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.“
They introduced me to the crowd. Camera’s flashed as I walked up to the stage to speak. “We now welcome ‘Rev. Dr. C. Anderson!,’” the MC announced with enthusiasm. The crowd’s applause was loud and vibrant. I didn’t know what to think. I was an ordained minister, so the Rev. title fit. I definitely didn’t have a doctorate degree yet. To honor me, they’d given me an extra title. With the goal in my heart of launching Disciple Making Movements, would the title help? Or, could it prevent me from training people to be disciple makers?
“I don’t feel qualified to train others in DMM,” she said to me. “I haven’t started a movement yet.” Her face was downcast and sad. This active, field practitioner felt unworthy to speak to others about Disciple Making Movements. They hadn’t yet seen multiplication as they hoped. Who is qualified to train others?
The reverse is also common. “This is the way you should do it,” he declared. His speech was dogmatic. “Without this (fill in the blank) you’re wasting your time.” When asked about the fruit of his ministry, it became clear. This person was a theorist, not a practitioner. I find it hard to listen to people who teach but don’t do.
In recent weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with people. The topic of tracking has surfaced more than once. Is it biblical?
Tracking numbers and setting goals can feel like it isn’t relational. While the feeling is real, it doesn’t need to be true. We can be both relational and also track fruitfulness. Led by the Holy Spirit and deeply dependent on Him, we can set goals and evaluate progress while still valuing each individual involved.
Admittedly, some people swing one way or the other. Many leaders don’t hold this tension well. We tend to err on one side or the other. Sometimes we say we don’t care about results at all- “God knows my heart and how much I want to see people saved! That is enough.” It sounds spiritual, but is it?