Paradigm Shifts needed to be a Movement Missionary

You know those times in life when you come face to face with something that is so different than the way you think or are, but the proof of what you’re seeing is so compelling that you’re forced to rethink, at least in some way, your previous assumption?  We’ve all been there, that’s generally how our minds are changed.  This is especially true as adults, particularly ones who are successful or comfortable. Our minds are usually only changed if we see something compelling enough to challenge what we used to think.

Well, I’ve had a few of those in the last 5 years.  Although I’ve always been a little weird and have been wired to think outside the box (especially in church leadership circles) I still have a ton of assumptions that I hold to only because I’m a product of my culture.  I see things in the Bible, and I see things in ministry through American Church-Tinted glasses.  That’s just the reality.  But when I stumbled upon stories of Disciple Making Movements around the world, I was forced to ask new questions.  I had strong assumptions about how ministry and church should look, but when I heard the fruit of what was happening, I had one of those moments that challenged all my previous assumptions.

My story is not unlike a lot of church leaders who have heard about DMM practices and didn’t quite know what to do with them.  It seems so un….western.  So, it’s a pretty common story to hear how movement leaders have scoured the Bible trying to examine DMM practices to see if anything is unbiblical about them, and to hear how they came to the realization that so much of their hesitation to DMM was based off of their cultural biases and not the practices present in Scripture.

After sitting in this for a few years I can better identify and label the assumptions I had in my traditional western ministry mindset, and more clearly compare and contrast those to how movement missionaries think and act.  By the way, Jesus and then Paul are the first two movement missionaries I look to.  After them I look at current DMM catalysts who have seen “even greater things” than what we see in the Bible. I like real stories, not theories.  So, this is post #1 of a series of blogs that will unpack some of these paradigm shifts we have to begin to make in order to see similar fruit in our contexts.  If you want to read a more complete list of similar thoughts, check out Roy Moran’s take on the mindset shifts needed to see a DMM.

I’ve identified 6 Paradigm Shifts needed in order to think and act like a movement missionary.  Each blog will unpack one of these… enjoy!

  1. Think EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER instead of the token ‘BEGIN-a-MEETING-with-a-PRAYER-so-we-can-get-on-with-the-real-work’ mindset of the West
  2. Think: PLANTING A MULTIPLYING Gospel  instead of EXTRACTING people so we can “disciple” them in church
  3. Think: OBEDIENCE-BASED DISCIPLESHIP instead of the KNOWLEDGE-BASED DISCIPLESHIP we implement in the West
  5. Think TARGETED TEAMS and Groups (and networks) instead of GENERAL AUDIENCE and individuals
  6. Think “GATHERINGS” and not “CHURCH”