanted to find people of influence there. The head of the municipality was the natural one to approach. We asked him who the various leaders were in his area. He specifically directed us to a woman who was in charge of the women’s committee.

I immediately liked her. She was smart, about my age, and had obvious leadership giftings. She was very happy to meet us. Right away, she invited us into her home for tea. A few days later, she welcomed us for a delicious curry meal. She even called some of the other leaders to come and join us for food as well.

person of peace

“She must be a woman of peace!” I thought to myself.

Over the following months, our friendship developed. I continued to visit her often. We discussed the needs of the community and various possible projects. I shared the gospel and began to share Bible stories with her. She was open, always willing to listen. As the months went by, she heard many stories. She liked Jesus but was not willing to commit to following Him.

I knew that though she was a good friend and a helpful person to know there, she was not the Woman of Peace I was looking for. I had to keep sharing with others until I found that person. Key principles were learned through that process.

“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.” Luke 10:5-7 NIV

3 Keys To Finding A Person Of Peace

1. A Person of Peace welcomes both you and your message. read more

3 Things That Increase Bold Evangelism

bold evangelism

“I have tried and tried to get the believers in our fellowship to share the gospel, but they are fearful, shy and just don’t seem able to witness. Bold evangelism just isn’t happening!”

This is not unusual to hear from the church planters I am coaching. What can we do to increase boldness and help the disciples we work with to overcome their fears?

3 Things That Increase Bold Evangelism

1. Receiving the Holy Spirit

The classic biblical example is Peter in Acts Chapter 2. When Jesus was being tried, three times he denied even knowing Him. He certainly wasn’t witnessing at that point! But after he received the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he stood in front of thousands and boldly proclaimed the gospel with authority and conviction. If your church members aren’t witnessing, pray for them to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. It will make a world of difference.

2. Practicing

Many people lack confidence to witness. They are embarrassed when they stumble over their words or don’t know what to say, how to answer questions, etc. After teaching them how to share their testimony, make sure to take time practicing it in a safe environment with other believers. Let them share it several times and get feedback. Do the same when training people to share a Creation to Christ story. Practice builds confidence and helps them to overcome fear of failure.

3. Making a List

Ying Kai of T4T says that people don’t share because they don’t know who to share with. He encourages people to make a two column Lost and Saved list. Pray daily for the people on that list. The lost side of the list are those in your friend and family circle (oikos) who don’t yet believe in Christ. The saved side of the list are those you are discipling. Regularly pray for them too!

After making a list, you can choose a few people each week and make plans to share your testimony with them. Being specific and accountable about plans to share the gospel helps us move forward. If you are training others, be sure to affirm and encourage a lot. Do this even if their efforts don’t yield success in the beginning.

It goes without saying that we as trainers also need to really pray for believers in this area. Model bold evangelism in your own life too! If we are demonstrating a lifestyle of evangelism and courageous witness, they will see it is possible and that they too can do the same.

Bold evangelism is a major characteristic of growing DMMs. Believe God to help you increase the believer’s boldness!

Which of the “3 Things” will you start to work on this week? Mention it in the comments and we will pray with you as you work on this!

Trainees – What Gospel Do They Share?

gospel sharing includes the cross

Gospel Sharing- Some Big Concerns

I’ve been concerned as we have been training in various locations. How do we approach gospel sharing and evangelism? We have been training people in how to share the Jesus story, Creation to Christ stories, and the basic gospel message.  I’m quite shocked at the number of pastors, church planters, elders and local believers who seem to have little understanding of what the gospel is.  Many cannot easily and clearly share a simple gospel story.  Some of those unable to do this went through credible Christian training and discipleship programs.  This is worrying.

Many things contribute to this problem.  The main root of this problem is the model these dear ones have seen.  The gospel they have heard, the style of evangelism they have seen modeled, is one where people are told that if they become Christians, God will bless them.  God will heal them.  God will help them.

It Is An Incomplete Gospel

Forgive me if I am stating the obvious, but this is a very incomplete gospel.  If this is the foundation of the gospel on which we try to make disciples, we can only expect weak and conditional faith.  This kind of gospel sharing fails to call people to discipleship.

As a result, we can expect to be accused by opponents of Christianity. They will say we try to convert the simple-minded with enticements and manipulative methods.  What they say, if this is all the gospel we share, will indeed have some truth to it.  This situation is cause for grave concern and serious efforts to bring about change.

In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul says, “we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Gentiles…”(NIV). If our gospel presentations do not include Jesus crucified, risen and coming again, we are not sharing the gospel.  The message we communicate must be about Jesus; why He came, why He died, how He rose and what it means for us today.  We must speak about sin and repentance. Our gospel must include how Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for restoration in our relationship with God. We must share about how His sacrifice made a way for us to know God, have our sins forgiven, and become spiritual children of God. It’s vital to include a call to follow the way of Jesus.

This seems obvious, yet in many, many places, this is not the gospel message preached, nor do ordinary believers in the churches we have planted know how to share it simply and effectively. Gospel sharing must include a call to discipleship.

Our Gospel Sharing Must Include The Cross

God’s love and goodness, His power to heal, deliver, provide, free, protect …this is all part of the good news.  I’m not saying leave those out, they are definitely part of the message!  We can not, however, give in to the temptation to leave out the vital message of why Jesus had to die in order for us to be saved.  Yes, it’s hard to communicate about sacrificial death to a high caste Hindu or a Buddhist.  It may take time for them to understand it.  This was true for the Gentiles of Paul’s time as well.  For the post-modern American, it may come across as cruel and they may question why a good Father would ever dream of asking His son to die such a terrible death.  But, it’s still the message we must share. 

We can not…we must not..remove the cross from our message.  read more

Who Will You Tell the Greatest Story to This Christmas?

greatest story

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. read more