Wednesday, March 1

Revisiting CPM Methodology

On 16 Feb 2006 at 11:25, a fellow missionary in South America wrote:

I have an experiment for the IMB. I think the IMB should transfer all the missionaries who have been involved in an actual CPM or are currently experiencing CPM and send them to South America and take over our positions. Then the IMB should send all of us in S.A. to the areas where there is CPM and see what happens.

What are the chances that us from S.A. would kill the CPMS that are currently happening? What are the chances that those which are experiencing CPMwould also experience them here?

I think it would get at the heart of the struggle. Are our lack of results a missionary problem or a S.A problem?


When I first read this, I chuckled at what I thought was a good "tongue- in-cheek" post. But your question at the end really is a good one that continues to haunt me. Is our lack of results a missionary problem or a South American problem?

It may be both, or it may be neither. I don't know. I too think it would be interesting to bring in some of the better known CPM experts and see what they would do different in our S. America context.

After two years or so evaluate and see what kind of things happened (or fail to happen) just because THEY were here and not us.

However, if it is any consolation, this whole "guilt trip" that we all frequently bestow upon ourselves for our not living up to our high ideals and expectations of what "should be happening" out there, is really missing the point of why God called US to the PLACE He did, and not someone else.

One of my favorite books mentioned several times on the cpf in the past is "The Present Future" by Reggie McNeal. He writes the following words that really get to the heart of the much bigger picture that we are all a part of as missionaries:

God must have had a lot of confidence in you to put you on the planet at just this time. It was his sovereign decision to insert you onto planet earth during a time of huge transition. It takes incredible faith to lead during hinge points of history.

Think about John the Baptist as a transitional leader...[He] saw heaven open and the Spirit descend when he baptized his first cousin. Yet when he was thrown in jail he sent word of Jesus, "Now, let's go over this one more time: are you the one?" Jesus doesn't slam John. In fact, he extols his cousin, "There's never been a better man born," ...

Jesus doesn't slam you either for your doubts, your fears, your uncertainties. He wants to encourage you in your current assignment. You are being asked to lead during a time when you are not sure where all this is going. If previous history is an accurate indicator, the kinds of changes we are undergoing will not settle out for another century or more. This means that some of you are giving direction to the great- great-great grandparents of the leaders of the Christian movement when it all shakes out on the other side of the postmodern wormhole. You are leading by faith, trusting that the subplot obediences you practice will contribute to the larger drama. Your courage to believe with partial sight will be rewarded one day when a full view is afforded.

On the flip side, you have the chance to do what only a few have been privileged to do. You get the chance to give shape to the movement that will define its expression for perhaps hundreds of years (if Jesus doesn't come back and usher in the kingdom). You must choose carefully... (pg.120-121)


I think each of us is God's choice for the place He has placed us. Surely there are better people out there who might be able to do things better, but they are where God wants them. We are where God wants us!


Anonymous said...

I think the "fellow missionary" who wrote those original thoughts is a genius. Is he part of Mensa? =)

Keep writing Guy!

Charles E. Williams said...

Some of are not up on the controversity or even what the ititials stand for. Although not a career missionary, my wife and I have served over a dozen times on short term assignments. I really like to follow activities on the mission field and pray for people serving there and for the people they minister to. Please identify what the initials stand for. Thanks and God bless.

GuyMuse said...


Sorry about that! Sometimes we forget and get caught up in the lingo without realizing it!

CPM= Church Planting Movements
CP= Church planting
IMB= International Mission Board
SBC= Southern Baptist Convention
SA= South America
M= Missionary

I think that about does it for the lingo in this post.

Neill Mims said...

Amen! I serve in South Asia so let me respond.

I often tell folks that I don't only pursue Church Planting Movements because of the great things God might do -- but that because the mission principles themselves are just good missions principles. If anyone shows me where one of the principles is wrong, then I am very happy to change it!

But everyone is right! The results are not up to us -- we simply pour ourselves into the Lord's work.

But if someone ignores the CPM mission principles then they can certainly box themselves in -- never see the Lord pour out His Spirit into a movement of multiple churches. But big results or not, we end up with some good disciples of Jesus.

Not every missionary will see a CPM... many will only reach a few people for Christ, some none; some will only start a few churches. But what a joy to see God move when the Holy Spirit pours out to see churches & nationals planting churches rapidly and studying His Word! The missionary can move on to another Unreached People!

We have more than 500 Unreached segments of over 100,000 people in South Asia. You can come join us but I can't leave South Asia for such an experiment! We have had a few "M's" move here from Middle America and prove the other side of the experiment -- they formed a new team and have seen more than 100 new house groups (on their way to churches) in a year and a half of living on this side. I also see this blog author (Guy) has 31 new churches last year -- so God also does great things in South America!

Let's all keep serving for with the joy He gives us wherever we go!

GuyMuse said...


So you didn't like my fellow M experiment for trading places for a while to see if it would make a difference? :-)

That is really wonderful about the 100 house churches in a year and a half on your side of the world. We rejoice to hear of all the wonderful things God continues to do in South Asia and other parts of the globe.

I agree with you that ignoring CPM principles will box one in to a self-contained ministry that will soon have solely an inward focus. The drive to reach a whole nation will be reduced to winning a few per year and being content with that.

Good comments!