This is an article from the September-October 2018 issue: Wycliffe Bible Translators

24:14 Goal

Movement engagements in every unreached people and place by 2025 (88 months)

24:14 Goal

Core CPM Distinctives

For the last 30 years, there has been a growing awareness and involvement in efforts to reach the world’s unreached people. Yet the population of those who have no access to the gospel has grown – from 1.8 billion with no access in the mid-1980s to 2.2 billion today. 

While many efforts to reach the unreached have occurred throughout Christian history, global efforts to identify and reach ALL remaining Unreached People Groups were launched in the late 1980s. In these efforts, some groups accepted a God-sized vision: to see an entire people group (ETHNE) discipled. They saw this vision in the Great Commission where Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples of every ETHNE

Given the overwhelming task of discipling people groups that often had millions of people, these early catalytic teams and their prayer partners went to God in desperate prayer. These teams became willing learners as God led them to put aside human tradition and search the New Testament for strategies of discipling and church planting. God began to use the dependence and humility of these servants to start “book of Acts-like movements” (Church Planting Movements) reproducing this faith and obedience with others. 

A Church Planting Movement (CPM) is 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. These new disciples and churches begin to transform their communities as the new Body of Christ lives out kingdom values. 

When consistent (multiple-stream) 4th generation reproduction of churches occurs, church planting has crossed a threshold to becoming a sustainable movement. While it may take years to begin, once a movement starts, we usually see this 4th generation threshold crossed within three to five years. Increasingly, CPMs are starting new CPMs within other people groups and population segments. 

The three of us—Stan Parks, Curtis Sergeant and Steve Smith—have the privilege of being connected directly or indirectly with leaders of most of the Church Planting Movements in the world. Curtis was one of the first pioneers used by God in these modern movements and Steve and Stan were part of the second wave that learned movement lessons from Curtis and other pioneer CPM catalysts. In a few instances we have personally helped catalyze a movement, but we mainly connect with movement leaders via prayer, training, coaching, learning, advising and networking. We love the brothers and sisters God is using to catalyze these movements and are highly committed to their work and well-being.

From the outside, our personal styles and approaches appear quite different. From a first glance one might think our systems and methodologies are radically different. Sometimes various networks invite us in because they want greater emphasis on one CPM methodology over another. Yet in reality, we are committed to one overarching goal: that CPMs become sustained and saturate every people group and place of the world. We are convinced that CPMs are the only church planting approach whose fruit exceeds population growth. Because of our undying commitment to see God glorified through movements, our various styles and methods are actually built on the same CPM distinctives and are much more alike than they are different. This is because we all believe in biblical core components of movements that cannot be violated. We all adhere to these principles and employ various methodologies to cooperate with the Spirit and see the same principles bear fruit in different contexts. 

CPM networks and practitioners who realize this truth invite us and/or other CPM coaches around the world to assist them in their movements because we are 1) committed to the same biblical principles but 2) might bring a different perspective or flavor to help address some areas in which a movement may be stuck. 

This commitment to CPMs has also led us to form a larger coalition of practitioners who employ varied methods but are absolutely committed to the core distinctives of CPMs. 24:14 is a coalition of disciples from around the world, collaborating to see biblical kingdom movement engagements in every unreached people and place of the world by 2025.1

CPM practitioners, with their variety of methods, are still a subset of the larger church planting and missional world. It is time to unite CPM practitioners toward a common objective, as well as to help other ministers of the gospel know how to step into CPM ways of operating. The distinctives that unite the various streams of CPM methods are much stronger than the minor differences of praxis. 

The three of us started this journey when there were just a handful of movements. Now, with over 650 movements around the world, it is time to revisit the core elements which unite us all. It is very popular in today’s parlance for missional workers to claim they are using movement practices. Unfortunately, many of these workers are not committed to a few irreducible distinctives of CPM efforts. Those distinctives are as follows. 

CPM Distinctives

A CPM approach is one in which: 

  1. 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(s). 
  2. The focus is to make every follower of Christ a reproducing disciple rather than merely a convert. 
  3. Patterns create frequent and regular accountability for lovingly 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. 
  4. 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 can function not merely as consumers, but as active agents of kingdom advance. 
  5. Each disciple is given a vision both for reaching their relational network and for extending the kingdom to the ends of the earth with a prioritization on the darkest places (with a “no place left” mentality). They are equipped to minister and partner with others in the Body of Christ in both of these environments. 
  6. Reproducing churches are intentionally formed as a part of the process of multiplying disciples. 

The intent in CPM approaches is that 1) disciples, 2) churches, 3) leaders and 4) movements can multiply endlessly by the power of the Spirit. 

  1. The focus is on igniting movements of multiplying generations of churches. (The first churches started in a people group/population segment are generation one churches, which start generation two churches, which start generation three churches, which in turn start generation four churches, and so on.) 
  2. Emphasis is not on the specific model of CPM/ DMM used (e.g. T4T, Discovery [DBS], Zúme, 4 Fields, etc.) but on the underlying biblical principles of multiplying kingdom movements. 
  3. A value is placed on radical evaluation and willingness to change and grow to make sure that each element of character, knowledge, disciple-making skills and relational skills are 1) biblical and 2) able to be emulated by other generations of disciples. This requires intentional simplicity as well. 

One way to look at it is that T4T, DMM (DBS), Zúme, and other related approaches are various processes using the same principles, and the common result is Church Planting Movements. 

Raising the Sails

Obviously, none of the disciples and churches in these movements are perfect. Nor do we claim that certain steps and methodologies can guarantee a movement. Some movement practitioners use the “Sailboat Analogy” to describe the dynamic. You can be in a sailboat and have your sails up and ready, but unless the wind blows, you will not move very far. In the same way, unless the wind of the Holy Spirit blows, there will be no Church Planting Movement. On the other hand, if you don’t put up your sails, your boat will not move very far even in a strong wind. We have found through study of Scripture and learning from the Holy Spirit’s work around the world that there are ways we can be ready for multiplication (sails up) and other ways we can hinder multiplication (sails down). 

We don’t control the wind of the Spirit, but we can control our readiness to go as far and as fast as possible when He moves! One danger is that some want to argue “their CPM approach” is better than other CPM approaches. In reality none of these approaches are “owned” by any of the practitioners. All of them have come from a Spirit-led biblically-based learning and obedience process involving thousands of leaders refining and learning together.

 God is using an increasing number of customizations and hybrids between different CPM approaches. In fact, unless a movement approach is customized to the context, it is usually not very fruitful. Quite a few movements have started before their leaders had any exposure to the different approaches mentioned above. As one leader said, “Nobody taught us this -- we just learned about movements from the Holy Spirit!” God loves variety. Each and every Church Planting Movement is beautifully unique. 

Common Outcomes

At the same time, we can identify common principles and results. Once a CPM has started – regardless of the approach used – the resulting disciples and churches have very similar DNA with similar outward expressions. 

  • Praying—CPM is always accompanied by a prayer movement. Once a movement starts it is also marked by extraordinary prayer. Those coming to Christ are highly aware that only God can birth new disciples and churches. They are highly motivated to see God break through the darkness in the lives of their friends and neighbors. 
  • Scriptural—In CPMs, the Bible is taken very seriously. Everyone is expected to be a disciple and sharer of the Word, and to interpret and apply Scripture. 
  • Obeying—The churches are devoted to listening to God’s Word and obeying it individually and corporately. Obedience is expected and everyone is held accountable for it. Jesus told us that if we love Him, we must obey His commands. 
  • Indigenous—The outsider looks for Persons of Peace and households of peace (Mt. 10, Mk 6, Lk. 9, 10) that God has prepared within a society. When these people and groups come to faith, they are immediately equipped to reach others. Since the insiders are the disciple-makers, the new churches can grow in ways that are both based on Scripture and adapted to the culture. 
  • Holistic—By focusing on obedience to Scripture, believers become eager to show God’s love to people. The disciples in these movements love those around them in practical ways, such as caring for widows and orphans, ministering to the ill and fighting oppression. 
  • Rapidly Reproducing—Just like the early church in Acts, these modern-day movements multiply rapidly. Every disciple and church is equipped to reproduce and taught to rely on the Holy Spirit to empower them. On average, churches in movements take about one year to reproduce another church, which often leads to doubling the number of disciples and churches every 9-18 months. 

As you contemplate your involvement with movements, ask yourself if you are committed to the distinctives of a CPM. We encourage you to collaborate with others having similar commitments, even if their particular methodology differs from yours. You will find that in the process, you learn from the strengths of each other’s methods, attitudes and approaches.

 To make the 24:14 commitment and join in seeing kingdom movement engagements in every unreached people and place by 2025, go to 2414now.net/commit.

 

  1. 24:14 was launched in 2017. For more information, see 2414now.net.

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