I remember receiving the annual report a few years ago from one of our church’s mission partners. We had partnered with them for years in their work among the unreached.
Their results were astounding. So astounding, in fact, that they couldn’t even measure their impact by themselves. They had to hire outside research teams to come in & try to calculate the number they had reached.
Typically when we receive a report from this partner each year, the researchers will give three different numbers to estimate the size of the movement. They will give a low, mid & high estimate since no one could be sure of the exact count due to its enormous size.
Low estimate: 8 million baptized believers
Mid estimate: 10 million baptized believers
- High estimate: 12 million baptized believers
By the opinion of an outside research team, not our partner themselves, this movement had grown to between 8-12 million people meeting in hundreds of thousands of house churches over a 20-30 year period. WOW!
Oh, and remember the cost per baptism in the US? $1,500,000. Guess what the cost per baptism is in this movement? 66 cents. Wow! It’s costing them virtually nothing to reach all of these people.
I’d love to give you more information about this movement, but for security purposes, this must suffice for now. I can tell you that this same area used to be known as the “graveyard of modern missions.” Missionaries had gone there for centuries with minimal impact, until this movement of God broke out a few decades ago. It’s growing so quickly there’s no telling how many will eventually be reached.
We have another missions partner that works among the unreached in a different part of the world.
In the 1950s this country kicked out all the missionaries, closed all the church buildings & thousands of pastors were imprisoned & eventually killed.
The wife of the leader of this country told visitors, “Christianity… has been confined to the history section of the museum. It is dead & buried.”
In the 1970s a visiting Christian group from the US reported, “There is not a single Christian left [in this country].”
Even in the midst of much persecution, this country has perhaps seen one of the greatest movements of God in history. Since the 1970s some researchers estimate that over 100 million have become disciples of Jesus meeting in millions of house churches.
Our partner was instrumental in this season of growth and was imprisoned, beaten, & almost killed for preaching the gospel. What has happened in his country in the last 50 years is totally remarkable.
We have some friends in yet another part of the world who have seen some amazing things happen in the past 10 years. This country is more like America than the other countries I’ve mentioned. His country is majority Christian. Nominal Christian, that is. Much like America. Traditional Western-style churches were everywhere but they weren’t reaching very many people.
That is, until recently.
In the last 10 years, they estimate that over 1 million people have become disciples of Jesus in this region. Wow!
Did you notice a word that was used to describe each of these stories?
Millions. Not thousands. Millions.
Our Leadership Team knew about each of these stories. After all, several are mission partners of our church. They would visit us regularly & tell stories about all God was doing. And we had been reading their books.
Over the prior 3 months, I had the Leadership Team read 3 books. These 3 books were 3 of many that God had spoken to me through in the years prior. I wanted to see if God would say the same thing to our Leadership Team that he said to me.
As we looked at the 1,000,000 number on our whiteboard again with these books & stories in mind, we all knew there was a strategy that could take us to the million.
It wasn’t an American strategy. We had tossed that one already as incapable of reaching a million.
It was a foreign strategy. Foreign to America, that is.
It’s actually not foreign to church history. It’s the strategy of the early church. You see this strategy detailed in the Gospels & in the Book of Acts.
We knew this strategy could take us to the million because that same strategy had taken many of our friends to way more than a million. And it’s the only strategy we know of that has the potential to reach millions. It has done it over & over again.
Only problem was, we only knew of one other church in all of America even attempting to implement it.
Could it work? Could God do it here? Could we see in our country what our friends have seen in theirs? Could we see millions?
In that moment, God gave all of our Leadership Team the faith to say, “YES! God could do it here too! Let’s ask him to do it & plan for it to happen, just like many missionaries have done!”
You may be wondering, “What’s this strategy you’re talking about?”
Part 5 – What is DMM?