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How to Overcome The Effects of “Movement Method Inoculation” 

In this article, we will explore the concept of “movement method inoculation” and discuss how it can hinder our effectiveness in disciple-making. We will also delve into the importance of understanding the shelf life of methods and the need to adapt and innovate in order to reach new contexts. Additionally, we will touch on the distinction between teaching methods and principles, and how they can be applied to different individuals based on their level of vision and initiative. Finally, we will emphasize the significance of hope and faith in overcoming challenges and staying committed to the task of disciple-making.

The Problem of “Movement Method Inoculation”

One of the key takeaways from a particular movement in China was the discipleship process that was developed and applied in that specific context. 

However, it is important to note that relying solely on this method without considering other approaches can lead to a sense of inoculation. In other words, if we believe that this method is the only way to go, we may become immune to its effectiveness over time. 

This is because methods have a shelf life and will eventually become overly familiar by a generation of disciples. These methods will be replaced by a new generation of disciples who innovate as the Spirit of God leads.

Just as the “three circles” method or the “four spiritual laws” method were popular in the past and even today, there may come a time when new methods need to be introduced to reach a changing culture.

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It is important to note that relying solely on any method without considering other approaches can lead to a sense of inoculation.

Understanding the Shelf Life of Methods

In North America, for example, there has been a history of different methods being used to share the gospel. 

From the bridge illustration to the four spiritual laws, these methods have served their purpose in their respective time periods. However, it is important to recognize that methods are not meant to be static and unchanging. 

They should be adaptable and responsive to the needs and context of the people we are trying to reach.

Teaching Principles Instead of Methods

Bruce Carlton, a prominent figure in the disciple-making movement, emphasized the importance of teaching principles rather than methods. 

He believed that if someone has a God-given vision and direction, they don’t necessarily need specific methods to fulfill that vision. Instead, they need principles to guide them in pursuing the vision God has put in their hearts.

Key Takeaways Explanation
Method Immunity Over Time Relying solely on one method, even if it was effective before, can make us resistant to its impact over time.
Methods Have a Shelf Life Methods can lose their effectiveness as times and cultures change. New approaches might be needed to connect with new generations.
Methods Should Evolve Methods are tools that should be flexible and adaptable, rather than static and unchanging.
Principles Over Methods Teaching principles can guide individuals with a vision, rather than relying solely on specific methods.
Different Stages, Different Needs Disciple-making approaches should be tailored to the different stages and needs of individuals.
Hope and Faith Fuel Change Hope and faith play a significant role in overcoming challenges and driving action.
Frustration and Hope Frustration with methods can often be tied to a lack of hope. Encouraging faith can reignite hope and the belief in the possibility of success.
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Different Approaches for Different Individuals

When it comes to disciple-making, it is crucial to recognize that different individuals are at different stages in their journey. 

For those who are just starting out and have no idea how to begin, providing specific methods and tools can be helpful. This could include sharing the “three circles” or providing simple discipleship lessons to kickstart their journey.

On the other hand, for those who are already running and have a clear vision and direction, a different approach is needed. Instead of prescribing specific methods, it is important to come alongside them and offer support and guidance based on principles. 

This allows them to contextualize and innovate in reaching their specific context.

For those who are just starting out and have no idea how to begin, providing specific methods and tools can be helpful.

The Role of Hope and Faith

In the process of disciple-making, hope and faith play a significant role. 

When someone loses hope, they lose initiative and the belief that things can change. It is important to communicate hope and leave the door open for people to take action. 

While we cannot control how people respond, we can inspire them to have faith and believe that God is able to do what He has promised.

Sometimes, people may become frustrated with certain methods or tools and feel that they are not effective. 

However, this frustration may stem from a lack of hope or belief in the possibility of success. It is important to address this hope issue and encourage individuals to take action, even if they are unsure of the outcome. 

Taking that step of faith can reignite hope and demonstrate that God is able to fulfill His promises.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to recognize the limitations of methods and the need for adaptation and innovation in disciple-making. 

While methods can be helpful in getting started or improving our approach, they should not be seen as the only way or become immune to their effectiveness. Teaching principles and providing support based on individual needs and stages of the journey can be more beneficial in the long run. 

Ultimately, hope and faith are essential in overcoming challenges and staying committed to the task of disciple-making. 

Let us continue to pursue God’s vision and trust in His ability to bring about transformation in the lives of those we disciple.

While methods can be helpful in getting started or improving our approach, they should not be seen as the only way or become immune to their effectiveness.

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