Becoming a Person of Dogged Determination
She refused to give up. Pressing on through pain, weariness, discouragement, not to mention her sense of unworthiness, she pressed on. When her first groups started well, but soon fell apart, she didn’t quit. Oh, she felt like it alright. The burning passion to reach the lost of her city compelled her to keep trying. Again, she began new groups. She cast vision to her pastor, to new friends, and they continued taking unsteady but determined steps forward. Then, almost unexpectedly, they hit the tipping point. Things began to grow rapidly. Within a year, 52 groups were started. They were beginning to multiply. She was a woman of dogged determination and great faith. The kind of faith that refused to give up.
Movement leaders and catalysts are people of great tenacity. They have a dogged determination and focus to bring lost people home to Jesus. It’s a dream they absolutely refuse to let go of.
Releasing a Disciple Making Movement that multiplies rapidly and sweeps through a region of unreached people does not happen without resistance. The enemy will fight against you. Your inner life will be tested. You will have apparent breakthroughs that then dissolve. People who seem to be Persons of Peace fall into sin, distraction or struggle with a sickness that takes them out of CPM/DMM work.
Initial Excitement Must Be Tempered By Movement Backstories
When we first hear about movements, they excite us! We hear stories of what God is doing in other places and our faith rises to believe it could happen in our location too. This is something God Himself has done in our hearts. Faith is a gift from Him.
Our job is to hold on to that faith, to be steadfast. We must steward, guard, and feed it. This is especially true when we don’t see immediate results. And most people don’t.
Those who have seen movements launch tell backstories of tenacity and perseverance. They have many stories of failed attempts and obstacles overcome. Yet they kept going. They refused to give up, they fought forward on their knees, and God brought the breakthrough.
Will You Hold On, Until the Release Comes?
I spoke with a couple who worked many years in a large metropolis. They staked their claim in a very diverse area with thousands of unreached peoples. When they first drove down the main street, they knew God was speaking to them about living there.
IIn obedience, they moved into the city and bought a house so they could live among the least reached peoples, those who had immigrated to their country for a host of reasons.
“After years of effort, we’ve built many good relationships. But we still haven’t cracked it. Nobody has. Whether we see it in our lifetime or not, one day we know there will be a movement here.” Their faithfulness was evident. They were not going anywhere. No plan B had emerged. The reason we were talking was that they were exploring new options to move forward.
This is the kind of couple I am thrilled to encourage and come alongside. They haven’t given up. They need some new strategies and ways to take things forward. That is what a good coach helps with! God has a plan.
He has prepared Persons of Peace in their city, those who wait to receive His message of good news. Their prayers and efforts are not in vain. But what will it take to see a movement of disciples making disciples in their area?
It will take a move of God.
Disciple Making Movements are supernatural interventions of an Almighty God. They cannot be humanly engineered. They do not happen because we “do everything right” or follow the correct formula. Having said this, one thing is always true of movements, they don’t happen without doggedly determined people who persevere.
God delights in using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He forms and shapes these ordinary people, as they follow Him down the path of unshakeable obedience.
What is “Dogged Determination” Anyhow?
Another word that can be used for this is tenacity. Tenacity is the quality of being “very determined.”
The word determination itself means to refuse to give up, once you have committed to something. Collins defines dogged as meaning someone is “determined to continue with something even if it becomes difficult or dangerous.”
When it comes to seeing a movement, are you tenacious? Do you have a dogged determination to see this come to pass?
It must be emphasized here that I’m not talking about striving in the flesh. This kind of tenacity comes from deep inside of you.
I can not have this level of determination unless I know that what I am pursuing is absolutely God’s will. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God desires to do what I am going after, gives me the strength to continue. It releases courage to press through obstacles, fear, persecution, and even boredom when my efforts feel unfruitful.
Are DMM and CPMs God’s will?
Is a movement of disciples rapidly making disciples, lives being transformed, communities and society changing as the kingdom of God comes, His desire for your region or people? Did the vision to see a Disciple Making Movement come from Him?
Is it in line with His Word as you understand it?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are pursuing something that is beyond doubt the will of God. Let that powerful reality place within you a fresh determination to continue pursuing that dream.
Seven Things To Do When Visible Results Are Disappointing
1. Revisit your End Vision.
Go back to what God originally placed in your heart when you first heard about movements, when you prayed and istened to His voice. Revisit that sense of excitement and calling. Has it changed? Reflect on the things He spoke and what you felt He was saying at that time. In the Old Testament, God often told the Israelites to set up memorial stones. They were places of remembrance. When His people got discouraged, they would see those memorials and remember who God is and what He had done. Take time to remember.
You may need to adjust your End Vision. That is okay to do. Ask God again what He is saying. Just make sure your vision doesn’t shrink based on what you experience and see.
Stay focused on what you know, deep within your heart, God wants to do in your region, city, or people group.
Dogged determination without a willingness to honestly evaluate results is simply donkey-like stubbornness. It is not wisdom. We must be able to evaluate our approaches and invite others to also give us input. Are there things you have done for years, that are not producing fruit? Maybe you need to stop doing some activities, to make room for new approaches. This requires a certain level of humility and vulnerability.
Is that community development center or medical outreach resulting in new disciples who make disciples?
Does your business platform take up all your time and leave little energy to reach out to neighbors? Are you building lots of relationships but timid when it comes to having spiritual conversations? There are many things to evaluate in light of fruit.
3. Talk to a coach.
Very often I’ve found that talking things through with a knowledgeable DMM/CPM coach brings clarity.
Good coaches ask you questions.
They don’t tell you what to do, but as you talk and process, understanding comes. The Holy Spirit guides you and you can start moving forward. A coach can also help you to diagnose your movement and can suggest you find out more about an approach that is helping in another DMM/CPM team in a similar context.
See the free guide to Simple DMM coaching available on my blog Dmmsfrontiermissions.com for more input on this.
4. Take small steps of faithfulness and be accountable.
Whether you find a coach, or a friend, spouse or team member, start with some small, achievable action steps. If you find you haven’t been seeing multiplication with all 10 house churches, choose one leader to coach and work with on this issue over the next month. Meet and pray often with them and see if you can’t get at least one group to experiment with some changes that will lead to them starting their groups.
As a DMM practitioner, you likely lead many others. Who are you accountable to for your personal disciple- making? Be faithful, start small, and get the momentum going again.
Similar to evaluation, when we aren’t seeing fruit, we need to innovate.
The coronavirus has forced innovations in disciple-making. Many of us are now training and making disciples online in new ways. We’ve begun to learn how to reach out through social media and advertising to find Persons of Peace. For more on this go to https://kingdom.training and make use of their excellent resources.
In some locations, it seems people have a default strategy for finding new connections. It might be coffee shops or English corners, Alpha, or medical outreaches. If your default strategy is producing disciples who make disciples, by all means, keep doing it! If not, maybe it’s time to get creative and think outside the box.
Instead of asking the question, “what could we do?” ask “what could we try?”
6. Actively participate in a committed community of DMM/CPM practitioners.
Communities of DMM/CPM practitioners are emerging all over the world. If you are not in one yet, find one. If there isn’t yet a group in your area, start one. There is great encouragement when we meet together with like-minded people. Iron sharpens iron. We need people who ask us hard questions, hold us accountable, and pray for us when we hit a wall. Find out more about practitioner’s communities on my blog (Dmmsfrontiermissions.com) or the 24:14 or noplaceleft.net websites.
7. Increase extraordinary prayer.
Last, but certainly not least, the first thing to evaluate if you are not seeing the results you hope for is prayer. Especially as Westerners, we tend to do many activities, but fail to pray in extraordinary ways. What could you do to increase prayer for your region, city, or people group?
Many Disciple Making Movements have a parallel prayer movement that grows along with the DMM/CPM. These committed intercessors are key to releasing what God is preparing to do to reach your area.
Ask God For Dogged Determination
Countless times in my DMM journey I have returned to Galatians 6:9 to find the strength to take the next step forward. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Would you join me in praying this verse of Scripture?
Father God, this road to releasing a DMM is longer than I expected. The rocks and barriers haven’t been easy to overcome. Sometimes I feel tired and wonder if I shouldn’t try to do something else. Give me the determination to not become weary in doing good disciple-making activities, even when I don’t see immediate fruit. I believe that harvest is coming, that you have promised it to those who refuse to give up. Fill me with a dogged determination that won’t let go of this vision until it comes to pass.
Strengthen me today to do your will. Amen.