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Recognizing and Launching Movements

Christianity in its purest form is a movement.

A movement is “a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal.”

A movement occurs when people are connected to a shared cause or purpose. The shared connecting points of a movement could be

  •  Vision
  • Goals
  • Values
  • Identity
  • Passion
  • Achievement
  • Purpose
  • Affiliation

To bring people into the movement we must establish a connecting point significant enough that it will create ownership for them in the movement.

General Factors Accompanying Major Movements and Expansions of Christianity

  • Contextual Conditions – Certain conditions facilitate the spread of Christianity and renewal movements. These are most often times of “ferment” which creates an openness to new or renewed spiritual or theological insight.
  • Key Person – God normally uses an individual to promote this new insight, usually through a new spiritual dynamic.
  • Theological Breakthrough – The expansion of Christianity across various barriers is normally accompanied by or coincides with a new understanding of basic spiritual truth.

How do we know when a true movement is taking place?

1.  Is it self-governing?

  • Does it raise up its own leaders?
  • Are the decisions made from within the movement?

2.  Is it self-supporting?

  • Does it use available resources?
  • Is it dependent on outside funding?

3.  Is it self-perpetuating?

  • Does it create and maintain its own momentum and energy?
  • Does it require training, resources, or visionary development from outside sources?

You cannot own a movement.
You cannot control a movement.
You cannot program a movement.
You cannot schedule a movement.
You cannot finance a movement.
You cannot stop a movement.

A Strategy for Launching Disciple-Making Movements

Launching a DMM begins with a deep commitment to and personal ownership of the mission of the Great Commission. This commitment is birthed in a personal experience with God through prayer, the Word of God, and Spirit-led obedience, developed as you personally make disciples, and completed as you raise up and release others to do it.

There are three key things you can do to launch a DMM:

1.  Be a facilitator – work with others who will launch and lead the movements.

  • Your duty as a facilitator is to help others lead and multiply. You do this by creating an environment in which they are encouraged, assisted, and accountable to multiply.
  • In many instances it is not wise to delegate the initiation of the DMM to someone else. If you do delegate it, you will not personally own it and it will lack the necessary passion essential for the sacrifices a DMM requires.
  • Launching a movement necessitates that we design it to be spontaneous – not over-planned or micro-managed.
  • It must be self-perpetuating and independent of outside intervention for its growth and spread.
  • It also means we must let it take on its own form and style. Teach each generation to follow the leading of the Spirit in how to meet, evangelize, give pastoral care, minister to the poor, and celebrate the life of Christ.
  • Do not be in a hurry to implement structures. There are no shortcuts. Work your generations rather than trying to force cell groups or churches. Let them naturally emerge. DMMs take time to develop, especially in the formative stages. Do not do what your disciples should be doing for themselves.

2. Establish a Great Commission vision.

  • Disciple-making movements must be vision-driven.
  • Do not neglect your personal ownership of the vision. If you do, you will run the risk of aborting your DMM at best, or launching something other than a DMM at worst.
  • Vision-driven movements require the development and releasing of visionary leaders.
  • Visionary leaders must be identified, trained, and released.
  • Carefully select your first generation disciples, looking for movement makers with the necessary qualities.
  • Be intentional about finding the right first generation leaders.
  • Work closely with your first generation. Remember that what you do with them they will pass on to the entire movement.
  • Help them make their first disciples. Failure to do this almost always results in an aborted DMM.

3. Provide coaching.

  • As the movement matures continue to provide visionary, passionate leadership.
  • Be available for questions and discussion.
  • Give accountability and direction.
  • Keep the vision at the forefront of the movement.
  • Keep the passion level high.
  • Keep the focus on organic discipleship, using life experiences to impart spiritual truth. Avoid routine meetings or training contexts.
  • Create a leadership culture in the movement by identifying, equipping, and releasing those with the leadership gifts. Allow multi-generational leadership to emerge under the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction.

—From the Keystone Project Training Manual by Richard Greene. Coppyright 2012.


The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.

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