El Roi – The God Who Sees Us

El Roi – The God Who Sees Us

This story comes from *Jenny, a seasoned Church Planting Movement practitioner who has seen thousands of people come to know the Lord and has seen the start of several hundred movements. She shares this story of simply listening to the Holy Spirit and obeying.

“Last week I discovered my elevator card wasn’t working, an uncommon and concerning enigma. I knew I needed to go down to the management office to ask why it wasn’t working and felt the Lord’s prompting to share a story with the office manager, *Rita while I was there. I had shared with her a couple times before, just simple verses or whatever *Shema statement came to mind in the moment. I hadn’t met with any resistance but also couldn’t tell if there was any real interest there. So, I went down the 10 flights of stairs to ground level and then walked over to the building next door and up two more flights of stairs to the management office.

Rita was there as always, with a big smile on her face and a warm welcome. We took a couple minutes to sort out my elevator card issue and then sat down to chat for a few minutes. I asked about where she lived and she said that she and her son were living with her mom, not too far away. She went on to share about her difficult decision of whether to divorce her controlling husband or to give the separation more time.

I shared with her what had been my prayer verse for the preceding week: “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’”(Psalm 32:8) I told her that I would be praying this for her and she seemed really grateful. She continued to share, especially about how painful it was being cast out by her husband and how she felt that she always had to put up a brave front for her son and others and not let people know her pain and fears about single-parenting.

Immediately it struck me what story I needed to share – just that morning, a friend had suggested I read the story of Hagar, in relation to something totally different that we had been discussing. I had meditated and prayed about that story for over an hour that morning before I decided to go down and deal with my elevator card. As I shared the story of Hagar – a woman with a small child, cast out by her husband, alone and afraid in the desert, but seen by God, taken care of by God, Rita began to cry. I told her, “God sees you, Rita, He sees your pain and your fears for your son, and He will help you.” She thanked me several times for the story and the encouragement. Please pray for me as I go back in the weeks to come to visit with Rita again and share with her about God’s love and His infinite mercy for her.”

*pseudonyms

**Shema is the Hebrew word often translated “hear” but better translated “hear and obey” in Deuteronomy 6:4. Among movement catalysts, “shema statement” or “shema lifestyle” is often used as a shorthand description for a spiritually fragrant word or deed which invites but does not force a spiritual response to God

MENTIONING GOD …
God instructs His people to talk about His commandments “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
read more …

DESPERATE TO BEAR MORE FRUIT
… we’ve seen God encourage us when we’re down, challenge us to stay engaged with local people, and reinforce best practices for multiplication. read more …

I AM NOT CHRISTIAN. I’M THAI
They associate their ethnic or national heritage exclusively with one religion. The two are inseparably tied read more …

Completing the Task of the Great Commission in 10 Easy Steps?

Completing the Task of the Great Commission in 10 Easy Steps?

I confess the title is something of a joke. I wrote it, however, to make a point. There are over 7 billion people in the world. More than 4 billion are non-believers, of whom, over 2 billion have no access to the Gospel. Getting to ‘closure’ or ‘finishing the task’ can appear to be an almost impossible job. Breaking the task into chunks can make the task more manageable.

The numbers are huge, but the individual people are found in individual population segments: provinces, districts, languages, etc. Many of these are around 100,000 in size. If we use a fairly simple multiplying strategy, eight generations of church planting would be enough to ‘reach’ a population segment by any current definition, and ten generations would thoroughly disciple it.

Let’s do some math:

  • Assume the world is broken down into 100,000 population segments. Obviously, you can divide any million-person population into ten such chunks. In real life, they aren’t divided that cleanly. There are, for instance, more people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (city) where I live than in many states in America. However, once you get down to the ‘district’ level (one below provinces/states), populations are often measured in terms of hundreds of thousands. My ‘city’ within the DFW area is 250,000 or so.
  • Assume each discipling leader mentors a group of 6 people. This is fairly conservative; of the 900+ movements we track around the world, the average group size is 15. I use six here because in many highly-restricted places, groups will average 5 to 6 due to security issues. These figures should work almost anywhere.
  • Assume, of the six, the discipler is mentoring, three go on to gather groups of 6 themselves. Again, in our experience, this is relatively common. In restricted-access areas with smaller groups, more people become disciplers with their own groups (because they have a higher commitment due to the security issues). In less-restricted areas, 3 out of a group of 15 isn’t uncommon.
Generation New Leaders Total Leaders New Adherents Total Adherents
1 1 1 6 7
2 3 4 18 25
3 9 13 54 79
4 27 40 162 241
5 81 121 486 727
6 243 364 1458 2185
7 729 1,093 4,374 6,559
8 2,187 3,280 13,122 19,681
9 6,561 9,841 39,366 59,047
10 19,683 29,524 118,098 177,145
11 59,049 88,573 354,294 531,439
12 177,147 265,720 106,2882 159,4321
13 531,441 797,161 3,188,646 4,782,967

Most ‘movements’ are considered ‘movements’ when they reach four generations in multiple streams, and sustainably add more generations within a relatively short period of time. This is going from spiritual grandparent to spiritual grandchild.

Doing this three times in succession would bring you to twelve generations and would saturate nearly any population segment. While not formalized as a strategy, this process is already being functionally used in some movements. How do we get from here to finishing the task more broadly?

The simple answer is sending same and near-culture workers from a fully developed movement to neighboring district(s). Once there, they start another multi-generational cycle. So, how quickly can a movement like this one ‘send out’?

If they have to wait until Generation 10 and it takes 20 years to get there, we are a long way indeed from finishing the task. On the other hand, if a movement begins sending out workers at, say, generation 4 or 5, and it takes months (not years) to establish the next generation, then the rapid engagement of whole provinces, countries, and regions can be had within one twenty-year cycle.

To summarize, here are three challenges that need to be addressed:

  1. We need to think less about ‘how many generations down’ and think more about ‘is each generation going as wide as possible?’ If a movement has one stream that goes deep and three streams that are ‘sterile’ or who have only a few ‘children’ who never reproduce, it will not become a significant percentage of the population. At the same time, it doesn’t mean each leader has to mentor tens or hundreds. If each leader mentors, say, six, three of whom mentor six, a movement can multiply rapidly.
  2. We need to think about how we speed up the next generation at each turn (i.e., months not years for leaders to begin mentoring their own ‘3’). By keeping all leaders in coaching relationships with each other, spiritual maturity can be further grown over time. I didn’t wait until I knew everything I know now (at 50) to have children. Walking the path together from an early stage is better than waiting to walk at all.
  3. We need to intentionally speed up the sending of leaders to nearby unengaged areas (the next district over). Again, if believers in District A wait until they have reached 100% of the people in District A before sending to District B, the whole world will end up waiting forever.

This article was originally published by Justin Long on his website justinlong.org

“Did God Answer this Prayer 15 Years Ago?”

“Did God Answer this Prayer 15 Years Ago?”

Recently, Brian and Allison*, Beyond mission catalysts in Austronesia, learned of answers to prayers they and their partners began praying back in 2004! They had challenged their team to pray for several critical components of seeing a movement to Christ start among their unreached people group. Among the prayer requests, they asked their partners to pray for dreams and visions of Jesus to be granted to their focus people.

Earlier this year, 15 years later, Brian and Allison learned of multiple dreams of Jesus among their group – dreams dating back to 2004! One new believer had three dreams of Jesus in 2004 and 2005…the very same time that everyone began praying! One of Brian and Allison’s local teammates is now meeting with this man and discipling him face-to-face. The team is confident that there are many other answered prayers like this one that they have yet to know about!

Starting any ministry with prayer is vital. It is futile to launch into our work, relying on our efforts alone! How much better it would be to first ask God for His plan, His guidance, and His supernatural power to do what only He can do. We are then free to move in sync with Him as He guides us. To launch a movement of disciples who reproduce and transform their society is a God-sized goal, and only God can accomplish it. 

*pseudonyms used

A Bold Witness

A Bold Witness

Yeng is a Khmer (most Khmers are Buddhist) who comes from a big family. Her husband, Pouch, is blind; her 97 years old mother-in-law and three grandsons all live with her. Yeng works hard to provide for the needs of her family. Every day she sells green leaves at the market to support her family. It is not much, but with the money that she earns from selling these leaves, she is able to provide meals for her family.

Recently, while Yeng was at the market a lady, who is also really poor, came by to visit. Yeng kindly shared some of her vegetables with her visitor. After the visitor left, the seller who sits near Yeng asked her why she would give food away for free like she had. She asked, “Are you a Christian?”

Immediately, Yeng said: “Yes, I believe in Jesus”. To which the seller replied: “you are like Jesus.  You have a good heart; you are loving and kind to people”.

Yeng saw this statement as a great opportunity to share about what Jesus had done on the cross for all mankind. At the end of the conversation, the seller said: “I believe in Jesus too, but I don’t have a heart like yours. I’m so busy with my work, that sometimes I don’t feel close to God.  My family does not believe in Jesus yet, and often they pray to our ancestors, and sometimes I do that too.”

“No, you cannot worship ancestors; they are not God you need to worship the ONE and TRUE God who is our Lord Jesus Christ only”, said Yeng. The chatted a little more and Yeng invited the seller to the house church that meets in her home. The seller promised that she would come when she had time. Pray for Yeng, that she would continue in her bold witness for the Lord and that she would remain an example of His love and kindness. Pray for Yeng’s friend, that she will seek Yeng out for more conversations about God.