Arrogant, cocky, and with more than a little bit of attitude, a South Asian movement leader stood before me. “I’ve seen hundreds of people come to Christ this month and started over 60 new groups,” he declared, bobbing his head side to side. His demeanor made me sad, though I couldn’t deny the fruit he was seeing. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen these kinds of attitudes displayed by a movement leader. Young, apostolically gifted movement leaders need mentors to encourage and train them. They also can speak into issues of arrogance and pride when there is a strong relationship. We all need to check our attitudes and motivations as we pursue DMMs.
The title for this short article could have been “dealing with our feelings about a small harvest.” Imagine if we were to discuss face-to-face, “What problems are there with the harvest in my area?” We likely would spend much time discussing issues related to the small size of the harvest. Instead, what if we were soon talking about issues and difficulties caused by an amazingly ripe and plentiful harvest!
In the last few posts, we have been looking at mindset shifts that need to happen if we are to see the release of Disciple Making Movements. One of these is changing our mindset from thinking “my people group or area is too resistant to see a DMM.” Instead, we must embrace what Jesus told His disciples. The harvest is ripe in every people group.
At first, the Bible study looked overly simple. I thought I already knew the Biblical truths presented. Perhaps I did know most of it. God wanted me to experience those spiritual realities, even though I did not make it a priority at the time. The name of the life-changing study was Experiencing God.
A Bit of Background
Rewind a few years earlier.
I did not grow up in a family of Christ-followers. A classmate in high school first shared the good news of God’s kingdom with me back in 1984. My friend, Tyler, looked like the other teenagers around me. I could tell there was something different about him —a sense of peace and purpose.
Fear can be a hidden emotion. It manifests as anger, anxiety, or passivity. Like a deer that sees a car coming toward it, we freeze. It is not wrong to fear, but we can find ways of overcoming that fear. We can move courageously forward through our fear.
As you think about the past week, have you been active in making disciples? Or passive?
When you notice yourself growing spiritually inactive, examine the cause. Is fear playing a role? Maybe you’ve been active, but you notice it’s difficult to motivate your disciples toward action.
It is easy to say we believe God can do anything. “He is a God of the impossible,” we declare. In reality, our actions speak louder than words. Does your daily lifestyle reflect this? What steps of faith are you taking that lean hard on God to do what you can not?
As we pursue movements, we must continually grow as people of faith. Those who catalyze, or lead movements, have a robust faith in the God of the impossible. They demonstrate this faith through both their words and actions.
How Faith Grows in Us
Faith and trust are similar. In our relationship with God, trust grows as we know Him better and experience His work in our lives. We learn to depend on Him and believe Him for greater things.
Happy New Year! As this year begins I find myself doing what I do in a 3 part disciple makers meeting. Taking time to reflect, pray, and listen is one of my important rituals each New Year’s Eve and Day.
I’m looking back, looking up, and looking forward. Here are some questions I’ll ask myself. Perhaps you’d like to use them too.
Important questions for LOOKING BACK:
– What has God done that I can thank Him for?
– What have I learned about who He is this year?
Who is your favorite Christmas hero? Santa Claus? The elves or wise men? My favorite is Mary, Jesus’ mom. It could be because I am a mother. She is amazing! There is much to learn from her example.
Young Mary was an extraordinary woman. Handpicked by God, she gave birth to the greatest miracle of all time. God has chosen you and me to birth miraculous movements to Christ. Disciple Making Movements are amazing acts of God. Mary’s life of absolute surrender, faith for what she’d never seen or experienced, and willingness to suffer are a few things we learn from her.
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.
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.
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.
“What is the most important quality in a disciple maker or church planter’s life?” she asked. I was thoughtful for a moment. Many things rose to my mind. Diligence, prayer, passion for the lost, ability to call others into the vision, my list was long. One thing rose to the top. Perseverance. Without an ability to stick to the task, in spite of obstacles, to resist distractions and press on, Disciple Making Movements don’t get launched.
God gave you passion and vision or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Somewhere along the line, He breathed His heart into yours. It caught. A dream of multiplication began.