In the movie The Matrix , the rebel leader Morpheus offers Neo an opportunity in the form of a choice. He presents Neo with a red pill, a blue pill, and a glass of water.
The red pill represents an uncertain future. It is a future that will free him from an enslaving worldview that has been controlling his mind and hiding him from reality. While the real world will be harsher and more difficult, it will ultimately be worth it. The blue pill is also before him. It is a pill that will keep him confined to the beautiful prison all around him and lead him back to the ignorance and comfort of his life within the simulated reality of the Matrix.
“This is your last chance”, he says. “After this, there is no turning back.”
Which will he choose?
Neo hesitates for a moment, then grabs the red pill and a glass of water and in a flash of courage and conviction, he swallows his decision. It’s a decision that changes the trajectory of his life and the world around him. He wants to know the truth regardless of the price he must pay.
Over the last six months, I’ve been reading and wrestling over everything I can possibly find on the topic of “Disciple-Making Movements”, a phrase defined by insiders as “at least 100 new churches that reach four or more generations in two to four years”. These aren’t brick and mortar churches like the ones we find in our neighborhoods or in the communities around us. Instead, these churches are smaller and often meet underground or in house gatherings. Instead of planting ready-made churches and hoping to get disciples (been there, done that), these movements focus on making disciples that ultimately plant churches.
In the book Miraculous Movements, the author writes, “Disciple Making Movements spread the gospel by making disciples who learn to obey the Word of God and quickly make other disciples, who then repeat the process. This results in many new churches being planted, frequently in regions that were previously hostile to Christianity”.
The kingdom of God is growing around the world at unprecedented rates. In fact, according to field data from New Generations, Movement Dashboard, and other partner ministries, there are actively more than 651 movements in the world today with the average size being more than 75,000 believers. 75,000 believers is only the average. In some places millions of people are coming to Christ in a relatively short period of time!
I’ve been connecting with movement practitioners and catalysts over these last few months who have shared story after story of God’s incredible work in the Church, advancing the cause of Christ around the world. My wife and I recently attended a DMM training and left incredibly encouraged at all God is doing. It’s caused us to pause and ask the question, “Can it happen here?” The numbers point to a difficult road ahead in the Global North (North America, Europe, Oceania).
There are 651 Disciple-Making Movements happening around the world. 643 of them are happening in the Global South. Only 8 are in the Global North.
8 out of 651!
In the book “The Kingdom Unleashed” Jerry Trousdale and Glenn Sunshine uncover many of the reasons (a much longer blog post) for the challenges facing the Global North but the question remains, “Can it happen here?”
It will certainly require more red-pill practitioners willing to step into a new way of thinking with a new set of assumptions and a brand-new operating system. It will require abundant prayer and fasting, radical obedience, equipping all people for ministry, and a willingness to persevere rather than settle for shortcuts. Most importantly, it will be the result of a fresh move of the Holy Spirit.
Some have described the shift to a DMM approach as "a death experience".
It requires full surrender to a new way of measuring fruit and a new way of engaging ministry. If a person's identity is in "the ministry" or not firmly rooted in Christ, it will be challenging to say the least. It's about giving everything away and not expecting anything in return. It won't build your income, reputation, fame, or empire.
The red-pill analogy is a good one.
To quote Morpheus from “The Matrix”, “You take the blue pill...the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill...you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." Perhaps that's a bit dramatic, but you get the point. The red pill is a different way of viewing life and ministry.
So...want to learn more about Disciple-Making Movements?
Here are my top-seven books to explore.
1. Church Planting Movements (David Garrison shares common factors in church-planting movements around the world).
2. Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims are Falling in Love with Jesus (incredible stories from the field and what God is doing among Muslims around the world).
3. Father Glorified: True Stories of God’s Power through Ordinary People (DMM leaders share stories of the power of obedience to God's calling).
4. Spent Matches (the story of a growing church in Kansas City grappling with the size of the mission and needing a new approach).
5. Kingdom Unleashed: How Ordinary People Launch Disciple-Making Movements Around the World (why the Global South is seeing God move in incredible ways and what the Global North can learn). 6. T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution (the incredible story of Yin Kai and his process of training trainers).
7. From Megachurch to Multiplication (a large megachurch in Lubbock, TX underwent a HUGE shift a few years ago to a DMM approach. This book shares the first steps taken and what they are learning).
I would also love to help connect you to a growing group of people pursuing this new approach. Please reach out and fire me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Groundswell is also planning a FREE virtual training later this Spring to introduce people to the ideas and concepts of DMM and how to take your first steps.
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