Wednesday, March 30

Making disciples that make disciples that make disciples = CPM

The way to get to a 'church planting movement' is focus on what it will take to initiate a 'disciple making movement.'

Our focus is usually trying to get churches to reproduce themselves. The whole CPM thing of 'churches planting churches that plant churches' just hasn't happened in our context.

What we are learning from the Lord is that we need to get back to basics: 'making disciples that make disciples that make disciples.' Church plants will follow if new disciples are making disciples themselves.

Christ didn't charge us with going out and starting churches. Our assigned task is to 'make disciples.' Jesus stated, "I will build my church"--not, 'WE will build his church.'

God is on mission. He invites us to partner with him in bringing about the Kingdom. In this partnership each "party" is responsible for certain things. If we will do our part and 'make disciples', He will certainly do his part and 'build his church'!

There is nothing new about any of this. But for some reason, we busy ourselves with all kinds of activities other than the clear cut commands and instructions of Christ to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach the new believers to be Christ followers who reproduce themselves into other new disciples.

One of the more helpful and practical books on discipleship and church planting is Neil Cole's Organic Church. On page 98 he writes...

Trying to multiply churches is starting at the wrong place...We must go further down microscopically, to the smallest unit of Kingdom life if we want to start the multiplication process...The way to see a true church multiplication movement is to multiply healthy disciples, then leaders, then churches, and finally movements--in that order.

As passionate as I am about church planting, I found it perplexing that the Bible never instructs us to start churches...we are not to start churches, but instead to make disciples who make disciples. that is actually the way churches are started...Jesus gave us instruction that is one the molecular level of Kingdom life, for a very good reason: it works. Trying to multiply large, highly complex organisms without multiplying on the micro level is impossible.
Our focus must be on getting back to multiplying healthy reproducing disciples. Trying to get churches to multiply who are filled with non-reproducing believers is futile. Until we get back to basics of being disciples, and multiplying ourselves in others, there is little chance of ever seeing a CPM in our midst.


reformedlostboy said...

make disciples who make disciples. That is much easier than planting churches. Through the life on life of discipleship we can see the living organism of the church grow together.

good post.

GuyMuse said...

Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. For me it alleviates a lot of the preasure of all that is involved in planting churches. Making disciples seems a lot more doable than planting churches!

Aussie John said...


That's the language I understand.

I'm sure Jesus was taking into account many issues of human weaknesses, when He said "make disciples", rather than "plant churches".

Disciples are the seed from which a local body will grow.

They must be disciples, not just converts!

GuyMuse said...


The reason there are more converts than disciples, is that making converts is a lot easier. Making disciples costs us time, energy, money, resources...but the eternal payoff in terms of the eternal is impossible to calculate!

Anonymous said...


I propose a Lucan challenge. Read the entire book of Luke in on month. Give serious prayer and meditation to the things Jesus wants to change in my life. From day one share with others what God is doing in my life and challenge others to do the same. Making disciples is NOT easy. If it was we might do a better job of it. It is challenging to listen to Mark Driscoll's radical sermons. It is challenging to read David Platt's new books. HOWEVER, radical is living the model Dr. Luke share with us in Luke and Acts.

GuyMuse said...


I like your Lucan challenge. Seems I remember one of the nameless M's behind one of the huge Asian CPMs did the same thing. He went on a pure diet of Luke/Acts and laid off all the church planting books and listened only to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The fruit was more than anyone could have possible imagined!

Freddie said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this most important issue. We always struggle with the best way to reach more people groups and I wholeheartedly agree with the "make disciples" bibical premise as opposed to church planting. Even on "church planting" missions I look for that special person that is on fire for GOD and try to develop and grow that fire.
Thanks to David Chism for sharing your blog.
Freddie Aderhold, Discipleship CoOrdinator , Amazon Strategy

Anonymous said...

The mission organization that I belong has decided to focus our attention back to Disciple Making as lifestyle and let the church around the world birth itself naturally as a result. Enjoyed reading this: