Every single second someone in India dies not having heard the gospel. That’s 60 people in a minute. Each one is precious to God. The number of hairs on their head are known by Him. He watched them cry and laugh. He saw their joys and pain. Yet they die, having never heard of His love. India is one of many places where the needs of the unreached are massive. We could talk about the Middle East, China, Africa, or Bangladesh. Sometimes, when we see this great need, we feel completely overwhelmed by the task.
Do you ever struggle for faith that disciple making movements are possible? Or possible in your place? Or possible through you? I certainly have. I’m not proud of it, but it is true.
Sometimes in what Michael Hyatt calls the “messy middle” we stop believing. The “messy middle” is a place between the vision’s beginning and it’s realization. It’s the place where we wonder if our dream is possible.
My Struggle For Faith
There was a long “messy middle” for me. It was 20 years from when I heard about DMMs (back then we spoke of multiplying daughter and grand-daughter churches) and the time I first saw 4th generation groups. On that journey, I often wanted to quit. I regularly doubted it could happen.
Perseverance – Lessons from Snoozy
When I was a kid we had a dog named Snoozy. She loved to play. We would take an old sock, tie a knot in it, and let her grab hold of the end. A game of “tug of war” soon started. If I got the sock away, (and it was hard work to finally do that) Snoozy would lunge after it again. The game could go on for hours!
Remembering His goodness in the past year
-How has God shown you His goodness this past year?
-When did you experience unusual kindness or grace?
-When did you sense His support, protection or presence in a unique way?
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but I do appreciate the way it helps me keep in touch with people. That morning as I scrolled through my news feed, I was struck by how many smiling faces I saw…people wishing me a Merry Christmas…people who didn’t know about Jesus before our paths crossed. Now they were posting pictures and videos of Christmas gatherings, people dancing, preaching, celebrating the amazing story of the King of Kings born into this world. I saw pictures of spiritual grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My heart was warmed. Disciples were making disciples. His kingdom and His government had and were increasing. I had somehow played a part in that. What a blessing! What a gift!
-Who is celebrating Christmas this year who wouldn’t be, if it wasn’t for your witness?
-Who is passing on the gospel message to others because you were willing to live out the message before them?
As we reflect, painful feelings also surface. There are things we wished for but didn’t see accomplished. People we prayed for, who still seem so hard and closed. Times we hoped and fought for a miracle, but it didn’t happen like we expected. There might be memories of offense and disappointment you experienced. Heading into the New Year,
Faith Is Necessary
Faith is a necessity as we talk about starting Disciple Making Movements. I regularly return to Hebrews 11 to stir up my own faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is believing for things we can not see yet and verse 6 says without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God.
How does that play out in our daily lives? What does it look like to be people of faith as we attempt to start a DMM?
Our faith takes shape in our actions and goals. What we believe, actually believe, shows up in these two things.
I recently trained a group of church planters. We talked about multiplication and movements, about disciples making disciples and groups starting groups. Everyone seemed on board with what I was sharing. Then it came time to set goals for the coming months. Suddenly, faith was tested. What do I really believe is possible? What will I attempt to do?
It is not easy to set God-sized goals that reflect multiplication. We are afraid of failure. We may not reach those goals. If God doesn’t intervene, those things may not happen and I might be disappointed in myself. Others may also see me as a failure.
Take Risks In Goal Setting
There are risks involved in setting faith filled goals. Speaking out a goal and going after it feels dangerous. There is indeed a chance that you won’t reach that goal. There is also a chance that you will! If you never attempt something great, you are unlikely to achieve it. If you never ask God boldly for something, He probably won’t give it to you.
Why set small goals that are humanly achievable?! There is no place for God to be glorified when we do that.
We all know that nothing is possible without God. Not even small things can be done apart from Him. So when we ask, why shouldn’t we ask Him for more? It is going to require Him working anyhow.
The only thing that limits God is our own inability to believe in His greatness.
Does He love lost people around you? Yes. Does He desire that they be saved? Yes. Is He able to convict the world of sin? To change hearts? Again, yes. Did He choose you to bear much fruit? Indeed. So why aim for something less than a God-sized goal to see rapid multiplication?
I’m not encouraging foolish goals that have no basis in reason, or that we randomly pull numbers out of the air. What I am advocating for is that we ask Him boldly for the things that He is both able and wants to do through us! I’ve always liked the Schuller quote “I would rather attempt to do something great and fail, then attempt to do nothing and succeed.”
God is able. He is ready to work. Are we?
Set bigger goals, pray bigger prayers, and expect God to work in bigger ways through you this week!
In every mission’s conference we talk about the Great Commission. It is found in several places in the gospels, but most often referenced from Matthew 28.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”– Matt. 28:18-20 NIV
Our beliefs about who we are, dramatically impact how we behave. In the last blog I talked about who we are as people God has chosen to bear much fruit. We are the chosen ones. Today I want to focus on another aspect of identity – who you are as a royal priest of God.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- NIV
It’s important to understand the major shift Jesus brought about when he went to the cross and rose again. He destroyed the old system of Levitical priesthood and established a new system where all who followed Him would be royal priests. In the new covenant you are not physically born into the priesthood. Instead, when you receive Jesus, you are spiritually born into this status.
Does it make sense to have time-bound goals for the release of Disciple Making Movements? Having a time-bound goal for a supernatural vision can be disheartening. Movements are a God thing…far beyond our control.
Are time-bound goals even Biblical? These are questions worth asking as we consider vision, mission, and goals when it comes to DMMs.
Some argue – there is a difference between business goals, what they call BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and setting goals in the realm of the Kingdom. True. They are different. But could it be that this works in the business world, because it is actually a Kingdom principle? One related to the power of faith, and how that impacts action?
Disciple Making Movements, or DMMs, are a mission and church multiplication paradigm that has gained credibility in recent years. For most who pursue them, they are more than a strategy though. They are a passion. A desperate sense of urgency to see lost people come to know Christ drives them to the costly pursuit of rapidly multiplying groups of disciples in their area.
Movement practitioners are willing to face persecution from within and without, and to spend much time on their knees. Mountain tops of breakthrough and valleys of discouragement are all part of the DMM journey.
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.