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7 Steps to Catalyze A Disciple-Making Movement

Hello, I’m a pastor in North America. I minister to a church and am simultaneously seeking to help catalyze a disciple making movement. Because of the opposition we’ve encountered in our community, I will write under the pseudonym “Brother PK.”

I first learned about disciple making movements (DMM) 5 years ago. I was trained by Shodankeh Johnson, a movement catalyst from Africa. I was excited to implement what I learned, but I had a problem. I struggled to take the DMM principles I learned from Shodankeh and apply them here in North America. Eventually, after failing to see fruit, I grew disillusioned and felt like a failure. I wanted to quit.

But God. Despite my disappointment, He gave me the strength to get up and try again! He renewed my confidence in His Word, His Spirit, and He also gave me a mentor: the “Father of Movements,” Bill Smith.

I haven’t personally catalyzed a movement yet, but by God’s grace I’ve begun to see the firstfruits. In 5 months’ time, God has caused growth 1 stream wide, 2 generations deep, among 70 students in 4 Discovery Bible Studies, with 16 students coming to faith and being baptized, 9 leaders in training, and 1 church planted. Glory to God!

My goal in writing this is to help you catalyze a movement in your area. My assumption is that, if you’re reading this, you too might want to catalyze a movement, but perhaps like me you’ve experienced just how hard it can be. You might even feel like giving up. Yet no matter how discouraged or close to quitting you currently may be, God can form you into a movement catalyst!


“My goal in writing this is to help you catalyze a movement in your area.”


Here are the 7 steps I’m taking. This process isn’t original to me, the methods will need to be adapted in different contexts, but with the leadership of the Holy Spirit I believe these 7 steps can help you multiply disciples, churches, and leaders. Each step has a section titled Word, Works, and Wineskins. The Word section shows that the step comes from the Word of God. The Works section shows how the step worked for me in my context. The Wineskins section gives you concrete ideas and space to brainstorm how you can apply this step in your context.

If you want to talk, email me at brotherpkdmm@gmail.com. May God make you a movement catalyst and cause millions of people across North America to become disciple-makers and church planters until every people group on earth is discipled!

Step 1: Walk in the Spirit

Word

“Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil. . . . Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity.” (Luke 4:1-2, 14, CSB)

Works

First, I sought to walk in the Spirit.

I did this by increasing the quantity and quality of time I spent with God. I began to spend roughly an hour praying and an hour in the Word daily, fasting weekly, and corporately praying monthly.

My primary desire is to know God. My secondary desire is strategic intercession for the movement. As a result the Spirit gave me a hunger for God, a burden for lost people, and boldness to share the gospel.

I also asked over 100 people to intercede for the movement and regularly send them prayer requests.


“My primary desire is to know God. My secondary desire is strategic intercession for the movement.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, lead you, and empower you.
  • Increase your quantity of time in the Word (consider an hour a day).
  • Increase the quality of time in the Word (read to hear God’s voice, read the Gospels and Acts as your movement textbooks, make observations, interpret the meaning of a passage, and make specific applications).
  • Increase your quantity of time in prayer (consider an hour or more daily, weekly corporate hour of prayer, weekly fasting, monthly 4-6 hour nights of prayer).
  • Increase your quality of time in prayer (praise, thanks, confession, intercession, warfare, petition, listening prayer, prophetic words).

To walk in the Spirit, I will… 

Step 2: Engage a Relational Network

Word

“Summoning the Twelve, he gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Then he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick… So they went out and traveled from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.” (Luke 9:1-6, CSB)

Works

Second, I engaged a relational network.

The Spirit of God led me to reach out to a school in our community. As an outsider, I needed a reason to build relationships with students, teachers, and parents. Coaching athletes was my access ministry. Becoming a coach allowed me to spend around 10-15 hours a week with students, coaches, teachers, and parents.


“Becoming a coach allowed me to spend around 10-15 hours a week with students, coaches, teachers, and parents.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to put a group of people on your heart.
  • Identify existing relational networks: Where do people already have a strong sense of community? Where are there many lost people?
  • Find a reason to build relationships with that network: How can you as an outsider interact with the relational network?
  • Commit the time it takes (go slow to go fast) to build relationships with the network (the gospel flies best on the wings of relationships).

To engage a relational network, I will…

Step 3: Find a Person of Peace

Word

“After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go… Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household.” If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they offer, for the worker is worthy of his wages. Don’t move from house to house. When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you. Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near you.”” (Luke 10:1-9, CSB)

Works

Third, I found a person of peace.

As I spent time with the players, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal a person of peace to me. I prayed, “God, who on this team is spiritually hungry and can influence their team toward Jesus?”

One day I overheard a player giving credit to God. He had connected with me up to that point, he mentioned God, and he was a team-captain-level leader.

To find out if he was a person of peace, I asked him a question. “Would you be interested in starting a Bible study for your team?” He said yes!


“As I spent time with the players, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal a person of peace to me.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a person of peace to you.
  • Watch the way people interact with each other to see who has influence in the group.
  • Be an openly spiritual person and bring up faith to see how they respond (are they hostile, apathetic, or hungry?)
  • Ask them if they would be interested in starting a Bible study for their group.

To find a person of peace, I will… 

Step 4: Coach Them to Start a Discovery Bible Study

Word

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me.” (John 6:44-45, CSB)

Works

Fourth, I coached the inside leaders to start their own Discovery Bible Study.

I asked the person of peace, “Whom could you ask to help you lead the Bible study?” He formed a team of leaders and we met twice to practice. I showed them how to facilitate and then let them facilitate and I provided feedback.

They ended up starting two player-led Discovery Bible Studies and roughly 50 students regularly began to read, obey, and share God’s Word!


“I showed them how to facilitate and then let them facilitate and I provided feedback.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Father to teach the group through His Word and Spirit.
  • Use a replicating model that emphasizes reading, obeying, and sharing God’s Word (DBS and/or 3 3rd’s).
  • From day one, let the inside leaders facilitate the group’s Bible study.
  • Model for them what it looks like.
  • Give them an opportunity to practice leading and give them feedback.
  • Give them space to lead. It will be a little messy. That’s okay.
  • Once the group is over, call the leaders over and debrief (what went well and what could have been better?).

To coach inside leaders to start their own Discovery Bible Study, I will… 

Step 5: Coach Them to Salvation

Word

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. He escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.” (Acts 16:29-34, CSB)

Works

Fifth, I coached the inside leaders to lead their whole group to salvation.

About four weeks into their Bible study, I recommended the leaders have their group read Acts 2:22-41. So they read the passage, read a gospel presentation (Three Circles), and a Christian student shared his story of how Jesus changed his life.

Then the students asked the group (remember it’s “household,” not just individuals) how to obey what they read. The group said, “We need to repent and be baptized.” That night, 15 players confessed Jesus as Lord and were baptized by the student leaders!


“That night, 15 players confessed Jesus as Lord and were baptized by the student leaders!”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to save the whole group.
  • Coach the inside leaders to lead the group to read about the gospel and how to respond.
  • Help the inside leaders have a place to do the baptisms (e.g., bathtub, hot tub, pool).
  • Help the inside leaders have the resources they need (e.g., towels).
  • Train the insiders how to baptize others. Have them practice asking baptism questions (Do you admit that you are a sinner? Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Do you commit to follow Jesus as Lord of your life?). Make a profession (I now baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). And immerse them (practice hand placement, lowering, and raising someone).

To coach inside leaders to lead their group to salvation, I will… 

Step 6: Coach Them to Become a Church

Word

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42 CSB)

Works

Sixth, I coached the inside leaders to lead their group to become a church.

They read Acts 2:36-47 and identified ten practices of the first church: repentance, baptism, devotion to the apostles’ teaching (Bible), fellowship, breaking bread (Communion as well as meals), prayer, giving generously, meeting regularly, praising God, and making new disciples of Jesus.

They made the commitment to identify as a church (picture a house church not a church with a building and paid staff) and to practice those functions together.

Currently I am functioning as an elder and working to raise up others who function as elders and deacons.


“They made the commitment to identify as a church and to practice those functions together.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help the group become a church.
  • Coach the inside leaders to lead the group to read Acts 2:42-47 and identify what the church did. Coach the inside leaders to lead the group to make a plan to do those things too (Church Circle).
  • Coach the inside leaders to lead the group to identify as a church (consider naming the church).

To coach inside leaders to lead their group to become a church, I will…

Step 7: Coach Them to Replicate

Word

“As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3, CSB)

Works

Lastly, I coached the inside leaders to lead their church to replicate.

As a part of one of their Discovery Bible Studies, they trained their teammates in how to start a Discovery Bible Study. They cast vision to reach every sports team and to reach their entire school with the gospel. They had everyone pair up and practice asking the Discovery Bible Study questions to each other. They asked the group whom they would reach and then prayed for each other.

Currently, two students have replicated the process in two new teams! I am now coaching our first generation of leaders who are coaching the second generation of leaders to lead a Discovery Bible study.

We’re now asking God to help us replicate disciples, churches, and leaders within every high school in our region. Our prayer is that in the next 5-7 years, God will awaken a book of Acts movement marked by 6+ streams, 4+ generations, 100+ churches, and 1,000+ new disciples of Jesus to the glory of God!


“We’re now asking God to help us replicate disciples, churches, and leaders within every high school in our region.”


Wineskins

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help the church replicate.
  • Coach the inside leaders to cast a vision to reach their entire network and even other networks (Gen Map).
  • Coach the inside leaders on the importance of not just growing their group but starting groups that start groups. (It’s not the size of the fire but how many fires you can start.)
  • Coach the inside leaders to train everyone to start new Bible studies (lay hands and commission).
  • Coach the inside leaders how to coach the new generation of leaders as they replicate the process (M.A.W.L.).
  • Coach repeating the process in new networks (take new ground!).

To coach inside leaders to lead their church to replicate, I will…

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