David Garrison, missionary and author of the ground breaking book, Church Planting Movements – How God Is Redeeming a Lost World, has a web site entitled Church Planting Movements – Best Practices From Across the Globe. This website contains a wealth of information and insight, in the form of articles and papers, that inform us about what the Lord is doing to reach a lost world for Himself in and through the start and rapid multiplication of new churches.
In one of his articles, “CPM Summit 2010,” dated April 5, 2010, David reports on a fairly recent summit on CPMs that was conducted in Singapore. Thirty plus CPM strategists and practitioners from around the world were gathered to discuss and verify CPMs that were taking place across the globe. A total of 81 CPMs were documented and 37 of those had seen the start of at least 100 churches each since they began. A total of three million (3M) people have accepted Christ as their personal Savior and have been baptized as a direct result of the Lord’s activity in these 81 CPMs.
David reports that while there are “many ways to get to CPM,” each CPM manifests five constant characteristics. These characteristics are:
1) Contact: In every CPM, Christians are effectively and exponentially making a meaningful gospel contact with thousands of lost people.
2) Evangelization: In every CPM, lost people by the thousands are hearing, understanding and embracing the good news of Jesus Christ.
3) Discipleship: In every CPM, new and emerging believers are growing in their relationship to Christ.
4) Church formation: In every CPM, new discipleship-based churches are being formed and reproduced throughout the population.
5) Leadership development: In every CPM, effective leaders are being raised up who are ‘fully equipped for every good work.’ “
This list of CPM elements provokes me to ask the question that many are asking: “If the Lord is moving in such a powerful way around the world, why are we not seeing such a movement in North America, in the United States and Canada?”
Garrison’s answer is profound and sobering:
These five elements might seem so basic as to be self-evident. They are not. In most fields of ministry, where CPMs are not taking place, it is because one or more of these elements is missing.”
So, what is hindering a church planting movements in North America? Here are some questions that I ask myself:
- Have I/we isolated myself /ourselves from contact and engagement with the masses of unsaved in our communities?
- Have I/we insulated myself/ourselves in comfortable, cultural, program-driven churches that cater to my/our consumerist wants?
- Am I/are we abundantly sowing the Gospel seed of God’s Word, asking myself/ourselves daily, “How many people will I share Christ with today?”
- Am I personally committed to obeying everything that Jesus has commanded and am I discipling others to follow Christ in obedience-based discipleship?
- Am I/are we more concerned about growing large churches in our communities or reaching people through the start of new, reproducing churches?
- Am I/are we developing and thrusting new leaders into God’s harvest fields or leaving the ministry to the paid professionals?
- Do I care more about the Name of the Lord than my own?
- Am I a risk-taker for the Kingdom?
These are the questions that the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, is asking me these days.