Launching a Global Movement of Movements
Over six years ago I came to a stunning realization that changed my life and ministry forever. As a member of Frontier Ventures and a “disciple” of Ralph Winter, I am fully committed to the biblical necessity of reaching the unreached peoples of the world—of taking the gospel to those who are cut off from access to salvation by barriers of language, culture and ethnic identity. But I came to the realization that simply establishing a “church” presence in every people was not enough. In fact, in some ways it could be worse than doing nothing at all.
For if we simply go to every people group and establish a church like many we have in the West, where believers are not equipped to go and make disciples and churches do not plant reproducing churches, then we will have established in every people a sterile form of the Christian faith that could inoculate those in need of the gospel against the powerful biblical faith of Scripture where Jesus has called all of us to go and make disciples who disciple others. Establishing a faulty form of doing church in every people group could prevent the creation of the thousands of discipleship movements that are essential to providing access to the gospel to every person.
This realization started me on a journey to discover the most effective methods of making disciples who go on to disciple others. There is simply nothing more critical for the global church to learn how to do than to equip believers to make disciples and start movements of discipleship and church planting within every people group. As I discovered the various methods God is using to foster these movements of discipleship, methods such as T4T (Training for Trainers) or the Discovery Bible Study Method, I have shared them with you in the pages of Mission Frontiers.
My wife and I read the wonderful books available on this topic and had gone to the seminars, all with the desire to apply what we were learning in the real world. We wanted to be among those faithful followers of Jesus who made the kind of disciples who go on to make more disciples.
But it wasn’t happening! We were not starting new groups or making disciples who were starting groups. Something was wrong; something was missing, but we did not know what it was. We had most of the head knowledge, but the practical skills were missing. We needed someone to come alongside us and show us how to do it—just like Jesus did with
In His providence, God brought a trainer into our lives and we formed a group in our home. He trained us in the process of starting a group and running it with those we invited to participate. We now have two different groups where we are training people to go and do the same. We have learned a lot and while there is much more for us to learn, we are committed to the process of making disciples, so we know we will get better at it over time.
I tell you this story in order to illustrate a critical need in missions today and the reason for this particular issue of Mission Frontiers. In order to provide access to the gospel to every person living within every people group, we will need thousands of disciple-making movements started by ordinary people like you and me. Right now there is a critical shortage of trainers who are able to help people get started in making disciples. This is where the Zume Project comes in.
The Zume Project (pronounced zoo-may) is designed to help provide the initial spark of inertia to get groups started and to begin the training process. Through a web-based video curriculum, the participants in each of the new Zume groups are led through the process of hosting a meeting with all of its various elements. The video curriculum takes the place of an in-person trainer such as the one that helped my wife and me get started with our church. The curriculum helps to establish the vision, values and practices that empower ordinary people to become disciple-makers and church planters one generation after another. When someone goes to http://www.zumeproject.com and registers a new group, a live coach is assigned to that group to help in answering questions. You will not be left on your own, but the video curriculum is meant to convey the content of the disciple-making process.
The web-based video curriculum is not meant to be a permanent part of the disciple-making process. It is only meant to help get new groups started for the first time in an area. Once a new group has begun, it is expected that each participant will become an in-person trainer who will help to get new groups started without using the video curriculum. From then on each generation of disciple-makers will foster each succeeding generation of disciple-makers as in-person trainers. The disciple-making DNA that is to be reproduced one generation after another is contained in the initial video curriculum but the video curriculum itself is not to be used after the first generation of disciple makers is trained. It is the initial spark that can start the engine of multi-generational discipleship and
So What Makes Zume Special?
Why have we chosen to highlight Zume? As I have mentioned, it is critical to the cause of world evangelization that average believers learn how to become disciple makers. There are currently very few places where this sort of training can take place and very few trained people who can equip believers to start disciple-making movements. The Zume Project has come up with a creative and effective means to fill this “training gap” between the need and the available supply of trainers. They have also developed the computer software to allow for the efficient fostering of new groups and the tracking of their progress as they grow and multiply. My experience with their website has been a pleasant one, where each step forward is well laid out and easy to understand.
The people behind the Zume Project have extensive experience in training disciple makers. Curtis Sergeant trained Ying Kai and worked with him to develop the T4T Process. The people he has trained have planted hundreds of thousands of churches. Now he is taking the training of disciples to a global level with the Zume Project. The Zume Project is now operational here in the U.S. but will go global in the near future.
If We Build It, Will They Come?
The movie, Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner introduced into our cultural lexicon the phrase, “Build it and they will come.” But just building one of the best disciple-making websites available in the world today does not guarantee success. There are many factors that will determine whether or not the Zume Project will succeed. Here are a couple of them.
Those interested in making disciples will need to learn that this resource is available. Even with the help of Mission Frontiers, it will not be easy to get the word out. Those who believe in the potential of this project will need to be its marketing department and invite others to participate in it.
It is a big unknown as to how many there are in the American Evangelical church community who are committed to obeying Jesus in making disciples and who will be eager to get involved with this new project. But the real question is what will you do with this opportunity to learn to make disciples?
The Zume Project is one of those rare opportunities to change the course of world evangelization. It is an opportunity to launch a movement of movements where we foster disciple-making movements in every people group and in every region of the world until there is no place left where the gospel is not readily available to every person. There is no guarantee that the Zume Project will succeed, but it will likely fail if we all do nothing. So let us run with it and see what marvelous things God does in and through us.
Definitions: The term “simple church” is used a number of places in this issue of MF. For our purposes it is defined as a spiritual family with Christ in their midst as King, who love God, love others, and make disciples.