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.
If you’ve been around DMMs much, you’ve likely heard the term “generational growth.” There is nothing related to DMM terminology that I’ve seen more people get confused about that this! In the picture above you see three generations. Mom and Dad, daughters, and a granddaughter. What does it mean when we refer to second or third or fourth generations in a Disciple Making Movement?
We have a definition of Disciple Making Movements on our website. It says, “Within a short space of time (three to five years) we see at least four generations of groups.”
“Everything we do must be reproducible.” It’s a simple statement. Not quite as easy to put it into practice. In Disciple Making Movements, we must think about multiplication at every level. This requires radical changes in our actions. It is these adjustments, however, that cause your disciple making efforts to grow rapidly.
Remember the rabbit and elephant principle? Rabbits reproduce rapidly. They multiply. Elephants reproduce slowly. They add only a few new members to their families in a lifetime. We want to start rabbit groups that become rabbit churches.
One of the greatest indicators that a true move of God is taking place is when new believers are generous in their giving. This was true in the New Testament (see the Book of Acts). It is true today. In contrast, one of the greatest warning signs that a movement is headed toward a major slow-down or death is when the money a movement uses is coming from outside the movement.
It’s a serious dual reality: Money helps. Money hurts.
Boots in Bangladesh – Little Things Matter
A friend and co-worker from Bangladesh told me a true story. It shows how fragile a new movement is in relationship to external finances and help.
The news has been full of death statistics of late. New York Post headlines from April 8th read “Coronavirus kills 1,000 in NYC in just 36 hours.” Not good news! On April 5th, the death toll in Spain had crossed 12,000 dead. How are we to celebrate Easter in such a time?
If there ever was a time for us to proclaim the incredible news of Christ’s resurrection it is now.
Jesus is alive. He conquered death and the grave. By His stripes, those He suffered on Calvary, we are healed (Is. 53:5). The coronavirus has no grip on Him…nor on us! What a wonderful message we have to share.
Our team in South Asia started using the terms 1G, 2G, 3G, about ten years ago. We were trying to track the growth of emerging movements. It was kind of funny. At the very same time, Indian telephone companies were using those terms for their data plans! For us, 1G stood for a first-generation church. 2G for a second-generation church, etc. In the early days as we pursued movements, getting to the mark of fourth-generation growth was a huge milestone! As thrilling as it is to reach this point, 4G is not a magic number. There is not much in the Bible to support the emphasis we in the DMM world put on this particular milestone.
Acronyms are funny. They don’t translate well into other languages. At the same time, they do help us remember things. One of the acronyms I’ve heard used from my early days in church planting is M.A.W.L. I believe it was first used by David Garrison in his Church Planting Movements booklet. What does it stand for and how can it help your disciple-making?
M.A.W.L. stands for Model, Assist, Watch and Leave. It has to do with the disciple making process.
Jesus used this process with His disciples. He modeled how to do the work of the Kingdom. They went with Him, watched Him and learned. He then invited them to assist Him in the work. They joined Him in feeding the five thousand, and in healing the sick, casting out demons, etc. He then sent them out to do the same. Then He checked in with them (watch) to see how they were doing. Jesus left and returned to Heaven, giving them a command and commission to carry on the work.
“We’ve been looking for a place to have our Discovery Bible Study. I’m so excited! The pastor has said we can use the church! It solves our childcare problem too. We can use the nursery area for the kids.” She sounded so happy. Inside, I cringed. “Oh no! That doesn’t sound like the best option. How do I help her avoid making this strategic mistake?” Gently, I began asking questions. Eventually, she began to see. It’s probably better not to have Discovery groups meet within the church building. Not if her goal is to start a Disciple Making Movement.
“How do I get started with DMMs? I’m finding it difficult to find a Person of Peace. I can’t even find someone ready to have a spiritual conversation!” my trainee said. The frustration in her voice was notable. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting an Asian movement leader who has seen incredible fruit. Their movement is now well over 20,000 believers. He shared an excellent entry strategy. As my trainee asked this question, his example came to mind.
To find a Person of Peace, or several at one time, you have to cast your net wide. You can’t “fish” with a pole…you need a big net. The Asian movement leader’s example demonstrated how he did this.
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).