What is the main job of a pastor or Christian leader? Or of anyone with ministry gifts and experience? Is it to prepare quality sermons that inspire and instruct drawing people to attend church services? You may believe their primary job is to provide pastoral care to those who are sick and in hospital. Or perhaps it is to oversee the staff team of the church. According to the book of Ephesians, none of these are the primary task of those with ministerial gifts and responsibilities. Our most important responsibility is to train others to do what we do.
You suddenly notice ceiling lamps swinging wildly for a few seconds, or something more severe. What you are experiencing is an earthquake. An earthquake happens when tectonic plates under the earth’s surface shift. In DMMs we need mindsets to shift below the surface of our lives. These shifts loosen and unlock the release of multiplication.
If we are to launch a Disciple-Making Movement, we need to make at least five key shifts in our thinking.
1st Mindshift: Structural
The first mind shift is a Structural Shift – it’s a move from a traditional church or connect group, to a simple church. A church is not a building. It is a gathering of people – a spiritual family who love God, love people and who love to make disciples.
There is a quite well-established path for how we as the Church train people to multiply disciples and start churches. Our traditional pathway of gaining ministerial credentials is long. It can take years in seminary or some institution. Could there be a better or more fruitful way?
YWAM FM’s Training Story
Youth With a Mission, is the organization with which I serve. YWAM broke new ground in the 1960’s when Loren Cunningham believed God could use waves of young people in evangelism and missions. With only a few months of intense training, zealous youth went to nations like India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to pioneer new ministries. They were surprisingly successful! There were failures as well, but God worked.
Reading this question you might think, “the apostolic leader.” Having a charismatic leader who motivates, trains, and inspires people is definitely helpful. They are not, however, the driving force in movements. The multiplication we see in rapidly multiplying movements is driven by ordinary disciples.
A less dynamic leader, who knows how to train and mobilize every believer will see greater fruit. It’s one of the key characteristics of movements. Every believer makes disciples.
Disciple-making and evangelism are not only the role and responsibility of trained clergy. In their jobs, neighborhoods, and families, lay people share their testimonies, pray for people, and invite them to read and study God’s Word. This leads to movements. This drives disciple-making forward.
Here’s a fact. God desires for all people to come to the saving knowledge of His son Jesus Christ. Scripture says that He does not desire that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Pet.3:9). This is the heart of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28.
Let’s follow that fact with a question. Do we actually believe God wants to fulfill this through us?
Further, do we believe He can bring about the exponential multiplication of disciples (a Disciple Making Movement)? Through people as ordinary as us?
“Pastor Cindy”…ahh! That had a nice ring to it! Being called pastor somehow set me apart. I was special. When my husband and I first started pastoring, we were quite young…fresh out of Bible college. We served as youth ministers in a church that instructed us to call ourselves “Pastor Todd” and “Pastor Cindy.” Only later I came to understand the danger of titles, and what it did to increase the separation between myself and those I served.
Titles put you on a pedestal. It’s one you will sooner or later fall off of. It may be in a very visible way that hurts many. Or it could be in a hidden way, which hurts you. We all fail to live up to that standard of perfection and holiness. We’re human. The titles of Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Reverend, sometimes cause more harm than good. This is certainly true when it comes to Disciple Making Movements and releasing the priesthood of all believers.
Our passion is to empower lost people to become obedient disciples of Jesus. We want to help them start transformational Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). Disciple-makers who we work with to see movements do not need to be part of our own organization or denomination. In fact, for fruit to multiply rapidly, we need an open-handed approach. We must train every believer to be an active disciple-maker.
We’ve struggled with this in YWAM (my particular organization). Some of us were tempted to think that for local believers to plant churches, they needed to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS). We thought they should first join Youth With a Mission, and then be equipped through a School of Frontier Missions (SOFM). After that, they’d be ready to plant churches among the unreached or join our teams.