When 3+2=27+300

When 3+2=27+300

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. We serve a God who performs wonders – Sauls become Pauls, Simons turn into Peters, and Sons of Thunder change to loving servants!

 

WHEN TRADITION CLASHES
When a Christian woman visited another state in India last year, she met some believers from  
read more …

MORE BAPTISMS …
“We’ve shared much with you about the persecution faced by the churches in India. Our last report was especially read more …

The DMM Price Tag: What Does It Cost to Start a Disciple Making Movement?

The DMM Price Tag: What Does It Cost to Start a Disciple Making Movement?

by C.Anderson

Visiting the U.S.A. after living many years abroad can be a shock to the system. Walking into a grocery store to buy a few things, I am assaulted by the prices. “What? It can’t possibly cost that much for this. I usually buy these items for a fraction of the cost! Are these apples worth that to me? Do I want to pay this price for them?” 

Adjusting to my home culture’s prices is a challenge. It takes time, usually a few weeks. Purchasing groceries is necessary so I find ways to do what is needed. It’s good to check the price tag carefully before I make a purchase, though. 

It’s also good to understand the cost of starting a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). Starting a DMM is an exciting venture, but it isn’t cheap. It’s definitely not a “freebie.” The investment we must make in tears, prayer, loss and personal pruning is great. 

What Does a DMM Cost?
We could consider an amount in dollars, thinking through the cost of training and evangelism materials. In many ways, however, that is relatively insignificant. What is more important to consider is what it costs the movement leader or trainer on a personal level. How do we determine what is the price that will be paid in tears? In emotional stress due to betrayal and persecution? Or the cost that comes with constant spiritual warfare? 

I wish I could tell you that DMMs are free. Salvation is free. But there is a price we must pay to see that free salvation come to thousands of unreached peoples. DMMs have a large price tag on them. Is it worth it? 

Compel Them To Come In
In Luke 14, Jesus tells a story of a feast. It wasn’t well attended. Can you hear the passionate heart of God expressed for the lost to be saved? Jesus says, “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” (vs. 23)-NIV. 

The Master longs for His house to be full. “Compel them!” He says. The emptiness of His table grieves God’s heart deeply. 

After this stirring parable, Jesus immediately talks about the cost of discipleship. He refers to a man who began to build a tower but wasn’t able to finish. He tells of a king going to war who first carefully weighs the cost. We too must understand the payment needed when starting a Disciple Making Movement. 

The Price Is Real
Every time the ministry started to move forward I got sick. Seriously sick. God would bring a divine appointment with a potential national apostle. We would start to connect with them, begin mentoring and “Boom!” Something would happen. My back went out and suddenly I had two herniated discs. Another time I had a life-threatening hepatitis relapse. 

Once, we were making serious inroads to a new community and my right-hand colleague was suddenly killed. While riding in an auto rickshaw she was hit by an army truck. She died shortly after being taken to the hospital. Grief hit me much like that army truck had hit her. How was I to continue? 

Then there was the time when we were trying to produce a gospel film in the local language. We were using indigenous actors and presenting the message of Jesus in a contextual way. The film demonstrated simple church and told a story of someone coming to faith. It would be a major tool to help us with abundant gospel sowing. 

We expected some resistance from anti-Christians in the area especially when we would start to distribute it. What we didn’t expect was the persecution we faced from the Christian community. We were attacked, slandered, threatened and called names by those we thought were on the same side as us! 

Primary Costs You Will Face
It would not be fair to anyone wanting to pursue a DMM to tell them it will be easy. Though it is simple, it is not easy. 

Starting a DMM requires a high level of commitment and tenacity. You must have a willingness to go through suffering to see the release of God’s Kingdom in that place. The rewards are also great! Rather than seeing just a handful of people believe, you can see thousands of multiplying disciples. 

What are the primary costs you must be ready to pay if you are pursuing a DMM? 

Be willing to be misunderstood.
As you apply DMM principles, you will go against the flow of many traditional church views and practices. At times people will question your methods. When you allow non-ordained people to baptize, for example, it might raise eyebrows. When you decide against a church building or empower local believers to do ministry, some will think you are not “doing it right.” 

When you put into practice the things done in the book of Acts, it goes against the status quo. You may feel like you are “swimming upstream” in your organization. Don’t be surprised by this. It is normal for people pursuing DMMs. It’s part of the price we pay for the release of thousands into the kingdom. Be ready to be misunderstood and not take it personally.  

Be willing to face spiritual warfare.
Sickness, unusual marital stress, and unexpected conflicts in team relationships are quite common. The enemy does not want a movement to take off. You can be sure of that. He looks for your weak points and will try to stop you. I’m not saying everything bad that happens in life is spiritual warfare. But the reality of the enemy we face is clearly described by Paul in Ephesians 6:12. 

It helps to know that whenever there is an attack, it is also an opportunity for God to do a miracle! God always wants to use spiritual warfare against us and turn it around for our good. The miracle may be a healing. It might be a reconciliation, or a breakthrough in our own character growth. Be ready to struggle, but also be ready to experience the power of God demonstrated in those times! 

Be willing to face persecution.
As you pursue a DMM, you will face opposition from within and without. The first persecution will likely come from the existing church (even if it is a small and ineffective church). Later, when the disciple-making groups start to multiply rapidly and thousands are coming to faith, it is difficult not to be noticed. That is when external persecution is likely. You may be targeted by authorities, called in for questioning, or deported. If you have done a good job of training local leaders in a simple way, they will continue the work without you. It will grow even more! 

Be willing to suffer loss
A DMM practitioner may experience loss of status in their church or organization. Even more serious, they may face losses like the death of a child or spouse. Many who have seen movements released have walked through deeply painful times of grief. As you walk through these on your DMM journey, be assured of God’s comfort. He will draw near. He will be there to walk with you through the questions and doubts that losses provoke. The tears you cry will water the movement’s growth. Those you disciple and  mentor will learn from you. They will watch you as you walk through the pain. They will see your love and commitment to God, and also to them. This is part of the deep foundational stones of a kingdom movement being laid. 

Be willing to change and grow in challenging new ways as a person
An openness to change and grow is crucial for those wanting to start movements.  This too is a costly thing.   It is easier to stay the same than to change our beliefs and paradigms. Great men and women of God are constantly growing. They are always learning. They allow each challenge to train them in godliness. They make adjustments when things aren’t producing fruit. Allowing the Holy Spirit to convict them, they respond in repentance. 

Change is costly, but so very rewarding too. The process of learning we go through in starting movements has great value! It shapes us into His image. 

Is It Worth It?
When we see the release of a massive movement of Jesus followers, we will rejoice with Jesus and the angels. Seeing thousands swept into God’s kingdom and an unreached area transformed…nothing can compare! Lives, families, and communities radically changed by His love? It’s unquestionably worth the hefty price tag. 

Are You Ready to Commit?
Counting the cost can be a bit shocking, much like my first trip to the grocery store when returning to the States. I hope this article hasn’t talked you out of pursuing a DMM! My goal is to help you count the cost now, so when you hit the hard stuff, you won’t give up. You’ve already decided it is worth it. 

Take a moment right now to pray. Ask God to give you the courage to embrace the challenges ahead. Let Him know you are willing to pay any price to see His house full, to see the unreached come to taste of His goodness. Jesus paid the ultimate price already. Let’s follow Him in demonstrating that same kind of love.

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

 This article was first published in Mission Frontiers: Sept/Oct 2018 Edition pages 41-43. It was used here with permission.

Interested in ways to get involved?  Talk to Us
Want to Learn More About Movements? Watch our Six Simple Shifts Video

 

 

Lean into Chaos—It’s Often Where God Is Greatly at Work

Lean into Chaos—It’s Often Where God Is Greatly at Work

 by C. Anderson

We opened our email and read the notice. The American Consulate in India was advising all American citizens to leave the country. Threat levels were high, as the conflict between India and Pakistan escalated. In 1998, these two nations had both become nuclear powers. In 2017 and 2018, threats and border skirmishes increased between the two nations. The email came. American citizens were being advised to leave the nation. Our government could no longer be responsible for our safety.

Reading the notice, my husband and I quietly discussed it. We had three small children to consider. What about them? Tucking our sweet five-year-old, blond-headed boy into bed, I smoothed his hair back as he drifted off to sleep. Was it fair to put his little life at risk? How serious was the danger?

Ministry in the area was growing. We felt bonded with our Indian friends and colleagues. They didn’t have the option of leaving. Was it right for us to do so?

We consulted with our mission. They gave us the freedom to make our own choice about what to do; we were to follow God’s leading and our conscience. Being an agency that had a good number of national staff, it was handled differently than for fully foreign organizations. Talking to missionary friends, several reported they’d been told by their organizations to leave as soon as possible.

Going to God in prayer, peace filled our hearts.  We were to stay. Within six months, the evacuation order was lifted and a cease-fire agreement between the two nations was signed. We breathed a sigh of relief, grateful that we had chosen to stay. Our doing so had bonded us in unique ways to those we had come to reach.

Fight or Flight
Fight or flight are two common physical and mental responses to stress. Fight. We face the threat head- on, ready to engage in battle. Flight. We run from the threat, escaping it and finding a place of safety.

Our  world  is  a   place   of   increasing   turmoil. A war between Russia and Ukraine causes concern about nuclear threats around the  world.  While  the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer as deadly   as it was, it is far from gone. Floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters bring loss of life and property, making headline news.

How should a disciple-maker and Jesus follower respond? Is it fight or flight? Perhaps neither. God is often amazingly at work in chaos and turmoil. God leans into chaos and so must we.

Five Ways to Lean into Crisis
Consider the following five choices in the midst of chaos and crisis. The decisions we make in troubled times can lead to significant kingdom advance. It can cause the multiplication of disciples and the launch of new movements.

1. Choose to Stay—Those Who Stay Present in Crisis Often See the Greatest Impact

Don’t read me wrong. I’m not saying you always have to stay when there is a serious threat to life and limb. It’s a decision every person and family must prayerfully make before the Lord. We see biblical examples of both staying (Acts 4:21-31) and leaving (2 Cor. 11:32-33). Our default, however, should not be to leave. Instead, we must train ourselves to lean in. We need to recognize the opportunities crisis provides for the light of the Gospel to shine brightly.

There is a cost involved in staying, in leaning in.   I cannot minimize that. Trauma and a significant drain on mental and physical health are realities in a crisis. However, the glory of God shines brightly in these times, and many are drawn to Jesus as we offer that gift: the gift of presence to those we serve. And so we lean in.

2. Choose to advance—moving toward crisis rather than away from it.

The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 is forever etched in my mind. As it struck so suddenly, many dear friends and colleagues fled to the top of a mountain, barely escaping with their lives. Over 200,000 people died that day. Following the tragedy, our colleagues worked with government and army staff to bag bodies for days on end. It was not easy. Not easy at all. In that time though, unprecedented doors flung open for the Gospel to spread.

I remembered this on a call with a mentor a few months back. “Do you know any DMM-minded people going into Ukraine?” he asked. What about YWAM? Who is there and how can we train them to start DMMs there? He recognized the opportunity within the crisis. My mentor wanted to spur me, and anyone else he could find, into responding.

 A few hours later, we together made a call to someone I’m training in the United Kingdom. “Ian,” he asked, “What are you doing about Ukraine?”

Will we lean into these kinds of opportunities to minister the two hands of the Gospel? Not only to bring relief but to share the message of Christ? If we don’t, we may miss the chance to partner with God in what He is doing. And so we lean in.

3. Choose to believe God is working in the midst of tragedy.

 Most of us can quote Romans 8:28. We’ve preached sermons on it. When lives are at risk, bridges are burning, or hospitals overflow with sick and dying, we are put to the test. Do we believe that all things work together for good? Faith is a gift from God. It is also a choice we make. In the midst of crisis, we choose to believe that God is sovereignly in control. We place our hope in a God who is able to bring about incredible good out of horrible events. It’s what He does. One of the good things He so often does is to draw people to Himself in these times. Hearts are soft and open. And so we lean in.

4. Choose to let go of old norms and wineskins.

 Crisis times have a way of destroying the old and making way for the new. During the COVID-19 pandemic,  church  buildings  across  the  globe had to close. We  were  forced  to  meet  at  home or online if we were to meet at all. It was an unwanted change of the primary wineskin  we used to gather as a body. Today, we are mostly past that. What have we learned? How have we grown? Are any of those new wineskins to remain? So many have quickly reverted to the old, preferring to go backward instead of forward

Part of leaning in is letting go. It’s listening and discerning what God might be releasing in the midst of the difficulty. And so we lean in.

It may be hidden, but it is there. Receive it. Lean into God with open hands and open heart, ready   to  accept  God’s  somewhat  mysterious   gifts:  the kind He gives in the darkest of times. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a pearl of great price. Those priceless treasures are often given in times of difficulty and pain. Deep friendships, the revelation of new experientially understood truth from His Word, unusual miracles and supernatural encounters…these are a few of the hidden treasures that can be found. And with it, the joy of seeing many lost people swept into His kingdom. And so we lean in.

 The 17th century in England was a time of great social upheaval, civil war, and political crisis. In this environment, revivalists George Whitefield and Charles Wesley emerged. Revival swept the nation. Between 1738 and 1791, 1.35 million people put their faith in Christ.1 These men leaned into crisis and partnered with what God was doing.

 May we be courageous enough to do the same. Our willingness to lean in may result in hundreds, if not thousands, of new movements being catalyzed across the globe.

 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

 This article was first published in Mission Frontiers:Cascading Gospel: Movements Starting Movements, Jan/Feb 2023, pages 46-48. It was used here with permission.

Interested in ways to get involved?  Talk to Us
Want to Learn More About Movements? Watch our Six Simple Shifts Video

 

 

Where Two Kingdoms Collide

Where Two Kingdoms Collide

Persecution has been a common trial for many, if not most, of the movement churches in north India for the past ten years, but it has significantly increased these last three months. Ethan* and Nicole* receive almost daily messages from Sanjay* and John* about the persecution the disciples and house churches face. The hardest of these messages was that a lady was martyred. She and her husband (and their two young boys) were active disciple-makers. One day, while meeting with others for a prayer meeting in a home, a mob stormed the house and brutally beat all who were there. She was hospitalized for weeks due to her extensive injuries and passed away on January 11th. They believe this is the movement’s first female martyr.

Ethan and Nicole recently shared: “Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t be able to stand against God’s Kingdom. This is what we’re seeing.” As God’s children in India go to their neighbors, relatives, and even their enemies, the gates of hell are falling. Yes, the place where the two kingdoms collide is a battlefield, but we know that eventually, God’s Kingdom will prevail. God’s Kingdom will be established in every tribe, tongue, and every ethnic group on earth. Hallelujah! What a relief to know the outcome! In the interim, though, battles are fought. But, in the middle of what sometimes feels only like chaos and darkness, we receive voice messages like this one:

” ‘…It is true that we are very worried…’ But we all know it is very important to have all this [suffering]. It is necessary to fill up the work of the Lord. For the last few months, we have seen a lot of persecution. But [we’re] also seeing that the number of house churches is filling up every day because when the persecution is going on, many people who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ ask, “Why are these people being killed?” And when [the persecutors] tell those who do not know the Lord that these people are being persecuted because they believe in Jesus Christ, the ones who are [watching], who perhaps used to be neutral, begin to wonder at what they are seeing. They wonder that people can continue to love the Lord even after persecution, even after being badly beaten. They wonder why believing in Jesus should matter so much, and so they ask to know more. And so, in this way, the work is quickly being accomplished… And also, [in addition to this great fruit of growth, we must remember that] we are witnesses of these things. We who are strong should continue to help the weak in these days – during these events, as the Holy Scripture tells us.”

Ethan and Nicole continue, “Our friends in India have such amazing, enduring faith. They continue to press on. We recently received news of more than 500 baptisms! That’s only a sampling of all that God is doing.”  

“Please pray with us, as the early church did … now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31).

“There’s no revenge thinking in Acts 4. No hatred toward the persecutors. Only a request for God to move, and that His children would respond with obedient boldness. Amen and amen.”

*pseudonyms

MISSIONS IN A DANGEROUS WORLD
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, …. read more

WHEN PERSECUTION BECOMES CELEBRATION
In the 2001 persecution, one group of believers received threats that they would be forced to reconvert to Hinduism read more

LEARN ABOUT OUR WORK IN S.ASIA
South Asia is the most populous affinity bloc with nearly two billion people. While a majority of these read more

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

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

by Kent Parks

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 publicly 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.

About the Author: Kent Parks is President and CEO of BEYOND.  Kent and his wife Erika worked among Muslims in Asia for 20 years. They regularly lead church planting movement trainings around the world. He also equips people to better understand mission strategy, and biblical theology of missions.