Does it make sense to have time-bound goals for the release of Disciple Making Movements? Having a time-bound goal for a supernatural vision can be disheartening. Movements are a God thing…far beyond our control.
Are time-bound goals even Biblical? These are questions worth asking as we consider vision, mission, and goals when it comes to DMMs.
Some argue – there is a difference between business goals, what they call BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and setting goals in the realm of the Kingdom. True. They are different. But could it be that this works in the business world, because it is actually a Kingdom principle? One related to the power of faith, and how that impacts action?
Whether you are setting a goal to lead one person to Christ this year, or to start a 4th generational movement in three years…we must ask the question. Can we set these kinds of “goals”?
Setting Goals For Supernatural Things
Over the years, I’ve set time-bound goals related to dreams God placed in my heart. It has always been after hearing from Him.
Sometimes this has come after a season of much prayer. Other times, faith has suddenly dropped in my heart for a particular outcome. Never have I set these “goals” without asking for confirmation from my husband, other leaders, and my team.
My so called BHAG goals have been far beyond me. Some have come to pass. Others have not.
I’ve never been sorry I set them. I have not felt like a failure when some were not attained. Nor could I take credit for those that were. Setting those goals was for me, a matter of obedience. Speaking them out was a declaration of faith in the God of the impossible.
Those goals gave a focus to my faith, prayer, and efforts. They gave me something to aim for. I could not declare those goals and be lazy or complacent. God-sized goals forced me to change. They provoked me to think differently.Should Movement Goals Be Time-Bound? The Hidden Urgency That Drives Them Click To Tweet
Time-Bound Goals Are Not For Everyone
Various personalities respond differently to goal-setting. For Type A personalities, goals that are time-bound are motivating. This is often also true for those with apostolic giftings. For other personalities, they can feel overwhelming. Each person must respond to God out of who they are. He has His own unique ways of working in each person.
When a leader speaks out a goal it creates a rallying cry, a point of vision to get behind. Many are stirred by the contagious faith of those who speak these out. I’ve seen that happen and the Kingdom impact of such declarations.
The Power of Declaration
Years ago when working in India, I had a strong sense that God was speaking to us about a Supernatural Increase, a 10 fold increase of fruit. I write about this in the introduction to Faith to Move Mountains.
Initially, the vision was hard to speak out. I’d never asked God for anything so far beyond myself.
I was afraid to share this word.. to declare it publicly.
During a team retreat, a speaker, gifted in the prophetic, was with us. I shared with him, the sense of what God was saying and sought advice. His answer rang true in my heart.
“What God has given you is a declarative word. As you speak it out, you are prophetically calling something into being. Your declaration will release things to happen in the spiritual realm.”
I knew I had to declare that vision, no matter how reckless or crazy it might sound to others. It burned inside of me, and had to be released.
An Urgency In My Heart For the Release of Movements
Over the past week, I’ve had a similar stirring in my heart. I sense an urgency to speak it out. There’s a deep passion stirring within. I feel I must call the community I lead, and Body of Christ, to cry out to God for the urgent release of rapidly multiplying movements on the earth.
For years I have trained disciple-makers and church planters in my own organization and beyond. We’ve seen movements happen, and we’ve seen increase. Today, I sense we must ask for more. We must cry out for these movements to happen now.
God wants us to trust Him for greater things, for a larger harvest than we have ever seen or experienced.
In Acts 1:7, Luke records the words of Jesus about the End Times. “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” We do not know, indeed cannot know, the exact time of His return.
In seeming contrast, however, Jesus says in Luke 12:56, “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”
While we cannot know the exact time of Christ’s return, we are to be a people who understand the times we are in.
Almost anyone would agree that the last few years have been unusual.
Looking at Matthew 24:3-14, it’s hard not to notice these signs are indeed happening today.
- Wars and rumors of war,
- Nation rising against nation,
- Kingdom against kingdom,
- Pestilences (sickness & plagues),
- Increased persecution,
- False prophets (dare I call it fake news?)
And…the gospel of the Kingdom preached in all the world.
In Joel 2:12 the prophet declared, “Turn to me now, while there is time.”
Time Is Short and the Task is Urgent
I’ve been praying about a particular goal these past few weeks. In 2020, the Lord dropped in my heart the desire to see 50 movements released through those who took our online course “Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements.” Knowing that a goal without a timeframe is wishful thinking, I asked the Lord, by when?
I sensed it would be within four or five years. After that, the time-frame wasn’t something I thought a lot more about. It didn’t seem that important to pin the date down.
This week, I’ve been wrestling with the date. Numerous times I’ve tried to extend it in my mind, to say, 2024 is not realistic. If we aim for 2028, we’d have a lot better chance of getting there based on our past experience with how long it takes to launch movements.
Whenever I do that, the heart of God overtakes me. I am broken. I weep. No. There is not time. You must press in, you must press forward. You must call My people to believe Me for movements -now. Call for a solemn time of fasting and prayer for breakthrough.
I wrestle with this burning fire inside me. I find myself often in tears. Millions wait to hear. When they hear, many will turn to God. Those who believe will need to be discipled so they can disciple others. In these days, thousands and thousands of ordinary believers must rise up to be extraordinary men and women of God. We must train and equip them to launch and lead movements.
The Holy Spirit’s Outpouring
In Joel, and repeated in Acts 2, is this prophecy.
‘ “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike. And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth— blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives. ‘ Joel 2:28-31
In these days we can believe for an unprecedented outpouring of His Spirit upon and through us.
Fifty movements released by 2024 or 2025 through those trained in our DMM community, is possible because Acts 2 is for today. Joel’s prophecy is relevant now.
Apart from His Spirit poured out on us, we will see only addition growth (if that). Using traditional church and one-by-one evangelism strategies we may see revival, but we will not see sustained movements that grow and sweep through regions. With His power upon us, however, and with a deep sense of urgency gripping our hearts, we can see fifty new movements…and we will see them soon.
How is God stirring your heart as you read these words? What questions does it prompt within you?
What would it take for the groups you’ve started to grow into a rapidly, multiplying movement that swept through your region?
We Have Not Because We Ask Not – Let’s Ask!
Ask God for a fresh sense of urgency. Pray for an outpouring of His Spirit upon you. Cry out for the millions who have yet to hear, and for the neighbor or friend who doesn’t know Christ. God will hear. He will answer.
These are unprecedented times. They call for unprecedented faith and action.
Thank you so much. Inspiritional and practical.
I’m trusting God with you for a performance of His good pleasure
Love your thoughts, and I really appreciate you sharing your own stories!
I am a huge believer in having vision from the Lord in what He’s saying and doing and partnering with that zealously. I’ve experienced the focus and faith it produces in every season. And I’ve felt the lack of vision and the resulting lack of focus and faith in different seasons.
I agree with what you said about needing to “hear” from the Lord and have confirmations on some of the goals or timing goals we have. Without that, we can be presumptuous on some details, then left wondering why things don’t happen the way we plan.
I believe the “impossible” vision is meant to be reached through prayer and fasting as much as anything else. For people that don’t understand the role of prayer and fasting in God’s kingdom, this is a HUGE missing piece. The vision makes us intercede with urgency and lean on the Lord for faith and power.
One last comment. In this conversation, I think there has to be room for variables and wrong paradigms. Variables include human choices (ours or others) to sin, be lazy or unresponsive to the Lord. Wrong paradigms means having goals or strategies that are not fully biblical. I’ve had this experience where God released a delay in manifesting the goals/promises He had spoken to us because our strategy (looking back) wasn’t the best way to do things. The strategy had worked for others in the past but wasn’t in line with new biblical focuses God has highlighted to us in more recent years.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments Jeff. Yes, I agree. There must be room for nuance and variables. Dogmatism doesn’t lead us to dependence on His Spirit.
I’m trusting God with you for a performance of His good pleasure