The Long Ramp to Multiplication of Mission

Project Galveston04

The Long Ramp to Multiplication of Mission

I went to a conference down in Kansas City recently, though I don’t usually go to those.  Neil Cole was there and I went to his small group session. Something he said made a ton of sense, and phenomenologically, fit our experience of mission multiplication.  He was actually talking about disciple-making, but multiplication of disciples is directly related to the multiplication of mission. Disciples are made in the mission, so disciples engage in the Mission of God…or they are not disciples at all.  Neil Cole pointed out that there is a long ramp up to multiplication. Once that multiplication begins, however, it becomes exponential rather quickly. The key to it is in the DNA of new disciples.

After thirteen years in my current context, I still don’t know whether it is possible to alter the discipleship DNA of people who were born into the faith in an institutional paradigm.  That isn’t my business. That is the business of the Holy Spirit.  But I do know this, and it is something Neil Cole was exactly right about and that is reflected in the Gospels: disciples will imprint on their first experience of Jesus and Jesus’ Kingdom.  If their first experience of Jesus and Jesus’ Kingdom is in engagement with the Kingdom in the mission, then that place and activity will be the center of their faith experience going forward. Jesus invited his disciples to follow him into the mission, and his identity was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit in the mission with Jesus. Not the other way around.

Likewise, if new disciples were brought into the Kingdom by the Spirit through a disciple who is not professional clergy in the mission, then they almost instinctively know that a disciple (clergy or not) engages in the mission, and through the working of the Spirit works to bring others into the Kingdom through missional engagement. More importantly, disciples born again in the mission are not imprinting on a copy of Jesus (i.e. cool clergy person, church on Sunday, etc.).  They are imprinting on the real-deal Jesus who is among the least of these just as Jesus said he would be. Further, if the disciple who helped the Spirit open that person’s eyes tells that new disciple right from the start that everyone has one teacher – Jesus, then that new disciple understands that they are co-leaners with disciples, not students of theirs. They are not born into the hierarchy of institution…”prostrate to the higher mind” (sorry, Indigo Girls). They are born into the wildness and empowerment of every disciple in the Missio Dei.  They engage in the mission, and in the mission, Jesus’ presence and identity is revealed to them by a combination of demonstration of the Kingdom and proclamation. They imprint on that…they copy that…they instinctively are fed and grown in that.

But…THAT takes time.  For us, it took about ten years to develop an “algorithm”…a simple, transferable, practical method…for missional engagement that mirrored the Gospels authentically enough that the Holy Spirit could use it to do what the Holy Spirit has always done…open people’s eyes to the Kingdom of God and the living presence of the Messiah. Ten years.  Let me say that again…TEN YEARS.  And then it took another year for the first disciples born in this paradigm to come to maturity, claim their calling, and to begin to make disciples themselves through mission planting.  Now it is happening. We have Generation 3 street missions that are now becoming communities of faith designed to plant new missions through the use of the algorithm that the Holy Spirit has been teaching us through lumps and scrapes and hours of study and discernment. Now it is happening on its own through the work of the Holy Spirit among disciples who have this Way in their DNA. Is this way, Jesus’ Way? I don’t know…it would be arrogant to say so for sure.  We see through a glass dimply.  But there is evidence of Christ’s presence because the missions are now bearing fruit that bears fruit for the Kingdom.

We don’t write books.  We don’t sell knowledge.  We do everything we can to reduce the friction in the flow of information among others engaged in the Missio Dei. We don’t do conferences.  We do “share-ware”. We post what we learn as soon as we learn it, and we live in the hope that other learners will, too.  Nothing we have learned is ours.  It is all Christ’s.  Ten years is a long time to spend learning something if we aren’t going to share it.  So…it’s all yours…and the Holy Spirit’s.  Using this method might shorten your “ramp up” significantly.  You’ll find the method simplified down to 12 steps two posts before this one. And you’ll find a pretty good example of spontaneous mission and disciple multiplication in the post just before this one.  Our prayer is that you will see the Kingdom unfold before you as you engage with Christ in the messianic mission.  And that you will soon have stories to tell of signs and wonders and the mighty works of God in the midst of your mission. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” And have fun!!! Christ will be with you just as Christ promised to be.

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1 Comment »

  1. Rachel Said:

    This is really good! And as for those born into the institutional paradigm, it’s not easy to overcome by any means, but I think that the Holy Spirit can and is working in many of those people. I know that He is working in my life incredibly! In fact, for me I appreciate the fact that I have experienced both because it leads me to see how much more fruitful and authentic the missional paradigm is. It was hard to open up to it at first, but with each day I am more and more wanting the Holy Spirit to work that paradigm into my heart and daily life!


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