Archive for the ‘Simple Church’ category

Five HUGE Lessons From CPM

July 22, 2012

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:

  1. Come & Go: The shift from inviting unbelievers to come to our programs and building to sending believers into the world.
  2. Group Conversions: The shift to multiplying groups of disciples not just individual disciples.
  3. 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).
  4. Reproducibility: The shift from lengthy training, policy-driven structures and more academic materials and the reproducibility of means, methods, tools, and structures.
  5. 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.


Basic CPM Plan And T4T

July 6, 2012

In my last post, Every Picture Tells A Story: CPM Infographic, I shared a graphic that describes the Father’s heart for the “nations” and what are spoken of as “the five parts of a CPM plan to fulfill God’s heart.”

City Church of Woodbine in Nashville, Tennessee had the graphic designed based on information or teaching they received as they have committed themselves to reaching their community and the “nations” through the multiplication of disciples and churches. If you have not read my post and seen the graphic, I would encourage you take a look at it. It is pretty interesting.

Well, the other day I was looking through some website resources that I have and discovered material that I believe is the basis for the CPM Infographic.  The material is entitled The Basic CPM Plan and T4T – The critical elements for a CPM ministry plan, and how T4T helps accomplish them. It was written by Steve Smith, an International Mission Board missionary (SBC) and co-author of T4T: A Discipleship ReRevolution.

I had read the T4T book and a number of articles written by Steve prior to reading this paper. Each reading has been very informative and encouraging as we seek to be used by the Lord in our context for the multiplication of disciples and small authentic faith communities. This paper was no exception.

If you are interested in missions, involved in church planting, and are committed to making reproducing disciples and the start and multiplication of churches in your context, you will benefit richly from The Basic CPM Plan and T4T.

I believe the CPM elements found in this paper have very real application potential for effective ministry in our Western ministry contexts.

Every Picture Tells A Story: CPM Infographic

June 18, 2012

In May, I posted an article that contained a graphic that pictured the Parable of the Soils. This parable is one of several Kingdom Parables spoken by Jesus that are referred to and used by Church Planting Movement practitioners when teaching about effective CPM ministry.

Below is a very interesting CPM graphic that pictures and teaches about the four fields and five parts of Church Planting Movements that are occurring around the world.

I found this graphic on the website of City Church Woodbine. City Church Woodbine is, as far as I know, a fairly new church in Nashville, Tennessee that is committed to reaching its city and the world through the multiplication of disciples and churches. The church had posted a “Church Planting Movement Multiplication” chart and then had it into the infographic.

This infographic pictures the CPM elements of entry, evangelism, discipleship, church formation, leadership development, and reproduction and multiplication of disciples and churches that are practical and relevant for ministry in all contexts and among all peoples.

The infographic begins by showing us that the Father’s heart-felt desire is that “all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” That  salvation, and that knowledge of the truth, is found in the Father’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are to go into all the world, beginning in our homes, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, multiplying disciples and churches, until all have heard the Gospel and have had the opportunity to either receive or reject Christ as their personal Savior. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The End Vision of all that we pray and labor toward, then, individually, as believers, and corporately, as churches, is that the time will come when ” … the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14) It is the time when ” … a great multitude, which no one could (can) number, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, (are) standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were (are) in their hands; and they cry out with one loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” (Revelation 7:9)

The CPM infographic goes on to outline what one CPM practitioner refers to as the 5 Parts of CPM. Church Planting Movements, while a vision we have for ministry, is bottom-line a God ordained means of achieving glory for Himself, the expansion of His Kingdom on this earth, and, ultimately, the above described End Vision.

The first part is the Entry into any new community or culture. The Entry is much more than a “platform” (i.e., English, medicine, agriculture, etc.) that gains us a Visa and entry into a network or nation. Entry has to do with engaging a people where they live and immersing ourselves in their culture. This involves learning the language, history, culture, tradition, family structure, decision-making processes, and life nuances of those the Lord has commissioned us to serve and share Christ with. It results in identification with and better understanding of the people. Doing this builds relationship bridges across which the Gospel can travel into hearts and lives. Knowing the people and the world in which they live also gives us insight and wisdom for the development of ministry strategies for evangelism, discipleship, and church planting, with the understanding that it is the Lord Who directs and open the doors for ministry. A major component of Entry is praying for and finding the Person(s) of Peace (POP).

Evangelism, or the sowing of the Gospel seed, is the second part of CPM. Believers must be equipped for the ministry of evangelism. One aspect of this equipping is to ask three questions of the people : 1) “Why should I share the Gospel?” “I have been forgiven of my sins and I am commissioned by the Lord to share.” 2 ) “What do I say?”  “What my life was like before I became a Christian; how I came to faith; and how my life has been different since I became I a believer”. 3) “With whom do I share?” Have the individual make a list of people who “are far away from God” and commit to share the Gospel with them that week. The telling of “my story” (point #2) is a bridge to the presentation of the Gospel and the call to people to accept Christ as their personal Savior. Evangelism, of course, can be done in many ways, but perhaps the best way is Mouth-to-Ear *M2E). The point is this: share the Gospel often and share it with everyone. A characteristic of CPMs around the world is the abundant sowing of the Gospel seed.

Evangelism is followed-up with Discipleship. As individuals come to faith in Christ they must be discipled in their faith and for ministry. The Great Commission is to make disciples, not just converts. And, it must emphasized that discipleship is not merely a matter of gaining knowledge. Learning and knowing is a part of discipleship but discipleship is not simply knowledge-based. Discipleship is obedience-based. We are commissioned to teach disciples to ” … obey all things I (Jesus) have commanded you …. ” There are any number of ways that we can disciple pre-and-new believers, but the emphasis is that we must disciple people and we must be intentional and purposeful in this ministry. II Timothy 2:2.

As  unbelievers are being discipled for salvation and new believers are being discipled, it is natural that New Churches will be formed. It is in the context of church, the assembly of believers, that community and discipleship are best achieved. Scripture teaches that we need one another and that it is in community that we experience the “one anothers” of the Spirit-filled life. And, it is the church that God uses to carry out His work, extend His Kingdom on this earth, and represent and reflect Him to a watching world.

The fifth part of CPM is Leadership Development. As disciples are being made and churches developed, emerging church leaders are going to be identified. Characteristics of these men and women will be obedience, faithfulness, and sacrifice. Leadership can be developed in a variety of ways, but the CPM “best practice” process can be described by the acronym, “MAWL”.

“M” stands for “Model.” Current leaders will model leadership as he or she include emerging leadership in ministry. Jesus modeled leadership as the Twelve accompanied Him through three years of mnistry on this earth. So we must model ministry for our disciples.

“A” stands for “Assist.” In this phase of leadership development, the current leaders share ministry assignments and responsibilites with emerging leaders. When the emerging leaders are fulfilling their responsibilities, they grow in their ministry competence and gain confidence for their future ministries.

The “W” in “MAWL” stands for “Watch.” This is the time in the development process when the more mature and experienced leader releases the emerging leader to lead in and facilitate all aspects of the new church. The current leader participates, observes, and provides feedback that instructs and encourages the younger leader in his or her development and ministry.

The final letter in the “MAWL” acronym, “L”, stands for “Leave.” Once leadership has been modeled and the emerging leader has assisted and assumed ministry, the mentor leader leaves to continue his or her ministry of evangelism, making disciples, church planting, and leadership development in other places among other peoples. The mentor will not completely sever a mentoring relationship with his disciple, though. He or she will remain in contact through visits, the visits of his representatives, letters, or other means of communication, offering encouragement and ministry counsel.

“MAWL” ministry is the kind of On-The-Job training (OTJ) ministry that the Apostle Paul exercised as he carried the Gospel across the Mediterranean world, making multiplying disciples and starting multiplying churches. MAWL ministry is being implemented and found in Church Planting Movements that are occuring around the world today.

As these “parts” of CPM are lived out, implemented, and reproduced and multiplied in the lives of disciples and churches, the result will be, by God’s grace, a Church Planting Movement.


I have found the CPM Infographic to be an interesting graphic that presents a number of the primary elements found in Church Planting Movements. The lay-out of the graphic helps us to easily trace and remember these elements.

The elements depicted in this graphic are usually associated with what the Lord is doing overseas in and through Church Planting Movements. I would remind us that Vision and Endvision should characterize the heart, life, and ministry of every believer, every church, every where. I would also suggest that the  Five Parts strategy for ministry (which there is much more to than I have described above) has very real application potential for the ministry of the multiplication of disciples and churches in our Western, anywhere USA, context.


 You can view the original Infographic document here.

Wilson Geisler has written a very informative article about the Five Parts. It is entitled “Some Practical Aspects of the 5 Parts of Jesus’ Masterplan.” It can be read here.

If  you are prayerfully considering the implementation of a disciple making and church planting multiplication ministry, I would encourage you to check and go through the CPM manual of Nathan and Kari Shank. It is entiled “The Four Fields – Mark 4:26-29. Reproducing Churches Using Simple Tools.” The manual can be found at  Four Fields.


June 14, 2012

Texas A&M University 2011 fall enrollment: 49,861 + 4,750 international students from 126 nations of the world.

WIGTake to reach them for Christ?


May 30, 2012

WIGTake (What’s It Going to Take) to move us from “the present reality of (spiritual) darkness” that pervades our community to the fulfillment of “the vision that all have the opportunity to be saved”?

A change in motivation for daily living, from self-serving to Kingdom-focused? Sacrifices in our lives and adjustments in our calendars that reflect Kingdom priorities? Changes in the way we think of, understand, and “do” church?

What’s It Going to Take?

(WIGTake publishing publishes Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World by David Garrison and T4T – A Discipleship Re-Revolution by Steve Smith and Ying Kai.)

David Garrison On Church Planting Movements

May 2, 2012

If you have visited my blog in the past, you have probably read posts about church planting and Church Planting Movements (CPM). In them, you have heard me make reference to David Garrison and his book, Church Planting Movements – How God Is Redeeming A Lost World. Even if you have never read my blog but are interested in CPMs, you certainly know about the book.

Garrison is an International Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) missionary and Church Planting Movements researcher. His book, published in 2003, defines CPM, identifies characteristics found in most CPM, and reports on CPM occurring in the world at the time of the writing of the book. Garrison is perhaps the foremost “authorities on CPM today.

Below is a short video of David speaking at the VERGE conference. I hope you will enjoy it.

You can read the Church Planting Movements – How God Is Redeeming A Lost World booklet here.

Roland Allen : Spontaneous Expansion : Round Two : Indigenous Three-Self

April 30, 2012

When Roland Allen wrote his two missions classics – Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s Or Ours (1912) and The Spontaneous Expansion Of the Church And The Causes That Hinder It (1927), missionary work was characterized by centralized foreign sending agencies, foreign missionary leadership, foreign funding, missions stations, and paid native workers. Allen would have said that such an approach to world evangelization was “foreign” to the teaching of the New Testament and that it, in fact, hindered the evangelization of national populations and the spontaneous expansion of the church.

In the third chapter of The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, Modern Movements Towards Liberty, Roland Allen effectively argued that the “size of the work” of propagating the Gospel among the “vast populations” of the world that confronted the Church then demanded a greater “method,” or approach to the task, if it was going to accomplish its objectives. The same argument can be made to the Church today as well.

The missionary approach that Allen promoted for the evangelization of the “nations” was the indigenous, self-supporting ministry concept. The concept of indigenous missions did not originate with Allen. The concept, if it can be attributed to anyone, can most legitimately be attributed to Henry Venn, an English Anglican missionary (1796-1873) and Rufus Anderson, an American Congregationalist (1796-1880). John L. Nevius, the American Presbyterian missionary to China in the mid-to-late 1800’s implemented, wrote about, and promoted “self-supporting” indigenous missions. In the 1950’s, the concept was introduced to a new audience and popularized by Donald McGavran in his book, The Brides of God. I do believe that all of us would acknowledge that the approach was first used and modeled by the New Testament missionary, the Apostle Paul.

Allen wrote at length about indigenous missions in the chapter, Modern Movements Towards Liberty. Below are quotes and comments that I would share with you.


“… is it not apparent that the size of the work and the method do not agree? Yet in practice we are still acting as if we could go on multiplying mission stations indefinitely.”

“… we are quite familiar with the unhappy fact that it is possible for Christian churches to be highly organized and equipped and yet to fail utterly to understand the necessity for carrying the Gospel to the people around them.”

With respect to the quote immediately above, Allen goes on to speak about church organizations, i.e., churches, that make missions a “department” of the church. When missions is one department “among many others designed for the equipment of a well constituted church,” he says “they are the one department which could be weakened, or neglected, or abolished without any immediate and uncomfortable consequences for those who neglected them.” This occurs when churches “concentrate upon their own advancement,” not understanding that Christ sends them on “mission” and all that it does – Bible study, worship, service, etc. – should be to promote, support and further the missionary enterprise.

Allen continues …

“… there are those who think that as a work should end so it should begin. If the propagation of the Gospel is to be at any time the spontaneous work of native Christians, it should be so from the very beginning. Every moment of delay is a moment of loss, loss for them, loss for their country.”

Allen “summed up the object of our missions, as the foundation of self-extending,self-supporting, and self-governing churches … the establishment of indigenous churches.”

Speaking of an indigenous church “formula,” Allen wrote:

“If the churches of our foundation are to be self-extending in the sense of self-propagating, they must necessarily possess the power to create their like, and unless they are self-governing and self-supporting, they cannot possibly propagate themselves.

“The formula demands that we should establish self-supporting, self-governing, and self-extending churches, and obviously, if it applies at all to us, it applies likewise to the churches which we establish. If we are establish self-supporting, self-governing, and self-extending churches, so certainly  must they. If the rule applies to the parents of the first generation of churches, it applies to the parents of the second generation, and the third, and so on. Thus self-extension is bound up with self-support and self-government; the three are ultimately united.”

“… St Paul established new self-supporting, self-governing, self-extending churches like themselves in the nearest town or villages, not by fissure but by spiritual procreation.”

“I believe that we ought to return to the apostolic practice and found churches every place we make converts, churches equipped with all the divine grace and authority of Christian churches.”

“We ought never to send a mission agent to do what men on the spot are already doing spontaneously.”

“If the moment that we find anyone doing anything spontaneously we send a paid man to do it for him, we stop his work and we check others from following his example.”

“If the growth of the church depends upon the supervision of foreigners and of natives trained by them, the extent to which it can grow if severely limited.”

“Could we once persuade ourselves that self-extension, self-support, and self- government go hand-in-hand, and are all equally the rights of converts from the very beginning, we might see such an expansion of Christianity throughout the world as now we little dream of.”

In conclusion,

“It is high time that we should definitely face the question whether we will not in the future return to the biblical apostolic practice and by establishing apostolic churches open the doors for that expansion and make it the foundation of the missionary policy; for we are at a turning point in our missionary history, and what is to be the future course of that history will depend upon the attitude which we take pu on the question.”


When Roland Allen wrote Missionary Methods and Spontaneous Expansion, the concept of indigenous, three-self missions was a radical missionary concept to most missions agencies and their personnel. What Allen was saying was outside the box and thinking of most of the churchmen of his day.

Allen was practicing, writing about, and advocating a return to a New Testament-grounded, Pauline-modeled approach to reaching the world for Christ through an indigenous movement of evangelism, leadership development, and church planting.

Today, most involved in ministry recognize that the indigenous, three-self approach to missions ministry is the right and most effective means to evangelizing and making disciples of the “nations” and the start and multiplication of New Testament churches. We see this proven in the movement of God in the world today in and through what we refer to as Church Planting Movements.

If we are serious about the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our life time, we must get serious about evangelizing, discipling, and “churching,” not only the “nations” of the third-world developing  nations, but our Western neighbors and neighborhoods. Business as usual in America is not getting it done. One aspect of this “get serious” is to re-think the definition of “church,” what the task of the church is, and what a local church can “look like.” We must think “outside of the traditional Western church box” and the way that we typically start churches and open ourselves up to the implementation of an indigenous, three-self strategy for church planting. This will, by God’s grace and in His strength, result in the start and multiplication of churches that penetrate and saturate our communities for Christ, reaching people that the traditional, established church in our cities may never reach.