“He Will Take You to a Better Place”

Part One:

If you were to walk into our church during the first ten years and then walk in now, you’d probably feel as if you’d entered two totally different churches. And you’d be right.

As Experience Life approached its tenth anniversary, I reflected on our journey. Our church had grown from 12 people meeting in my living room to a megachurch in less than ten years. More importantly, we had exceeded our goal of seeing 10,000 people commit their lives to Christ. I began asking the Lord, What do you want our vision to be for the next ten years?

That’s when I stumbled upon WIGTake.

WIGTake is a question David Watson initially formed in his work among an unreached people group in India. He asked, “What’s it going to take to reach everyone in the people group?”

This question led our Leadership Team into a season of prayer and fasting about the direction of our church for the next ten years. Our WIGTake became: What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 Americans in the next ten years so we’re on track to reach 200 million in 20 years?

 We knew there was a strategy that could take us to the million. It’s the strategy Jesus encouraged in the Gospels and the early church implemented in Acts. DMM, or Disciple Making Movement, is a strategy that can lead to seeing God start a Church Planting Movement. Success in a Disciple Making Movements can be summed up in two words: generational discipleship. DMMs measure whether disciples are making disciples who make more disciples who make more disciples. It’s multiplication, not addition.

 After much prayer and discussion, eLife’s Leadership Team was united in the belief that the Lord wanted us to pursue a Disciple Making Movement strategy in the next ten years

 As we began venturing into the world of disciple making, I knew we needed a coach. I met Stan Parks, Beyond’s Vice President of Global Strategies, and knew he would be able to help us get started, avoid common mistakes, and answer questions as we ran into difficult situations. 

 We asked Stan what he wanted us to do first. He said he wanted to take us through a 12-week DMM Catalyst Training. This training was based on principles God had used around the world. Stan would pass on biblical lessons the Holy Spirit had taught him through personal study of Scripture and movement catalysts like David Watson, Victor John, and many others. 

 I said, “Great! Can you send it to me?” He said, “Nope.”

 I asked, “Why not?”

 Stan made it clear that this training was not information to be transferred but biblical principles to be obeyed. Because I come from a knowledge-based culture, my tendency would be to read the twelve lessons and think, “Okay, I’ve got this; let’s move on.” But, again, this wasn’t information; these were biblical principles he wanted to coach us to obey! That means you don’t even look at lesson two until you’ve obeyed the passage from lesson one. Stan told us that the Holy Spirit would speak to us as we took a fresh look at these Bible passages. He wanted us to see the DMM principles in Scripture, so we’d be dependent on God, not on him. 

Next week we will conclude with some key principles Stan taught eLife’s leadership team. We will learn what their church looks like after transitioning from being a traditional church to a Disciple Making Movement church.

Read the whole story in Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, which tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood.Part Two:

Last week we began following the journey of a church (eLife – pastored by Chris Galanos) so intent on making disciples that they were willing to transition away from the traditional church model to do so. We continue with our story just after they found Stan, a coach who would guide them through the process of becoming a church focused on catalyzing movements.

In our training, Stan explained that there are certain elements consistently found in the lives of ordinary believers who are successfully making disciples in movements all over the world.  

Here are a few of the elements briefly summarized:

  • Multiply Extraordinary Prayer. Stan said, “Your prayer life now is ordinary for you. Add something to it to make it extraordinary for you. Keep repeating the process.” 
  • Go Out Among the Lost. We learned to expect the hardest places to yield the greatest results. We began to refer to such places as PIPSY places: P-poor, I-international, P-prisoner, S-sick. (The Y doesn’t stand for anything— it just turns PIPS into an adjective.) Our teams have borne the most fruit by going to PIPSY places to make disciples.
  • Casting Vision – One of the great tragedies of the American church model is an attitude that results in suppressing the gifts, ambitions, and callings of ordinary believers. Churchgoers don’t typically hear the terms disciple-maker or church-planter and think, “That’s me!” We’ve got to recover the “culture of empowerment” of ordinary believers that was evident in the first-century church. Pastors and leaders, I implore you to join me in setting believers free to make disciples and plant churches!

Let me warn you, though. Transitioning a church to focus on Disciple Making Movements (DMM) will cost you in many ways. In Jerry Trousdale’s book The Kingdom Unleashed, David Broodryk, another pastor who embraced DMM, describes the process of pursuing DMM this way:

I really do think that entry into DMM is a death experience: unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it can bear no fruit. But the problem is, you can’t risk failure without that; risking failure in itself is a sort of death experience. If who you are is dependent on whether this thing works or fails, then you will never take a risk. But if your identity is in Christ, then you say, “I’m going to try this; if it works, great, He gets the glory; and if it doesn’t work—well, it didn’t work, but I am still secure in Him.

You may be asking what happened in eLife. Many people caught the vision! Hundreds went through our DMM training, and some of those formed DMM churches that meet in their homes. Those we sent out began to pursue the lost, not by inviting them to eLife, but by inviting them and their family or friends to read and apply the Bible together in their home. And it’s working! 

In an average week, those in just my DMM church alone will talk to almost as many lost people as our megachurch would receive as first-time guests on a weekend in our heyday. And there are just 35 of us (including kids). It’s amazing what a small group of sold-out, on-fire disciple makers can do when they strategize together and go out among the lost to make disciples and plant churches.

I think I can speak for most people involved in DMM churches by saying it’s one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever been a part of. In so many ways, it’s what I’ve always longed for in church. Not that I didn’t love our church. I did! But our DMM church is just what I pictured when I read the New Testament but felt like I’d never experienced. It’s what I had heard happened overseas but never truly understood.

I hope our story will inspire you to be led by the Spirit because He will take you to better places than anything you could’ve dreamed up. You may not even have a framework for where He’ll take you now. But if you follow Him, He’ll show you just what to do. And chances are, He’ll do infinitely more than you could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21). Just like he continues to do with us.

Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements. Get it here.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood. Read the whole article.

From Big to Small – for a Big Movement

Part One:

If you were to walk into our church during the first ten years and then walk in now, you’d probably feel as if you’d entered two totally different churches. And you’d be right.

As Experience Life approached its tenth anniversary, I reflected on our journey. Our church had grown from 12 people meeting in my living room to a megachurch in less than ten years. More importantly, we had exceeded our goal of seeing 10,000 people commit their lives to Christ. I began asking the Lord, What do you want our vision to be for the next ten years?

That’s when I stumbled upon WIGTake.

WIGTake is a question David Watson initially formed in his work among an unreached people group in India. He asked, “What’s it going to take to reach everyone in the people group?”

This question led our Leadership Team into a season of prayer and fasting about the direction of our church for the next ten years. Our WIGTake became: What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 Americans in the next ten years so we’re on track to reach 200 million in 20 years?

 We knew there was a strategy that could take us to the million. It’s the strategy Jesus encouraged in the Gospels and the early church implemented in Acts. DMM, or Disciple Making Movement, is a strategy that can lead to seeing God start a Church Planting Movement. Success in a Disciple Making Movements can be summed up in two words: generational discipleship. DMMs measure whether disciples are making disciples who make more disciples who make more disciples. It’s multiplication, not addition.

 After much prayer and discussion, eLife’s Leadership Team was united in the belief that the Lord wanted us to pursue a Disciple Making Movement strategy in the next ten years

 As we began venturing into the world of disciple making, I knew we needed a coach. I met Stan Parks, Beyond’s Vice President of Global Strategies, and knew he would be able to help us get started, avoid common mistakes, and answer questions as we ran into difficult situations. 

 We asked Stan what he wanted us to do first. He said he wanted to take us through a 12-week DMM Catalyst Training. This training was based on principles God had used around the world. Stan would pass on biblical lessons the Holy Spirit had taught him through personal study of Scripture and movement catalysts like David Watson, Victor John, and many others. 

 I said, “Great! Can you send it to me?” He said, “Nope.”

 I asked, “Why not?”

 Stan made it clear that this training was not information to be transferred but biblical principles to be obeyed. Because I come from a knowledge-based culture, my tendency would be to read the twelve lessons and think, “Okay, I’ve got this; let’s move on.” But, again, this wasn’t information; these were biblical principles he wanted to coach us to obey! That means you don’t even look at lesson two until you’ve obeyed the passage from lesson one. Stan told us that the Holy Spirit would speak to us as we took a fresh look at these Bible passages. He wanted us to see the DMM principles in Scripture, so we’d be dependent on God, not on him. 

Next week we will conclude with some key principles Stan taught eLife’s leadership team. We will learn what their church looks like after transitioning from being a traditional church to a Disciple Making Movement church.

Read the whole story in Chris’s book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, which tells the story of Experience Life’s journey from being one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States to a church now focused primarily on catalyzing movements.

 This piece was summarized with permission from Mission Frontier’s article “From Big to Small – for a Big Movement” by Chris Galanos with Lorena Wood.

“What Happened Next Was a Blur . . .”

Muharis and Ani met and married shortly after they had each been through a multi-week discipleship training on Disciple Making Movements (DMM) led by Beyond field leaders Ryan and Anna. Muharis and Ani wondered: How would Father God have them serve, in light of his desire for all peoples to hear of his Son? Both couples sought the Lord’s direction for Muharis and Ani’s life. The answer came. Muharis and Ani felt led to live and work among the Bimanese Muslims. Working with Ryan and Anna, they would form a new DMM team. They desired to see the knowledge of Christ and obedience to God’s Word transform this unreached people group. 

Muharis and Ani moved to serve the Bimanese people and soon learned of another upcoming transition. They were expecting a baby! In 2017, Muharis held his baby girl for the first time and heard the doctor pronounce that all was good. Although Ani had needed an emergency C-section to deliver the baby, she would recover as they enjoyed their precious daughter. Muharis was elated.

It should have been a time of pure rejoicing. 

What happened next was a blur to Muharis. Ani was in the recovery room when Muharis noticed a steady stream of blood oozing from his wife’s suture. He called for help. When the doctor arrived, he ordered her back into surgery. As he left to prepare, the doctor stated, “There is a 50-50 shot for me to be able to save your wife.” Muharis turned, saw his newborn daughter next to him, then fell to the floor in shock. He cried out to Father God in prayer. Then he called Ryan. Ryan and Anna mobilized their entire discipleship network in prayer for Ani.

Ani survived the ordeal. But the doctor removed her womb. 

The removal was probably not necessary. A more proficient doctor might have saved Ani without removing her womb, but skilled doctors are rare in such remote places. 

Since that day, God has blessed Muharis and Ani. He has honored their commitment to serve him no matter the personal cost. Their team has seen 117 discovery Bible study groups form. They have four house fellowships of baptized followers who meet regularly and are facilitating a second generation of discovery Bible groups!

Jesus told his disciples that following him would not be easy. We need to count the cost of discipleship.

“Those are not ancestors, but spirits who are lying to you.”

After arriving in the general area of a country where Tai Lu people live, *Bob and his team checked into a hotel and rented some motorcycles.  They were from a closely related people group and wanted to share the Good News with the Tai Lu people. After a night’s rest, they prayed together and pointed their motorbikes down the scenic, mountainous roads.  

An hour later, they saw a sign pointing toward the district they were seeking. They prayed continually, “Lord lead us to those you have prepared, a ‘person of peace’” (Luke 10: 5-7). Soon they saw a lady tending a water buffalo and dressed in Tai Lu garb.  They stopped and asked if there was a Tai Lu village near-by. She said yes and motioned them further down the road. Upon finding the village, the team soon spotted a couple working in their yard.

They greeted them, identifying themselves as being from a near culture. “We are here to visit with Tai Lu people.”  Both the husband and wife were intrigued to meet people from another country yet like themselves. After inviting the visitors inside their home, conversation gradually unfolded.

“Will you tell us about your practices of ancestor worship?” Bob asked.

After hearing about their religious practices, someone on the team said, “Those are not ancestors, but spirits who are lying to you.” Despite this seemingly confrontational statement, the couple were open and even eager to hear what they had to say.

The visitors shared a Bible story about God’s creation and ended with the redeeming work of Christ on the Cross.  Excited, the husband shared that an older Tai Lu man had visited them 20 years before. He had told them about a creator God who made everything, about Adam and Eve, and that all people are sinful.  That was all he knew of the Bible message. In faith, the husband had been acting on that message as best as he could. This couple and their son were delighted to hear the full story of God’s love expressed through Jesus.

The family believed and was baptized that same day.  The team left early in the afternoon and continued their search for spiritually prepared persons of peace in other villages.  Later that afternoon, the man telephoned the prayer-walking team to tell how he was out sharing the Bible stories with others!

*pseudonyms used


“I’m in this Job for a Reason . . .”

God convicted *John of not sharing his faith with his unbelieving co-workers. He became convinced that God had placed him in the exact cubicle, in this exact job for a reason – to tell them about Jesus and what he had done in John’s life. 

John began by laying a foundation of prayer and asking some close friends to hold him accountable for sharing his testimony. He started going to lunch with six of his colleagues. He told them how the Bible had radically changed his life and asked if they would like to read it with him to learn what it says about God and people. Some of them rejected the suggestion outright; some remained silent. 

Undeterred, John asked others: “I’ve never fully shared with you my life story. Could I share with you over lunch how Jesus changed my life?”  John got a lot of no’s.

Then one day, John asked a manager named Jason, a known atheist, if he would like to study the Scriptures. Jason had been one of the silent people in the lunch group, but when asked one-on-one, Jason responded, “Sure. Why not?” Another co-worker said, “Yeah, I’ve never really read the Bible before.” John was surprised! These guys were the ones he had thought least likely to come!

On the first week, John printed out a short Bible story, and the group read through it. He asked what it said about God and about people. He then asked: “If this is true, how should you apply it in your life?” They were intrigued and kept coming to study. Word got around the office, and in a couple of months, most of those in the office were attending the lunch gatherings. 

It wasn’t a scary or intense time. People walked in, picked up a sheet of paper, and started talking about it. Barriers came down. It was simple, straightforward, and moved beyond the office as the attendees told the stories to family and friends.

In similar ways, BEYOND mission catalysts seek to make obedient followers of Christ among the unreached. These disciples make other obedient disciples who plant churches that plant other churches. By living open lives and using simple, reproducible methods, we seek to bring God’s glory and saving power to those who don’t know him.

*pseudonyms used

Prayer Walking: An Important Part of our Strategy

*Trisha was excited when *Saeng offered to lead her through a prayer-walking exercise. “Come, invite anyone,” Saeng said. “I’ll invite people too!” When the day arrived, five ladies gathered in the busy streets of the Mekong city they loved. 

Saeng set the method and objectives for the morning. They would go in two small groups and pray aloud for one hour as they walked through the neighborhoods. Twice during the hour, they were to stop and still themselves for five minutes as they asked God what he wanted them to see. When they felt led to pray for someone, they were to ask for that person’s entire family to know God, not just that individual. Finally, they would ask God for a song to sing, since they couldn’t be certain when he would next be praised there.

A quick game of rock, paper, scissors determined who went in each group, then they decided what areas each group would cover. They chose a place to meet afterward, asked God to lead their time, and set off.

Trisha was teamed up with her language tutor, a woman she knew loved God but with whom she had never prayed before. “It was so sweet to walk through the streets, pleading for entire families to know God, with a local believer voicing agreement and pleading right beside me.”

As she walked, Trisha began to see the people in a new light. She could see the communities in which they belonged: shop owners helping each other to break a large bill, groups of women talking and children playing, street vendors swapping stories as they prepared food, motorcycle taxi drivers waiting together on the side of the road. Trisha was struck by what could happen in the families and communities if Jesus were welcomed by just one of them.

When they met up an hour later, they all discussed what had touched their hearts and what questions they had. Saeng took notes so they could read over them the next time they went prayer walking. After closing with a time of prayer, the ladies agreed not to let the experience stop with them. They would tell others about their experience and encourage them to try it for themselves.

How about you? Are you interested in seeing God’s kingdom multiplied around the world through intentional prayer and active obedience?

*pseudonyms used

Thanking God for New Disciple Makers: Jesus, Paul, and Us

Have you ever realized that all the new disciples Jesus, Paul and their teams made were the first disciples where none had ever been?  What did they do? Over and over, we find Jesus and Paul thanking God for these new disciples and leaders!

In Luke 10:21, Jesus “overflowed with joy” that the 72 had received God’s revelation and fulfilled their mission.

Every one of Paul’s letters went to the first disciples and churches in unreached peoples.  He and his team constantly thanked God for them, such as in 2 Thessalonians 1:3:  We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.  Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. Some among other such verses include Romans 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:15-16; Philippians 1:3-6; 4:4-6; Colossians 1:3, 2:6-7; 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 5:16-18; and Philemon 1:1-4.

Would you join the Beyond team in giving thanks for some of the following first disciples and leaders among Unreached People Groups?

  • An apostolic team of young adults in a Southeast Asian country who, after a natural disaster, have made some of the first disciples in that unreached people.
  • For local leaders God has used to launch a movement of over 30,000 churches who went (in spite of their fear) to an area known for organized crime families – and made some of the first disciples ever among that people group.
  • For the same team who trained some from a different language group (known as the poorest of the poorest of the poor) – and came back a few weeks later to find they had started 13 discovery Bible study groups!
  • For a couple who prayed for 10 coworkers to help make multiplying disciples in an atheistic European country – and showed a picture recently of a multi-national team of 12 disciple-making coworkers God had raised up!
  • For a radio personality in a Southeast Asian country who became a disciple and has joined in multiplying other disciples.
  • For two top athletes from an Asian country who are partnering with our team to make multiplying disciples among other athletes of their region.
  • For reports of the first known believers in an Asian town.

For all of these new disciples and disciple-makers, Lord, we give THANKS and we overflow with JOY!!

Kent Parks
President & CEO

From Triangles to Circles

The BEYOND South Asia team had a problem. God had birthed a movement with them serving as catalysts. Now the movement among their focus people group had grown too large to continue using their old training and equipping model. As problems go, it was a good problem to have. The movement had done a phenomenal job of teaching disciple-making. It had many “Pauls,” disciple-makers mentoring others in disciple-making, and many “Timothys,” disciple-makers being mentored. Lives changed as followers of Jesus obeyed his word. Whole communities felt the impact. To meet the growing need of training thousands and nurturing their spiritual health, however, they needed a new approach.

The old model was like a triangle where each “Paul” would gather and train a group of 15 or more “Timothys.” This worked well in the beginning, but when numbers grew, problems arose. In the large meetings, several people never spoke up and never got help for the issues they faced. The financial cost of these gatherings also limited growth. 

The catalyst team knew something had to change, but they didn’t have the answer. They had no guide book for how to develop the movement. So they prayed and listened for the Lord’s guidance, knowing he would provide.  

He did, of course. In time, they connected with a brother in Christ from Africa who shared how a movement there had learned to deal with similar growing pains. In the African movement, groups of about five people from the same area meet regularly in a home. They sit in a circle as they discuss the positive and negative things they have faced that week in making disciples. Often, when someone has a problem, another from the group has faced a similar issue and can share what they have learned. They set goals and hold one another accountable for making disciples. No one struggles in silence. They each find community, care, and direction from like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.

These groups are not leaderless. Each circle has a coach who meets with them. The coach is a fellow disciple-maker who has a bit more experience than the others. The coach belongs to a circle of his/her own peers and has a coach of their own. Through these interlocking circles, the experience and connections of more seasoned disciplers are available to the network.  

For the leaders of the South Asian movement, a new paradigm began to emerge. Circles, not triangles. As they implemented the new model, they had to deconstruct their previously held beliefs about training and mentoring. They realized their tendency, like that of many others, was to go bigger. The idea of going small to be more effective was a step of faith for them, but they saw it work firsthand. People who used to sit in the back and not speak actively engaged in the smaller format. The focus stayed on disciple-making. The circle model would scale to meet their needs.

*pseudonyms used

I Told Him I Was Quitting

Before joining BEYOND, *Charlie worked in the IT industry. He specialized in indirect sales and marketing; he educated and supported hundreds of salesmen. He also led efforts to simplify products so lower-skilled resellers could effectively market them.

“I wasn’t good at direct sales myself,” Charlie states. “But, as an indirect salesman, I trusted my team to be good salesmen. I could then focus on achieving three things: helping my resellers catch the vision of our product while building trust with them, equipping them with training and tools to be successful, and supporting them as they engaged with real customers.” Charlie was passionate about his role, and very good at it. The sales’ numbers rocketed as his hard work paid off.

Then Charlie quit.

“I still remember telling my VP I was about to resign,” Charlie recalls. “I told him I was quitting to become a full-time missionary in a hostile nation in Asia. He clearly thought I was crazy. And to be honest, I couldn’t disagree.”

As Charlie had wrestled with God about this radical new calling, he had argued that his skills were in the IT world, not in ministry. He couldn’t preach. He struggled with words when sharing his faith. He had no seminary training and wasn’t even great at leading small groups at church. Charlie asked, “How could I be a church planter? My gifts aren’t classic ‘missionary gifts.’”

One day, as Charlie read the story of Jesus calling Andrew and Simon, it hit him. “Come, follow me,” Jesus had said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Jesus took their “secular” skills as fishermen and applied them to the new Kingdom work to which He was calling them. Their skills in throwing nets and cleaning fish weren’t directly applicable in Jesus’ work. But they understood what it meant to leave the safety of land and go to where the fish were. They knew what clues indicated that fish were near and what methods would catch the most fish. These more subtle skills were relevant to the ministry Jesus had in store for them. In that moment, Charlie sensed God saying, “You will be doing the same thing as before. I’m just going to give you a better product!” 

As BEYOND missions catalysts utilize Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, they spend most of their time in vision casting, and training and equipping local believers to start movements. BEYONDers then mentor and coach these equipped local partners as they step out in this mission. This model almost exactly parallels what Charlie did as an indirect salesman. 

In addition, the DMM model capitalizes on the fact that only simple, easily reproducible models have a chance at growing church planting movements. A complicated approach cannot multiply. Charlie’s experience in streamlining products helped him implement these simple, reproducible models of discipleship. He summarizes: “Understanding how God can use my unique giftings has given me the confidence to make disciple-making disciples and church-planting churches.”

God’s wisdom always surpasses ours. We need innovative business people who love others and know how to cast vision, equip, and support the people God is calling to start movements among unreached people groups. God did not give us all the same gifts. And none of His good gifts are wasted.

*pseudonyms used

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.
GenerationNew LeadersTotal LeadersNew AdherentsTotal Adherents
11167
2341825
39135479
42740162241
581121486727
624336414582185
77291,0934,3746,559
82,1873,28013,12219,681
96,5619,84139,36659,047
1019,68329,524118,098177,145
1159,04988,573354,294531,439
12177,147265,720106,2882159,4321
13531,441797,1613,188,6464,782,967

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