Under the Hood of Disciple Making Movements
Disciple Making Movements (DMM) are a biblical approach to disciple-making that seeks to create an environment where multiplication of disciples can take place unhindered. It involves a rapid and exponential increase in disciples making disciples, with the ultimate goal of extending the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.
In this article, we’ll explore the elements and shared principles of DMM, as well as how you can be a part of a DMM.
|Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs)
|Strategies and approaches focused on rapidly multiplying disciples of Jesus and establishing indigenous churches through simple and reproducible methods of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
|Prioritize obedience to Christ's commands, focus on the lost and unreached, utilize simple and transferable tools, foster multiplication and reproduction, and empower ordinary believers to lead and make disciples.
|Differences from Traditional Church Models
|Emphasize rapid multiplication, simple and reproducible practices, and the empowerment of every believer to make disciples. Prioritize reaching the unreached and focus on establishing small, self-replicating communities of believers.
|Disciple-Making Movements have shown effectiveness, particularly among unreached and resistant people groups, leading to significant growth and multiplication of disciples and churches. Effectiveness may vary based on cultural and contextual factors.
|Learn more about DMM principles and practices, seek out resources and training from practitioners and organizations involved in DMMs, and engage in intentional discipleship, evangelism, and church planting efforts with a focus on multiplication and reproduction.
Elements Disciple-Making Movements
There are five elements of a DMM approach that create an environment for unhindered multiplication. These elements are awareness, focus, patterns, methods, and vision.
Key Element: Awareness
There is an awareness that only God can start spiritual movements, but disciples can follow biblical principles to pray, plant, and water the seeds that can lead to multiplying movements.
This is seen in the book of Acts, where the early church experienced rapid growth due to the disciples’ obedience to God’s principles.
Key Element: Focus
The focus is to make every follower of Christ a reproducing disciple rather than merely a convert. This means that every disciple should be equipped to make other disciples, who in turn will make more disciples.
Key Element: Patterns
Patterns create frequent and regular accountability for both obeying what God says to each person and for them to pass it on to others in a loving environment.
This requires a participative small-group approach where every disciple is accountable to a small group of fellow disciples.
Key Element: Methods
In a DMM, catalysts equip each disciple in comprehensive ways, including interpreting and applying Scripture, having a good prayer life, functioning as a part of the larger Body of Christ, responding well to persecution and suffering, ministering to others, and advancing the Kingdom of God.
Key Element: Vision
Catalysts give each disciple a vision for reaching their friends and family, as well as extending the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Disciples prioritize the darkest places with a “no place left” mentality, where everyone has access to the gospel.
Shared Principles of Disciple-Making Movements
There are six shared principles of Disciple Making Movements that are commonly seen in many disciple making movements around the world. These principles are prayer, scripture, obedience, indigenous church development, holistic church engagement, and churches that multiply.
Principle: Prayer as Catalyst
Before a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) takes place, prayer movements lay the foundation. Once the DMM begins, the role of extraordinary prayer becomes significant. New believers recognize that only God can bring forth new disciples and churches.
They are deeply motivated to witness God’s transformative power in the lives of their loved ones, friends, and neighbors.
Principle: Embracing the Authority of Scripture
Within DMMs, the members deeply value the authority of the Bible. Consequently, every individual is expected to be a disciple of Jesus and actively share the Word.
Principle: Obedience to God’s Word
The newly formed churches prioritize listening to and obeying God’s Word both individually and collectively. Obedience is not only encouraged but also held accountable.
Principle: Indigenous Church Development
Outsiders seek out individuals and households whom God has prepared within a community, known as “persons of peace” and “households of peace.”
Once these individuals and groups embrace faith, they are immediately equipped to reach others. As insiders become disciple-makers, the newly established churches can grow in alignment with Scripture while adapting to the cultural context.
Principle: Holistic Church Engagement
Practitioners of disciple making prioritize obedience to Scripture, which compels them to demonstrate God’s love to others. They actively care for widows, orphans, fight against oppression, and engage in various acts of compassion.
Principle: Multiplying Churches
Similar to the early church in Acts, contemporary DMMs experience rapid multiplication. Every disciple and church is equipped to reproduce, and this expectation is instilled early in the process.
As a result, a culture of reproduction is deeply ingrained in the disciples and leaders, becoming the norm.
These principles lay the foundation for vibrant Disciple Making Movements, enabling God’s work to spread rapidly and transform communities.
How to be a Part of Disciple-Making Movements
Being part of a disciple making movement requires dedication, commitment, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Here are some steps you can take to be a part of a DMM:
1. Pray: Prayer is the foundation of any disciple making movement. Ask God to give you a vision for reaching the lost, and to show you how you can be a part of his work in the world.
2. Study the Bible: In a DMM, every disciple is a student of the Bible. Take time to study God’s word and learn how you can apply it to your life and share it with others. The Three Thirds process is a key way to get started.
3. Build Relationships and Share: Disciple making is all about relationships. Get to know the people around you and look for opportunities to share your faith using a gospel tool with them. The Three Circles is a gospel tool that has gone viral and has been used to see thousands come to faith.
4. Be Obedient: Obedience is key to any disciple making movement. Be obedient to God’s word and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life.
5. Get Equipped: In a DMM, every disciple is equipped to make disciples. Take the time to learn how to share your faith effectively and how to disciple others. Join an online training.
6. Find a Catalyst: Look for someone who can help you grow in your faith and become a part of a disciple making movement. This could be a pastor, a mentor, or a fellow believer who is further along in their journey.
7. Be a Catalyst: Once you have grown in your faith and become part of a DMM, look for opportunities to be a catalyst for others. Help them grow in their faith and become disciples who make disciples.
Disciple-Making Movement FAQ’s
What is a disciple making movement (DMM)?
A disciple-making movement (DMM) is an intentional and systematic process of making disciples who, in turn, make more disciples.
It emphasizes multiplying followers of Jesus, creating a rapidly spreading network of obedience-based discipleship. DMM focuses on empowering individuals to live out their faith practically, resulting in personal transformation and the potential for societal impact.
What are the primary characteristics of a DMM?
The primary characteristics of a DMM include a foundation of prayer, obedience-based discipleship, a commitment to multiplication, and the empowerment of local ownership and leadership.
These characteristics enable a DMM to rapidly multiply disciples, engage in holistic transformation, and foster sustainable impact within communities.
How do disciple-making movements build upon a foundation that emphasizes obedience above knowledge?
Disciple-making movements build upon a foundation that emphasizes obedience above knowledge by prioritizing practical application of God’s Word.
Rather than merely acquiring intellectual knowledge, DMM emphasizes putting that knowledge into action.
This approach leads to personal transformation and fosters a deepened relationship with God as disciples actively obey His commands, resulting in a genuine living faith.
What motivates or demotivates congregants to be involved in disciple making?
The motivation for congregants to be involved in disciple making stems from a deep sense of purpose, the desire to make a meaningful impact, and a personal experience of transformation.
When individuals witness the power of discipleship in their own lives and the lives of others, they are motivated to share that transformation with others. On the other hand, demotivation can arise from a lack of understanding, fear of rejection or failure, and a lack of clear guidance or support from church leaders.
How can a church transition to become a disciple-making church?
To transition to a disciple-making church, a congregation can take several steps.
Firstly, leadership must cast a clear vision for disciple making and create a culture that values and prioritizes discipleship. Training and equipping pathways should be established to provide practical tools for disciple making.
Small groups can be transformed into intentional disciple-making communities, emphasizing obedience-based discipleship and multiplication.
Lastly, regular evaluation and accountability mechanisms should be implemented to track progress and ensure the disciple-making focus remains central.
What are some unintended limiting factors that exist in many traditional models of disciple making?
Traditional models of disciple making often face unintended limiting factors.
These can include an overemphasis on knowledge acquisition without practical application, a lack of intentional multiplication and reproduction of disciples, dependency on professional clergy, and a failure to empower and equip ordinary believers for ministry.
Additionally, a focus on maintaining institutional structures and traditions can hinder the flexibility and adaptability needed to foster a movement of disciple making.
Overcoming these limiting factors requires a shift towards a more relational, obedience-based, and multiplication-oriented approach to discipleship.
Not convinced yet?
Do the Math.
If you look at simple addition versus multiplication over 16 years, the difference is staggering. While addition is more effective initially, multiplication overwhelmingly wins the day in the end.
In conclusion, a Disciple Making Movement is a rapid and exponential increase in disciples that make disciples.
It is a movement that is founded on the principles of prayer, obedience to God’s word, and equipping disciples to make more disciples. To be a part of a DMM requires dedication, commitment, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
By following the steps outlined above, you can be a part of a DMM and help to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. Remember, it all starts with prayer and a willingness to follow God’s call on your life.
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