Thursday, August 24

Why all the uproar about CPM methodology?

Ben Cole over at Baptist Blogger has been slowly posting his multiple part history of Church Planting Movements and the Crisis of Power in the Southern Baptist Convention. As an IMB missionary, this series has been interesting reading but confusing as to why there is so much uproar about CPM methodology...

Any church planting methodology is just that: a methodology--an imperfect means to get the job done. From the very beginning it has always been said that CPM is a messy affair. Anyone out on the frontiers of missions actually involved in multiple church plants would readily agree. There are a few undebatable essentials that must be in place, but a lot of it is "unchartered waters" where we seek the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us in the next step. Church planting is less a science than it is an adventure!

It frustrates me a little to hear CPM picked apart by people who have not experienced first-hand what it actually means to be assigned a people group the size of the State of Alabama. What would these same people do if it was just them and maybe a handfull of others assigned the job of standing in the gap for reaching millions of people in their assigned region?

It seems that most people criticizing CPM are those that only have to worry about growing their own local church year to year. The Great Commission (the missionary task) is about reaching the nations, an entire people for Christ. It takes a lot of "coloring outside the box" and a mega-dose of faith, prayer and following the H.S. for this to happen.

I have yet to see a critic of CPM actually involved in anthing close to a CPM! CPM was never intended as a panacea for church planting, and no one claims it is the perfect methodology. If there is something better and more effective going on out there, speak up, show us, let us know... We are game for anything that will bring more people into the Kingdom in a faster and more efficient manner.

CPM gives us tools to deal with a God-sized task. I for one am grateful to visionary servants such as Sergeant, Garrison, Rankin, Simson and others who have taken a lot of heat and yet made more of an impact on the people's of the world coming to the feet of Jesus than all their critics combined.

For those interested in more of my ramblings about CPM, check out the following past posts on the subject, A Church Planting Movement Amongst All Peoples, CPM: Babies Teaching Babies?, Revisiting CPM Methodology, and Church as a movement rather than an Institution.

What are your thoughts or experiences with CPM? Any questions? All comments welcome!


Gordon Cloud said...

I have never started a mission church. I have worked with several mission churches though, and can say that I have never seen any two started in exactly the same way.

It is impossible to take American methods, but them in a "missionary kit" and expect them to work in a different culture.

I would say, as long as it does not dilute the integrity of the Gospel or violate scriptural principles, then use whatever works.

Just one man's opinion.

George Klineberg said...

I think that much of the criticism is unfounded. I have heard people say things about SC training and CPM training that just simply is not true. These criticisms grow and become further from the truth as he said/she said gets reported. I have heard it said that in SC training they teach you that you should have started multiple churches before ever finishing language school. Hey, that would be great but reality is that this is normally not reality. I still have people complain and use this as their attack on our training. It is just simple ignorance.

Are there some legitimate concerns that we can debate, probably so but much of the criticism is unfounded.

Darrell said...

Preach it Brother!

I share your frustration. The western church is DIEING!!! 88% of the youth who grow up in the church leave the church. In any other business if 88% of your most important customers up and left as soon as they could things would change FAST!...but not the church. Most do not care, and do not want to hear the truth. Most want to sleep in the light. So be it. I pray for workers for the harvest, and I bless my brothers and sisters in Christ wherever they are. I am so encouraged by what God is doing TODAY in this world with those who are willing to do whatever it takes to put the Kingdom first. When I read your Blog, and other things like Garrison's book I am so encouraged that even if just one person is willing a movement is possible. I believe the most loving thing I can do for the western church is let them see a CPM right under their noses! When they see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, and feel it I believe they will like it. Perhaps then they will have the courage to abandon everything that does not further the Kingdom.

What is even more frustrating for me is listening to folks here is America who have a vision for a more “organic” church, but are unwilling to even TRY to do what has been done in CPM elsewhere. I do not understand this at all. These people have done nothing, yet they are unwilling to learn from those who are currently in the middle of movements in which millions have been saved. In my opinion this is arrogance at its worst.

As a 40 year old man who grew up in the traditional church my perspective on CPMs is that they embrace everything the Kingdom is about. They are so biblical it is unreal! I am living proof that the principles apply anywhere. I have NO TRAINING to speak of, yet in two years I have started two house churches. I have seen more transformation in more lives and families then I have seen in my entire 40 years of traditional church. I can see the tremendous potential for multiplication in these two churches.

I see CPMs as the only way to be obedient to our Kings commission. I agree with you, if there is a better way to make disciples of all NATIONS let me know I will do it! Otherwise zip it and get to work!

ROCK ON BROTHER! I am praying extravagantly for you. Be like Nehemiah and ignore those who say it can’t be done. Keep up doing what God has told you to do. There are more and more folks like me God is sending out of the pews who need folks like you to show us the way!

To those who don’t believe a CPM is possible I echo Pg. 301 in Church Planting Movements by David Garrison:

"It can't happen here. This is what they said in Vietnam until they saw it in Cambodia. It's what they said in Cambodia before they saw it in China. It's what they said in Central America before they saw it in Bogota. It's what they said in Sudan before they saw it in Ethiopia. Perhaps it's what they are saying where you live. Satan would have us remain silent and skeptical. But Christ would have us shout it form the roof tops, "Be no longer unbelieving, but believe!" Doubt is contagious. But then so is faith. God offers us the chance to believe and join Him in something so amazing that you wouldn't believe it even if you were told. Well, how about you? Do you believe?"

abrasseau said...

I have to agree with you on this. I have sat back and read comments by people who for one, have never been involved (kind of like what Ken was saying about prayer walking on his blog also) or are involved and complain about everything under the sun but never once come up with some substantive complaint and do nothing more than complain maybe because complaining makes them feel better about themselves.

TheMDude said...

Dear Guy
Thanks for being practical! As I read many of these comments and debates I wonder how many the the SB blogosphere that respond are:
1. Pastors/Ms with an advanced theology degree
2. Seminary students
3. Just normal SB members.

Because, just because, it seems to me that most of you/us/them fall into the #1&2 catagory (I don't - I am closest to #3 but to a man on the street I would be just a normal follower of Jesus without labels or, Wade's, tinted glasses)

BTW, A friend of mine has designed an interesting website he is another Okie

Paul Burleson said...


Interesting and appreciated last SEVERAL posts. The situations you've described make me all the more grateful for the burden to pray for you. Know it has been done this past week.

The practical insights you and several other missionaries are giving on these blogs would be a boon and blessing to any of the leaders at the IMB and our Convention at large. Here's hoping a whole lot of us are paying a lot of attention.


GuyMuse said...

Gordon, George, Darrell, abrasseau, themdude, Paul,

Thanks to each of you for stopping by and commenting. What all of you have said is appreciated--some good insights!

Darrell, I like your quote from Garrison at the end of your comment. If I didn't believe CPM could happen here, I wouldn't be here. It is our prayer and dream. Keep up that "extravagant" praying for us!

Blessings on you all!