This issue pays tribute to Dr. George Patterson (1932-2022) and the debt of gratitude owed him for helping us to discover a more biblical and effective way to reach the world for Christ. Dr. Patterson demonstrated incredible courage and tenacity in pursuing his biblical vision of missions. He was willing to challenge 1,700 years of history, church tradition and entrenched thinking in order to find a more biblical and effective way of doing church. He was willing to endure the naysayers, critics and outright enemies of the gospel in order to relentlessly pursue the application of his biblical principles of mission in the real world. He did not just come up with some great ideas, he developed his principles through many years of hard work on the mission field in Honduras. Learn more about the tremendous vision that Dr. Patterson had regarding biblical principles of mission that lead to exponential movements of disciple-making and church-planting in the May June 2022 issue.See all the articles
When the history of our times is written in the decades and centuries to come, the Church Planting Movements that are currently in the process of transforming our world will be recognized as the most powerful move of God since the book of Acts. And when these future historians write about what led to this powerful move of God, one person will stand out as the conceptual source of these movements—Dr. George Patterson.
On February 15, 2022, my father died at 89 years of age. At the memorial a week later, George Patterson’s impact and legacy in world missions shone in the outpouring of sentiment and accolades, many from people I’d never met. My husband and I have been church-planting missionaries all our adult lives and intersected with his world of influence at many points, yet we still find ourselves surprised at how far his ideas have penetrated. The mission world has lost a giant upon whose shoulders many, many of us have been lifted to see better and go further than we could otherwise have done.
In 1988 Louise and I took Perspectives on the World Christian Movement in a remote class in the center of the Navajo Reservation. "One of our Perspectives professors was an older man with a surplus of energy and passion named George Patterson. George and his wife, Denny, had served in Honduras, pioneering principles of church-planting that resulted in spontaneous multiplication of churches. I shouldn’t say pioneering, but rather rediscovering.
I had the honor of having Dr. George Patterson as a teacher, mentor, prayer warrior and friend for 23 years. George was strong in the grace of Jesus and the way he modeled “behind the scenes” discipleship to catalyze and sustain house church movements where there weren’t any was quite revolutionary.
The contribution of George Patterson is one reason why we keep finding ourselves surprised by the content of the Perspectives course. Because of George’s writing and teaching, long before CPM or DMM were named as recognized approaches, the Perspectives course had been presenting the basic ideas of multiplying movements of disciples with Patterson’s teaching. He had formed his guiding principles in practice, but he was aware of how he was building on some of the best missiology that preceded him.
In many settings, the drive to supply information has not been matched with a drive to influence the formation— the character development—of the learner. These excerpts from George Patterson’s writings help us see another dimension of training, often lacking in formal degree programs. For more, see http://www.mentorandmultiply.com
Julio groaned. “Leaping over Mount Silverado would be easier for me than to be holy. I can’t live with purity like you guys do.” “You will soon, son.” Jethro clasped his arm. “When you were baptized, you died with Christ to sin and were raised with Him to new life. God is working in you, transforming you into the image of His Son. In His sight, you’re a saint.”
How do we get there from here? How do we mobilize the Body of Christ to see a church established in every people group? George Patterson of Cultural Adaptation Training suggests the following steps, working backwards from final result to first step— 14 Links of Mobilization:
The author of this article would like to clarify that this work is C4, and all believers call themselves “Christians” or “Children of God.” There have been tremendous evangelistic breakthroughs among animistic Tribals, Chinese, nominal Christians, Hindus and now even Muslims, but there have been very few breakthroughs among the 350 million Buddhists of the world. Surely the Buddhists are one of the few remaining giants in global evangelization.
In this issue we are remembering and reflecting on the life of George Patterson. I take this as an opportunity to reflect as well on the movement-movement, that is the reality that we are in the midst of—a movement in which more and more emphasis is being placed on movements.
The social distancing and isolation related to COVID-19 brought great challenges to Disciple Making Movements around the world because movements thrive on ongoing and intensive personal interaction. But the Lord encouraged us that every crisis has a kingdom opportunity embedded. We have long believed that helping hurting people is part of being disciples as well as making disciples. Applying this principle in fresh ways demonstrated that the kingdom can still thrive in the midst of extremely bad news.4
Is there an urgent nature in the character of God? Let’s see. God tells Abraham to go, leave, leave and go all in one verse, Gen. 12:1. Then in Ex. 14:1 God tells Israel to turn, as in right now! Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like… As soon as the grain is ripe, the laborer puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mk. 4:26-29. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Beseech the Lord of the harvest. Matt. 9:37. No doubt there are many, many more verses revealing the urgency of God.
A Vision of Church Multiplication Movements Why aren’t we seeing more disciples made and more churches starting? Part of the problem is that our standards of what church is have become far too high and our standards of what it means to be a disciple have become far too low. We need to reverse this.4
We finished the 2022 Ralph D. Winter Lectureship— held in person at Biola University and virtually. In the July–August 2021 issue of MF, I mentioned the topic of this was going to be Homogenous Unit Principle (HUP). Simply stated, it is that people like to become Christians with others who are like them without crossing linguistic, class or race barriers.
Click on the .pdf icon within this article to read the Unreached of the Day.