Growing up in a Pentecostal tradition, as a teenager, I enjoyed debating theology with Baptist friends. We had long, somewhat heated discussions, about what it meant to be “Spirit-filled.” Looking back at our arguments with the wisdom of years, I see we were both right. This is not an either/or issue, nor is that question worth fighting about. These kinds of debates take our focus off the lost. Instead, let us simply agree that all Disciple Making Movement leaders must learn to move in the power of God’s Spirit.
We long for more than we see today. Though many new movements are being started across the globe, we hunger for more. We look at the world, or at our current ministry, and feel a holy dissatisfaction with the status quo. This longing, even discontentment comes from the Father’s heart. It is there because God has more for us. Millions remain unreached and we are called to impact them in greater ways than we have yet seen.
You may be an existing movement leader who has already seen many generations. Or, you might be someone just beginning to catalyze movements. With our eyes on the ripe harvest, we must always look for more. How do we become the kind of people who God can trust with those greater fruits?
Passing the baton to others is easier to talk about than to do. Fears prevent us from trusting our disciples and handing over true authority to them. Without the passing on of both authority and tasks, we will not be able to multiply disciples.
This week I had the privilege of training together with an African movement leader who has seen many generations of disciples. We learned much from this man of God. Below is an excerpt from one of his sessions.
“To Timothy, you therefore my son be strong in the grace that is in Christ. So firstly is to be strong, OK? And the second thing he said, the things which you have heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, entrust this to faithful men. Give this to the faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Now Timothy is getting instruction from Paul, which is like Paul spending much time with Timothy. He is discipling Timothy in whatever he has seen Paul doing.
They didn’t like being asked to count the number of believers and report on progress in a numeric way. Why do we measure these things anyhow? It was important to explain the why behind the questions.
There is a big difference between the way rabbits and elephants reproduce! We know this. It is often referred to when explaining what a Disciple Making Movement is. Movements multiply rapidly. They grow and reproduce organically. Getting your disciples to take off and multiply like rabbits can be easier said than done.
To see rapid, rabbit-style reproduction of disciple makers, you must depend heavily on the Holy Spirit. Many of us lean too much on our own skills and experience as we train disciples. The Holy Spirit lives within even the newest of believers.
The movement is beginning to multiply. You have second and third-generation groups beginning. You sense that the leaders of the groups need more input. What is the best way to train leaders in a movement?
As we look at this issue we first look to Jesus. How did He train leaders for His movement? We can also draw best practices from growing movements happening today.
Birthing a Movement
When I first began to learn about church multiplication, I attended a two-day seminar with George Patterson. George was one of the “fathers” of movement thinking. I learned so much from him in those two short days!
Crisis brings out the best and worst within us. Some personalities love a challenge. Adversity inspires them. Climbing Mount Everest, participating in a Triathalon, winning an Olympic medal…these people amaze me! Not everyone has an extreme adventure personality. Some of us freeze when there is a crisis. We have no idea what to do. Others are pessimistic by nature. When a major problem hits, they see all the possibilities of what could go wrong.
In the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis, what kind of person will you be?
This week I’m privileged to introduce you to a fellow trainer and coach. In this short video, he addresses the question of how DMMs grow, strictly from a New Testament perspective. In Disciple Making Movements, everything we do and train others to do needs to be built on the foundation of what we see in the life of Jesus.
I hope you will watch this video and gain insights into what we can learn about movements from Jesus himself. He writes further about it in the text that follows.
It was 2011. Having done church planting work since 1997, and planted one church in an unreached area, I received training about a new approach. It was called Church Planting Movements, or Disciple Making Movements (DMM).
I see a problem. It’s disturbing my sleep. I wake up praying about it. Know what it is? It’s when Christian leaders don’t release their people to do the work of the ministry.
This issue bothers me because it can block the growth of Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). That must not happen! Leaders, we can not behave this way if we want to see God’s Kingdom spread rapidly through our regions.
It’s not easy to release people. I know. Huge issues arise in our hearts and heads.
Are they ready? Mature enough? What if they fail? What if they succeed (maybe even surpassing me)?
Most of us want our lives to make an impact. We long for significance. God put the desire inside us. He wants us to leave a unique and lasting mark on our world. This is part of what motivates us to pursue DMMs. It is the nature of movements to see thousands coming to Christ. This happens through deep investment in a few emerging leaders, who then invest in others.
“In the midst of dreaming for the thousands or tens of thousands, don’t forget the vital importance of investing well in a few.“