Unflinching Grace-Filled Evaluation
If a pilot flies a plane off course by only one degree without correction, after an hour of flight the plane will be miles off of its planned destination. This can also apply to DMMs. Unless we unflinchingly evaluate all that we’re doing we may find ourselves way off course.
David Watson and Victor John did this with the Bhojpuri people movement in India. One case was when they trained the church planters into becoming church planter catalysts.
After this period of re-evaluation, David and Victor gathered the church planters together. At this point, they probably had 40-50 fully supported church planters. They gave them new instructions: “You may not plant any more churches. Nor can you pastor any churches!” The church planters were shocked: “Then what can we do?”
David and Victor gave them new instructions. They were to train church planters from the Bhojpuri. They were to go back to the same villages where they had planted churches and tell them: “We will not start any more churches or pastor your churches. It is your responsibility to do these two things. We will help you do it.”
Essentially, the church planters were changing roles from church planters to church planting catalysts. The trauma of changing roles was too great for some, and over half left the work. For David and Victor, it was a difficult transition. However, they trained the catalysts that remained. These catalysts went back to the villages with the goal of helping the churches plant second generation churches. Many of the Bhojpuri churches succeeded in starting new churches. (BHOJPURI CASE STUDY: 3 phases of work [April 2009])
My husband and I (R Nyman) had been serving among Muslim UPGs in Southeast Asia since 1991. We had a strong understanding of reproducing disciples and had already seen four house fellowships catalyzed. In partnership with our national colleagues, we had succeeded in reaching individuals but were stumped as to how to reach households. We asked senior missionaries and they also didn’t know how to reach households and see those households of disciples multiply.
In 2003, David Watson led a DMM training on our island. We were amazed at how the Lord had been catalyzing disciple-making movements in India. Following David’s example, we changed our approach and began trying to reach households through Discovery Groups.
Willing to Be Willing to Do Anything for God’s Glory
To move forward in DMM, we and our local partners frequently ask these simple questions:
· What do we need to stop doing in order to focus on what needs to be done, to see the launch of cascading movements?
· What do we need to start doing?
· What do we need to continue doing?
As my husband and I wrestled with these questions, we realized that our area leadership role with expatriates took 80% of our time in recruitment, orientation, shepherding, training, coaching, and member health. Our local partners were floundering, as we didn’t have the time needed to model implementing the basics of launching a movement.
After much prayer, fasting, and seeking godly counsel, we realized that we needed to align ourselves with an organization which focused exclusively on implementing a DMM strategy among UPGs. We joined a new organization and poured our lives into our local partners. In the first year, we saw the four house fellowships explode to 40 Discovery Groups from 1st-3rd generation, with 9 new house fellowships birthed in the 2nd generation. We are still far from a 4 x 4 DMM, but this unflinching grace-filled evaluation helped us make the decision we needed to make.
Unflinching grace-filled evaluation has helped my husband and me (Essie Joy) pinpoint problems, lift them up in prayer, and acquire new insights into the process of launching a DMM. Practically speaking, we try and evaluate all that we do based upon what needs to be done for the launch of a movement to Christ, not what can we do. It has enhanced growth both personally and as a community of believers.
Unflinching grace-filled evaluation helps provide a healthy way forward and avoid failure. We do well to work like the pilot who needs to periodically give a one-degree correction on the course of the plane.