A church planting movement (CPM) or disciple making movement (DMM) can be defined as “the multiplication of disciples making disciples and leaders developing leaders, resulting in indigenous churches planting churches which begin to spread rapidly through a people group or population segment.” Click here to read more about gospel movements.
Psalm 57:9 “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing praises to you among the people.”
Lord, it can sometimes be easy to complain about the Middle East: the war, the violence, the corruption, the inefficiency, the lack of infrastructure like water, electricity, and gas in many countries. Indeed, a pervasive sense of hopelessness has shrouded this beautiful region. But today, Lord, we give thanks, and we give thanks as an act of defiance, resistance to the spirit of this age.
Please forgive the longer-than-average explanation today! But it needs some clarifying.
One of the challenges in catalyzing a reproducing movement, Jesus’ clear pattern notwithstanding, is helping workers transition from focusing on individuals to investing in groups. But groups, as Jesus clearly intuited, have distinct advantages over individuals, particularly in countries with high levels of social persecution and/or government threat.
What we don’t want is a bunch of individuals coming to faith, being extracted from their natural communities, and becoming cultural Christians. Of course we celebrate with the angels when even one sinner repents (Luke 15:10)! However, in contexts where movements have happened, a consistent pattern emerges: those who come to faith as individuals almost always join Christian culture; and those who join Christian culture tend no longer to reach their native oikos, or community.
Instead of evangelizing individuals, disciple making movements see all people of peace (Luke 10) as bridges to the community. Consider the man with the legion of demons: after his deliverance, he begs Jesus to join Jesus’ group. Jesus tells him ‘no,’ encouraging him instead to take the beginning seeds of the gospel back to his native community and share with them all that God has done. In fact, when we read the gospel accounts, the first time Jesus passes through Gerasene, the people by and large reject him; but after the delivered man shares his testimony with these communities, they are ready to receive Jesus the next time he visits their villages.
In other words: once a person of peace is found, the seeds of the gospel are planted in that person’s community context. True, an individual might be key in getting the process started. But the goal is that this individual bring along her friends and/or family for the journey. In this way, groups of people discover God’s saving Gospel, and churches are established rather than individuals coming to faith in isolation.
Today, we will pray this theme.
If you’d like to watch a video discussing more of the ‘group’ process and church planting generally, click here.
Acts 10 “Cornelius was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision. [Because of this vision, Peter visited Cornelius at his home. Cornelius then tells Peter:]
‘Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.’ [When Peter shares the Gospel with Cornelius’ entire household–spouse; children; servants; brothers; parents; other relatives; probably even friends!–they repent and believe; then the Holy Spirit falls upon them all.]
Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.
Mark 5:15, 18-20 “A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. … As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus said, ‘No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.’ So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.”
1 Cor 7:17-18, 20 “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you.”
Each day, we pray for one of the countries the Grove represents, believing in faith that a disciple making movement will touch each and every community throughout these nations.
Today, we pray for the Palestinian people. We pray for groups. We pray for encounters with Jesus. We pray that new believers would wage peace. We pray that movements of Palestinian Jesus followers would lead the charge in pursuing peace in the Middle East.
Holy Father, Sovereign God, we give thanks for Palestinians, and we come to you again today–poor in spirit–asking for your divine intervention. Would you lead movement practitioners to people of peace; would you help those persons of peace establish new gospel-centered communities; and would you mature those communities to being New Testament churches with baptized believers obeying all the commands of Christ. May we see disciples who make disciples, leaders who make leaders, groups that start groups, and churches that plant churches. May your glory increase through them, through the obedience and love of your followers. And may a gospel movement cover the nations where they reside, transforming them from the inside out, and impacting the entire Arab world.
The Grove is a learning and implementation community of 23 intentional kingdom workers from 7 different nationalities serving in 8 strategic nations within the Middle East and North Africa. We have intentionally banded together for 2023-2024 to learn, grow, experiment, pray, and serve together.
Use these resources to help pray specifically each day.