Movements Without Women?
Rick is recovering from recent surgery while his house is undergoing major restoration following an attic fire caused by a lighting strike. It is my privilege to fill in for him. Please pray for an outpouring of God’s blessing on Rick and his family that far exceeds the attacks they have recently endured.
R. Nyman compiled more worthy material by and about women CPM catalysts than we could fit in print. Be sure to look on-line for bonus articles!
Winning or Losing?
While followers of Jesus are growing in numbers and as a percentage of world population, so are the unreached peoples. Donald McGavran estimated in 1985 that 50% of the world (2.5 billion people) were then living in unreached people groups. Now, in 2015, IMB researchers count the population of unreached groups at 4.2 billion, 58%[ii] of the world’s 7.3 billion! According to such research, the number of people living in unreached groups has increased nearly 70% over the past 30 years. See R. Nyman’s introduction (p. 6) for additional perspective on these trends.
But this is not the whole picture:
1. God’s Word promises that “of the increase of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
2. Jesus described the kingdom as leaven spreading (invisibly at first) through the dough.
3. And historically—in the New Testament world, China, Korea, etc.—the gospel has sometimes spread quietly first among oppressed women on its way to transforming society in visible ways.[iii]
As Donald McGavran urged in 1982,[iv] one catalytic element is missionaries (men and women) led by the Holy Spirit to pursue Christward movements through winning whole families. With God’s blessing, such movements have the potential to rapidly outpace population growth!
Women as CPM Catalysts
While the story of most Disciple-Making Movements is written by and about men—featuring their roles and exploits—it is doubtful any movement in history has lacked the strategic involvement (as well as prayers) of women. Since women missionaries significantly outnumber men, and the vast majority of single missionaries are women, it is vital that CPM efforts welcome, encourage and empower the efforts and contribution of women. In addressing this issue, R. Nyman has done a great service for the whole body of Christ.
Mary was the first to learn the specifics of Jesus’ birth, and was prophesied over and encouraged by her cousin Elizabeth. Jesus was of course nurtured by Mary from infancy, and various women later provided for His needs, served Him, anointed His body for burial, and were the first to meet Him and believe He had risen.
In many cultures one of the most appealing things about Jesus is how he related to women, including letting:
· Martha rebuke him,
· Mary sit at his feet,
· the immoral woman wash his feet, and
· the Samaritan woman bring her whole village to Him.
While the Twelve were all men, women were among the 120 that prayed through to Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. And Paul was welcomed into Lydia’s household and he commends a variety of women co-laborers.
In this MF we salute the strategic and varied roles of women in ten essential components common of church-planting: Vision, Reproduction, Extraordinary Prayer, Word of God Foundation with Reliance on the Holy Spirit, Abundant Evangelism, Discipleship, Commitment, Oikos-based Churches, Leadership, and Unflinching Evaluation.
One new CPM manual—Stubborn Perseverance by James Nyman[v]—highlights the involvement of both men and women in the fictionalized account of a real CPM. We close with this excerpt, in which a woman models both Extraordinary Prayer and Abundant Evangelism:
Fatima’s life had gained a new sense of purpose since Faisal had begun sharing with her about CPMs. Fatima herself had talked to many, but no one had wanted to discuss a prophet story. So she determined to pray more fervently. She tried getting up at 4:30 with Faisal, but that didn’t work for her. Then she realized she could pray during many of her daily activities. In fact, washing clothes became one of her best prayer times. She also decided to pray for people in the houses she passed as she walked to the market. Many times she knew the families, and would pray for them specifically. Other times, she didn’t know them, or what to pray for, so she prayed that God would give them dreams and visions about Isa. And when others were resting, she would take out her prayer list and pray through the names.
Fatima also found it helpful to pray with others. Nur and Amina also wanted to improve their prayer lives, so they all agreed to meet three times a week for an hour of concerted prayer. Often it was difficult to coordinate their schedules, yet they persevered because they were convinced of the importance of prayer.
Fatima finished rinsing her clothes and hung them on a clothesline strung between two trees. As she walked to the market, she prayed, “O Lord, lead me to a person of peace.”
On the way, she saw her friend Inne hanging up her own laundry. Inne was slender and average in height. Her stylish hair was pulled back into a ponytail so she could do her work. Butterfly earrings dangled from her ears.
“I just finished hanging up my own laundry! Let me give you a hand,” Fatima offered cheerfully. They chatted causally as they worked, then Fatima asked, “Inne, do you know anyone who has ever had a dream from God?”
Inne’s eyes got big, and she almost dropped her clothes bucket. “As a matter of fact, I had a troubling dream last night; may I tell it to you?”
“Sure, but not here in the hot sun! Can we go inside?”
Stubborn Perseverance is available now on Amazon. Learn more at StubbornPerseverance.org
[iii] Underground Church Movements: The Surprising Role of Women’s Networks by Rebecca Lewis, International Journal of Frontier Missions (21:4 Winter 2014:p. 145–150):ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/21_4_PDFs/Role_of_Women.pdf
[v] James is the husband of R. Nyman, who oversaw the development of this MF.