One of my fellow workers recently sent me this podcast. I encourage you to give it a listen, especially if your aim, like ours, is to catalyze discipleship and church planting movements. For reference, if you would like to follow the show, check it out here.
I wanted to work through what I heard as some of the most important elements of finding and working with these people who will start movements. Here are the things that I took away along with some thoughts that I will include:
There is very little written on how to recognize a movement leader and how to help train and sustain them over the longer-term.
In the beginning, Bruce asked himself if he should follow the advice that he was given and go find and hire the best church planters that he could. After thinking about this for some time, he decided that this was not the right way to go.
Instead, over time, God gave him 6 people to invest in deeply. He prayed that God would bring them to him, and God did exactly that.
What was the most important thing to recognize within these people?
The answer is Vision – Do they have a vision to grow their ministry? Or do they have a vision to reach the nations? It isn’t easy to find this person that has a vision for reaching the nations and not just growing their own work.
At the same time, we see humility in movement leaders. It isn’t about growing their work. It is about seeing the Kingdom grow.
Bruce’s advice, then, is to pray that God will bring these people to you.
Next, we should, of course, say that we believe the Word of God is inspired from a doctrinal perspective, but do we also believe that the methods and practices that we see in the scriptures are also inspired? Or do we need to turn to other books and studies to determine our methods? Some thoughts to help round out this point:
- Jesus was a master disciple-maker. Disciple-makers should make disciples like Jesus did and in the way that Jesus taught.
- Jesus cast out demons – we should cast out demons. Jesus found people of peace – we should find people of peace.
- Jesus discipled the few and shunned the crowds – we frequently like the crowds and shun the few. We need to rethink this!
- Jesus said Come and see, follow me, be with me, and then go. That should also be our model.
- So, the question to ask is: What did Jesus do? Let’s do that!
Disciple-making movement leaders ask themselves about their hope for those that they are investing in. As movement leaders, the hope should be that there are more workers. We desire to see that their ministry will exceed mine. This is what Jesus did and the example that Jesus gave.
Very truly I tell you, 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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.John 14:12-14
So, we have to find the right people. Jesus was the master of finding the core disciples and pouring his life into them. He filtered through the crowds, calling out the disciples using parables and difficult teachings, but the right ones stay.
Jesus fed the crowds with the loaves of bread and fish, but then called people to eat his flesh and drink his blood. As the crowds left, rejecting his teaching, Jesus looked at the disciples and asked them if they were going to leave too.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”John 6:68-69
This is an important way to find someone who may become a leader of a movement because they are dedicated to the teachings of Jesus. He is the Holy One of God in whom we can put our faith.