Dear Friends & Ministry Partners,
Proverbs 27:23 says; “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds,” This is wise instruction that we all need to consider. While we may not have flocks and herds, we need to stop at times to evaluate our business or in our case our ministry. As times change, so must we “understand the times” and change to meet the needs in a new reality! I have been more than pleased with the way God has blessed the ministry of Dynamic Churches International. He has accomplished so much! As I considered these amazing days that we live in however, with millions of people around the world committing their lives to Jesus Christ, I had to ask myself, “is there more that DCI can do?” I prayed much and sought the Lord for direction. He graciously answered my prayers through one of our DCI Staff who sent me a book – “Contagious Disciple Making” by David and Paul Watson, that helped me see how we could improve the way we equip Pastors and Church leaders to reach out into the community more effectively.
We have our materials in over 40 languages now so I resist changes because it means changing in 40 languages. Not an easy task! When there is need for a worthy change, however, we are pleased to make it! In fact, I have spent the last several months reworking all of our leadership books to fit the new model. So, what must change? Let me give you a brief summary of the new direction we are going.
Spontaneous Disciple Making: a new strategy based on Understanding Our Community
People in our community tend to gather together with other like-minded people. Anthropologists call these segments “Silos” (Circles of influence). These could be large or small and may be formed around racial lines or various affinities because they have common interest. Families are mini silos. Your Church is also a silo. Each silo has its own unwritten understanding of who is “inside” and who is “outside” their silo.
Extraction Evangelism Traditional evangelism uses the extraction method to reach these groups. That means they try to contextualize the gospel to make it acceptable to the group they want to reach and send someone to them who is considered by that silo as an “outsider”.
They feel they are successful if they reach one person and bring that person to their “church silo”. This is difficult to do and it is also a huge transition for the person they have reached. It often means that you have separated that person from his/her “natural silo”. The new person learns the language and culture of the church silo – making him/her an outsider to their former silo. In doing this you cause hurt and your actions are disruptive to their community. Research shows that you will only be able to reach about 5% to 10% of a community this way. Also, this extraction evangelism method can make it almost impossible to ever reach the rest of this community. The church worldwide has been using the extraction method of evangelism. We, DCI, not realising it, have been encouraging churches to use this method, but now we see that we must help them reverse this direction and equip them to go out to them and establish the gospel in these “silos” in their community. Spontaneous means “Motivated from within”!
Now as we train Pastors we are equipping them to challenge the people in the Church who are motivated because they are experiencing Christ’s amazing life within them, and want to reach out to their neighbours, family and friends. They equip them to pray for and find people who are interested and open to the gospel. When they find such a person they would offer to meet in the home of this person and encourage them to invite their family and/or friends to join with them for a Discovery Group – a study on what the Bible has to say regarding the fundamental issues of life. The Christian would lead this Discovery Group week by week beginning in Genesis with creation, explaining how sin entered our world, God’s remedy for sin and God’s plan to bring us back to Him by Jesus’ death on the cross. Those who receive Jesus would be followed-up using Dynamic Basics and those who want to lead a group would be trained using Dynamic Discipling and the newly developed Leadership books.
So, How Can We Reach these Lost People? In summary, we must acknowledge these community structures and see individuals as entry points into families. As we disciple these families they become gateways into their silos. Every person is in more than one silo, so silos reach out to other silos within their community, and even to other communities and so they become highways – reaching whole nations.
We need to focus on planting the Gospel into every existing Silo that could spread to more and more people and could in time establish a new church with, for, and by the people of that silo that would keep on reaching their own silo and beyond!
Jesus came to “seek out and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and in John 20:21 Jesus said, “…as the father has sent me, I am sending you.” We are to seek out and save every last one of them!
(The above insights are adapted from the book Contagious Disciple Making by David L. Watson and Paul D. Watson)