This is an article from the March-April 2019 issue: Movements Everywhere: Why So Few in the West?

24:14 Goal - Leadership Lessons

Movement Wisdom from an Asian CPM Leader

24:14 Goal - Leadership Lessons

Sam* is the national leader of a large six-year-old Church Planting Movement in South Asia. He shared with me a summary of lessons they have learned and applied in their ministry. When he finished, I asked him, “Are these lessons about movement leadership too difficult for less educated people to really grasp?” He responded, “No, actually I learned all these things from the ground level leaders (M, J, R, and others who can’t read)!”

The Lord loves to bless those who speak and act in humble faith (as we see in Acts 4:13). Here are highlights of this movement’s leadership principles.

  1. Be very clear about money matters. Be honest and transparent about this with leadership. It’s such an important issue.
  2. All leaders must love each other. This is the Lord’s command. (John 15:17) When leaders meet together they must show love to one another, no matter how much or little fruit they are seeing. We are all on the same team and should not compare results. Mutual encouragement happens when you celebrate everyone’s successes, primarily led by top leadership and modeled that way.
  3. When leadership groups meet, we ask about their challenges. Sometimes they say: “Everything is good; really no challenges.” If a leader is not sharing their troubles, they are confused about what is success and what is not. A good leader will share both successes and challenges. This shows trustworthiness.
  4. When you think the ministry is growing, you should distribute more responsibility to leaders. Some leaders won’t distribute responsibility and this is a great hindrance to the kind of growth and multiplication the Lord wants to bring. It shows too high a view of oneself and too low a view of others.
  5. In the past, we did 1.5 day trainings and one day trainings, always attended by Gen 0 and Gen 1 leaders but never by younger leaders. Now we only do three-to-five-hour trainings in one day in smaller groups, and people are sent home the same day. Gatherings of small groups not staying overnight receive much less attention. This helps with security concerns and allows us to connect to the deeper generational leaders.
  6. When we are starting something new, we are thinking about the end vision. We make decisions in light of our goal (end vision). It keeps us on track. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Run in such a way as to get the prize….we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.” (1 Cor. 9:24-26; see also Heb. 12:2; 2 Tim. 2:4-6) 
  7. We teach our leaders that things will never stay the same. Changes will be needed; flexibility is required. We don’t need to change movement principles but we need to adjust applications along the way because nothing stays the same. We need to listen to what the Father is saying and follow it as Jesus did. (John 5:19; 17:4; 20:21) Listening to the Lord will guide us through any needed changes.
  8. We don’t always need to find good people. Sometimes we need to connect with bad people too. I cannot find the same person as I am. Each person who becomes a leader will be different from me. It’s my responsibility to help them become mature as a disciple-maker. It’s not essential that every believer be a good leader.

If we spend time with them, they can become a good man or woman in the Lord. As Paul wrote, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.” (1 Tim. 1:13-14a, see also through v. 16)

  1. A mentor should believe in his disciple. I have to trust my disciple. We see this in the ministries of Jesus (Luke 10:1; John 4:2; Luke 22:31-32), Barnabas (Acts 9:2628) and Paul (1 Tim. 1:18, 2 Tim. 2:2, 1 Cor. 4:17). This is part of leading lovingly: to always protect, trust, hope, and persevere. (1 Cor. 13:7)
  2. If I have a bad experience with someone, I need to come out from under that and not get stuck in it. Get out of the situation and let it go. Leave that place and that person and tell them, “I am trusting you to Jesus.” Pray for them, but know when it’s time to move on. Both Jesus (Matt.10:14) and Paul (Titus 3:10-11) warn us not to get stuck in unfruitful relationships.
  3. I can’t let my disciple lean on me too much, but instead I help him to lean on Jesus. I don’t need all the answers. Jesus has all the answers. Jesus is the only rock on which we build. (Matt. 7:24-27) As He said, “They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.” (John 6:45) I mustn’t aim to build my empire, only God’s kingdom. This is not about me. It’s not about my glory. I am to do the task God has given me; it’s God’s job to make things grow. (1 Cor. 3:1-7) I aim to make disciples of Jesus (Matt 28:19), not disciples of myself.
  4. Every mentor should be teaching the Bible, not personal ideas about the Bible (as the Pharisees did—Matt. 15:1-9). The Scripture itself is the tool God intends to use. (Heb. 4:12) It is useful to thoroughly equip God’s servants for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) We see this pattern modeled for us in Paul’s mentoring of Timothy. (1 Tim. 4: 1-16)
  5. God chose us for this work, so we must hear from Him about doing this work wherever He sends us. (Eph. 2:10) I must listen and obey Him. I must apply first before I can share with others. (James 1:22-25)
  6. Don’t try to be part of a big crowd. The crowd is not important. Never try to win a crowd; try to win one family or one house church. Then they will become a crowd one day by reaching many other families.

Only one DBS (Discovery Bible Study) is needed to reach a great many. Focusing on a crowd will not reach one family, but one family can reach a crowd. Beginning in Genesis, God established the pattern of reaching many through one family. (Gen. 12:1-3, 28:14) Jesus modeled knowing when to prioritize a small group over a crowd. (Mark 7:16-18)

  1. Treat time as important; invest your time wisely. The psalmist calls us to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12) The teacher informs us that, “There is a time for everything.” (Eccl. 3:1-8) Jesus says we must work while there is daylight. (John 9:4) And the apostle Paul commands all believers. “Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16)
  2. A movement must touch every group. If we are not reaching a particular people group in our sphere of influence, we must pray about that and ask God what He wants us to do. He will give us a way to reach them. His care for all peoples is mentioned throughout Scripture, for example in Ps. 22:27; 47:1; 72:11; Matt. 24:14; 28:19; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 1 Tim. 2:1-6 and Rev. 15:4.
  3. When we have God’s strategy, no one can stop it. Use the wisdom He has given and follow His commands. The Bible teaches us this over and over. For example, in Josh. 1:7-9; Ps. 37:4-6; Prov. 3:5-6; 14:12, John 5:19-20 and James 1:5.
  4. Sometimes we get proud of what we’ve been doing. Pride is a dangerous thing. I don’t need to be proud about my work or what I’ve done. Leaders must remain humble and always be teachable. This is proverbial wisdom, the command and example of Jesus and the teaching of the apostles. (Prov. 13:10; John 15:5; 13:3-17; 1 Cor. 3:5-8; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil 2:3-11; James 4:6-16)
  5. You have to respect yourself, respect your family and respect others. Sometimes leaders only focus on the ministry but not the family. Those folks will get stopped along the way and will not be healthy. Personal and family health are very important for truly succeeding in ministry. This can be seen in biblical commands for the household (Deut. 6:4-7; 1 Tim. 5:8) and the criteria given for choosing leaders. (Titus 1:6-7; 1 Tim. 3:4-5).

* pseudonym



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