Responding to Anti-CPM/DMM Voices 

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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Preparing new Bible study series based on feedback from small group leaders, who help identify common needs. 
  4. Writing other Bible mentoring tools, i.e., teaching various Bible study methods. 
  5. Developing short teaching videos on issues with a particular equipping function, especially on sharpening skills in Bible study. 
  6. 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.”

Insiders & Outsiders

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.”

*pseudonyms

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Mindshifts for Movements

Jesus’ 10 Movement Principles

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.

Summary
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.

A Big Day Has Arrived

by R. Nyman

As my husband and I continue to implement, train, and coach others in Disciple Making Movements among Unreached People Groups, one of the dividing lines of commitment among Muslims is obedience in the step of baptism.

In coaching others to implement this step, the first breakthrough came when God shifted our local partners’ paradigms as to who is able to baptize. They discovered through Scripture that there is no instruction that only ordained people can baptize. They then adopted the principle that the person who led another person to faith would do the baptizing after a brief baptism Discovery Bible Study.

These days, in what is the beginning of a Church Planting Movements, male and female, young and old baptize those who have made a commitment to follow Jesus in their DBS groups. Whether in a rice field, river bed, wash room, or the ocean, baptism is an outward commitment of the inward reality of followership of Jesus.

This story, taken from the book Stubborn Perseverance, shows what this process looks like.

* * *

The big day had arrived! Faisal and Fatima picked up Ahmad and his family and drove to the beach. The sun was coming up, and a light breeze blew. 

The group stood near the water’s edge. Faisal opened to Matthew 28:18–20 and read:And Isa came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Baptism is one of the commands Isa gave His followers. Ahmad and his family have come to obey that command. Baptism has three primary meanings.

“First, baptism is a public statement that you have made Isa your Savior and Lord.

“Second, baptism is an outward symbol of the inner change in your life. You have become a new creation. Being immersed symbolizes that you have been washed and changed.

“Third, baptism joins you to every other person who has been baptized. You become members of one worldwide family in Al Masih.

“Finally, baptism doesn’t save us; faith does. Baptism is not a work to ‘earn’ salvation. It is a command to obey.”

“Now please share your personal salvation stories, starting with Ahmad.”

When they finished, Faisal asked:

Do you believe the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil are inspired by God and free from error?

Do you believe Isa Al Masih is the eternal Word of God who became a human being?

Do you believe Isa is the Messiah and the Son of the living God?

Do you believe Isa Al Masih shed His blood on a cross to cleanse you of your sins?

Have you confessed your sins, asked God to forgive you, and received Isa as your Savior and Lord? Are you willing to obey Him even to death?

Have you severed all ties with the occult, ancestor worship, and idolatry?”

They responded “Yes!” to each question.

Then Faisal prayed, “O God, we praise You for the way You have worked in this family.

“Thank You for calling them to be Your children, and for giving them the courage to obey You in baptism. Strengthen them so they will be faithful when persecution comes.

“Be glorified in their lives. In the name of Isa Al Masih, Amen.”

Together they waded into the sea. 

Faisal stood in front of Ahmad and placed his hand on Ahmad’s head. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Ahmad lowered himself under the water. 

Ahmad then stood in front of his wife and placed his hand on her head and declared, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” She lowered under the water. Ahmad then baptized the rest of his household.

After they changed, food was spread out. All eyes turned to Faisal to bless the food.

“Hey, am I the only one here who can pray?” Faisal joked. “Let’s ask Ahmad to pray!”

This article was first published in Mission Frontiers and used with permission.

About the Author: R. Nyman and James Nyman serve with Act Beyond in SE Asia among Muslim UPGs. Their passion is to see God glorified in the launch of cascading movements to Christ among these peoples. 

When 3+2=27+300

Thank you for your donations that provide training to make disciples.

Three years ago, the caste leaders of a village attacked a visiting disciple of Jesus named Roman. They wanted Roman to stop telling “their” people about Jesus. They beat him up, destroyed his motorcycle, and threatened to do worse if he didn’t leave immediately. Roman was terrified. He fled the village and spent the next few days hiding in the jungle. Disciples of Jesus from other villages brought him food and other essentials. After a few days, Roman stopped hiding. He first went home, then, amazingly, he returned to the village he’d fled.

The caste leaders were unhappy. “We beat you. Now, you’re back!?”

“You must hear me,” Roman said. “I have good words for you.”

Intent on stopping Roman for good, the village leaders “reported” him to local Hindu radicals. They came and threatened Roman. He responded by boldly proclaiming the Good News about Jesus. Eventually, the group left, but later, two returned to speak with Roman privately. Roman asked two other movement leaders to join him in the village. Once all were together, the Hindu men exclaimed, “What kind of strength do you have to endure these things [beatings and threats]!?!” The five men talked for days and visited a local house church.

As soon as the two Hindu men returned to their own community, they started a Discovery Bible Study. Four months later, 27 people in their village, most of whom had also been radical Hindus, were baptized as disciples of Jesus. Of the 27, three pairs of workers emerged who have influenced 300 villages for Jesus so far. Recently, 60 people from those villages gathered to learn how they also can make more followers within the disciple-making movement and see new churches birthed in other unreached villages.

Being a disciple of Jesus does not erase suffering or eliminate trouble. However, when struggles come, we, like Roman, can listen to the Spirit and obediently go where He leads. As we do we will see His wonders – Sauls become Pauls, Simons turn into Peters, and Sons of Thunder change to loving servants!

Your financial gifts take the gospel to where it has never been, and this generosity is transforming lives and whole villages!

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Why We Chose Beyond: Laser Focus on Healthy Disciples

Someone asked *Helen why she and her husband chose BEYOND as their sending organization. “My answer is always the same,” says Helen. “Not only is BEYOND laser-focused on seeing healthy disciples reproduce healthy disciples which plant healthy multiplying churches across cultures and borders, but BEYOND also truly cares for their members in a way I haven’t experienced before.” 

In 2013, *Frank and Helen set out to start a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) among an unreached people group. They knew God had promised to go before them and be with them, but they didn’t anticipate how much Satan would attack along the way. 

“We were originally with a somewhat larger organization before joining BEYOND. Soon after arriving on the field, we learned how important it was to have an organization that actively supported its members’ health. By the end of our first year, we had experienced two miscarriages and the burnout of our teammates who permanently left the field. While our first org helped us seek counseling and walked with us through our team falling apart, the effort was all reactive, not proactive. We received no preventative help or preparation for future issues. They didn’t seem to have the resources to affect change. After four years of feeling like we were constantly going elsewhere to get help, both personally and for our ministry, we made the difficult decision to leave the organization. 

“We were already going to BEYOND members for DMM guidance, and the more we learned about their approach to member health, the more we wanted to learn. BEYOND is different. They are proactive in making sure you and your family are healthy disciples at all times. This is crucial as only healthy disciples can reproduce healthy disciples.” 

“They have several different touch-points to ensure their members’ health. Every month we celebrate growth and share our challenges in the areas of family, prayer, spiritual growth, ministry, and finances through an evaluation. They do not micromanage but allow space for sharing, celebrating, growing, and changing. Field staff can get help before a crisis hits or altogether avoid many crises often faced on the field. We are continually trained and refreshed in best ministry practices by experienced DMM leaders. They are never satisfied with stagnation for any one disciple, much less a movement of disciples. Their approach to member health is truly holistic. I feel as if I am a better person and a healthier disciple because of the way BEYOND has invested in me. We are so glad we chose BEYOND!”

*pseudonym

Expect and Train for Persecution

By C. Anderson

“2021 was a demanding year. I can’t anticipate what 2022 will bring, but of one thing I’m certain: God will be with us in whatever comes our way.” These words slipped across my lips this morning as I sat around our kitchen table drinking a steaming cup of coffee with a friend who had come by for an unexpected chat.

The past two years were filled with transitions and uncertainty. It makes it hard to look forward  to the new year with a typical goal-setting model. It’s more difficult than before to project what the year may bring. The past two years make us cautious about planning too far in advance, especially if your ministry normally involves international travel.
 
Yet, as I reflect and consider, I see that the  past two years have been some of the most fruitful years ever.

Despite the pandemic, through online Disciple Making Movement training, I’ve impacted people in countries where I’d previously had little to no influence. For those who pressed forward  amid the virus situation, many would say the same. God’s kingdom has been growing and expanding. New movements have been catalyzed. Our Lord was not hindered by what happened in our world. He has used it to advance and grow His kingdom in unusual, new ways.
 
The theme of this issue is Essential Elements for Catalyzing Movements. As I pondered that theme, together with the beginning of a New Year, a particular practice came to mind. It’s one we don’t often consider and don’t particularly like to talk about.

This practice has to do with training disciples to expect persecution. They must be prepared to expect it, endure it, and grow through it. Those who prepare people for persecution are not surprised  by it. Instead, they face it boldly and with biblical understanding.

Preparation for Hardship Starts Early
Preparing people for persecution starts before they become Jesus followers. This has to do with how we present the gospel. Some people share Christ this way: “Become a Christian. You will have joy and peace. All the difficult things in your life will become easy.” On a visit to Africa this past year I trained a group of disciple-makers to share their three-minute testimony. In their first attempts, it often went like this. “Before Jesus my life was hard. After Jesus my life is easy.” This is not the gospel. It is not even true!

We need to be genuine about the cost of following Christ. Our presentation is not a “bait and switch.” We are not to “market the gospel.” Instead, we call people to embrace the truth of Christ’s message and to repent, to a complete change of mindset and lifestyle. This is far more attractive than a gimmicky, freebie Christianity.
 
We must lead people to embrace the only path that leads to God, though hard and costly. We share the message that Jesus and His kingdom are like the pearl of great price, worth giving up everything to find. That is the gospel message of  Jesus  (Matt. 13:45-46).
The cause of Christ is worth dying for. His truth is worth selling all we have in order to gain. This must be our message and what our lives also demonstrate.

Share New Testament Stories and Scriptures About Persecution
As we study the movements of Jesus and Paul in the New Testament they are full of instances of persecution. This is an easily observed pattern found in the book of Acts.

Persecution – Growth – Persecution – Growth. The church grew, and it was persecuted. Likely, the more the movements we start grow, the more we will be persecuted. The converse can also be true. The more we are persecuted, the more we grow.
 
Why not create a story set with New Testament stories of persecution? Include Discovery studies on what Jesus said about persecution as well. Jesus promised persecution would come. Study those passages with those you are training as disciples. Here is a sample of verses and stories you could use, or you may want to create your own.
• Acts 4:1-4
• 2 Timothy 3:11-12
• Acts 7:51-56
• John 15:19-20
• Acts 8:1-4
• Matthew 5:10-12
 
Movements that grow rapidly will encounter seasons of great persecution. It is normal if the movement grows exponentially. Training every disciple to understand that this persecution is expected, from the beginning, is biblical.

Share Current Examples of Persecution
Let me share the story of one of our online DMM course trainees. There are many stories you can find from Voice of the Martyr’s website or magazines as well. As you share these kinds of stories with those you are training, they will not only pray for those who are persecuted but begin to see it as an honor to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake.

A few months ago, we had just begun the beta run of our next-level Disciple Making Movements online course. The new course is called, “Moving Forward in Disciple Making Movements.” It is a follow-up to the Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements course (find out more at courses.disciplemakersincrease.org). In 2021, this was my “one thing.” It was the one task I knew God was calling me to complete this past year.
 
It’s important, though, that anyone truly pursuing a movement, understands that suffering and persecution are part of the package.
 
When working with my team to create the curriculum, we knew we must include a module on both suffering and persecution. This isn’t what we usually lead with when casting vision for DMMs! It’s important, though, that anyone  truly pursuing  a movement, understands that suffering and persecution are part of the package.
 
When we recorded the videos for the module, as a Westerner who has only faced limited or indirect forms of persecution, I knew we needed to include a guest video. I asked my friend from Bangladesh who lost his inheritance,  family  property  and  was excommunicated from his village to share something for us to include.
 
What I didn’t know was that just a week after we started the cohort, one of our students would be arrested. This brother works in a Southeast Asian country where Christian activities and proselytizing are prohibited by law. He and his wife were arrested together. As they were taking him to prison, he managed to send a quick Whatsapp message to our group. “Please pray! We are being arrested.”
 
The group of trainees from Australia, India, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria began to do just that. Immediately, others posted on the group assuring him of their fervent prayers. Scriptures were sent to encourage and prayer was mobilized internationally. After some days, the word came that they had been released but may be asked to leave their locality and perhaps the country. The trainee in my course is an ex-pat while his wife was a local.
 
Again, our community prayed and stood with them. A legal case was brought against this brother and his wife. Again, we prayed. Others around the globe interceded for them as well.
 
In the midst of this, the team’s determination  to obey Jesus’  commands  was  strengthened. They continued to boldly share Jesus, realizing more than ever the cost involved in doing this. Finding a Person of Peace, they prepared to baptize her. The trainee again asked the WhatsApp group for prayer. “Please pray for the upcoming baptism. We realize that if we are caught, our punishment will be far greater than it was before.”
Finally, joyous news was posted on our group. The case has been dropped! “We are free to stay here with no restrictions, at least for the coming months.” Praise God! He had answered prayer. They then went on to share about the upcoming Christmas gathering. They planned to share a Creation to Christ presentation to 40 people.
 
It was just at this time that we came to that module in the course—the one on persecution. This is what he wrote to the group as he reflected on the material presented. “I needed this lesson. Thank you! The verses below tell me that suffering for Jesus’ name is a blessing, an honor and a privilege to rejoice. “They left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ.” [emphasis mine] (Acts 5:41–42).
Glory be to God for all He has taught this trainee. May we all learn and be inspired by his words and attitude.

Pray for Others Who Are Persecuted
Another key practice that can help prepare disciple- makers for persecution is to pray for the persecuted church around the world. In the movements we begin, we need to be outward-focused from the very beginning. We also want to help new believers see that they are part of a large, global family we call the Church (capital C). When some in that body suffer, we join with their suffering and we pray and give. This is the New Testament model. As we pray for them in their troubles, we do not pray with pity. We do not ask God to remove them from their troubles, but to give them the courage  to stand firm in the midst of them. We pray for boldness to continue to proclaim the name of Jesus. In Ephesians 6:20, Paul penned these words while in chains for the gospel, “Pray that I may declare  it fearlessly, as I should.” He wanted prayer, not for deliverance but boldness. When we pray in this way for those being persecuted, we too are strengthened for the time it may come our way.
 
In summary, how do we train disciples to both expect and prepare for persecution?
1) We adjust our evangelism and invitation model.
2) We share New Testament stories and Scriptures about persecution in our discipleship process.
3) We tell current stories of persecution.
4) We train disciples to pray for the persecuted Church around the world.
How many of these are you currently doing?
 
Discuss these four points with your team or leadership group. Take a step forward  to  begin this best practice as a normal part of training and multiplying disciples.
 
Persecution is not something we desire. It is something we are promised. When trouble comes, Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). May our love, loyalty and worship flow to the One who overcomes. Nothing we go through can ever be greater than what He has already accomplished for us. He is worthy. May we also be counted worthy when called upon to suffer for His name.
This article was published with permissions from the author. It was first published in Mission Frontiers.
 
About the Author: C. Anderson is passionate about seeing hundreds of Disciple-Making movements take off among the world’s unreached peoples. She has served as  a church planter, coach, and trainer. She has been a speaker about multiplying movements of disciples for the past twenty-five years. While most of her experience is in Asia, she was worked in other regions of the world as well. She writes a weekly blog at dmmsfrontiermissions.com

The Role of Outsiders in Movements

by Chris McBride

In 2019, a number of Western and national movement practitioners gathered to explore new models of missionary training. National leaders were asked for their insights on the role of outsiders catalyzing new works in their regions. While welcoming movement efforts, they spoke into the ideal posture of outsiders as they entered into new unreached fields.

Their insights can be unpacked into ten recommendations that anyone looking to go to the mission field or send workers to a field would do well to listen to:

Be an Example. Outsiders need “street credibility.” Making disciples and planting churches involve trials and suffering. Insiders notice and appreciate the patience and humility of an outsider who has been deepened in this way. Modeling is not just theology or tools. It’s a lifestyle of prayer, labor, perseverance, releasing responsibility, and trusting God.

Be Relational. Locals feel when outsiders come with more zeal for methods than love for people. An overly-transactional desire to get the job done grates on people in relational cultures. Movement leaders marveled at how much Western outsiders talked about “boundaries” without considering the needs and perspectives of local people. Additionally, local believers are not especially impressed by great tools and methods. They need to know, love, and respect their partners. Working to become family may feel slow, but it paves the best path to fruitfulness. 

Be Humble. The world operates on a hierarchical framework, but Jesus said “not so among you” (Mark 10:43). Don’t come in as a boss, but treat the inside leader as a friend. Empower them and release control. Control tends to kill movements, so work to establish “a round table, not a rectangular one.” Listening well shows respect, love, and care. Working with and through experienced leaders honors them.

Be a Culture Learner. Local believers often puzzle over how culturally unaware outsiders are as they bring the gospel to a new field. We need to recognize that when we arrive as an outsider, we bring the fragrance of our home culture. This affects how we communicate, how we correct, our alliances and biases, and the way we get things done. Even our tools carry cultural baggage. Commit to learn the language and operate through the culture. Discover with local people how to bring the Kingdom.

Be Patient. Movement leaders recounted how outsiders often arrive with their tools and methods and say: “I know this will work here because it has worked somewhere else.” A patient, relational approach grants a period of settling in, allowing outsiders and insiders to learn from one another through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then trust can blossom. Patience demonstrates humility and a recognition that cultural insiders have much to contribute in helping enculturate the principles behind fruitful tools.

Be a Prayer Leader. Outsiders need to lead out in prayer, though they may find that local people do it better than they. Outsiders do, however, have the ability to catalyze outside prayer networks in strategic ways that can change realities on the ground. Connecting local believers with these prayer networks allows them access to a resource that may be hard for them to find.

Be a Vision Caster and Catalyzer of Insiders. Movement leaders tell stories of outsiders who cast a vision for them to be “laborers in the harvest” and dreamed with them about what is possible. Outsiders can create a broad base of relationships and help networks unify. Movement leaders shared how outsiders connected them to the 24:14 Vision for their region. These connections can also catalyze new laborers.

Be a Mentor and Coach. Outsiders can play an important role as a life-on-life mentor. But movement leaders caution that transactional coaching strategies fall flat in relational cultures. Local leaders crave time spent together exploring problems, with questions and cultural respect.

Be Dependent on the Word. Outsiders having a long history with God can help provide theological frameworks and dependency on God’s leadership through his word. A commitment to seek direction together from God and his word, and obey what it says, no matter what, models a reproducible life in God.

Be a Connector. An outsider will naturally be more trusted by other outsiders with resources. An outside catalyst who has developed relationships with inside leaders can connect them with Bibles, tools, or help with trainings that can help start new works. Outside catalysts can help with data gathering and reporting that helps the movement relate to other movements and networks.

As outside catalysts look to be effective in starting movements among the unreached, there is an example from many who have gone before on the most effective, God-honoring postures to take. May agencies send the kind of humble, honoring people that God can use to see His Kingdom come in every tongue, tribe, and nation.

 This piece was summarized with permission from 2414now.net and the author, Chris McBride.


About the Author:
Chris McBride has served as the Director of Mobilization for a missions agency, and more lately on the Global Facilitation Team of the 24:14 Coalition
(a BEYOND affiliate).

Missions in a Dangerous World: Missiological Myths vs. Biblical Patterns

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that life will get worse with all kinds of natural and human disasters. People will be handed over to be persecuted, hated by all ethne, and even put to death–because of Jesus. Many will turn away from faith in Jesus and betray and hate each other. Due to this overall increase in wickedness, the love of most believers will grow cold. Not a nice picture, eh!?

He then says, “AND in the middle of all of that mess” (rather than saying BUT or “in spite of”), two related things will happen: 1) he/she who stands firm to the end will be saved; and 2) this Good News of the kingdom will be shared publically in the whole world as a witness/testimony to all ethne, and then the end will come!

In other words, all people groups will be given the “Jesus option” before the end comes in the middle of all the turmoil, not in spite of it.

Waves of persecution have happened throughout history. They are nothing new. Two main responses have occurred: 1) believers get upset and surprised when it happens and tend to advise each other to lie low so maybe they will not be targeted; and, 2) some believers become wisely bold and still innocent and pure in motivation. This latter group have discipled many during these periods, though often at great cost.

In the mid-1980s, about half of the mission force from all organizations in Indonesia were kicked out of the country. Many who remained or who had just arrived realized a new urgency and took bold new steps to make disciples. Today, in several major countries, workers are under severe government scrutiny or getting kicked out. What will be the correct response: will we succumb to missiological myths or follow biblical patterns?

Myth 1: The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.
Many interpret this to mean physical safety: that, if one is faithful, one will not suffer or certainly not die. Another version is “Mission can be done in a safe way if we are careful enough.”

Biblical Pattern–We will suffer while in the center of God’s will: Jesus was in the complete center of God’s will – and He was killed. In fact, He knew he would be killed and He risked His life willingly. See 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 where Paul and his team were under pressure beyond what they could endure, despaired to the point they felt like their death sentence had been passed – but in that terrible situation, learned to depend on God.

“Let’s be real. Suffering for Jesus will cause real pain, grief, despair, injustice tragedy, etc. Let’s be “real-er.” All is worth it when we see reproducing disciples arise.”

Myth 2: If we are careful with our identity,
have a good business platform, avoid “missionary” identity, use very good electronic security measures, etc., the governments and religious authorities of the world will let us continue to work and we might be effective.

Biblical Pattern—Being bold witnesses even when watched by the authorities: People already know who we are and are watching us – so we might as well be wisely public. We want to be wise (and not get persecuted for being stupid), but we must not allow the powers of this world to convince us we must lie so low! No one who is so careful has been known to catalyze a movement to make disciples.

We are told “when (not if) we are called before … the authorities” we should not worry about how to defend ourselves or what to say because the Spirit will teach us at that time what to say! (Luke 12:11-12).

Not only are we to continue to share under the threat of death, we are to rejoice when we are found worthy to be disgraced for Jesus. In Acts 5:27-29: “The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,’ he said. ‘Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!'”

The authorities were furious and decided to put them to death. Gamaliel convinced them not to kill them, so they just flogged them (!) and again commanded them not to talk about Jesus. And did they stop!? Not a bit. They never stopped teaching. They taught day by day. They did it publically in the temple courts and household to household. They rejoiced, they were counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the Name (Acts 5: 40-42)!

Myth 3: We, the outsiders, can escape suffering.
if we are careful enough, and still effectively help our local partners learn that they must be prepared for suffering

Biblical Pattern—Modeling willingness to suffer for Jesus is essential: We are rightly concerned when groups we help start do not multiply. Often, a reason given is that everyone in the culture is suspicious of others and also hesitant to make disciples. Could another reason be that we are not modeling a willingness to risk arrest and suffering for the sake of the Gospel?

Let’s be willing and bold to risk in genuine humility: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Myth 4: We will not be able to launch a movement unless we live in the culture.

Biblical Pattern–Mission Catalysts must be willing to be on the move: While it is valuable to live in and among our focus people, God often calls for His apostles (another term for movement catalysts) to be in an area for a while, stay in contact, but keep moving. Paul and his team were only in a key province about two years (Acts 19:10) and then were led to keep moving. Many “non-residential” missionaries (a pioneering term for what we might now call movement catalysts) have been used of God to catalyze movements from nearby cultures or locations.