Pleading with God for the Privilege

Here is a message from Brad, a faithful friend and supporter of the work of BEYOND:

“It is a privilege to partner with BEYOND as they work to spread the gospel throughout the unreached world. I have supported BEYOND for many years through prayer, professional IT work, and financial giving.

“Personally, I invest in world missions in obedience to God’s word but also because of the law of sowing and reaping and God’s love of a cheerful giver. 

“Participating in the work of the gospel spreads the good news beyond the faithful to the world. The role of the messenger — the “herald” — is the primary means God uses to spread the gospel of the Kingdom to the entire world.

“My point is that the herald is most worthy of support in the Christian world. Paul wrote that God chose the preaching of the gospel, mere foolishness to the world, as the mysterious and powerful way to save the world.

“At the end of my life, I hope to be counted among those who pleaded with God (2 Corinthians 8:3-4) for the privilege of generously supporting God’s messengers and His work in the world.”

We are very grateful to Brad and his wife Susan . . . and to YOU.  Thank you for all the ways you support BEYOND, reaching the Unreached. 

“He Will Take You to a Better Place”

Part One:

If you were to walk into our church during the first ten years and then walk in now, you’d probably feel as if you’d entered two totally different churches. And you’d be right.

As Experience Life approached its tenth anniversary, I reflected on our journey. Our church had grown from 12 people meeting in my living room to a megachurch in less than ten years. More importantly, we had exceeded our goal of seeing 10,000 people commit their lives to Christ. I began asking the Lord, What do you want our vision to be for the next ten years?

That’s when I stumbled upon WIGTake.

WIGTake is a question David Watson initially formed in his work among an unreached people group in India. He asked, “What’s it going to take to reach everyone in the people group?”

This question led our Leadership Team into a season of prayer and fasting about the direction of our church for the next ten years. Our WIGTake became: What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 Americans in the next ten years so we’re on track to reach 200 million in 20 years?

 We knew there was a strategy that could take us to the million. It’s the strategy Jesus encouraged in the Gospels and the early church implemented in Acts. DMM, or Disciple Making Movement, is a strategy that can lead to seeing God start a Church Planting Movement. Success in a Disciple Making Movements can be summed up in two words: generational discipleship. DMMs measure whether disciples are making disciples who make more disciples who make more disciples. It’s multiplication, not addition.

 After much prayer and discussion, eLife’s Leadership Team was united in the belief that the Lord wanted us to pursue a Disciple Making Movement strategy in the next ten years

 As we began venturing into the world of disciple making, I knew we needed a coach. I met Stan Parks, Beyond’s Vice President of Global Strategies, and knew he would be able to help us get started, avoid common mistakes, and answer questions as we ran into difficult situations. 

 We asked Stan what he wanted us to do first. He said he wanted to take us through a 12-week DMM Catalyst Training. This training was based on principles God had used around the world. Stan would pass on biblical lessons the Holy Spirit had taught him through personal study of Scripture and movement catalysts like David Watson, Victor John, and many others. 

 I said, “Great! Can you send it to me?” He said, “Nope.”

 I asked, “Why not?”

 Stan made it clear that this training was not information to be transferred but biblical principles to be obeyed. Because I come from a knowledge-based culture, my tendency would be to read the twelve lessons and think, “Okay, I’ve got this; let’s move on.” But, again, this wasn’t information; these were biblical principles he wanted to coach us to obey! That means you don’t even look at lesson two until you’ve obeyed the passage from lesson one. Stan told us that the Holy Spirit would speak to us as we took a fresh look at these Bible passages. He wanted us to see the DMM principles in Scripture, so we’d be dependent on God, not on him. 

Next week we will conclude with some key principles Stan taught eLife’s leadership team. We will learn what their church looks like after transitioning from being a traditional church to a Disciple Making Movement church.

Read the whole story in Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, which tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood.Part Two:

Last week we began following the journey of a church (eLife – pastored by Chris Galanos) so intent on making disciples that they were willing to transition away from the traditional church model to do so. We continue with our story just after they found Stan, a coach who would guide them through the process of becoming a church focused on catalyzing movements.

In our training, Stan explained that there are certain elements consistently found in the lives of ordinary believers who are successfully making disciples in movements all over the world.  

Here are a few of the elements briefly summarized:

  • Multiply Extraordinary Prayer. Stan said, “Your prayer life now is ordinary for you. Add something to it to make it extraordinary for you. Keep repeating the process.” 
  • Go Out Among the Lost. We learned to expect the hardest places to yield the greatest results. We began to refer to such places as PIPSY places: P-poor, I-international, P-prisoner, S-sick. (The Y doesn’t stand for anything— it just turns PIPS into an adjective.) Our teams have borne the most fruit by going to PIPSY places to make disciples.
  • Casting Vision – One of the great tragedies of the American church model is an attitude that results in suppressing the gifts, ambitions, and callings of ordinary believers. Churchgoers don’t typically hear the terms disciple-maker or church-planter and think, “That’s me!” We’ve got to recover the “culture of empowerment” of ordinary believers that was evident in the first-century church. Pastors and leaders, I implore you to join me in setting believers free to make disciples and plant churches!

Let me warn you, though. Transitioning a church to focus on Disciple Making Movements (DMM) will cost you in many ways. In Jerry Trousdale’s book The Kingdom Unleashed, David Broodryk, another pastor who embraced DMM, describes the process of pursuing DMM this way:

I really do think that entry into DMM is a death experience: unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it can bear no fruit. But the problem is, you can’t risk failure without that; risking failure in itself is a sort of death experience. If who you are is dependent on whether this thing works or fails, then you will never take a risk. But if your identity is in Christ, then you say, “I’m going to try this; if it works, great, He gets the glory; and if it doesn’t work—well, it didn’t work, but I am still secure in Him.

You may be asking what happened in eLife. Many people caught the vision! Hundreds went through our DMM training, and some of those formed DMM churches that meet in their homes. Those we sent out began to pursue the lost, not by inviting them to eLife, but by inviting them and their family or friends to read and apply the Bible together in their home. And it’s working! 

In an average week, those in just my DMM church alone will talk to almost as many lost people as our megachurch would receive as first-time guests on a weekend in our heyday. And there are just 35 of us (including kids). It’s amazing what a small group of sold-out, on-fire disciple makers can do when they strategize together and go out among the lost to make disciples and plant churches.

I think I can speak for most people involved in DMM churches by saying it’s one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever been a part of. In so many ways, it’s what I’ve always longed for in church. Not that I didn’t love our church. I did! But our DMM church is just what I pictured when I read the New Testament but felt like I’d never experienced. It’s what I had heard happened overseas but never truly understood.

I hope our story will inspire you to be led by the Spirit because He will take you to better places than anything you could’ve dreamed up. You may not even have a framework for where He’ll take you now. But if you follow Him, He’ll show you just what to do. And chances are, He’ll do infinitely more than you could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21). Just like he continues to do with us.

Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements. Get it here.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood. Read the whole article.

From Big to Small – for a Big Movement

Part One:

If you were to walk into our church during the first ten years and then walk in now, you’d probably feel as if you’d entered two totally different churches. And you’d be right.

As Experience Life approached its tenth anniversary, I reflected on our journey. Our church had grown from 12 people meeting in my living room to a megachurch in less than ten years. More importantly, we had exceeded our goal of seeing 10,000 people commit their lives to Christ. I began asking the Lord, What do you want our vision to be for the next ten years?

That’s when I stumbled upon WIGTake.

WIGTake is a question David Watson initially formed in his work among an unreached people group in India. He asked, “What’s it going to take to reach everyone in the people group?”

This question led our Leadership Team into a season of prayer and fasting about the direction of our church for the next ten years. Our WIGTake became: What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 Americans in the next ten years so we’re on track to reach 200 million in 20 years?

 We knew there was a strategy that could take us to the million. It’s the strategy Jesus encouraged in the Gospels and the early church implemented in Acts. DMM, or Disciple Making Movement, is a strategy that can lead to seeing God start a Church Planting Movement. Success in a Disciple Making Movements can be summed up in two words: generational discipleship. DMMs measure whether disciples are making disciples who make more disciples who make more disciples. It’s multiplication, not addition.

 After much prayer and discussion, eLife’s Leadership Team was united in the belief that the Lord wanted us to pursue a Disciple Making Movement strategy in the next ten years

 As we began venturing into the world of disciple making, I knew we needed a coach. I met Stan Parks, Beyond’s Vice President of Global Strategies, and knew he would be able to help us get started, avoid common mistakes, and answer questions as we ran into difficult situations. 

 We asked Stan what he wanted us to do first. He said he wanted to take us through a 12-week DMM Catalyst Training. This training was based on principles God had used around the world. Stan would pass on biblical lessons the Holy Spirit had taught him through personal study of Scripture and movement catalysts like David Watson, Victor John, and many others. 

 I said, “Great! Can you send it to me?” He said, “Nope.”

 I asked, “Why not?”

 Stan made it clear that this training was not information to be transferred but biblical principles to be obeyed. Because I come from a knowledge-based culture, my tendency would be to read the twelve lessons and think, “Okay, I’ve got this; let’s move on.” But, again, this wasn’t information; these were biblical principles he wanted to coach us to obey! That means you don’t even look at lesson two until you’ve obeyed the passage from lesson one. Stan told us that the Holy Spirit would speak to us as we took a fresh look at these Bible passages. He wanted us to see the DMM principles in Scripture, so we’d be dependent on God, not on him. 

Next week we will conclude with some key principles Stan taught eLife’s leadership team. We will learn what their church looks like after transitioning from being a traditional church to a Disciple Making Movement church.

Read the whole story in Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, which tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood.

“What Happened Next Was a Blur . . .”

Muharis and Ani met and married shortly after they had each been through a multi-week discipleship training on Disciple Making Movements (DMM) led by Beyond field leaders Ryan and Anna. Muharis and Ani wondered: How would Father God have them serve, in light of his desire for all peoples to hear of his Son? Both couples sought the Lord’s direction for Muharis and Ani’s life. The answer came. Muharis and Ani felt led to live and work among the Bimanese Muslims. Working with Ryan and Anna, they would form a new DMM team. They desired to see the knowledge of Christ and obedience to God’s Word transform this unreached people group. 

Muharis and Ani moved to serve the Bimanese people and soon learned of another upcoming transition. They were expecting a baby! In 2017, Muharis held his baby girl for the first time and heard the doctor pronounce that all was good. Although Ani had needed an emergency C-section to deliver the baby, she would recover as they enjoyed their precious daughter. Muharis was elated.

It should have been a time of pure rejoicing. 

What happened next was a blur to Muharis. Ani was in the recovery room when Muharis noticed a steady stream of blood oozing from his wife’s suture. He called for help. When the doctor arrived, he ordered her back into surgery. As he left to prepare, the doctor stated, “There is a 50-50 shot for me to be able to save your wife.” Muharis turned, saw his newborn daughter next to him, then fell to the floor in shock. He cried out to Father God in prayer. Then he called Ryan. Ryan and Anna mobilized their entire discipleship network in prayer for Ani.

Ani survived the ordeal. But the doctor removed her womb. 

The removal was probably not necessary. A more proficient doctor might have saved Ani without removing her womb, but skilled doctors are rare in such remote places. 

Since that day, God has blessed Muharis and Ani. He has honored their commitment to serve him no matter the personal cost. Their team has seen 117 discovery Bible study groups form. They have four house fellowships of baptized followers who meet regularly and are facilitating a second generation of discovery Bible groups!

Jesus told his disciples that following him would not be easy. We need to count the cost of discipleship.