Church Planting Movements (CPM) and Disciple Making Movements (DMM) have been “in the news” in the missions world for around thirty years now, but they are only appearing “on the radar” in North American church discussions far more recently. Not all the press has been positive. Particularly, criticisms from 9 Marks and Radius International have been sharp and are summarized in the book, “No Shortcut to Success” by Matt Rhodes. These criticisms have been countered with responses from movement practitioners such as Dave Coles, Pam Arlund and Warrick Farah. It is my personal belief that if CPM/DMM approaches are implemented well, they produce better quality disciples, more consistently, as well as a greater quantity of disciples over time when compared to approaches commonly used by recent generations.
If you would like to do a little direct investigation yourself or “put your toe in the water” to get connected with people pursuing movements in North America, there are a few easy ways to get started. If you are one who likes books, you might look at In the Way by Damian Gerke or The Only One by myself (Curtis Sergeant). For the latter, you can even get the eBook or audio book for free with a code from this site. There are certainly plenty of other books on the subject. If you have more of an academic bent, you might be interested in Motus Dei. If you would like a more global perspective, perhaps the 24:14 book would be of interest.
If you would like to investigate some introductory and basic training on one approach to movements, there is a free and self-guided training website called Zúme. Zúme is the Greek word for yeast and references the Kingdom parable in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20. It is available in 43 languages. You can see a quick overview of the topics here. There are a few alternative ways to access and use the content including with a mobile app, with SD cards, and with alternative ways to segment the training into smaller and shorter pieces or even with extremely brief overviews delivered by email or accessed via the internet. For die-hard readers there is a Zume Training book which is available for free as a PDF. There is an associated podcast as well.
If you want to connect more quickly and directly with people in North America who are pursuing these approaches, then 2414now.net is probably the best way to get started. 24:14 is named for Matthew 24:14 where Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” It is a coalition of people pursuing movement approaches. There is a North America page on the main site and there is a newly launched website dedicated to North America. There is also a documentary and some other resources on movements in North America. There are also various resources at the More Disciples website including online conferences (past and future), podcast episodes, videos, etc. Finally, for pastors who are considering a transition to movement approaches and away from more traditional church structures, an additional resource is Pastor to Pioneer.
If you are seeking opportunities for live training to get started, you can contact people with 2414now.net. One type of training for example, is a Monday through Friday training called MetaCamp. You can email for more information.
1. So, what are some of the distinctive elements or main focal points of a CPM/DMM approach? Some of the salient characteristics are as follows:
2. There is awareness that only God can start movements, but disciples can follow biblical principles to pray, plant, and water the seeds that can lead to a book of Acts type multiplying movement.
3. The focus is to make every follower of Christ a reproducing disciple rather than merely a convert.
4. Patterns create frequent and regular accountability for both obeying what the Lord is speaking to each person and for them to pass it on to others in a loving environment. This requires a participative small-group approach.
5. Each disciple is equipped in comprehensive ways (such as interpreting and applying Scripture, a well-rounded prayer life, functioning as a part of the larger Body of Christ, and responding well to persecution/suffering) in order that they might function not merely as consumers, but as active agents of Kingdom advance.
6. Reproducing churches are intentionally formed as a part of the multiplying disciples process. The intent in CPM/DMM approaches is that 1) disciples, 2) churches, 3) leaders, and 4) movements can multiply endlessly by the power of the Spirit. This means everyone is trained to function as a trainer of others.
One of the biggest issues related to movement approaches in a North American context is how or if they can be best integrated into traditional church structures. There are a variety of approaches being tried in different places. Due to every church being different, there may never be a set answer to this question. Some people are doubtful if a true “movement ethos” is possible in traditional structures. Others believe that healthy hybrid approaches are achievable. There is plenty of experimentation that is still needed. In any case, it is certainly true that different types of people will be reached by different types of approaches, including CPM/DMM approaches, so it is wise to consider how those approaches might be used in places where more traditional approaches are becoming less fruitful.
Curtis Sergeant will be speaking at the 2023 National Disciple Making Forum and sharing his insights on using Scripture in Disciple Making Movements. Won’t you plan to join us at the Forum? Click here to register.