Field workers like Jeff Sundell and Curtis Sergeant, who have pioneered movements among unreached peoples around the world, are now applying their expertise in the U.S. in pursuit of similar movements among unreached peoples here. These leaders have coined the term “4x4 Movement Starts” to describe a minimum goal for movement starts where 4 lineages of disciple-makers are developing 4 or more generations of disciples. These 4x4 movements are now emerging in 27 areas across the U.S. As these grow, the number of trained and experienced leaders is also multiplying, and the movement starts are beginning to penetrate every segment of society—including unreached peoples. Some of those reached are already going back to their homeland to start movements in their people group.
This Month's Articles
In Jan/Feb 2011, MF first introduced readers to the T4T (Training for Trainers) model of Church Planting Movements, and in March the book2 was released here in the U.S. Since then, this “re-Revolution” has multiplied steadily in the U.S. with an ultimate agenda of reaching all of the unengaged and unreached peoples represented here. Read on to find out more about some of these exciting emerging movements!
Ministries aim to grow wide (a regular audience of many members), but not deep (many generations). Ministries urge: “come to our meeting,” “listen to our message,” “read our materials,” or “visit our site.” Ministries ask members to invite others rather than training them to reproduce. Ministries tend to overextend leaders while leaving disciples dependent and underdeveloped. Movements equip members to obey and teach what they receive, often with little interaction two or more generations away. Recently movement leaders have identified four or more “lineages” of disciples, of four or more generations, as an important foundation for maturing movements and have coined the term "4X4 Movement Starts" to describe these emerging movements.
As a family we have witnessed door to door for decades, using whatever model was favored by our current local church. They were always encouraged, and the people to whose homes we went seemed more responsive with someone from out of town. And as we shared the gospel, we joyfully experienced GOD! But after we, with others, helped add 1,200 people to one church, these people eventually wandered away because there was no structure for discipleship and leadership development to equip the fruit of these evangelistic outreaches for multiplication. Now, in the tools God has given us, we have a reproducing entry strategy, a reproducing gospel which new believers share right away, reproducing discipleship, reproducing gatherings of new believers, and multiplication of leaders.
I started my ministry as a pastor in 1990 in the usual way of “attractional” church. The traditional idea of “doing church” was to develop a program on Sundays that would draw those who were far from God to hear the Gospel and connect with the Lord and His people. But after more than 20 years doing it this way, something seemed very ineffective to me with this approach. I realized that in my 22 years as a pastor I had encouraged, challenged, rebuked, motivated, inspired and even scolded Christians toward disciple-making. But I had never taught them how to make a disciple.
By 2010, I had been discipling others for 30 years and risen to national level leadership with the Navigators. Then a speaker introduced me to Steve Addison’s book, Movements that Change the World.1 I was more than curious. This launched me on a three-year study of what God is doing around the world. The final book on my reading list was *T4T: A Discipleship Re-revolution* by Steve Smith and Ying Kai. As I started reading a voice in my head said, “Humble yourself and do this.” By now I had read hundreds of books on discipleship methods, and I wasn’t about to blindly start doing new stuff. But the Holy Spirit persisted in speaking to me, and I determined to obey. Never have I seen God do so much so quickly, nor to such depth.
We started our house church in October 2012. We just called it “porch church” since we started by meeting on our porch. We started with eight folks but only have seven now. We’ve intentionally not added new members but seek to start new churches with new folks. As of December, 2013 we have multiple streams to the 5th generation or beyond and well over a dozen more to the 4th generation. All told there are about 200 downstream churches in the USA and 162 overseas, including several among previously unengaged people groups. Our vision is to make it the norm for followers of Christ to become multiplying disciple-makers.
I moved from traditional church ministry to pursuing a generational church movement in January 2005. A desire to reach the lost and an honest look at how the first-century world was discipled in reproducing churches inspired us to “Re-en-ACT” our approach to the Great Commission. As a result we’ve had approximately 1000 generational groups and churches started in our people group. We live outside our people group, but I have personally led two to faith who have started generational church streams. Also, a volunteer team I was with led another person to faith who started a large generational stream. As a result, my primary role shifted from evangelism to training. Discipling these new believers as partner-priests, rather than students, has fostered generational growth.
In Honduras, Kenya, Guatemala, Israel, Congo, Pakistan, and many other nations, the Body of Christ is stirring in a mighty way, hungry for God’s work. Pastors and church leaders all over the world are hearing the call to return to “the Jesus model” of making disciples. Applying the tools Jesus modeled for us is resulting in the church becoming an army of disciples unleashed to impact the world. Let me elaborate...
While working with a team to start a T4T movement1 among Muslim immigrants in a major European city, Tim asked God, “How can I turn a verbal presentation of the First and Last Sacrifice Story2...
(originally printed September 2009 in eLINK—Magazine of World Team, under the title GO SLOW TO GO FAST: Cell and House Church Multiplication in the Philippines. The article has been updated for...Read The Full Article
This excerpt is from the forthcoming book Stubborn Perseverance: How God is initiating Church Planting Movements Through Storying Among Indonesian Muslims. Projected release: 2nd quarter of...
Become Holy by Nurturing the Fruit of the Spirit with Others’ Help
(pp 89-90, 92)
Julio groaned. “Leaping over Mount Silverado would be easier for me than to be holy. I can’t live with purity...Read The Full Article
These organizations and coaches have indicated involvement in developing multiple lineages of multiplying generations, as the foundation for producing full church-planting movements:
Imagine that you are responsible to insure the training and personal development of a growing number of new pastors each year. This year it is 500, added to 300 from the previous year and 200 from the year before. However, these leaders must remain on the job, not leaving their locations for any extended period of time, since they are in charge of their flocks. Finally, circumstances dictate that they cannot connect consistently to online education due to the lack of connectivity and lack of resources. What will you do?
Founded in 1979 at the U.S. Center for World Mission, the Zwemer Institute became a major resource and training center for Christians seeking to engage Muslims with the gospel. This need was...Read The Full Article
Two years from now, in 2016, Niran, his wife, and his five children in a rural southwestern Nigerian community will bow together in family worship without aching, empty stomachs. They will give money at church, dream about a college education for one of their children, and, most of all, transcend a subsistence lifestyle for the first time ever. Here’s how this could become reality…
As missionaries, I wonder what will be staring us in the face in 30 to 50 years from now? Are there aspects of our mission work that look progressive and expedient now, but may backfire in the long-term? What changes will we have made around the world that we may regret? Will we find the prosperity gospel running rampant? Will we find that the ability for the majority of the world to show compassion and make disciples in their context is utterly dependent on a few wealthy countries? What if those few wealthy countries have serious economic downturns?
Could it really be? Was it possible? Maybe it wasn’t a pipe dream after all. Maybe, just maybe… Slowly words came to Christopher’s thoughts. “We can do this. Brainstorm with me! How can we finish the task? How can it happen in our generation? That is, how can we become the last generation in history?!” “I don’t know, but I do know this,” said John. “Renee told me that the lecturer said there have been over a thousand plans in history, and all have failed. What makes us think we’ll succeed?” Christopher set his mug down on the table harder than he intended, sloshing coffee out of the cup. “Because we must. We must! Someone must finish this thing. Not finishing it is unacceptable. There must be a way."
So many things from our cultural background color our perspective, which makes it difficult to see where we might be wrong. For instance, just a week ago at church, I was talking to an older “retired” missionary. He worked on campuses for many years. But at a certain age, he was told that he would have to retire. I see no clear biblical teaching to argue for what many ministries do when someone reaches 62 or 65, or even 70. In fact, I would suggest that if the Bible says anything, it would tend to illustrate quite the opposite.