Disciple Making Movement (DMM): Key Characteristics and Definition
When it comes to global multiplying movements of the gospel, there are various terms and acronyms used, such as CPMs (Church Planting Movements), DMMs (Disciple Making Movements), DBS (Discovery Bible Studies), and T4T (Training for Trainers). Understanding the meanings and keeping track of these terms can be challenging for those unfamiliar with them. In this article, we will focus on providing a clear definition of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) and elaborate on its four primary characteristics.
Defining Disciple Making Movement (DMM)
A Disciple Making Movement can be described as a supernatural outpouring of God’s Spirit that leads to the rapid multiplication of obedient followers of Jesus (disciples) within an unreached people group or a specific geographical area.
In such movements, thousands of lives are transformed as individuals enter God’s Kingdom and become part of His family.
These movements employ simple methods and are rooted in the local culture.
Although different definitions of a DMM exist in the realm of global evangelism, for the purpose of this article, we will treat the terms DMM and CPM as interchangeable.
While some argue that a DMM emphasizes disciples making disciples, while a CPM emphasizes church-planting churches, the concepts are similar enough for us to explore their essential characteristics.
Typically, when disciples are engaged in making more disciples with a vision to establish a church, there is also multiplication of discipleship groups that evolve into house churches.
Here are the four primary characteristics of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM):
A key characteristic of a DMM is the rapid multiplication of disciples and groups within a relatively short span of time, usually ranging from three to five years.
This growth is not limited to addition but involves exponential multiplication.
A DMM is rooted in the local people group and embraces the cultural context in which it operates.
It is not an imported or imposed movement but rather emerges from within the community itself. This indigenous nature allows the movement to use best practices from other contexts and connect deeply with the cultural values, practices, and expressions of the people it seeks to reach.
Multiplying Groups & Churches
Disciples within a DMM gather themselves into small groups.
They cast vision and disciple those who respond to the sharing of the gospel towards being church. These simple churches rapidly multiply and subsequently start more.
In other words, multiplication growth, rather than simply addition growth, characterizes the expansion of a DMM.
As new groups form and identify as church, they also reproduce, creating a multiplying effect throughout the movement.
Obedient Jesus Followers
The groups are made up of people who are following Jesus and committed to obeying His commands together.
The groups of Jesus followers can be called discipleship groups, story groups, T4T groups, among others. Whatever you call these initial groups, the name is not important.
Each should have a vision and a discipleship plan to disciple those involved towards identifying as church.
What matters is that they are a group of people committed to following Jesus and multiplying disciples, leaders, and churches.
Disciples Making Disciples
A DMM focuses on multiplying small groups of disciples who make disciples, rather than growing an increasingly large church.
It is worth noting that the presence of at least four generations of churches, a substantial number of churches overall (typically between 50 to 100), and a growing number of obedient disciples (with at least 500 individuals baptized) within a short period indicate the initiation of a Disciple Making Movement.
In addition, some agencies that track movements have added the presence of multiple streams of disciple-making groups in the movement as another factor in the definition.
While it’s important to define a DMM, we should not over-complicate it.
We should focus on multiplying disciples among the unreached, as this is incredibly exciting and much needed if we are to see the Kingdom of God advance.
Without it, we can barely keep up with natural population growth rates among most of the unreached.
In conclusion, a DMM is a supernatural move of God’s Spirit sweeping through a people group or an area where disciples multiply rapidly, and thousands of people enter God’s Kingdom in a short amount of time through ordinary disciples passionately obeying Christ and boldly spreading the gospel everywhere they go.
As disciples make disciples, small groups form and multiply, and the movement spreads, eventually leading to the formation of a new church.
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