One of my favorite things to do on a day off is to play in my garden. I’m not a “green thumb” but something about being out in the yard with my hands in the soil is very relaxing. God often speaks to me about spiritual things while I am gardening. As I fertilize, weed, and water, my mind drifts to my passion to see disciples multiply among unreached peoples. One key principle stands out. If we want to reap a great harvest, we must sow many seeds of the gospel. We need to practice what is called “abundant gospel sowing.”
Have you ever made a “To-Do” list and found it far too long? No one could possibly do all those things in the time available? Or maybe you don’t make lists, but experience a sense of inner pressure. You have too much to do. Disappointing people around you by not completing tasks on time, frustration is growing. You are disturbed that in spite of all the busy activities, you’re not seeing much progress. Not in the things that matter most to you – multiplying disciples among the unreached. Doing a Start-Stop exercise will help you get focused.
Suppose you had to choose one consistent characteristic. One thing found in every movement, that you absolutely must do regularly. What would that one thing be? The answer is clear. It would be extraordinary prayer.
Ever since church multiplication and movements began to be spoken of, prayer has been identified as a major cause. Wherever you find a DMM or CPM, you will also always find a foundation of extraordinary prayer.
This was evident in the early church – the first Jesus movement that spread rapidly around the world.
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down for a conversation with the leader of a growing movement in India. Knowing my readers would not have that same opportunity, I decided to record our conversation and share it with my readers.
C. Anderson: How did you begin your disciple-making work?
Movement Leader: We began by doing prayer walks, visiting the many unreached villages nearby. For three months all we did was pray. We then began to distribute tracts and share the good news with those who expressed interest.
Rice, meat, spices, herbs, onion, garlic…you make your list and go to the market. Before making a special meal, you first prepare the ingredients you need. You wouldn’t want to start cooking and then have to stop and run to the store. In the same way, as you begin your journey with Disciple Making Movements (DMMs), it is good to get your tools, training,
Invest in Your DMM Toolbox
There are many different tools you can add to your “toolbox” as you make disciples. But there are several things that are most essential. Get those basics in place. Then, as a builder or carpenter does, when you come across various new materials and skills, you can also add them to your DMM tool belt.
Working in a united team with a high level of commitment and diverse gifts is an amazing experience! As the Bible says, “One man can chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight…” (Deut. 32:30-NIV.) This is only true when your team is united around the same vision and moving in the same direction. How do you get your team, or church, on board with the idea of launching a Disciple Making Movement (DMM)?
Much vision casting is necessary during the beginning phase. It carries on throughout the movement launching process. Learn how to do this well from the start. A deep commitment to multiplication will become an integral part of the movements’ DNA.
Yesterday morning, I stepped out the door for my early morning run. A heavy fog hung on the streets. It reminded me of times in Nepal when fog would hang low in the valley where we were church planting. The sun didn’t come out to clear away the fog until mid-morning. Until then, it was hard to go anywhere and the roads were dangerous. It was difficult to see a clear pathway. Finding your way to a clear Disciple Making Movements strategy can feel a bit like that heavy fog.
Sorting Through The Many Approaches
The Disciple Making Movement (DMM) and Church Planting Movement (CPM) world can be confusing. There are many different resources, approaches, and training. These are constantly changing and evolving. Trainers like myself adapt, evaluate, and learn. While approaches do overlap, it can be confusing to determine which strategy to use.
Many people get excited about the idea of Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). Few see them happen in their ministry and locations. This is not because they are impossible. It is not because they are not on God’s heart to release. Why don’t they happen more often? One reason is that people don’t take time to develop a clear vision from the beginning.
An End Vision statement gives you (and your team) necessary focus for prayer and disciple-making.
Do you ever get distracted? Do you end up wasting hours on something that is not really that important to you? I do! Just the other day I spent hours tweaking a small video I was creating. Big waste of time.
“Is there a clear pathway to follow in starting to pursue DMMs?” one of my readers asked. It is a hard question to answer. There are no magic formulas! I would hate to give the impression that if you follow these steps, Voila! You will end up with a multiplying movement and thousands of disciples of Jesus. That is simply not true.
DMMs are a move of God among a population segment or people group. They don’t happen by just following a few steps, or by applying a particular strategy or formula.
The New Year approaches! What plans and purposes does God have for us in the year to come? Here are three things I will be doing to get ready for the coming year. Join me in prayerfully going through these steps.
Before rushing ahead into a new year, hit the pause button. Stop and take time to look back. Think through the major events of this past year, both ministry and personal. I ask these questions.
-How has God shown me unusual kindness or grace this past year?
-What did He reveal to me about His nature and character?