Passion for God, Compassion for People

By Shodankeh Johnson

Practical demonstrations of God’s love play an integral role in Church Planting Movements. They serve as entry points for the good news and as fruits of kingdom transformation in people’s lives and communities.

Access ministries are one of the pillars of New Harvest Ministries (NHM). Since New Harvest began, we have shown God’s compassion, made disciples, and planted churches in more than 4,000 communities in 12 countries. These compassionate engagements have been catalytic in shaping hundreds of thousands of new disciples, and more than ten thousand new Christian leaders.

Compassion is an essential Kingdom value found in the DNA of every Disciple Making Movement. We have dozens of different access ministries. Each one advances God’s kingdom in Africa. Most are not expensive, but with God’s help, they make a great impact. We partner with local people in every ministry. They often provide leadership, labor and materials— things present in the community that can help meet needs.

Heroic Compassion
New Harvest serves many countries from our headquarters in Sierra Leone. When Ebola struck in 2014, we could not stay in safe places disengaged from the disaster all around us. The crisis hit many Muslim villages especially hard, as their burial rites caused the epidemic to explode. Suddenly, because of Ebola, people could not even touch dying parents or children. In that context, several New Harvest leaders volunteered in the most hazardous places. Some survived, but several lost their lives serving others — mostly Muslims.

One Muslim chief was discouraged by people trying to escape his quarantined village. He was amazed at seeing Christians coming to serve. He privately prayed: “God, if you save me from this, if you save my family, I want us all to be like these people who show us love and bring us food.” The chief and his family did survive, and he kept his promise. Memorizing passages from the Bible, he began to share in the mosque where he had been an elder. A church was birthed in that village, and the chief continues going from village to village, sharing the good news of God’s love.

Discovering Felt Needs, Engaging Lostness
For NHM, access ministries begin with assessing the felt needs of a community. When we complete a needs assessment, the partnership with the community must develop mutual respect and trust. After a while, the relationship leads to story-telling and Discovery Bible Studies (DBS). Access ministries let them see the love of Christ and powerfully touch their hearts.

The On-Ramp to Kingdom Movements
Prayer is the foundation for everything we do. So once an assessment is done, our intercessors begin to pray for:

  • open doors and open hearts 
  • the selection of project leaders
  • open hands by locals
  • a supernatural move of God
  • the leading of the Spirit
  • God to provide needed resources

All our prayer centers know the communities being served. They fast and pray for each of them. And God always opens the right door, at the right time, with the right provision.

Prayer is the most powerful and effective access ministry. We are convinced beyond any doubt that strategic fasting and prayer consistently leads to the defeat of dark powers. Sometimes praying for the sick opens wide a door for access. Through persistent prayer we have seen hostile communities opened, unlikely Persons of Peace identified, and whole families saved. All glory goes to the Father who hears and answers prayer.

Prayer undergirds everything we do. I tell people that the three most important elements of access ministries are: first—prayer, second prayer, and third prayer.

Every Project Makes Our King Famous
We do whatever it takes to get the gospel to people so Christ receives glory. Our work is never about us. It is about Him. We make Him known with a strategic focus on unreached people groups.

Agricultural Team
Our first access ministry was agriculture. In places where farming is critical, agriculture becomes a great gateway to serve people. Most farming is subsistence farming, mainly for family consumption. Often no seed is saved for the next planting. This led us to develop seed banks for farmers. 

We trained nine agriculturists who are also trained church planters. These agriculturists/disciple makers educate the farmers. Their training and mentoring led to relationships that resulted in DBS groups, baptisms and eventually churches. Today many farmers have become followers of Christ.

Education Team
When education is an obvious need, our intercessors take this need to God in prayer. While we are praying, we engage the community to discover what resources they have. We find out what they can provide to meet their own need. Often the community will supply land, a community building, or construction materials to build a temporary structure.

We usually encourage the community to pay part of the teacher’s salary. The teacher is fully certified, and he or she is also a veteran disciple maker or church planter. Schools start with a few benches, pencils or pens, a box of chalk, and a chalkboard. The school may start under a tree, in a community center, or in an old house. We start slowly and grow the school academically and spiritually.

When a Person of Peace opens his or her home, it becomes the launching pad for DBS meetings and later a church. We have launched over 100 primary schools, most of which are now owned by the community.

From this simple program, God has also raised up 12 secondary schools, two trade technical schools, and Every Nation College. This college has an accredited School of Business and School of Theology. Contrary to what some might expect, Disciple Making Movements also need strong seminaries.

Medical, Dental, Hygiene
When we identify a health need, we send in teams of well-qualified medical practitioners with medicines and equipment. All our team members are strong disciple makers and skilled in facilitating the DBS process. Many are skilled church planters as well. While the team treats patients, they also look for a Person of Peace. If they don’t discover one on their first visit, they make a second visit. Once they discover a Person of Peace, he or she serves as the bridge and future host for the DBS. If they don’t find a Person of Peace, the team will go to a different community, while still praying for an open door into the previous one.

Ten church planters have been well trained, equipped as dentists. They are accredited by health authorities to do mobile dental extractions and fillings. One of them also doubles as an optometrist. He checks eyesight and dispenses suitable glasses. He does this at cost, to keep the process going and to avoid dependency. Other health team members provide training on hygiene, breast feeding, nutrition, child vaccines, and prenatal care for pregnant women.

A Most Unusual Access Ministry
We do all of this in a Christ-like manner, seeking to make God’s kingdom visible. God moves and makes His presence known. This often starts with one family or an unlikely community leader.

One large community in southern Sierra Leone had been very difficult for us to enter. They were extremely hostile toward Christians. Christians found it difficult even to enter that place. So we prayed. But time passed, and none of our strategies worked.

Then something happened! Young men were becoming ill and dying in that town. It was found that their infections were related to the fact that the village never circumcised their boys. As I prayed, the Lord convicted me that this was finally our open door to serve this town.

We gathered a volunteer medical team and supplies and went to the community. We asked if they would let us help them. The town leaders agreed. The first day, they circumcised more than 300 young men.

In the following days, as the men recovered, we had the opportunity to begin Discovery Bible Groups. We saw great response, and soon Kingdom multiplication began happening with churches being planted! Within a few years, a place where Christians could not enter was transformed into a place where God’s glory shone brightly. The compassion of God’s people, the power of much prayer, and the transforming Word of God changed everything.

Planting Churches
About 90% of our attempted access ministries have led to a church. Very often one engagement results in several churches planted. As we revisit communities we hear many testimonies of individual, family, and community transformations. Compassion for people, making God famous

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.

“They Liked This Better Version of Me!”

God’s word has the power to change people’s lives, even without the input of an “expert” or an invitation to “church.” 

Here is Prakesh’s story:

Life was not peaceful. I was cruel. My children did not want a relationship with me. Then one day, I was walking along the road when I heard a loud story (like a radio) coming from a nearby house. I stopped to listen. It was about miracles. When the story finished, I asked the people there, “What are you listening to?” 

They looked at me and asked, “Who are you?!” 

I told them I wanted to know about the story. Could they give it to me? 

They said, “Yes, you may have a copy,” and they gave me a speaker with stories on it. I took it home. 

I used to drink every night, and do other bad things. But that night, I did not drink. I stayed home and listened to the stories. My family was happy that I did not drink. They liked this better version of me. The next day, again, I did not go out drinking but stayed home and listened to the stories. The third day, the same. 

After three days of this, my wife said, “I am seeing a change in you. You are not bad, like before.” I told her I didn’t understand it myself, but that when I listened to the stories, I had no desire to do (bad) things. 

My wife asked, “Can we all listen to the stories?” And so we did.

My whole household changed. The neighbors noticed. One of them asked my children, “What’s going on in your home? Your father doesn’t do bad things like before.” 

They replied, “Uncle, our father has changed. We listen to stories, and he does not do bad things.” 

“Is there truly something that can change your father?” 

“Uncle, you can also come and listen.” 

He went home and got his whole family. Together we listened to Proverbs on the speaker. When I turned off the speaker, he said, “These are great! I’d like a copy of the stories, also.” 

I replied, “I only have one copy, but I can play the stories for both of our families.” 

So now, every evening, 30-35 people meet to listen to Bible stories in this village in North India. A mentor is helping them take their first steps of faith, and a baptism service is planned. Pray that from this early fruit a disciple-making movement will grow.

*pseudonyms

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The Story of Movements and the Spread of the Gospel

By Steve Addison

Luke begins the book of Acts by telling us that what Jesus began to do and teach, he now continues to do through his disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Luke’s story of the early church is the story of the dynamic Word of the gospel that grows, spreads, and multiplies resulting in new disciples and new churches. We get to the end of Acts and yet the story doesn’t end. Paul is under house arrest awaiting trial; meanwhile the unstoppable Word continues to spread throughout the world. Luke’s meaning is clear: the story continues through his readers who have the Word, the Spirit and the mandate to make disciples and plant churches.

Throughout church history we see this pattern continue: the Word going out through ordinary people, disciples and churches multiplying. While the Roman Empire was collapsing, God was calling a young man named Patrick. He lived in Roman Britain but was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish raiders. Alone and desperate he cried out to God who rescued him. He went on to form the Celtic missionary movement that was responsible for evangelizing and planting approximately 700 churches throughout Ireland first and then much of Europe over the next several centuries.

Two hundred years after the Reformation, Protestants still had no plan or strategy to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. That was until God used a young Austrian nobleman to transform a bickering band of religious refugees. In 1722 Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf opened his estate to persecuted religious dissenters. Through his Christ-like leadership and the power of the Holy Spirit, they were transformed into the first Protestant missionary movement, known as the Moravians.

Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann were the first missionaries sent out by the Moravians. They became the founders of the Christian movement among the slaves of the West Indies. For the next 50 years the Moravians worked alone, before any other Christian missionary arrived. By then the Moravians had baptized 13,000 converts and planted churches on the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, and St. Kitts.

Within twenty years Moravian missionaries were in the Arctic among the Inuit, in southern Africa, among the Native Americans of North America, and in Suriname, Ceylon, China, India, and Persia. In the next 150 years, over 2,000 Moravians volunteered to serve overseas. They went to the most remote, unfavorable, and neglected areas. This was something new in the expansion of Christianity: an entire Christian community—families as well as singles—devoted to world missions.

When the American War of Independence broke out in 1776, most English Methodist ministers returned home. They left behind six hundred members and a young English missionary named Francis Asbury who was a disciple of John Wesley.

Asbury had left school before he turned twelve to become a blacksmith’s apprentice. His grasp of Wesley’s example, methods and teaching enabled him to adapt them to a new mission field while remaining true to the principles.

Methodism not only survived the Revolutionary War, it swept the land. Methodism under Asbury outstripped the strongest and most established denominations. In 1775 Methodists were only 2.5% of total church membership in America. By 1850 their share had risen to 34%. This was at a time when Methodist requirements for membership were far stricter than the other denominations.

Methodism was a movement. They believed the gospel was a dynamic force out in the world bringing salvation. They believed that God was powerfully and personally present in the life of every disciple, including African Americans and women, not just the clergy. They also believed it was their duty and priority to reach lost people and to plant churches across the nation.

American Methodism benefited greatly from the pioneering work of John Wesley and the English Methodists. Freed from the constraints of traditional English society, Asbury discovered that the Methodist movement was even more at home in a world of opportunity and freedom.

As the movement spread through the labors of young itinerants, Methodism maintained its cohesiveness through a well-defined system of community. Methodists remained connected with each other through a rhythm of class meetings, love feasts, quarterly meetings and camp meetings. By 1811 there were 400-500 camp meetings held annually, with a total attendance of over one million.

When Asbury died in 1816 there were 200,000 Methodists. By 1850 there were one million Methodists led by 4,000 itinerants and 8,000 local preachers. The only organization more extensive was the U.S. government.

Eventually Methodism lost its passion and settled down to enjoy its achievements. In the process it gave birth to the Holiness movement. William Seymour was a holiness preacher with a desperate desire to know the power of God. He was the son of former slaves, a janitor and blind in one eye. God chose this unlikely man to spark a movement that began in 1906 in a disused Methodist building on Azusa Street.

The emotionally charged meetings ran all day and into the night. The meetings had no central coordination, and Seymour rarely preached. He taught the people to cry out to God for sanctification, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and divine healing.

Immediately, missionaries fanned out from Azusa Street to the world. Within two years they had brought Pentecostalism to parts of Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. They were poor, untrained, and unprepared. Many died on the field. Their sacrifices were rewarded; the Pentecostal/charismatic and related movements became the fastest growing and most globally diverse expression of worldwide Christianity.

At the current rate of growth, there will be one billion Pentecostals by 2025, most of them in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Pentecostalism is the fastest expanding movement—religious, cultural, or political—ever.

Jesus founded a missionary movement with a mandate to take the gospel and multiply disciples and churches everywhere. History is replete with examples of movements just like in the book of Acts; I have named only a few. Three essential elements are necessary for Jesus movements: His dynamic Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and disciples who obey what Jesus has commanded.

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

About the Author: Steve Addison, author of Pioneering Movements: Leadership That Multiplies Disciples and Churches. More at movements.net 

From His Harvest To His Harvest

Grace* and some of her teammates traveled to a large Indonesian city. They went to see if God might call them to live there and begin a disciple-making movement after finishing language school and training.

On the third day there, the group met two single Indonesian women. These women live and minister an hour outside of the big city. They were sent out by a local church — a rarity in Indonesia! 

Grace was captivated by their stories and struggles as they sat cross-legged on the floor and ate together. She and Diah,* one of the Indonesians, talked about their trials on the field. Diah shared how she stuck out, hungered for community, and was thirsty to see God move among her focus people. 

Grace was flabbergasted! 

“Here I was, a 6-foot-tall foreigner who sticks out wherever she goes, meeting a tiny Chinese-Indonesian woman facing the same worries I do.” Diah explained that no matter your nationality, following and obeying Jesus is a daily choice. And not always an easy one. 

“In that moment,” Grace shares, “I was reminded that though it sometimes feels like we are doing this alone, God is working and moving in the hearts of those He has called to Himself. He sent out Diah, and He sent out me. Pray with us. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to continue to send workers from His harvest to his Harvest.”

*pseudonyms

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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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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. 

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