What Must Be Done?

What Must Be Done?

by Stan Parks

In some movements, their obedience question is “Since this Bible passage is true, how will you apply this in your life this week?” As you have read about movements starting movements, you might ask, “In light of this, what shall I do now?” An even better question is not, “What can I do?” but “What must be done?”

We don’t expect these movements to reach the world by themselves. God invites his global body to be part of finishing the Great Commission. We each have a part to play.

A seminary professor was urging prospective American church leaders to redistribute God’s resources to the rest of the world instead of lavishing it on ourselves. He said, “I say it respectfully, but I say it forcefully. God is not that stupid a general.” The disciples in movements are our most effective and strategic frontline Gospel messengers. We need to realign our Great Commission efforts to fully support them.

They are not asking or waiting for logistical and financial support to reach other people groups. They are already reaching out because they are empowered by the Holy Spirit and driven by their love for the lost and their desire to glorify God. But they recognize help from outside can enable them to reach more groups more quickly.

We need to avoid a misplaced nationalism that says, “Citizens of each nation must reach all their unreached peoples and places with no outside help, lest we promote dependency.” The  movements  are not asking for help  for  their  internal  costs  (to develop and sustain their movements). They fund those things locally. Yet as they plan and work to reach groups outside themselves, we can come alongside them and help with reaching each and every unreached group.

Six principles for helping movements should inform us all, regardless of our role.

  1. Prayer is first. The importance of prayer cannot be overstated. Informed, strategic prayer must be the foundation of every effort to reach the unreached. We are in a spiritual battle for the eternal souls of men, women, and  children.  We can’t afford to fight with earthly weapons. Every disciple of Jesus can play an important part in this, no matter their location or situation.
  2. Aim for holistic Church Planting Movements (CPM), not for various ministries as an end in themselves. CPMs are not one type of ministry alongside other types of ministries. Community development, medical work, arts, media, and Bible translation — all can both help begin CPMs and blossom as fruit of CPMs. As Jesus establishes his church, all the various types of transformative ministries will arise from within the church in that culture and community.
  3. The entire body of Christ is needed. 1 Corinthians 12 shows the need for honoring and collaborating with the whole body of Christ.
  4. True partnership among local disciples and outsiders. National and international outsiders need to defer to the necessary leadership of local disciples. At the same time, local leaders need to humbly encourage true partnerships.
  5. Funding should empower. All too often money  is given in a disempowering and dishonoring manner. Funding should be based on outcomes rather than activities, particularly when these movements have a long record of fruitfulness. One exciting model is foundations prioritizing assistance for movements and setting up task forces of movement catalysts and leaders to help evaluate the proposals.
  6. Cooperation not control. Many  movements have arisen from cooperation among national and international denominations, churches, seminaries, and agencies. This requires honoring one another despite different approaches, while honestly evaluating the impact of various efforts.

As you consider ways to help movements cascade, keep these things in mind.

1) Movements are not waiting for you to volunteer. You will need to patiently and graciously offer your help without demanding anything from movement leaders. You can imagine the load they carry, with movements doubling every 3.5 years, while trying to reach out to new peoples and places. And most live and serve in the midst of brutal governmental and religious opposition and persecution.

2) You may not be able to connect directly with movement leaders, due to security, their lack of time, or other considerations. But there are other ways to serve.

3) Movement leaders are looking for people to first and foremost be their brothers and sisters. As relationships and trust are built, possibilities for you to help may emerge.

4) You need to do all you can to learn about movements and become a movement practitioner right where you are. Your potential for being helpful is greater if you yourself are living a disciple-making lifestyle.

You may be called to be a Movement Servant. (See “Movement Servants Needed!” in MF May-June 2021, 37-41 and “Movement Servants — Helping Movements Multiply” in MF Nov-Dec 2022 for some specific ways you might help.) This involves patiently preparing yourself, and at the right times doing your best to do anything and everything asked of you by the movement(s) you serve.

However, you do not have to be a full-time movement servant to help. You could help in a wide variety of ways, including prayer, research, crisis response, medicine,  community   development, business for access to new areas, media 4 movements, funding, technology, Bible and media distribution, administrative help, supervising interns, etc. ‘For up-to-date information about these items and other possibilities, email us at cascade@2414now.net

Individuals, teams, churches, organizations, and agencies — what could you do to involve (or better involve) your entire group in these efforts? What could you give up? What could you change? Are you willing to make radical changes?

We thank God for what he is doing through movements in our day. Especially for the spontaneous multiplication of movements planting other movements among the unreached. Are you willing to lay aside whatever you need to, in order to be a part of doing whatever it takes to see movements in every unreached people and place in this generation?

About the Author: Stan is a Church Planting Movements trainer and a coach for leaders of Church Planting Movements around the world. He has been serving Unreached People Groups since 1994 while based in Indonesia, Singapore and Dubai. He is Co-Facilitator of the 24:14 Coalition which is focused on Kingdom Movement engagements in every Unreached People and place by 2025.

This article was first published in Mission Frontiers: Cascading Gospel: Movements Starting Movements, Jan/Feb 2023, pages 38-39. It was used here with permission.

God’s Ideas Open Doors

God’s Ideas Open Doors

Danish* has been involved with some churches in the Arab world for over 30 years. By God’s grace, they have accepted him as a spiritual father figure. For the last five or six years, he has been talking to them about and training them in strategies for disciple-making movements (DMM).

When he first brought up DMM practices, the people were resistant to receiving them, but because of their trust and long-standing relationship with Danish, they listened politely.

“Time after time,” Danish declares, “the Lord has given me new approaches for presenting DMM based on the biblical text.”

For these churches, the Lord showed Danish something in the Book of Acts. Danish explains: “Who started the early church? The Jerusalem church. It was the church that took the gospel to the Gentiles. Yes, it was not easy. Yes, they waited for 14 years — they delayed their mission to start the gospel among the Gentiles. But in the end, they did. This is the idea the Lord gave to me, and I tell it to every traditional local church there. ‘DMM is not replacing you; you are here as the Jerusalem mother church. And you can send people from your side to the “Gentiles” – considering the people groups near you as the “Gentiles.”’

“Through this approach, they started to receive it and to obey… Sometimes the Lord gives me ideas that open the doors.”

After decades of praying with them, investing in them, and giving them many training sessions, there is new growth in the church. They are appointing people to reach the Unreached around them. They are taking the initiative and seeing fruit — many people are coming to the Lord! 


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“I am Jesus Christ Who Loves You”

“I am Jesus Christ Who Loves You”

A woman from a strong Islamic family attended the most recent Disciple Making Movement training Danish* held. She had previously hated everything about Christianity. She had even been a militant fighter from her people group, and wished to see all Christians dead. 

But God started talking with her through a friend who shared about Jesus, through a Discovery Bible Study (DBS)-type approach. The woman completely resisted all messages about Jesus. 

Then after a while, another friend approached her with a DBS. Because of the things she was hearing, she decided to fast during Ramadan to protect herself from the “evil thoughts” of Christianity. 

During her fast, she started to “hear in her ear” about God’s love, and how He sent his Son to save all the world. She didn’t know these were verses from the Bible, but she heard them over and over in her spirit.

Then one night, while she was lying in bed, she saw a huge light come into her room. Suddenly, she saw Christ! She was shaken and afraid. 

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I am Jesus Christ, who loves you,” He said, “and who you do not yet love.”

She woke up, left her room and went outside in an attempt to shake off what had just happened, but Jesus revealed himself to her two or three more times. 

Today, this woman leads many other ladies who share Discovery Bible Studies from place to place. She is a strong tool for God’s work in an area with many hostile influences trying to undermine the gospel.


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Dusting Her Feet Off Like Jesus

Dusting Her Feet Off Like Jesus

Lisa has been going for walks with a Muslim friend named Fitri for a few months. Fitri knows Lisa is a follower of Jesus and has even helped her craft a few parables by changing them into the local vernacular. When they walk together, Lisa takes out a few Scripture verses (mostly from Psalms) written on small cards. Both women read over and then pray the Bible verses as they walk. Fitri readily takes the cards Lisa made for her, reads the verses, and then stashes them in her purse.

However, whenever they set a time to meet to read and discuss a story from the Injil (New Testament), Fitri always called to cancel. Lisa soon began to wonder if she was genuinely interested. 

A recent training on “dusting off your feet” (Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9) challenged Lisa to stop initiating spiritual conversations and instead wait for Fitri to begin one, as a way to test her interest. To Lisa’s delight, on their next walk, Fitri initiated a discussion about the differences between Islam and Christianity. Lisa asked if she could ask Fitri a difficult question, one that Lisa had never asked anyone before. When Fitri said yes, Lisa asked, “Have you ever asked Jesus if He is indeed God? If He would confirm that to you?” 

Fitri replied, “I have considered asking, but I haven’t ever done it. No one has asked me that before. Since you brought it up, I will ask and tell you what He says.”

Lisa thanked her and offered to meet her to read various passages from the Bible to discover together what it says about Jesus. A few days later, however, Fitri texted Lisa a few short videos from Muslim leaders talking about the lies of Christianity. Fitri felt this was her answer. She did not want to look at either the Qu’ran or the Bible. 

“I had my answer,” Lisa says. “Fitri is not, at present, an open seeker. So now I pray and keep my mouth shut when she and I walk together. I wait for the Lord to open her heart to Him.” 

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What Can Happen with Small Faith?

What Can Happen with Small Faith?

Leaders from a 10-year-old disciple-making movement in South Asia met recently to celebrate what God has done. “We stand in awe,” movement leader Ethan* declared. “Ten years ago, we imagined none of this. Never asked for it. Our faith was too small. We never imagined all that God could or would do.” 

In a multi-day celebration, 100+ leaders (each one representing thousands of churches) met to rejoice and worship God as a community of Jesus-followers. Most had never met the others before, but rather than brag about their own missional efforts, they actively honored one another with words of affirmation. Traditional gifts were given and received in accordance with the leaders’ different cultural backgrounds.

Many testimonies showcased the glory of the Lord and what He has done in the various disciple-making streams. Attendees worshiped through indigenous songs and dance, and also generosity. When one leader’s large financial need became known, the group didn’t hesitate. Nor did they look to the few foreigners present or list their own genuine needs. They simply gave. In less than an hour, the need was covered.

There were some practical teachings on cyber security; a reminder about how to respond when they are arrested, threatened, or their property destroyed; and what the Bible teaches about the church tradition of ordination. 

During a time of sober reflection, the group honored the 22 disciples in the movement who have died for their faith since the work first began. As each name was read, a garland of marigolds was placed onto a cloth-draped podium at the front. All then prayed for the widows, children, and disciples left behind.

Later, everyone met in groups to identify which people groups in their home states are still unreached. They evaluated: Among which people groups have disciples reached four generations of growth? Where is there less growth? Where is there no movement effort yet? It was an excellent way for everyone to see what God had done, is doing, and still desires to do.

The meetings ended with a beautiful foot-washing ceremony. The first generation of movement leaders called forward the next generation and washed their feet. Those men and women washed the feet of the next generation, and so on, until the final group washed the feet of the first-generation leaders. It was a sweet time of laughter through tears.

“Goodbyes were both joyous and hard,” movement leader Hannah* shared. “We felt so connected to these dear brothers and sisters and rejoiced to send them back into the harvest, while knowing it will be a long time before we see some of them again. And, the reality is — because of the level of persecution most of them face and what is required to bring the Kingdom into such a completely lost area — some of those dear people will probably lose their lives for Jesus in the coming years. Yet they went back willingly, joyfully, ready to keep serving their beloved Lord for as long as they are able. It was an unforgettable time.”

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