The LORD is using Church Planting Movements – the rapid multiplication of disciples and churches – to reach the “nations” of the world for Christ. These CPMs are occurring in third world and developing nations, countries such as China, India, and those of Southeast Asia. They are happening among peoples such as Muslims in Northern Africa and Central Asia, the Ketchi of Guatemala, and the Gypsies of France and Spain.
This is a fact that is documented by CPM practitioners and researchers, men such as David Garrison, Steve Addison, and Steve Smith, and missions agencies such as the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and Greater Europe Mission. Common elements and characteristics that are shared by Church Planting Movements, wherever they are taking place, among different people groups, have also been identified.
When we in the West look at and study these amazing movements of God, many of us ask the question, “Why are CPM not happening in the West, in the United States?” And, we pray, asking, “What on our side of the ‘God’s sovereignty-our responsibility’ equation can we do to ‘set the sails’ for the movement of God through the multiplication of disciples and reproducing churches?”
In an article, It’s Huge – Five Lessons The American Church Is Learning From Church Planting Movements, Carol Davis, missions strategist and mobilizer, may have some answers to the latter question. In the article, Carol identifies five lessons that American pastors are learning, and can learn, from Church Planting Movements, that when applied to our Western ministries can make a tremendous impact on the reaching and discipling of our homes and communities for Christ.
The lessons are:
- Come & Go: The shift from inviting unbelievers to come to our programs and building to sending believers into the world.
- Group Conversions: The shift to multiplying groups of disciples not just individual disciples.
- Counting Generations: The shift to count and do whatever it takes to regularly and quickly get to the 4th generation and beyond of disciples, groups, and churches (II Timothy 2:2).
- Reproducibility: The shift from lengthy training, policy-driven structures and more academic materials and the reproducibility of means, methods, tools, and structures.
- Obedience-Based Learning: The shift from teaching for knowledge of what the Word says – to teaching and accountability for obedience to what the Word says.
Carol expands on each of the five lessons in her article.
In the concluding paragraph, Carol writes:
“The lessons from CPMs for the U.S. church are huge. The reexamination has taken us back to the Scriptures for both principles and practice. However, the reframing and retooling continues to be a bit messy. Let us persist with the reframing and the retooling until this way of life becomes the new normal.”
There are no formulas that can be applied to our ministries that will guarantee a movement of God called Church Planting Movements. But, there are truths, principles and elements of ministry that we discover in Scripture and CPM that, when applied to our Western context ministries, will go a long way to “setting the sails” for the effective and fruitful multiplication of disciples and churches.
Carol’s article presents five huge lessons from CPM that God is teaching us today. The question is: Are we teachable … are we paying attention … will we apply these lessons to our ministries in My Town, USA?
You can read Carol’s article here.