DDM the Objective, CPM the Outcome

DDM Marttunen articleA disciple-making movement (DMM) is CAUSITIVE and a church planting movement (CPM) is the RESULT.

How can Fellowship International dare to dream of planting 1,000 churches in the lifetime of a single missionary? It sounds preposterous.

“I have found that there are three stages in every work of God: first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” — Hudson Taylor, Founder of China Inland Mission in 1865

The first step is to PRAY.

Others have dreamed, prayed, and acted. As William Carey, the often cited Father of Modern Missions, writes:

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

These two issues — prayer and acting in faith — may be the biggest barriers for us to overcome in the area of planting new churches.

Changing our ministry model by expecting and attempting is not an easy task. Thankfully there are inspiring examples for us to look to.

Indonesia is one such example. Over the last 12 years, about 12,000 small church clusters have been started — some of which have reproduced up to 16 times. Thousands of people have come to Christ, and half of these are estimated to have been baptized. The leaders of these small churches have changed their model: discipling precedes planting.

Let’s compare two different ministry models using the metaphor of rabbits and elephants.

A mature female African elephant weighs three tons and has a gestation of 22 months. At birth, a baby elephant weighs 260 lbs. An elephant is not ready to reproduce until it is 15 years old. The female will give birth every five years. Starting with one female elephant, the estimate is that at the end of five years there could be three elephants (one adult, one juvenile, and one baby) for a total weight of approximately 10 tons — an impressive weight for three animals!

On the other hand, a female rabbit’s gestation period is about one month, and it can breed within days of giving birth. Furthermore, a female rabbit is able to have its first litter when it is six months of age, and usually breeds each month thereafter. Following a five-year cycle, the outcome is very different from the elephant. If one female rabbit produces three other females each month, at the end of the first year there would be 37 females ready to breed by the start of the second year. Using this formula we can estimate that at the end of five years there would be 69,293,304 rabbits in total. (Source: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/scary.html)

The average rabbit weighs four pounds. Utilizing the previously used formula, at the end of five years there would be 34,647 tons of rabbits! Incredible!

I am not suggesting that “elephant churches” aren’t valuable or that they fail to glorify God. They are wonderful! However, my point is this: if we dream great dreams with God and pray great prayers for God’s glory, then it may follow that we must also change our actions. Carey did. He left England and served God in India, where he started a missions movement.

Fellowship International has adopted a new model and is willing to try new things to help fulfill our dreams and prayers. In August, all our missionaries will gather for a Summit in Poland. Together we will learn, pray, dream, talk, plan, and then return to our fields to act. Our hope is Jonathan’s hope, who said to his armor bearer:

“Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” 1 Samuel 14:6

With God’s provision, planting 1,000 churches in the lifetime of a missionary is not beyond the realm of our dreams, prayers, and actions.

— Dave Marttunen is Director of Fellowship International.