decision point: equipping local churches

Image credit: glopphy / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: glopphy / 123RF Stock Photo

This is the second post in a decision point series on how disciple making teams relate to local churches.

Some disciple making teams begin by equipping local churches to implement disciple making movement strategies.

These teams see local churches as the harvest force and the hope of the world. The team’s job, therefore, is to serve and equip the local church to do its job.

Implications: a church fully committed to implementing disciple making movement strategies is a powerful thing. However, it must first rewrite its own DNA in order to see the ongoing multiplication of new groups of disciples. This is rare, but I have seen it happen.

Key decision: will new groups of believers be incorporated into the existing church, or will they be free to become new churches as their group grows in obedience to Jesus?

Encouragement: focus on reaching your city, not building your church.

Your turn:

  1. What benefits do you see of equipping local churches to implement disciple making movement strategies?
  2. What risks do you see?
  3. How would you advise teams that are equipping local churches to implement disciple making movement strategies?

Share your thoughts and make it a conversation!


Resources:

Discipleship and the Creeds (pdf), and the updated version, The Creeds and Disciple Making (blog post), by Chuck Huckaby

Disciple Making in the Historic Church (blog) by Chuck Huckaby

10 thoughts on “decision point: equipping local churches

    1. Hi Chuck, many people I relate to are trying to figure out how disciple making movements relate to existing evangelical churches – but you are taking it to a whole new level, which I greatly appreciate!

      The conversation you are having with Fr. Lee Nelson of the Anglican Church is very insightful, and a real-life example of interacting with historic churches on DMM (http://bit.ly/GHrlld). One thing that stood out to me is the Anglican emphasis on profession versus transaction, which I think is supported by DMM strategy … but nonetheless difficult for some practitioners to grasp.

      Most of my coaching, training and personal practice of DMM is in Eastern Orthodox countries, so I look forward to learning all I can from you!

      Thanks for extending the discussion with your comments and your promoting of the post.

      Together with you,
      Kirk

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      1. Kirk – I’d like to chat more @ your work in orthodox countries.

        Yes I prefer the discovery approach. There is a huge emphasis on discussion and dialog in Paul and many ancient traditions like the Celts and even in ancient monastic training and the catechumenate.

        The old Egyptian monks tested inquirers for obedience by having them memorize some psalms before letting them enter the community. That’s a DMM principle (to test for obedience)!

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  1. We are seeing some of this happen here in Plano, TX, and others in the USA are doing it as well. In cross-cultural settings what we most often see is a CPM catalyst who comes alongside an indigenous believer and encourages/coaches him/her to start a movement (so it’s not the outsider who starts it, it’s the insider). I suspect that in a church, you still need a specific individual who has a passion for this (but that’s probably stating the obvious).

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    1. Hi Justin, thanks for joining the conversation!

      Yes, let’s assume that finding the church insider/influencer is the first step. It seems like one of the challenges they will face is the cultural gap between the church and its community. To what degree do you see that being an issue in terms multiplication?

      Another challenge that I’ve observed is that churches are looking for a way to build their church (limited vision) instead of reaching their city (a more complete vision).

      I’d love to hear your insights and an analysis!

      Together with you,
      Kirk

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      1. In my experiments last year here and general observations…

        1) Many churches are looking for a quick fix to help falling attendance and offerings (general observation). Of course rewriting “DNA” is not quick. It’s like changing one’s eating or exercise patterns or any other habit and we know how easy that is! 🙂

        2) In conversations with Paul Watson, Americans are very hard to pin down on obedience, especially “churched” ones. While a Honduran may read Gen 1 and say “I guess I better stop throwing trash out my car window if God created the world” we are notoriously vague and non-specific. Getting to the “I wills” has proven hardest in my personal experimentation and then future accountability is very difficult to implement.

        3) While in a historic church we must offer everyone the opportunity to be trained and not predetermine who that will be and then, of course, we must work with those who say “yes” and evidence an obedient response. We really don’t know who those people will be and I believe we must offer multiple occasions and approaches to be trained.

        David Watson, Roy Moran (see below) and Neil Cole (“Church Transfusion”) all essentially say to begin a movement “off to one side”, nurture it, protect it, and grow it and then when it is viable on its own, then the rest will possibly take notice!

        4) Also in the historic church I believe we must try as far as possible to demonstrate that what we are doing now is in accordance with what God has done in our midst in the past. In my setting I hope to remind us of our German spiritual heritage. If I were in an overwhelmingly orthodox nation and were challenged about what I was doing by an orthodox churchman, I’d say “I’m simply helping these people who do not know Jesus through any church to have the opportunity to discover the faith of the Nicene Creed just as the church fathers discovered it from the scriptures.” I’m not saying that will work, but I am saying that it may give them pause. I also know a man with Syrian Orthodox background whose churches in Africa all use CPM/DMM approaches to identify people of peace and are seeking to implement other ones as well.

        5) To add one more voice, here’s Ray Moran on a “hybrid model”…
        http://disciplemakinginthehistoricchurch.blogspot.com/2013/10/roy-moran-hybrid-church-dmm-model.html

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