The old models of church growth and church planting as an extension of gathering seekers around an event or worship service is waning in effectiveness. We need to rediscover the mandate of Jesus to "go and make disciples" and mobilize the hundreds and thousands of people that sit in our churches, poised to reach the growing harvest. In John 4:35 Jesus said to his disciples,
Yes, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers remain few. I remember entering my second decade of church planting worn out and unsure if I could sustain my current pace of ministry. Mobilization and intentional disciple making took a backseat to weekend worship, preaching, gathering a crowd, and launching new initiatives in a flurry of activity. I survived on adrenaline, natural fortitude, and prayers of desperation.
I was trying to do it all, and came dangerously close to burnout before being given a much-needed sabbatical. During that difficult season of ministry, I visited a family member in Costa Mesa, CA and one evening while walking along the beach God spoke to me very clearly. He said,
In the next instant I was reminded of Jesus' words, "I will build my church". Jesus will build his church. My role is to make disciples. Watching the ocean waves break onto the shore that evening inspired me to pray for a fresh move of the Spirit to build a growing wave of disciple makers and pioneer leaders.
A few years later that prompting took root and we launched a new ministry called Groundswell. A "groundswell" is a long-distance ocean wave that transfers its energy deep into the ocean floor sustaining the momentum needed to travel a great distance. By focusing our efforts on mobilizing more disciple makers and pioneer leaders and by relying on the power of the Spirit, we believe there will be a groundswell effect that will provide excellent conditions to plant hundreds if not thousands of churches into the future.
THE WORLD IS CHANGING.
“Son, the Great Commission is not to grow churches or plant churches. The Great Commission is to make disciples.”
“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Jon Wiest is the Executive Director of Groundswell and Co-Founder of Mobilize the Church. He previously planted churches in Dallas, TX and Des Moines, IA and is the author of Banding Together and Pioneers. He has degrees from Wheaton College and Wesley Seminary and is currently completing a D.Min. in Church Planting from Asbury Theological Seminary. Jon is a faithful San Francisco 49ers fan, loves traveling, sports, and history, and currently lives in Fishers, IN with his wife and four daughters.
Jeremy has served as a professor, pastor, denominational leader, and coach for marketplace leaders. A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan, Asbury Seminary (M.Div.), and Fuller Seminary (D.Min.), he most often thinks and writes about discipleship, missiology, and on topics of church and culture. Jeremy is passionate about seeing lives and communities transformed and he celebrates when disciples and churches are multiplied. Jeremy loves spending time with his family, traveling, hiking, watching football, and he probably drinks too much coffee.
Josh Cooper is the Discipleship & Equipping Pastor for Grace Point Church where he creates new and strategic opportunities for people to engage in discipling relationships. He completed his M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary in 2010 and has a Master's degree from the University of South Dakota as well. He is currently enrolled in a two-year program working on a certificate in spiritual direction. Josh enjoys the outdoors, hiking, camping, playing pickleball, and currently lives in Topeka, KS, with his wife and four children.
GROUNDSWELL IS A MOBILIZATION MINISTRY.
We equip individuals to make disciples and pioneer new works. We serve pastors and help them mobilize their congregation for ministry. We partner with network leaders to create a culture of mobilization among their churches.
GROUNDSWELL IS IN THE WESLEYAN TRADITION.
We serve all types of denominations, districts, and churches, but we trace our roots back to the awakenings of British and American Methodism and the incredible disciple-making, church-planting movements they initiated. We believe God wants to raise up a new generation of leaders that includes both women and men, clergy and laity.
GROUNDSWELL IS FOCUSED ON THE LOCAL CHURCH.
We want to serve as a catalyst for local churches to create movement. Our passion is to serve pastors and leaders who are hungry to take the next steps in equipping their congregations for ministry. Although we often partner with district leaders, it is with the local church in mind.
GROUNDSWELL IS A PREMIERE TRAINING MINISTRY.
We offer workshops, conferences, and practical resources, but we specialize in training. Our coaches and trainers are experienced practitioners and we utilize high-quality training platforms for each of our courses.
GROUNDSWELL IS A GLOBAL ORGANIZATION.
We are increasing our partnerships around the world and currently have nearly a dozen countries that utilize our training and resourcing. Not only do we designate a percentage of our income for global efforts, but also offer training in both Spanish and English.