– By Stan Parks and Dave Coles
What is the most strategic role you can imagine for a Jesus follower in the Western world who wants to see all peoples reached with the gospel as soon as possible?
Today, God is rapidly advancing His Kingdom among unreached peoples through Church Planting Movements. These movements are indigenous and moving by the power of God’s Spirit, so they don’t need Westerners to build something from scratch or play a leading role. However, in the midst of the amazing explosion of disciples making new disciples, some movement leaders have given a fresh “Macedonian call” for disciples from the outside to “come over and help us.”
A great many things need to be done, but they vary from one movement to another, and sometimes from one year to another within any given movement. Distant-culture workers can play a vital role in strengthening and deepening a movement, and/or in assisting a movement to expand and catalyze fresh movements among other UPGs. The key lies in a willingness to serve the needs being felt and expressed by movement leaders. They don’t need outsiders showing up with their own plans and ideas. They want people humble enough and flexible enough to do whatever needs to be done.
In some cases, this might involve a specialized skill, but more often it involves applying a basic-level skill in an area of need.
- Job and business training
- Computer and technical support
- Video/Audio recording and/or editing
- Fundraising that does not create dependency
- Social media
- Prayer and mobilizing prayer
- International networking
- Hosting vision trips
- Administration help
- Hosting/Supervising outside interns
- Disaster response services
- Medical service and equipping medical response
- Anything and everything needed
In many cases, the movements cannot give a specific job description, as their needs keep changing. Or they may start with a specific need, but circumstances change the needs. They want people who are willing to do whatever is needed.
A Movement Servant will help increase the capacity of the movement to go further and faster, to become even more effective in advancing the movement(s) in which they are involved.
Consider, for example, the kingdom impact of working with a movement of 8,000 churches that has minimal computerization. They need help setting up a computer system for tracking church health and distribution, which will also help them know which peoples and places are still untouched by the gospel. This assistance brings the potential to reach tens of thousands more people and plant thousands more churches within a few years.
We can share a few examples of people serving movements. For one large family of movements, some translation experts currently supply help from the outside for movements translating Scripture. These movements are in areas that an outsider cannot enter due to political or religious realities, but the service of technical and translation experts has been invaluable to help those in that area do a church-based, computer aided, expert assisted translation process. These professional translators have allowed God to change their paradigm from personally doing the translation to helping “amateurs” in the movement learn the skills and group processes that will produce an excellent translation.
In another movement with over 300,000 believers in a very large geographical area, some Westerners (who are not professionals) are helping with video editing. They work with movement leaders to produce short leadership training videos that can be shared from phone to phone.
A third example comes from a Kingdom Business project where outsiders help movements identify near-culture gaps needing movements. They assist with business training, prayer and supplemental fundraising as movement families relocate and re-start businesses to sustain them long-term in reaching the new group. This has already resulted in reaching many new population segments.
What kind of people can fulfill the Movement Servant role? The essential qualifications, skills and experience include:
- Follower of Jesus
- Trying to be a disciple maker
- Advocate of CPM principles
- Good people skills
- Willing to submit to non-Western leadership
- Willing to learn local trade language (at an appropriate level)
- Willing to learn and be sensitive to a new local culture(s)
- Faithful to keep commitments; a person of honor and integrity
- Willing to do whatever they can to serve the expansion of God’s kingdom
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). What if the most effective thing you could do truly looked like being a servant? What if your best way to reach the unreached involved an assortment of jobs, chosen and assigned by someone from another culture? Would you be willing to lay down your life and some of your preferences in order to play a role in rapid kingdom multiplication among the unreached? Movements are already moving, and you’re invited to play a part in increasing their growth.
If you’re interested, please contact us via this form. We already have relationships with networks of movements – in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We cannot guarantee connection, but we will do everything we can to help you find a group who is looking for Movement Servants.
Take a moment to thank God for what He is doing through movements in our day. Thank Him for the spontaneous multiplication of movements planting other movements among the unreached. Then ask Him what role He might want you to play. May the Lord guide you and use you for His glory, to the ends of the earth.
About the authors:
Dave Coles: 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.”
Stan Parks: 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.