12
Sep
11

Babies Birthing Babies

DMM counter-intuitives—“The best time for a church 2 plant a new church is when it is new.” Older churches want buildings, etc. (Ax 19:26).

In the text referred to above we find an angry silversmith named Demetrius railing, “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger that our trade will lose its good name…” (19:25-27).

No, this passage does not mention churches planting churches. But it indicates the gospel was spreading throughout the province of Asia (the Mediterranean coastal region of modern Turkey) and Demetrius blames Paul. How could this be?

We have found that when a Person of Peace is discipled through a process of facilitating his/her family’s discovery of God, they are learning to share the gospel as quickly as they hear it. By discipling an insider who is already trusted by the family/affinity group, we find many insiders realize they too are able to spread this good news. At every gathering they are asked who they know who needs to hear that day’s text. When they finally come back asking if they can bring their brother, cousin or friend, they are coached in starting a new discovery group. The process intentionally raises up disciple makers, not just learners.

Any evangelist realizes that the best time for a believer to reach family and friends is soon after coming to faith. The excitement and transformation are evident. It is likely that the contextual elements that created the opening for the gospel are also present in nearby friends and family. The longer this believer associates with other believers, the less capacity to reach not-yet-believers, unless evangelism is built into his/her spiritual DNA from the very beginning.

The Discovery process we utilize intentionally builds evangelism into every session. As those first people surrender to Jesus’ Lordship, they are reminded of the responsibility to make sure others are able to come to know him as Savior and Lord. Obedience to the Word of God has been an expectation built into their hearing from the very beginning. Exploring a passage that talks about sending Barnabas and Saul out produces a passion for sending some of the best and brightest out to nearby villages and regions. These new believers have a passion and zeal to spread the gospel to those they know and love.

The other advantage they have is the strategy that was implemented in reaching them is reproducible by them. Like us, they attempt to replicate what proved so powerful in them coming to know God. But unlike traditional missiology, the strategy they will employ has been stripped of the cultural elements that always appeared to be evidence of foreign oppression. Our approach is infinitely reproducible by new believers because it is simple enough to be implemented by not-yet believers who God has prepared.

Returning to Acts, Luke never mentions Paul leaving Ephesus during the three years he worked in that city. So why did Demetrius credit him with leading astray large numbers of people throughout the whole province of Asia? Read Colossians with an eye out for Epaphras.

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