After reading my “be part of a movement!” blog, a friend asked for more details. He wanted to know more about what the movements looked like… I would love to share that with you.
We define a movement as “God working through a team of like-hearted people who are winning, building and sending.”
A movement will include four elements:
- Connecting lost people to Jesus
- Life-changing discipleship
- Multiplying leaders
- Generation of local resources (vision, people, ideas, funding, systems, etc.)
In both movements, it was clear God was at work. Personal and group prayer was common – sometimes programmed, often spontaneous – due to a deep sense of dependence on God. We studied His Word and took steps of faith. We trusted the Holy Spirit to control us and guide us. I don’t know that our actions “caused” the movement – that was simply God’s choice, but we were deliberate in opening our hearts so that He could work in us.
Team was another key factor. One movement team included several full-time staff and student leaders; the other had only one staff woman and a core group of committed adult volunteers. In each case the team was passionate about reaching their audience for Christ. The team members were also committed to each other – growing in character, communicating, sharing responsibilities, learning and training, enjoying the work and life together. The teams were not perfect – sometimes there were personality conflicts; sometimes members didn’t do their part; sometimes volunteers decided to get involved in something else… but the team provided strength and encouragement for the task.
In both movements, we were committed to evangelism – connecting people to Jesus. In the campus movement, we intentionally and strategically shared with any student who had come twice to a meeting. We trained our staff and students how to do evangelism and went sharing together often. The women’s movement was also committed to training and sharing Christ during their book study; they often had opportunities to share one-on-one after a small group meeting. Both movements also organized numerous special evangelistic events. Basically, evangelism was a priority – in heart and practice.
Incredible transformation happened through life-changing discipleship. In both cases, we saw an increased desire to know God’s Word and apply it to their lives. We taught basic follow-up, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and other Bible studies. Students chose not to lie or bribe professors for better grades. Women chose to forgive their husbands and strengthen their marriages. Dating couples chose to break off relationships instead of continuing in immorality. Moms chose to reconcile with their children. Students chose to serve God in ministry after graduation.
Leaders multiplied. In the student movement, we recorded discipleship chains out to four generations. In the women’s movement, we lost track of the generations! It became “normal” for everyone to invite friends to events, or take a few friends through follow-up, or lead a small group, or host a mom’s book club. Students and volunteers led in reaching areas of campus or running parts of the ministry (prayer/socials/followup) or arranging details for an event. Everyone found a place to serve.
There was no lack of resources. The students quickly offered to bring the snacks. They began to support each other and/or work together to send each other to conferences and mission trips. There were very few outside subsidies. The women hosted the studies in their homes, shared food for meals, and donated items and money for the evangelistic events so that they were always self-financed and often profitable. Creative ideas surfaced continually. New materials were created. Partnerships were formed. More people were recruited.
God blessed. It became impossible to measure the impact as creativity flourished and initiative grew. Years later, the student ministry still produces laborers. Many graduates share Christ at their workplace and lead their marriages and children to follow the Lord. The women’s ministry continues to work on projects that will expand to other cities in all of Mexico.
Connecting lost people to Jesus. Life-changing discipleship. Multiplying leaders. Generating local resources. That is what a movement looks like.
Which element of a movement is most exciting to you?
Which element is most challenging for you?
Pingback: Steve Jobs, Apple founder remembered | Leader Impact
There is a 5th component missing: missional communities. Movements are very good to get things going, but they have a very short attention span. If we don’t have a way to insert the people (diaciples) resulting from the movement to a long lasting component that is not tied to a particular cause or audience, we might lose everything we gained. The end result of movements should always be people engaged in missional communities where they can grow together with their families for the next 20-50 years. Families worshiping together, but also growing and doing mission together generation after generation. If this does not happen, the movement can easily fizzle out and not have a lasting impact on society. These missional communities, which contain the DNA of the original movement, can also launch other movements in other audiences that in turn will start other missional communities until a whole city or nation has been impacted in a way that will last several generations. Missional communities made up of families is the key for long term historical impact.
This is very exciting to see the movement that God is creating! Many challenges along the way, but in the end….God wins.