I just returned last month from a very special meeting in Singapore. Assembled in a high-rise office building in the heart of Singapore’s ultra-modern financial district were 30-plus trainers, missionaries, and Church Planting Movement catalysts from all around the world. Participants arrived from Canada, South Africa, China, India, America, Switzerland, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, New Zealand, Jordan and Australia.
The purpose…was to hear from actual practitioners, individuals who were seeing multiplying churches, and to learn from them the lessons of how God is at work! We were not disappointed.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear from actual practitioners, individuals who were seeing multiplying churches, and to learn from them the lessons of how God is at work. We were not disappointed.
The opening day included a cataloging of those movements with which we either had a direct role or were intimately familiar. The walls were soon covered with sheets of paper featuring 81 movements or emerging movements from around the world. Of these, 37 have seen at least 100 new churches started since their inception. All together, these movements have produced more than 3 million newly baptized believers.
The real work began after the cataloging was completed. Now, let’s see how God is at work in these movements. How can we better learn from Him how to be effective servants in His missionary enterprise?
What we learned was both encouraging and challenging. The fundamental elements of a Church Planting Movement, its core definition, its ten universal elements, the five parts to a Church Planting Movement had not changed. What was evident though, was that God has many ways of arriving at a CPM.
From the partner-based denominational methods of Bruce Bennett that have documented thousands of churches across sub-Saharan Africa to Ying Kai’s virally explosive T4T movement in Asia that has produced more than 80,000 new churches in less than a decade God is at work. There are many ways to get to Church Planting Movements.
These five constants remain:
1) Contact: In every CPM, Christians are effectively and exponentially making a meaningful gospel contact with thousands of lost people.
2) Evangelization: In every CPM, lost people by the thousands are hearing, understanding and embracing the good news of Jesus Christ.
3) Discipleship: In every CPM, new and emerging believers are growing in their relationship to Christ.
4) Church formation: In every CPM, new discipleship-based churches are being formed and reproduced throughout the population.
5) Leadership development: In every CPM, effective leaders are being raised up who are ‘fully equipped for every good work.’
These five elements might seem so basic as to be self-evident. They are not. In most fields of ministry, where CPMs are not taking place, it is because one or more of these elements is missing.
In subsequent articles, we will examine each of essential elements to a Church Planting Movement. Because they are so fundamentally important, we have actually organized this entire website around these five elements. As the ChurchPlantingMovements.com website grows, you will find an increasing array of best practices in each of these Five Elements.
As you incorporate these elements in your own CPM strategy, who knows, perhaps you will find your work added to the Singapore CPM list for the next meeting.