The mountain was high, the trail steep. I’d started out enthusiastic. Now each step felt hard. Up, up, up, I went. What would keep me going till I reached the top? Starting a Disciple Making Movement can be a bit like that hike. We start well, our passion high. A few months (or years) later, it’s an uphill climb. We need solid motivations clear in our hearts. They will carry us upward toward the release of a DMM.
As mentioned in previous blogs, some motivations will sustain you on the DMM journey. Others will not. In my last article, we talked about the number one reason for wanting to start DMMs all over the world. A passion for God’s glory will keep you through the messy, dry or painful seasons of launching DMMs.
The second most important motivation is a deep God-given love for lost people.
This deep, heartfelt compassion for the lost, is placed there by God. It comes into our hearts as we spend time with Him. It rubs off on us. The more we draw close, and the more His love fills us. This sacrificial love will keep you motivated. It will compel you to pursue a DMM and keep you going until you see the radical multiplication you dream of.
Love is a Grace
When we first moved across the border, I admit it. I struggled. The place we moved to was hot and humid. I experienced culture shock. We’d been working with an indirect, gentle people group. Now we were in the midst of a more aggressive culture. Shouting seemed to be their normal way of communicating. Arguments were loud and common.
I’d often wake up to the sound of my neighbors outside on the road shouting. I confess. I didn’t like these people. I wanted to go back to where we’d lived before…the culture I was comfortable in.
One day I was preparing to speak about missions in a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) in the area. I’d been asked to teach on evangelism and God’s heart for the lost. This was not a new subject for me, but I was in a new context.
“Lord, do I really love the lost around me?” I prayed.
Studying the scripture I would share, the parables found in Luke 15, I was troubled. Jesus loved the lost. He told three stories about God’s heart for those away from Him; the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. In each instance, there was someone willing to love the lost. The shepherd, the woman, and the Father…these characters went through my mind.
“Am I like them?” I wondered.
“No. I am more like the elder brother in the story,” I concluded. I judge, condemn and reject this new culture. Picking and choosing who around me is worthy of my love and efforts, I wasn’t like God at all.
Repentance was needed. I bowed in prayer. “Jesus, please fill me with Your love for all peoples…for all cultures and nations. Help me to love them as You do. Make me willing to seek after them, to know them, to befriend them, and to show them who You are through my life. I want to seek to save the lost as You do.”
In the coming days and weeks, my heart began to change. A deep, God-given love filled my heart for the people around me. Tears would flow as I interceded for them. The grace of loving lost people had been renewed in me again.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”2 Cor 5:14-15 NIV
How to Develop (or Renew) a Heart for the Lost
1) Be honest about where you are at.
There is nothing gained by pretending to love, when you don’t. Take a few moments to think about the people around you. Are there certain groups or kinds of people you naturally love? Others you judge or reject?
Maybe some ethnic groups seem dangerous to you. Do those with a particular sexual orientation, or who struggle with gender confusion, make you feel uncomfortable? Other times we struggle with a personality type. If we are honest, we would say, “I really don’t like ______ kind of people.”
2) Repent and confess.
Turn away from your hatred and judgments. Ask God’s forgiveness. As the Holy Spirit highlights this, respond to Him. You may need to release forgiveness to certain people as well. Bitterness blocks God’s love from filling our hearts.
3) Ask God to give you His heart.
Invite the God who loved the world so much that He was willing to die for us, to give you His heart. Pray a simple prayer saying, “I want Your heart for lost people, Lord. Fill me with Your love.”
4) Ask God to open your eyes.
It is good to ask God to give us His perspective on those around us. As you walk through the market, invite the Holy Spirit to show you how He sees the people you are interacting with. What does He see that you haven’t been noticing?
5) Spend time with Jesus.
His love will rub off on you. The single best way to develop a love for the lost is to spend time with Jesus. As we worship Him, enjoy Him and receive His love for us, our love for others will grow.
6) Spend time with others who love the lost
Who around you has a deep burden for lost people? When they pray, your heart is stirred. This love and value for lost people is contagious. Spend time with them. Do prayer walks with them. Go out and do evangelism together. Your own passion will be rekindled.
“You Can’t Know God Unless”
Years ago, when I was teaching on this topic, I heard myself say, “You can’t truly know God unless you long to reach the lost.” As the words came off my lips, I realized the powerful truth I’d just spoken. As we grow in our relationship with God, what moves Him begins to move us. Our love for people comes from God’s heart for the lost.
Has that love grown cold? Ask Him to renew it today.
This motivation (along with #1) will carry you to the DMM finish line. It will get you through the messy parts of starting a Disciple Making Movement. His love compels us.
What do you do to keep your love for lost people burning bright? I’d love to know in the comments below or in the DMMs Facebook group.
Need greater faith?
Sample the first two days of C. Anderson and K. Sutter's faith building 30 day devotional book for disciple-makers. You'll be encouraged and inspired to press on.