Thousands of new churches rapidly starting…a Jesus movement sweeping through…bringing transformation! Our hearts are stirred. We want to be a part. “It would be so amazing if that could happen in my area,” we think.
After a few months (or years) of effort, things may not be happening quite as you expected. You’ve prayed, fasted, shared the gospel often, but not yet seen breakthrough.
Maybe a few have believed, some groups started (and maybe not lasted). Where is that rapid, incredible experience you thought was coming? In these times, we must examine our motivation for pursuing a DMM in the first place.
Examining Our Motivations
Excitement, strategy, or a personal desire to do something significant for God will not get you to movement. These can lead to disillusionment. Discouraged, you will be tempted to give in to the enemy’s lies and quit.
Our motivation must be firmly rooted in a biblical understanding of God’s purpose for His people and the world. If you can do anything else besides pursuing DMM, knowing what you know of scripture, perhaps you should.
If, however, you’ve become convinced that this is God’s call on your life..that’s different. Based on what you see in scripture about who God is and what He wants to do, you will be able to persevere. The barren times, the spiritual warfare, and the stops and starts that often go with launching a movement will be overcome.
I Wanted to Quit
“This isn’t fair!” I thought to myself. “It sounded so easy in the seminar. The stories they told about rapid multiplication made it seem like I simply needed to follow some basic principles.” I was frustrated. “Maybe CPMs (Church Planting Movements) don’t work here,” I thought to myself.
I was full of questions and confusion. It seemed like I was doing everything right. Well, mostly.
I’d worked hard to apply what I’d been taught in my context. “Why am I not finding persons of peace? Why am I not able to start more groups and see this movement take off? Is something wrong with me? Is something wrong with this method?” The questions filled my mind. I was having trouble sleeping and was feeling depressed.
Speaking to my leader, I told him I thought DMMs and CPMs were like winning the World Series (America’s version of the World Cup in soccer, but for baseball.) We were trying to win the World Series with a Little League team! Could ordinary people like me and those I was training really experience that big of a win?
I didn’t want to set people up for disappointment. It would be like telling my eight-year-old son that he was going to become a professional baseball player. The reality was he could barely hit the ball out of the infield. (My apologies for the American baseball metaphor!)
What followed was a season of deep soul searching. Was I really convinced that this was what I was called to pursue? Why was I doing what I was doing?
Obviously, since I now write a weekly blog on Disciple Making Movements, I pushed through to the other side of this inner dialogue. I came to a place where I knew that I could not do anything but this.
Scripture convinced me that this was God’s desire in the world. He wanted to see disciples multiplying. Jesus longed for His body to function as the priesthood of all believers. His heart burned to see the least, last and lost reached.
Both my mind and my heart were convinced. If I failed to start a DMM, so be it. But, I could not quit. I would not quit.
By God’s grace, I persevered. In His goodness, I’ve seen not only one movement, but quite a number of them started through my efforts and through those I’ve trained and coached. God is so faithful. I’m so glad I pressed through that season!
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”Prov. 16:2 NIV.
In another blog, I’ll address the wrong motivations for pursuing a DMM perhaps. If you are motivated by a desire to be famous, do something big for God, or self-promotion, you won’t last long. My assumption though is that most of us have good motives.
Some motivations will get you started. Other, more foundational motivations, are needed to get you to a sustained and growing movement.
Motivations that Will Get You Started, But Not Get You There
1. Desire for Fruit (Church Growth)
Anyone in ministry naturally desires fruitfulness. We want our efforts to bear fruit, to produce results. I’ve never yet met a pastor who didn’t want his church to grow. I’ve never met a missionary who didn’t want to be used by God to see more people coming to Christ than they currently are.
It is natural to want fruit. The path toward DMMs, however, requires much personal pruning. On this journey, God will strip away many paradigms and traditions we have held dear. He will work on our character through adversity and trials.
He does want to make us fruitful. It’s his purpose for His people to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). It’s not a wrong motivation, but it won’t get you to a movement.
2. Excitement about Trying Something Different from the Status Quo
Many people are attracted to doing something different. We see ourselves as radicals, those who go against the status quo. Something about DMM and CPM strategy interests you because its different from the norm. You are tired of “church as usual.” Again, this hunger and willingness to do things in new ways are not bad. But it won’t get you to a movement.
3. Belief that DMM and CPM strategy works
You may have attended training. You heard about movements around the world. Evidence was placed before you of the effectiveness of these principles and methods. You are convinced that this strategy is working better than other approaches. All good…but it won’t get you there.
4. An understanding of the numbers
Population growth versus the church’s addition growth statistics concerns you. You’ve seen the power of multiplication and know that to see the church advance, we must do something different. We are gaining ground in some ways. But without multiplication we won’t make a dent in that 29% of the world that doesn’t yet have the gospel. All true, but not enough to get you through the hardest times you will face.
Motivations that Will Take You to the Finish Line
I’ll be spending the next three weeks developing the points below. Let me briefly mention them here. Be sure to sign up for the blog to come in your inbox if you want to be sure to get the fuller version!
1. Passion for God’s glory to fill the earth
It ultimately comes down to this. A passion to see Him glorified, to see Him worshipped because He is worthy of the praise of all peoples…this is a motivation that will get you there. It’s all about Him. The Lamb is worthy to receive the reward of His suffering. God deserves the glory and praise due to His name.
2. God’s heart for the lost has gripped your heart.
Deep, heartfelt compassion for the lost, placed there by God, will keep you motivated until you see radical multiplication. His love has filled you. It compels you to do whatever it takes to reach more people.
3. A biblical understanding of the priesthood of all believers and of discipleship
What the church, in much of the world, calls discipleship is nothing like what Jesus had in mind when He told us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” God’s plan for His body and how it was to function in the world is clearly articulated in scripture. The New Testament is clear about how every member has a function that goes far beyond sitting in a pew every Sunday.
4. A sense of being called by God to do this
Ultimately it comes down to this question- Has God called you to this? Have you heard His voice speaking to your heart? If God called, and you said yes, you can not turn back. You know you must obey.
Why Are You Pursuing a DMM?
Ask yourself…what is motivating me today? I’d love to know which of the reasons above is your primary motivation. Let me know in the comments below or let’s discuss this on the DMMs Facebook group or page.