Sunday, March 21

CPM

If you Googled "CPM" in hopes of reading something about Church Planting Movements, you've clicked onto the right place. However, for us, CPM stands for Capacitar Para Multiplicar (Train for Multiplying). It is our conviction that as we train people to multiply themselves, we will eventually see a Church Planting Movement.

Nothing really new about this concept. Many have been saying these things for years, but there is a lot of difference in talking about these kinds of principles and actually doing them.

One of the most common questions we are asked is how many churches have we planted? For me, that is not the right question. Having lots of churches used to be our goal.

In our early years of church planting in Guayaquil we were meticulous about keeping track of church starts. On any given day we could tell you the exact number (14-36-75-112 etc.) But to our dismay many of these fell by the wayside. What was happening? They had not been instilled with the DNA of multiplication. We were so thrilled to see churches added to the flock of newly planted churches, that we conveniently overlooked the fact that they weren't multiplying.

Over the past few years we have sought to correct this error. Today we are more interested in reproduction principles, rather than just planting more churches. Paraphrasing Neil Cole, "if you can't reproduce disciples, you will never be able to reproduce churches."

Three key words in our CPM:

-missional
-movements
-empowering

missional vs attractional,
movements vs institutions,
empowering vs controlling

String the three ideas together and we are about empowering missional movements.

Missional is us engaging people where they are and making disciples.
Attractional is expecting them to come to us and fit in with our program.

Movements are viral and difficult to control, they flow like water.
Institutions are definable, structured places/programs.

Empowering is everyone engaged in the task of making disciples.
Controlling is about trying to make it happen our way, or take credit for what is happening.

I realize this may be oversimplifying, but we try to keep things simple. We value the power behind these three principles. They help keep us focused on the task without becoming distracted with a lot of other good stuff going on out there.

How does the above play out in our context?

We are continuously training trainers to go out and make disciples. As disciples are made, churches get planted. If we have done our job right with those we train, they are able to pass on the concepts to the next generation of disciples. We aren't looking to control anybody. We aren't even counting any more (or don't make a big deal of it.) What we try to do is empower people to engage in the missional task given by Jesus 2000 years ago. Missional is being the church where the people are, rather than trying to get people to come to institutional churches where a few do what all of us should be doing.

We measure success not by how many churches are being planted, but by how many people are engaged in the missional task of making disciples where they are. It is our conviction that any believer can (and should) be engaged with at least 3 other people, and maybe up to 20 total.

Do we have it all figured out? No.
Do we make mistakes? Way too many.
Are we open to input, advice, suggestions? Definitely.
Are we excited about empowering missional movements? YES.

13 comments:

Steven said...

Guy, Thank you for your comments and for your open stance on these foundational biblical principles. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said. I am a "recovering missionary" having resigned from THE board for family reasons and now trying to find my place in the US world of our churches. Due to my experience, I have come to understand and embrace these principles in action or more importantly in practice, living out a model of reproducing myself in others. Unforturnately, I have landed in an institutional world that unseemingly has no desire, ignores or fears the missional gifting God has given the Body of Christ. I am a sent one, who knows what it means to pass on a "sound pattern of teaching" -- a DNA and see it reproduce in others. God has brought me to a place where I realize that that only way to function biblically and to be missional, empower and equip others laying a foundation for a multipying movement is to work "outside the box." Grace and Peace to you.

Martin Fischer said...

I agree with Steven; thanks for your comment! I have just finished reading Neil Cole's "Organic Churches" in German. I see many agreements between Guy and Neil. In my heart I know, this would also be the right way to go here in Switzerland. But how in the world can I jump out of my tracks??? Well, I'll start to pray the 102b-prayer. And I really hope the Lord of the harvest will answer my prayers.

Aussie John said...

Guy,

I have often repeated the words I picked up in my younger years,from whence I know not: "It's more important to train a disciple maker than to make a disciple".

That's multiplication.

Problem is, in practice the spotlight eventually fades from those who love it, and is shone on the One who called us to "make disciples", not converts!

GuyMuse said...

Steven,

Thanks for your comment. Just this afternoon in our team meeting we talked about how difficult it is to work these principles within "the box". It is much easier and effective to start with new disciples and inject this DNA in them from the start. If we were to return to the USA I think I would seek to do the same kinds of things we do here and work--as you put it--"outside the box."

GuyMuse said...

Martin,

Neil's writings have had a lot of influence on our own work and ministry. I just finished his new "Church 3.0" which has helped us fine tune some of these concepts shared in this post. Would love to hear how the Lord leads you there in Switzerland. Keep us posted!

GuyMuse said...

Aussie John,

I like your definition for multiplication, "It's more important to train a disciple maker than to make a disciple". Reminds me of what we have been told about the Chinese house church movement that say, "It is a good thing to lead someone to Christ. It is better to start a church. It is best to teach others to start churches." Thanks for stopping by.

Wendy Meador said...

I agree completely. It is what God has lead us to do here in Northern Santa Catarina, Brazil. When we make it always about the numbers i.e. how many churches, how many people, how many this or that, we are simply trying to measure what we are doing by the world's standards. But the question needs to be asked, "What is success in God's eyes?" Thanks for this post Guy, it really reaffirms to me that we are on the right track. And like you we don't have it all worked out yet but we keep praying and trusting.

Steven said...

Martin, I think that you are spot on in your point concerning prayer. God's vision is the Harvest (Luke 10:1-2) and our reality is that we face barriers (lack of laborers) as we work toward God's vision. In oder to deal with our dilemma, God's solution is to ask Him for His resources to be engaged in His Harvest. You have chosen a good place to start. I would also consider the other strategic principles that Jesus clearly laid out in the rest of the passage (3-12), as well as, those found in Matthew chapter 10.

I also agree with Aussie John and would point to Jesus who trained 12 men for 3 years while focusing closely on 3 primary men, who became key leaders of the early church and trained others. I would also point to Paul's model he laid out in 2 Timothy 2:2. Additionally, Dr. Thom Wolf points out that Paul had a "universal" pattern (1 Cor. 4:17) for making disciples, which keyed upon someone like Paul training a trainer like Timothy to entrust this pattern (tupos) of sound teaching into the hands of reliable men capable of teaching other disciples.

Stephen M. Young II said...

So... how many churches have you planted?



Just kidding. But a serious question. How do you audit and see what's going on? No institutional structure, no government recognized organization, no rolls, etc.

GuyMuse said...

Wendy,

Numbers can be distracting. Many times we think we are doing well because there is a "full house", but if those filling the pews are doing nothing other than sitting there, is that something to count? I do think numbers are important, because they represent eternal souls, but we must stay focused on things that really matter, rather than just pleasing those who gauge success on numbers.

GuyMuse said...

Steven,

Good thoughts. Those passages are key Scriptures for us as well.

Stephen,

We try to keep our focus on doing the right things and leaving the numbers part to Him. It is our belief that if we will do our part, "make disciples", He will do His part, and "build His church."

Stephen M. Young II said...

Guy, I completely agree and understand that, but I know the IMB, at least, wants to get a report and needs to be able to report to SBC churches that "these things are happening." So, how do you audit, or report what's happening?

GuyMuse said...

Stephen,

We send in the reports as requested of us just like everyone else. However, I think the reporting we do does not really reflect well all that God is actually doing in our midst.

Yesterday Jim Palmer responded to this post on my Facebook wall with, "a bunch is good enough for me" I agree!