A CLEAR PATHWAY TO MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONSContinue reading
Alan was asked to lead an existing Bible study group. He humbly declined saying, “I can’t be your leader. But I can teach you how to study the Bible yourselves using the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) method. Then the Holy Spirit will be your teacher.” The group really wanted a teacher, but they finally agreed to learn the Discovery Bible Study method.
Soon they had learned to ask discovery questions and feed themselves from the Word. They even enjoyed it! Before leaving for the states for a few months, Alan taught them how to become disciples who produce disciples, that reproduce disciples.
When he returned, Alan met once with the group but then heard nothing more from them. He later learned they had found someone to teach them the Bible. While this isn’t bad, Alan knew that relying on someone else would not help them reproduce disciples.
Then one day, Alan received this message from one of the group members: “I have good news. The way you shared with me to discover the Bible is very popular in my church. People say those (DBS) questions make them think carefully. I am going to lead a few times more. Then they can start leading this way. Thank you very much for sharing such a treasure with me!”
Pray the Father grows a disciple-making movement through His faithful disciples.
Two years ago, Ethan and Nicole* led an introductory disciple-making training in the Philippines with 14 seminary-trained pastors. Honestly, they had doubts about the outcome. Would traditional, denominational pastors be willing to go outside the walls of their church, outside the walls of their own traditions, in order to obey Jesus’ command to “go” (not invite)?
Sure enough, months later, they’d barely heard a word from any of the participants. Then, nearly a year after the training, Jacob, one of the pastors, contacted Ethan. “I am mentoring a group of young pastors in Manila,” he wrote. ”Would you and Nicole spend a few days with us, doing what you did last year?”
After praying together, they decided Ethan would hold the training with Alex, a BEYOND colleague who lives in the Philippines. After the training, Alex could coach those wanting to apply what they’d studied.
Since then, Ethan has occasionally wondered if anyone was applying the training and, if so, how it was going. In May, he received an encouraging email from Jacob.
“Three months ago, “Pastor G” taught a former Communist rebel how to study the Bible in his home with his family. He has been doing this for several weeks. Last week, the rebel’s son became severely sick, to the point of death. The father remembered the story of the woman who touched Jesus and the story of Jairus’ daughter. At his son’s death bed, he prayed, “Lord, we surrender our son to you if this (his death) is your will, but can you please heal my son as you have done for this woman and for Jairus’ daughter?
His son immediately sat up and asked for water!
Thank you for this life-changing experience (the training and coaching). Today, our group has 45 non-Christian families studying the Bible in their homes.
Alex adds that since March, when the COVID-19 lockdown started, Pastor G’s church has transformed into eleven house churches, and it is still growing! They have many more people involved in these house churches than they had in their “building” church before the lockdown.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” Jacob and these pastors are discovering the joy and fruitfulness of simple obedience to Jesus. The Lord is building his church among the nations (the ethnic groups) of the earth! “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him” (Ps. 22:27). Hallelujah!
As Job* sipped hot tea and puffed on his cigarette, he asked, “Did Jesus really say, ‘Turn the other cheek’?”
“Yes, he did,” Frank* replied. “He also said if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. And if anyone makes you carry their stuff for one mile, carry it for two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41)
“Do you think he was being literal?!” questioned Job.
“That’s a great question. What do you think?”
“I’m not sure it’s possible to ‘turn the other cheek.'” Job responded. “Why would someone do that? If someone hit me, I’d hit them back.”
Job peppered Frank with honest questions about Jesus and Christianity for several hours. Job is from a minority Muslim people group that has experienced a great deal of repression and persecution.
Job teared up as he said his goodbyes. “I just can’t believe the statement about ‘turning the other cheek.’ If [my people] turned the other cheek … we wouldn’t be around anymore. These ancient churches are empty because Christians turned their cheeks. Look at the [other people groups who used to live here]. Where are they now? They turned the other cheek, and they are no more. I can never turn my cheek.”
Frank sensed that Job wasn’t seeking answers but only wanted to express his pain. So Frank simply said, “I understand your feelings. Let’s talk more about this next time.”
Since then, Job and Frank have begun reading the Bible together. Pray that the Father would continue to draw Job to Himself and that Job would become an obedient disciple of Jesus. Ask God to bless Frank with spiritual wisdom and to use him to start a disciple-making movement among this Unreached group.
Michael and Nicole* were excited to be asked by a couple they had previously mentored to train a group of refugees living in East Asia on how to implement a Discovery Bible Study (DBS). This couple had put in the time and effort to build relationships and gain trust with the refugees, and they wanted to see them equipped with tools that would enable them to reach their communities with the Gospel.
On the first day of the training, there were twelve people from six different countries in attendance (Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and India, to name a few) including three residents from East Asia. The refugees had fled their countries for various reasons, some under duress and danger. One is a pastor from Uganda; another is from India studying to be a minister.
The group started with the parable of the soils from Luke 8. Michael and Nicole were pleased with everyone’s participation and how quickly they understood that the aim was to let scripture speak for itself through the group’s discussion of the passage and how they would apply it to their lives. The pattern of DBS, Michael and Nicole felt, was well established.
Two weeks later, Nicole went to lead the second lesson. She soon discovered that everyone had shared the Luke 8 passage with at least one other person, and Peter, the pastor from Uganda, had already started three DBS groups!
Michael and Nicole are encouraged by how well-suited DBS is to the lifestyle of the refugee and even more by the group’s willingness to hear from the Word of God and be obedient to it. They are continuing strong.
Please pray that these precious people will continue to seek the Father and encounter Him in the Word. Praise the Lord with us that this group has already seen its first fruits! A refugee woman from Egypt eagerly soaked up the studies and has recently become a follower of Jesus.
A couple of years ago, a young college graduate in Indonesia got connected with *Wes and *Angie’s local team. *Yurba had learned about the unreached people groups in her country and God’s vision to see them all respond to Jesus. She responded in obedience by learning how to make disciples and spending time looking for people God was preparing.
One night at a prayer event on campus, she heard about the C people. She heard God speak to her very clearly, “This is the group to whom I am calling you. Bring My light to them.”
Yurba jumped in. She started a year-long preparation class where she was taught about cross-cultural living, Jesus’s strategy for reaching the lost, and how to cast His vision to others. Her heart grew in its love and burden for these people who have never known who Jesus is.
Then COVID caused lockdowns and mobility issues, so she was not able to launch in her expected timeframe. In that difficult time, she asked, “Lord, what does obedience look like in this season?” She pursued lost people around her and began studying the Bible with a spiritually open family. But God had a surprise in store for her. During this season she met another young woman with a heart for the unreached. *Tashi decided to join Yurba in reaching the C people; they want a disciple-making movement to break out among them.
Please pray for lasting fruit as they serve and obey the Lord among the unreached C people.
By Dave Coles
2 Timothy 2:24-26 says: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
Those who raise questions, concerns, and objections to Church-Planting Movements (CPM)/Disciple-Making Movements (DMM) generally have what I trust are good motives: Defending what they know, what has been done, what they understand Scripture to say, and what feels right based on past experience. So we need to listen well to their concerns, treat them as loved siblings, and respond kindly to their objections.
Much hangs on our understanding of what’s biblical vs. unbiblical. The word “biblical” can have several meanings. Two of the meanings are similar but vitally different in their application. 1.) “consistent with biblical teaching, principles, and values.” 2.) Explicitly taught or modeled in the Bible. The vital question is: Should we do only things specifically mentioned in the Bible?
A recent book, Missions by the Book: How Theology and Missions Walk Together, by Chad Vegas & Alex Kocman, presents the central premise that in missions we should only do what we see in Scripture. Anything else is unbiblical. I’m glad they came right out and made this explicit. Usually, these two different meanings of “biblical” work as a sleight of hand – a hidden trick to win an argument at an emotional level: “The Bible does not mention Discovery Bible Study (DBS), so it’s unbiblical.” By that definition, holding a copy of the New Testament in your hands is unbiblical. Nobody in New Testament times ever did that! It would also be unbiblical to read the Gospels and Paul’s Epistles together. Nobody in New Testament times ever did that either.
Let’s look at two specific issues that I received from DMM catalysts in the past week:
1. “What is the biblical basis for an unbeliever leading a DBS if a believer is available to lead it? In the New Testament, it seems like when an unbeliever had a question about God, the Lord provided a believer to explain/help the unbeliever – ex. Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius.”
Good question. Note the phrasing: “biblical basis.” You won’t find an example or a command of an unbeliever leading a DBS. But foundational to answering this good question is a huge issue, often overlooked in questions and critiques of DMM.
When we look at ministry approaches used in Acts and the rest of the New Testament, we forget one HUGE difference between that time and ours in terms of salvation history. They didn’t have the New Testament available! Think about that. How would you try to reach the unreached if you didn’t have the New Testament, and most people were illiterate?
How could you convey the gospel? At that time, the premier method was talking to people face to face (which is still a great method!). The Lord occasionally supplemented that with miraculous means, such as dreams, visions, or angels, to bring seekers to someone who could tell them the gospel message. But it was usually some form of face-to-face proclamation.
By the end of the first century (after New Testament events were over), some of Paul’s letters and some of the “words of Jesus” were being quoted but not yet identified as Scripture. One hundred years later, some parts of the New Testament were being collected and placed together. About 300 years after New Testament times, the New Testament was essentially agreed on as a canonical entity. But it was not widely available for the next 1000 years.
In the 20th century, Scripture became widely available (through radio, television, smartphones, the internet, etc.) with new translations into hundreds of additional languages. Does God intend for these stunning advances to make a difference in the proclamation of the gospel among the unreached? Or should we only use the methods that were available in the first century?
A basic question I like to ask opponents of DMM: When unbelievers hear or read God’s word and interact with it for themselves, is that a good thing or not? Is God for it or against it? But still, it doesn’t precisely answer the original question: “What is the Biblical basis for an unbeliever leading a DBS if a believer is available to lead it?” First, they’re not leading; they’re facilitating. Using the word “lead” reflects the traditional church paradigm we need to escape. But more importantly (and I may step on some toes here), it’s not precisely true that “Scripture and the Holy Spirit is all they need.” That’s an important and radical challenge, so I don’t disagree with the use of that phrase. But I think we need to admit that it’s a bit misleading. And this brings us to the second question.
2. “Is there a role for the spiritual gift of teaching in the DMM model?” The short answer is “Yes.” It involves relationally grappling with everyday life, empowering local people from start to finish, and intensive teaching of new believers and leaders at all levels. Most literature & training on DMM has focused on the early stages of DMM (finding people of peace, DBS with unbelievers, etc.) for two good reasons. 1. The paradigm is so radically different that people must grasp how the difference applies at the very beginning, or they’ll never get it. 2. Our main goal is implementation. People don’t need theory at the 300 level if they haven’t yet applied the basics. But that leaves (often teaching-gifted) theoreticians (such as missiologists, seminary professors and others) thinking that the whole model consists of DBS with unbelievers. They can feel offended or threatened when they hear that DBS is “about discovery, not preaching or teaching.” Or “outsiders facilitate rather than teach” (Watson & Watson, p. 73). Those are good and radical statements of a vital principle intended to jolt people into realizing how radical this paradigm is. But now we have to clarify that, honestly, facilitating discovery IS a form of teaching — a form that’s much more effective than what we usually think of as preaching or teaching.
Thankfully Watson & Watson also clarify in Contagious Disciple Making: “We have to learn to teach by asking a minimal number of questions, not by giving the answers to every question or having an expressed opinion about everything” (p. 15). “We teach and guide them by example and work to discover what the Bible has to say and to obey it” (p. 19). Facilitating a DBS or equipping another person to facilitate a DBS also constitutes a form of non-directive biblical “teaching.”
CPMs employ a variety of teaching methods. Many movements use inductive Bible study patterns; some use more directive teaching but still in an interactive format. Most movements gather leaders in coaching groups for peer coaching and mutual learning. All have various levels of specific curricula they use in discipleship. And the approach is much more relational than most Westerners are accustomed to. The focus of discipleship is not just conveying information but on transferring a lifestyle shaped by the ways of Jesus.
Here are a few examples of teaching methods from a family of rapidly-growing movements in Southeast Asia. These teachers have an important role: equipping small group leaders of between five and 500 linked small groups. The teachers’ concrete equipping activities include:
- Responding individually to small group leaders who voice questions about the Bible that have emerged in their groups, that they do not yet feel they can answer well.
- Introducing new Bible study series and facilitating leaders to discuss them in small groups. The facilitating teacher highlights anything significant in the text that the groups’ representatives did not yet report.
- Preparing new Bible study series based on feedback from small group leaders, who help identify common needs.
- Writing other Bible mentoring tools, i.e., teaching various Bible study methods.
- Developing short teaching videos on issues with a particular equipping function, especially on sharpening skills in Bible study.
- Teaching medium-sized gatherings of 20 to 200 people: For example, speaking to all kinds of believers (i.e., to celebrate Idul Adha on the Islamic calendar, remembering Abraham’s sacrifice of his son by a walk-through-the-Bible teaching on True Sacrifice.)
In this modern set of rapidly-growing movements, gifted Bible teachers play numerous vital roles in equipping God’s people and building up the body of Christ. Although the roles look different than what most Westerners envision, these teachers exercise their gifts in forms that meet the needs of the rapidly-expanding movements they serve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dave Coles is an encourager and resourcer of Church Planting Movements among Unreached groups, serving with BEYOND. He has served among Muslims in Southeast Asia for 24 years. He has dozens of articles published (plus videos and podcasts posted) about Church Planting Movements, contextualization, reaching Muslims, and the nature of the church. He is coauthor of Bhojpuri Breakthrough: A Movement that Keeps Multiplying, coeditor of 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, and associate editor of Motus Dei: The Movement of God to Disciple the Nations.”
Lately, *Chad and *Tia have had great discussions with their local teammates about some key paradigms in disciple-making movements that are not usually seen in traditional mission work.
As outside catalysts serving in Indonesia, Chad and Tia know that every believer has a vital role to play in bringing the gospel to unreached peoples. Their part is different from that of near-culture believers (those whose culture is similar to but slightly removed from that of a neighboring people group), and both of those roles are different from the part a cultural insider will play.
“While talking with our teammates about this concept, we saw the lights come on for one of them,” Chad says. “She shared how when her mom, who is from West Java, witnessed to another West Javanese person, there was so much more natural understanding than when she herself had shared with the same woman. Though she had seen the principle in action, she couldn’t explain it. As we talked, she immediately recognized that the principle was true and important to remember.
“We shared with our team how near-culture servants are vital for bringing the gospel to an unreached group of people, but usually someone from inside that culture can most effectively and quickly share the Good News and communicate biblical principles. With fewer cultural and linguistic hurdles, insiders can multiply disciples more quickly — in a culturally relevant way — and the Kingdom can grow at optimum speed.”
Mindshifts for Movements
By Shodankeh Johnson
Edited from a video for Global Assembly of Pastors for Finishing the Task
By following Jesus’ 10 transferable and reproducible movement strategies, indigenous churches can reproduce multiple movements. Jesus applied a few basic strategies and principles throughout His ministry. Knowing these things helps us tremendously in obeying the Great Commission and reaching out to UUPGs (Unengaged Unreached People Groups) around the world.
I. The Kingdom
As Jesus entered the arena of His mission, He had a commission from His Father. He had the end in mind even before the beginning. He thought very strategically about easily reproducible coverage principles and strategies. Among those was a vision of the kingdom and the harvest. Of the kingdom, He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 4:17). The kingdom of heaven was very important to Jesus’ ministry. He wanted His disciples to clearly understand what the kingdom was about, so He spoke often about the kingdom.
This was not the mission of a denomination. It was not the mission of a church. It was the mission of the kingdom. Jesus clearly enunciated kingdom principles. If we want to see multiple movements happening among UUPGs, we must clearly teach, coach and preach about the kingdom. Let people understand what the kingdom is. Understanding the vision of the kingdom makes the work simple. People need to know that their motivation for doing the work is not to be paid money. It’s also not about titles. It’s all about the kingdom of God so we need to teach the kingdom very clearly.
II. The Harvest
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:37–38). If we want to see UUPG’s reached, we need to clearly understand and present the kingdom and the harvest. We need to impress the vision of kingdom and the harvest on the hearts of the people we teach and coach. This will help avoid the temptation and the traps many people are falling into. Things like, “It’s all about my denomination,” “It’s all about my church,” or “It’s all about my own empire.” It’s all about the kingdom and the harvest.
III. Abundant Prayer
Prayer was very critical to Jesus’ ministry; He knew that prayer is the engine on which movements run. Without abundant prayer, a culture of prayer, the church is just taking a walk. Jesus Himself did a lot of praying, even before He started His ministry (Luke 4:1–2). He prayed before choosing His 12 disciples (Luke 6:12–13). He also prayed every day before starting His day (Mark 1:35). And He prayed often (Luke 5:16). Jesus also taught His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1–4). Jesus was a praying man. He prayed before raising Lazarus. He prayed for His disciples in John 17:1–25. He prayed before performing miracles. He even told His disciples to pray for their enemies (Matt. 5:44). He prayed three times when He was facing death. His first word on the cross was a prayer and His last word on the cross was a prayer. He was a praying man; prayer was a powerful coverage principle of Jesus. It is easily transferable and reproducible in any culture; it can lead to multiple churches in any community.
God’s people need to spend time in prayer and fasting. We should coach and teach our disciples to pray. We should pass on this message to our disciples: to pray and fast as Jesus did. Even though He was God in the flesh, He prayed before He started His ministry. If Jesus prayed so much, we need to also pray so much. If we hope to see any success among UUPGs, we need a praying ministry. We need praying disciples. As we keep praying and raising up disciples to fast and pray, we can hope to see multiple movements. Remember that prayer is the engine of a movement. Just as Jesus had a clear vision of kingdom and the harvest, He had a vision of abundant prayer.
IV. Ordinary People
Jesus empowered people, empowered every believer. That is how ministry becomes scalable and reproducible: through ordinary people. When we read Matt. 4:18, Matt. 10:2-4, and Acts 4:13, we see how Jesus placed emphasis on ordinary people. Ordinary people were and still are Jesus’ plan A and His only plan. Ordinary people are going to get the job done. As we coach and disciple people, we need to emphasize looking for ordinary people. This is transferable and reproducible. Wherever you go around the world, you can find ordinary people. We have huge numbers of ordinary people sitting in the pews.
Jesus knew He was not looking for professionals. He was looking for ordinary people. As we look at all the people around Jesus, every one of them was an ordinary person. He put His emphasis on ordinary people, coaching them and training them and enabling them to become what He wanted them to be. So, if we are going to see movements happen around the world, if we intend to reach UUPGs, let’s do it with ordinary people. Wherever we go— in every community, in every culture—look for the ordinary people, just as Jesus did. The coverage principle and strategy of ordinary people was key to the ministry of Jesus, and it can lead to multiple movements around the world.
V. Making Disciples Who Make Disciples
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19- 20). Jesus told His disciples very clearly: they needed to go into the world. He wanted them to GO! But when you go, what is the key thing? What is the key strategy? As you go, make disciples. Making disciples is very key to the coverage strategies and principles of Jesus. He was not interested in comfort; He was interested in disciples because He knew that making disciples is transferable and reproducible. Disciples that make disciples will lead to multiple movements as they obey. He did not just want knowledge-based disciples. He wanted obedience-based discipleship.
That’s why Paul wrote to Timothy: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). I want to focus on what Paul wrote to Timothy: the teaching that you had, the coaching I’m giving you, the training I’m giving you – it is very important that you heard it from me among witnesses when I was doing this. You need to now invest in disciples making disciples. You also turn around and commit to faithful disciples who will then equip others. This is the multi-generational coaching and training that Paul imparted to Timothy, who also committed it to other faithful disciples. Jesus made obedience-based disciples. If we want any chance to see multiple movements, we need to teach, preach, coach, and model obedience – the way Jesus did it and taught it to His disciples.
VI. Person of Peace
The next principle was the Person of Peace, as we see in Matt. 10:11-14. When Jesus sent out His disciples, He told them: “Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it. If it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” He told them: “Go out and look for a worthy person.” We call this a Person of Peace: someone God has prepared ahead of you in the community. The Person of Peace is the bridge into the community. The Person of Peace is the person of influence who is willing to receive you and listen to your message, and often becomes a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus knew very well that His movement would be a movement of people already inside each culture. The Person of Peace principle shortcuts all the barriers of culture and religious red tape that we have today. If we want to see movements happen among UUPGs, we need to apply the Person of Peace principle. It is less expensive. It is also very easy. Because when you have a cultural insider, they don’t need to go and learn all the languages. They already know the languages. You don’t need to spend so much on the insider.
Because that is already their culture, they have a passion. They know the area and they understand the culture and worldview and can easily relate to the people. The insider already has relationships in the culture. That’s why Jesus anchored proclamation to the principle and strategy of the Person of Peace. This is transferable and reproducible in any culture.
VII. The Holy Spirit
John 14:26; 20:22 and Acts 1:8 Jesus emphasized the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit plays an important role in sustainable movements happening all around the world. The Holy Spirit is the source of living water in the life of disciples and disciple makers, as promised in John 7:37-38. The Holy Spirit is the helper and the teacher in the process of DMM. We read in John 14:26; 16:14-15, that the Holy Spirit is the indwelling power that qualifies us to be witnesses for the Kingdom. In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, until you receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and then you will be my witnesses.”
The Holy Spirit worked uncommon miracles and emboldened even the most timid of disciples, as we see in Acts 4:18-20; 9:17. The Holy Spirit can use even the most unlikely people to open doors for rapid multiplication. In Acts 10:44-48 we see that the Holy Spirit is not just for people in the past; He is for all of us today. We will never see a sustainable Disciple Making Movement without the sustained power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus emphasized this coverage principle because He knew your location around the world really doesn’t matter. The Holy Spirit can reach you wherever you are. This principle is transferable; you can take it anywhere. You can reproduce it anywhere. If we want to see this work happen, we need to do it the Jesus way. The Holy Spirit is essential for this work. He is important for every indigenous church, every disciple and every disciple-maker.
VIII. The Simplicity of the Word
In Matt. 11:28-30 and Luke 4:32 we see that Jesus was not only welcoming in His character; He was also simple in His teaching. The crowds loved His teaching because of its simplicity. Jesus makes complex things simple and He makes simple things even simpler. If we want to see breakthroughs among UUPGs, we need to follow this transferable coverage principle of Jesus: making things very simple.
IX. Access or Compassion Ministry
We see this principle in passages such as Matt. 9:35; 14:17; Luke 9:11; Mark 6:39-44. Jesus used healing as the access ministry in Matt. 9:35. In Luke 9:11 Jesus again used healing as the access ministry. He also used food as access ministry (compassion ministry). We should learn from Jesus and hold with an open hand whatever God has blessed us with, for the advancement of the kingdom.
X. Depending on God for Our Resources (Matt. 10:9-10; Ps. 50:10-12)
Every one of us should adopt this coverage principle. It’s transferable and reproducible. And if we adopt it, it will lead to movements. Jesus’ message was very clear: “Go with nothing and depend on God for the resources.” We know that God has supported His work in the past, and He will always support His work in the future if it’s done His way. The global church cannot in any way bankrupt a global God. His resources are unlimited. We can depend on God for His resources. When we cry out to Him, He will supply the resources.
Jesus knew that if we apply this principle, we will see an explosion. We will see multiplication and reproducibility. This is so transferable – in any culture, among any indigenous church. If we do it the way Jesus did it, we can come back to what we saw in the Acts of the Apostles. What happened in the early days of the church can begin to happen again in our churches. It can surely begin to happen among UUPGs. But if we don’t do it Jesus’ way, we are wasting our time. This is God’s business, so if we want to succeed, we have to do it Jesus’ way. This is His coverage principle. It’s His plan and He will not change it for anyone.
I want to remind you again about Jesus’ vision of the harvest and the kingdom. About abundant prayer. About ordinary people. I want to remind you about these coverage principles: Disciples making disciples who make disciples, and the Person of Peace. I also want to remind you about the coverage principle of the Holy Spirit and simplicity of the Word. And don’t forget access ministry (compassion ministry) and depending on God for the resources. We need to keep these in our minds.
I assure you that when we do things God’s way, He is always faithful, as He has always been faithful in the past. The world is changing and will continue to change, but our God will never change. You will never bankrupt God by asking for anything in prayer. I believe God can use you for great things in seeing a movement.
Let’s pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into the harvest field. Let’s also pray that wherever people go with the gospel the door will be open for them. That they will be able to bring this gospel to people who are lost and dying. Let us also cry out to God for the resources for the work. Let us pray for Persons of Peace—that God will open doors and identify the Persons of Peace.
These coverage strategies are transferable and reproducible in any culture. Indigenous churches can use them to lead to multiple coverage movements. This is not theory. This is what I have lived for, what I’m working for and what (if need be) I would die for.
I encourage us all that this can be done. Put these things in your heart and pray for them. It can be difficult at the beginning. But trust that God will give you the breakthrough. He has done it for us as we have seen multiple churches all over. The same can happen for you. So, I encourage you to be strong. Amen.
This article was used with permission and first published in Mission Frontiers.
About the Author: Shodankeh Johnson is the team leader of New Harvest Global Ministries, based in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He is an integral part of New Generations involved in training, coaching, mentoring and prayer mobilization in different places in Africa and worldwide. He has been an active DMM practitioner for more than 15 years. He is a key leader in the 24:14 coalition in African and globally.
*John was excited about his first-ever international trip. He was going from his homeland in India, over the border into Nepal. He was eager to share with the 30 local pastors and leaders who gathered to learn. One of his primary goals was to share the vision of what could happen if God began a disciple-making movement in Nepal.
During the training, the men and women read and learned from Matthew 28, Luke 10, and Acts 2. They began to grasp a new understanding of God’s commissioning of all of His followers, the authority Jesus gave them, and what a church could look like according to a simple biblical model.
When John shared his own experiences about following God toward a disciple-making movement, the participants felt encouraged and excited. God could use them to do something similar in Nepal!
A couple of weeks later, BEYOND’s Nepal team met with some of the attendees to follow up and review what they had learned. The team asked how the participants had obeyed and applied what they had learned from the training.
One leader explained that she now knew she was called to “go,” rather than “invite.” She said, “When I used to invite people to my church, maybe one person would come. But when I went to share the gospel in their homes, I was able to share it with seven families!” Another had prayed for a paralyzed man who had returned from the Middle East, and God had healed him! As a result, two people from his family came to faith and were baptized.
We have seen the first steps of obedience in this group and some first fruit. Pray for them as they continue to learn and apply God’s word, seeking Him for steps of obedience.