Clarifying Some Misconceptions – Part 2
– By Tim Martin and Stan Parks –
In part 1 we will addressed eight questions related to frequent misconceptions.Here are five more.
9. Are there CPMs in the Bible?
“Church Planting Movement” is a modern term to describe something that has happened throughout Church history.
Church Planting Movements have existed since the first century of the Christian era. You only have to read between the lines to see Church Planting Movements as the back-story for the rise of Christianity from Christ to Constantine. In the Book of Acts, Luke reported that: “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10, NIV). The Apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians through whom “the Lord’s message…has become known everywhere” (1 Thess. 1:8a, NIV), and near the end of his life declared: “there is no more place for me to work in these regions” (Romans 15:23a, NIV), because of his desire “to preach the gospel where Christ was not known” (Romans 15:20a, NIV).
10. Is the CPM approach against traditional churches?
God is using many kinds of churches to accomplish His purposes in the world. We are all parts of the Body of Christ and we need to honor each other. At the same time, church history and current global realities make this very clear: the Great Commission cannot be completed using only traditional church models. The amount of resources needed for a traditional Western-style church does not allow for Kingdom growth to exceed population growth. Also, cultural patterns from the Western world often make a poor medium for bringing the gospel to non-Westerners. And most of the world’s unreached peoples are non-Western. The primary push for CPMs is to reach those not being reached and unlikely to be reached by traditional church patterns. Simple and easily reproducible biblical patterns offer the best hope for bringing the gospel to all peoples. God is using patterns such as these to bring CPMs among the unreached. So for anyone serious about reaching the unreached in significant numbers, we strongly recommend ministry patterns aiming to catalyze a CPM.
11. Doesn’t rapid multiplication increase the possibility for heresy?
Actually, heresy seems less prevalent in movements than in some traditional churches. This is because of the very interactive nature of their discipleship. The enemy sows seeds of heresy among groups of believers whether in movements or traditional churches. The question is not whether the enemy will sow such problems. The question is whether we are equipping disciples and churches to guard against false teachings and address them when they arise. Even the New Testament church faced such challenges. Equipping believers to rely on Scripture as their authority and study the Scripture together as the body (one example is that in Acts 17:11 the Bereans seem to have received and examined the Scripture together) helps guard against creative and eloquent false teachers.
Heresy usually comes from influential, dynamic, and persuasive leaders and/or institutions. We avoid and deal with heresy by going back to God’s Word and self-correcting according to God’s Word. The strategies movements use to make disciples are very Bible-based. They bring questions back to the Word of God, in order for God’s Word to be the source for answers, not a human authority.
A focus on obedience-based discipleship instead of knowledge-based discipleship also protects against heresy. Disciples don’t just gain knowledge. The measure of their discipleship is obedience to that knowledge.
12. Does rapid growth of a movement lead to shallow discipleship?
Shallow discipleship tends to take place when new believers learn that:
- The main thing expected of them is to attend church meetings once or twice a week.
- Obedience to Scripture is encouraged but not required.
- They will receive God’s most important teachings from a church leader.
Sadly, these are among the messages many believers around the world receive.
The best way to nurture real discipleship is to train new believers to:
- Interact with God’s Word (the Bible) for themselves and discover (together with other
believers) what it says and how it applies to their lives.
- Obey what they believe God is telling them to do through His Word.
- Share the “real situation” of their lives with other followers of Jesus, pray for and encourage one another, and apply the “one anothers” of the NT.
- Share the reality of life in Christ with those who don’t yet know Him.
These patterns of real discipleship are at the heart of Church Planting Movements.
13. Aren’t movements just a fad?
Movements have existed throughout history. Note the book of Acts, the Celtic movement led by Patrick, the Moravian movement, the Wesleyan movement, the Welsh revival, etc. A new wave of movements began in 1994. This wave is increasing exponentially through the present, with over 700 identified movements.
Like the early church, these movements are messy. They are full of humans and human weaknesses and God’s strength despite those weaknesses. If you have other questions or other answers we would be glad to dialogue. You can contact us through our website at www.2414now.net.
After a career in international oil and gas where Tim served as VP of International Exploration and Development, in 2006 he became the first missions pastor at WoodsEdge Community Church in Spring, Texas. His role became more focused in 2018 when he became the “Pastor of Disciple-Making Movements.” Tim has been a student and trainer in biblical movements for several years and has a passion to see Matthew 24:14 fulfilled.
Stan Parks Ph.D. serves the 24:14 Coalition (Facilitation Team), Beyond (VP Global Strategies), and Ethne (Leadership Team). He is a trainer and coach for a variety of CPMs globally and has lived and served among the unreached since 1994.
Edited from an article originally published in the January-February 2019 issue of Mission
Frontiers, www.missionfrontiers.org, pages 38-40, and published on pages 323-330 of the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or Amazon.
(1) This paragraph is excerpted and edited from “10 Church Planting Movement FAQs”
(http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/10-church-planting-movement-faqs) by David Garrison, in the
March-April 2011 issue of Mission Frontiers.