Editorial

Movements that will change the world! (Graziano Crepaldi)

Jesu told His disciples to “Go make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey all that He had commanded them” (Matthew 28:19). The disciples taught other disciples to do the same. Therefore discipleship is a clear generational commandment and every follower of Christ should be involved in the making of disciples, which of course starts with sharing the gospel and leading people to Christ and then helping them grow in Christ. This amazing process of Kingdom multiplication is today know as disciple-making (or church-planting) movement. Many researchers and mission strategists around the world have agreed that…
A disciple-making movement is a rapid and exponential increase in disciples making disciples. This movements spread wide and deep to at least four generations and beyond. And disciples do this with many people and groups of people who then learn to make disciples who also reproduce.  

In many nations, we often think about discipleship as one believer helping another “to know” some teachings and get to know the Bible. However, disciple-making movements focus on teaching new believers “to obey” the Bible and make new disciples. It is interesting to observe that many christian workers focus only on church-planting while the Word of God never commands believers to start a church. The believers are rather commanded to make disciples. In some ways, focusing on starting churches is like putting the cart before the horse. Our primary task as followers of Jesus on mission is to make disciples. When we teach new disciples the values of the church, new communities will naturally begin. If new disciples have a simple paradigm of church, these movements will more likely lead to a church-planting movement. The converse is true as well. We have experienced that most of disciple-making movements have some common important characteristics: they are fast in growing, they developed within the local culture (with no dependance from outside), they multiply simple forms of communities of people that are committed to obey Jesus’s commands together and use simple self reproducing strategies.

Paul taught and model that “… the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others“ (2 Tim 2:2). Therefore the first generation group of disciples start a second generation. Usually more than one group is started from the first one. The second generation groups do the same. True disciple-making movements experience multiplication growth, not simply addition growth. In a disciple making movement, the emphasis is not on growing an ever increasingly large church, but in multiplying small groups of disciples who make disciples. Disciples gather themselves into groups that we sometimes call “home churches” though these groups can meet anywhere, not only in homes. In these movements we see God’s Spirit sweeping through a people group or area where thousands of lives are transformed as people enter God’s Kingdom and become part of His family.
In the last years we had the privilege to get involved and to start many relevant disciple-making movements. In our ministry we could see more than 40’000 people trained with discipleship tools and ca. 600 new communities were born around 3 continents! Sadly we have notice that many believers where not able or have resisted to enter in this amazing vision. Some had to even overcome bad examples of Christianity and have difficulties to understand the real meaning and the mandate of a true Kingdom disciple. Some are still afraid of making new contact with people and that church growth will even ruin their fellowship. Some churches structured for control rather than for growth often use non-reproducible models and have become program-oriented rather than process-oriented without much application and little obedience to the commandments of Christ. Those who are in authority are imposing extra-biblical requirements for being a church and for leadership. This has produced believers that tend to cling rigidly to their tradition and try to appeal to everybody with religious meetings rather than Jesus’s work. Christ said that “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father“ (John 14:12)

We want to follow Jesus in His Kingdom mandate because the world can be really and deeply changed when we disciple of all the nations! When there is a move of God, disciples are rapidly multiplying, thousands of people are coming into the kingdom in a short amount of time through ordinary disciples passionately obeying Christ and boldly spreading the gospel everywhere they go…that is a real Biblical movement! The rapid multiplication of disciples among the unreached is incredibly exciting and very much needed if we are to see the Kingdom of God advance! Jesus told us in Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field“. We are living in an exciting times in the history of world evangelization. There has never been greater challenges or greater openness than we see today. In many parts of the world, among some of the hardest places and most resistant people, disciple making movements are sweeping through communities and nations as people encounter Jesus.

Want to know how to get started in pursuing a disciple making movement in your area?
We would be honored to walk with you on this journey!