I’m sure after reading all of these blog articles, you’re wondering, “Ok. This all sounds good, but where do I start?”
I want to use this article to answer that question.
I’m going to address two different groups of people. First, those that are on an American church staff. Second, those that aren’t.
To those of you on an American church staff, you have a great opportunity. Chances are you already have many people sitting in your congregation on Sunday mornings that can be mobilized to be a part of this with you.
Cast Vision & Train Believers are 2 of the 7 Ongoing Elements in a Movement and you have a built-in audience to cast vision to & train. That means that you could immediately begin with multiple DMM Church Planting Teams like we were able to do.
If you recall, at our 10 Year Anniversary, we had already trained over 50 Church Planters who were ready to be sent out to form teams & begin to execute the DMM strategy. The next year we were able to cast vision again, sign up over 100 people for training, and send out more teams. It’s a distinct advantage for sure.
Here are the steps we took that I’d recommend to you.
This is important. It’s not going to roll out well to your church if the Leadership Team isn’t behind it. We took 3 months as a Leadership Team to read books & discuss DMM before even introducing the concept to our staff or anyone else in our church.
In Month 1, I had the Leadership Team read The Great Evangelical Recession & then we discussed it. This book helps establish the problem in the American church & the need for a change. In Month 2, I had the Leadership Team read Spent Matches & then we discussed it. This book is about another American church on the DMM journey. In Month 3, I had the Leadership Team read Church Planting Movements and then we discussed it. This book shares stories & principles from Church Planting Movements all over the world. Everyone had already read Miraculous Movements or I would’ve included that one. Another book has come out since taking my team through this process that I’d highly recommend. I’d definitely include it in the lineup if I were to go back & do this again. It’s called The Kingdom Unleashed. If you haven’t read Miraculous Movements or The Kingdom Unleashed, I’d take 5 months & go in this order:
In addition to these books, I was also exposing our Leadership Team to other various DMM resources. You can get a list of these on this blog. I’d encourage you to take them through all of the Recommended Videos on the Resources page.
At the end of these 3 months, there was 100% buy-in from our Leadership Team that DMM was the direction the Lord was leading us in our 2nd decade.
After much discussion, we decided that our WIGTake question was, “What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 in 10 years so we’re on track to reaching 200,000,000 in 20 years?” We started calling this our 1,000,000 in 10 years vision.
Before finalizing this, I went around the room & asked everyone what they thought. Everyone agreed that this was the vision the Lord wanted us to pursue.
Our Leadership Team was united. And that’s very important!
At that point, we began to take the Leadership Team through the DMM Training which further solidified the vision.
*Note: If you haven’t been through DMM Training yourself, you need to find a DMM Coach that can take you through it. Then you’ll be ready to take your team through it. Myself and my Executive Team (the ones who lead the Leadership Team) had gone through the DMM Training with a coach long before we started this process with our Leadership Team. Having a DMM Coach & going through the training yourself really needs to be completed before you start Step 1. If you don’t know of a DMM Coach already, please contact us & we’ll take you through the training ourselves or help you find a good coach.
Roll out the past 3 months worth of learning & discovery to the rest of the staff.
Looking back, I could’ve done better here. I had a meeting where I shared the vision with the staff & then I sent out a written copy of the vision. I tried to answer as many questions as I could & give as much information as I could with weekly updates to our staff, but I think there was still quite a bit of confusion initially.
Whereas I had walked the Leadership Team through a 3 month process, the staff had to digest the same information in a matter of days.
Looking back, I would’ve definitely extended the roll out to our staff. I’m not sure I would’ve taken 3 months, but I would’ve given them more time to process the new vision. Another thing I would’ve done is taken them through the DMM Training early on. We didn’t go through the DMM Training as a staff until about a year later & that was a mistake. For many of them, going through the DMM Training really helped understand the vision & had I done that right from the beginning, there might’ve been more buy-in early on.
Without question, I could’ve shepherded them through this transition better. I feel like I shepherded the Leadership Team well, but not the rest of the staff. Learn from my mistake & really be sensitive to your staff as they try to understand & come along.
Begin to brainstorm with your staff who the people in your church are that you think would be interested in being a part of this. Then, meet with these people individually or in smaller groups & cast vision to them.
We initially cast vision to a few hundred people & we had just under 100 catch the vision & agree to go through the DMM Training.
By the end of the 12-Week DMM Training, we had just over 50 people that were wanting to move forward & form DMM Church Planting Teams.
Develop a plan to roll out the vision to the church.
Since the transition to DMM is a major change for the church, you need to drip the vision to them slowly, rather than all at once. While we couldn’t take everyone in the church through the same extensive process we took our Leadership Team through, we knew that we could develop several sermon series to begin casting the vision. And that’s what we did.
We knew we were going to make the big announcement at our 10 Year Anniversary. This was about a year after Step 1 started above & several years after myself & our Executive Team started processing this. From the time I started praying about this with my Executive Team until our church announcement was around 3 years. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how extensive our preparation was. This is something you want to take your time rolling out to gain as much buy-in as possible.
We knew that when we were one year out, we needed to start dripping the vision to our church.
The first series we used to do this was called Meltdown. This was a series based on the book, The Great Evangelical Recession. Just like with our Leadership Team, we needed to start with the problem. Why would we make a major change like this? Is something wrong? We needed to address the problems in the American church to justify coming up with a different solution than what we were already implementing.
I’d strongly encourage you to do a sermon series at your church, at least a year out from the big announcement, where you talk about the problem. You need to cast a compelling vision for the problem for people to agree that there’s a need for a new solution.
We had a lot of positive & negative feedback from that series. Many people were heartbroken by the trends & statistics in the American church & eager to do something about it. Others were probably defensive of the American church & didn’t want to believe the trends were accurate. Or at least didn’t want to face them. At that point, some decided to go ahead & leave our church. Like I’ve said in previous posts, when the model of church you grew up with is critiqued, it can create a variety of responses in different people. Some people can even feel you’re attacking them personally because their identity is tied up in a certain way of doing church. See the Identity Crisis post for more about this.
We gave people several months to process what we talked about in that series before revisiting it again. About 5 months later, we did another sermon series, but this time it was about the solution to the problem. We called it Miraculous Movements & used the book by that same title to share about movements of God breaking out all across the world. We presented these movements as the solution to the problem in the Meltdown series. We told powerful stories from Africa & other parts of the world where the trends are positive & the gospel is rapidly advancing. It was a powerful series!
3 months later was the 10 Year Anniversary. By that time we had done a sermon series on the problem, called Meltdown, and a sermon series on the solution, called Miraculous Movements. I believed our church was ready for the big announcement at the 10 Year Anniversary that we were going to pursue a movement to reach 1,000,000 in the next 10 years.
Announce the transition to the church.
For us, this happened to correspond with our 10 Year Anniversary & that was strategic because we wanted it to be a BIG celebration. We rented out the local basketball coliseum & had everyone together for one service. Thousands of people came & we celebrated all God had done in our first 10 years & then cast vision for what we thought he was leading us to do in our next 10 years. You can read more about it in the 10 Year Anniversary article.
One strategic thing we did, which I would highly recommend to you, is we commissioned our first DMM Church Planters at this celebration. We had done Step 3 about 9 months before our 10 Year Anniversary, so we had trained DMM Church Planters ready to go by the time we made the big announcement. At the end of the service, after casting the vision, we had all of the DMM Church Planters come to the front where we laid hands on them & prayed for them as we sent them out from our church to make disciples & plant many more churches.
Begin conversations with your staff about how to leverage everything in the church to help with this new vision.
At this point, you’ve already rolled the vision out to the church & now you just need to begin to leverage every ministry in the church to help with this vision. We were constantly asking the question, “How can we leverage _____ to help us make 1,000,000 disciples in 10 years?” Nothing was sacred & we were asking that question about everything we did. You can read more in the Leverage article.
Continue to cast vision, train more people, & share stories of what God is doing.
The hope is that over time, many more people in your church will want to get involved. Chances are the “early adopters” are already involved, but there are some people that want to learn more, give it time, hear the stories, and process more before buying in. That’s ok. Give them time. Keep the DMM vision in front of them & continue to offer opportunities for people to be trained.
Meet with your DMM Coach regularly to keep raising the sails & preparing for movement.
I can’t stress enough how important coaching is. We wouldn’t be where we’re at without our DMM Coach. Meet with your coach regularly & let him/her continue to guide you through next steps.
Remember that only God brings a movement. Our job is to raise the sails & pray our hearts out.
Keep doing that until movement comes or the Lord takes you home!
Ok, now I’d like to talk to those of you that aren’t on an American church staff. How should you get started?
I mentioned that the folks on an American church staff had a great opportunity in starting DMM because they already have people to cast vision to & train. You also have a great opportunity in that you don’t have the day-to-day ministry responsibilities that a person on a church staff has. That means you may have more time than they do to “go out among the lost” & see groups started. That’s a distinct advantage too.
Here are the steps I’d recommend to you.
It’s always best to go through training with people that you could see being on your future DMM Church Planting Team. Once you find 4 or 5 friends to do it with you, approach a DMM Coach anywhere in the nation (or around the world) to do a DMM Training with you over Zoom (a video conferencing platform). This is how me & my team were trained because our DMM Coach lived overseas in Dubai. If you don’t know of a DMM Coach already, please contact us & we’ll take you through the training ourselves or help you find a good coach.
In addition to the training, consider reading some of the books I mentioned above in my recommendations to American church staffs. This will speed up your exposure to DMM & what God is doing around the world.
Once you’ve been through the training, talk to the people who trained with you about whether or not they want to move forward & form a DMM Church Planting Team. Once you figure out who’s excited to move forward, formalize the team & begin to meet weekly together under the direction of your DMM Coach. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a coach. Stay in close contact with him/her. After all, Ongoing Coaching is one of the 7 Ongoing Elements in a Movement that you’ll learn about. It’s very important!
Start raising the sails by putting into practice the 7 Ongoing Elements of a Movement that you learned about in your DMM Training.
Keep your team accountable in doing these things when you meet together each week. As you begin to put this into practice, it won’t be long before you’ll have powerful stories to tell from Going Out Among the Lost & Seeing Groups Start.
If you’re currently attending an American Church, begin to Cast Vision to the church staff for what you’re doing.
One of the best ways to cast vision for DMM to American church pastors is exposure. They need to hear what God is doing all over the world. Buy them the books that I recommended above. Share the videos & other resources with them that are on the Resources page of this blog. Maybe share some of these blog posts with them. It will be very difficult for them to get excited about seeing this implemented in their church without exposure to how God is using movements to reach millions all over the world. Exposure is the key.
Also, pray for your pastor & his/her staff that God would open their hearts to what they read & the videos they watch. Pray that God would give them a hunger to see millions of disciples made & churches planted & to not be satisfied with the American church model. Many pastors will admit it is struggling & not getting the job done. They’re just not always sure what needs to change.
Tell your pastor & his/her staff the stories of what God is doing through you & your team. Tell them about the people you’ve met, the groups you’ve started, and the fruit that you’ve borne. Stories are powerful!
If the staff begins to catch the vision, offer to take them through the DMM Training so they can learn more or offer to connect them with your DMM Coach who could take them through it.
Let me say this, though. If the staff/pastors don’t catch the vision, don’t be discouraged. They don’t have to catch it in order for you to be a part of a movement. It could be helpful because they have so many people that could easily be trained & sent, but movements are breaking out all over the world in places with no existing churches. So, don’t be discouraged if your church doesn’t get on board.
You continuing to raise the sails even if your church doesn’t want to participate shouldn’t threaten them at all. Movements are about reaching lost people & those people don’t go to your church. What you’re doing won’t likely interfere with what your church is doing at all.
Meet with your DMM Coach regularly to keep raising the sails & preparing for movement.
This is the same last step as I used for American church staff members earlier.
Remember the importance of coaching & stay close to your coach. Also, remember that God brings movement & that our responsibility is to raise the sails. Keep raising those sails & praying your heart out that God would bring a movement to your region!
Perhaps he will answer those prayers & perhaps you’ll get to be right in the middle of it! How exciting!