You aren’t clever enough, gifted enough, charismatic enough, relational enough, strategic enough, disciplined enough, or loving enough to release a kingdom movement. You simply don’t have it in you.
And that is a good thing.
Because when we are weak He is strong.
When we look at scripture and at most of the kingdom movements in the last 2000 years they have one thing in common:
At the centre of each movement were leaders who had been so completely and utterly broken that they came to reply completely on the Lord for everything.
Just look at the lives of Peter, Paul, Luther, Wesley, Jackie Pullinger, Mother Theresa, among many others.
Leaders of kingdom movements live in the reality that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. In scripture and also in our own lives we see a pattern of “breaking”, where the Lord allows circumstances and pressure to bring us back to a place of dependency before Him in both our perceived areas of strength and weakness. We can begin to learn the signs of breaking, so that rather than coming to a place of complete spiritual, emotional and physical exhaustion we can recognize the signs that we’re coming to the end of ourselves.
The scriptural word for this is humility.
In other words we don’t wait for everything around us or in us to be broken to recognise that everything is broken. Rather, we continually step into a posture where we realize that, if left up to us, we’ll break everything anyway.
So, leaders of Kingdom movements are ones who have adopted this posture of humility:
I can’t do it but HE can.
And from that place we can partner with where God is already at work.
If that’s the character of a kingdom movement leader, let’s think about what a kingdom movement actually looks like. What are some of the defining factors of a movement?
Well, maybe it’s helpful to define what a kingdom movement isn’t. A kingdom movement isn’t:
- Centred around one gifted individual
- About growing one enormous church
- About a genius with a thousand helpers
A kingdom movement isn’t about individuals. It’s about a community of disciples who passionately seek the expansion of God’s reign here on earth through the reproduction of disciples, seeking the transformation of the places they habit.
Kingdom movements are focused on makng disciples of Jesus who can make disciples who can make disciples. Kingdom movements are a series of movements that form a larger whole that is the Kingdom of God. Lots of people. Doing lots of things. Chasing after where God is already at work.
And this is nothing short of what Jesus was after.
What we see in Jesus is the ultimate movement leader. He was someone who, in three years, unleashed a movement that would change the course of human history. What we see in the early church, and specifically in the person of Paul, are people who did something very simple that has profound meaning for us today:
They simply did what Jesus taught them to do.
Movements are all about reproduction, and reproduction at every level. If you can’t multiply missional leaders, you’ll never create movements. It doesn’t matter how good your vehicles are. It won’t matter what kind of buildings you have or how much money you’ve got.
If you don’t know how to effectively multiply leaders, it will always be Kingdom growth by addition instead of by multiplication.
Jesus gave us a picture of a tree and said that good trees are supposed to bear good fruit. One tree can bear quite a lot of fruit. But there’s even more than this . In each piece of fruit is the seed of multiplication. Each piece of fruit has dozens of seeds that could produce more trees. And there wasn’t just one piece of fruit on each tree, but lots of fruit.
So let’s imagine what this could be:
• One tree
• One tree, hypothetically, has 100 pieces of fruit
• Each piece of fruit has, hypothetically, 20 seeds in it that can multiply into 20 more trees
• One tree = 2,000 potential trees
Multiplication is what Jesus is talking about in the Parable of the Sower. In another, you expect a return of 30, 60, 100 times what you invest with the one seed. It’s multiplication.
When Jesus talked about trees and fruit, he was referring to something very specific: people. He was saying that each person is a tree, and a disciple is someone who produces good fruit. If we take Jesus’ metaphor seriously, he seems to be suggesting that a disciple will produce thousands of disciples.
That can seem incredibly daunting.
But if you do the simple maths you realize this:
You can’t get there by addition, but you can by multiplication.
We take what we’ve been given, invest it, and let it multiply.
Multiplication has been the way of the church for thousands of years because it was the way of Jesus:
Let’s return to multiplication!
This is the fourth and final building block in leading missional movements. In our Learning Community and in Mike Breen’s book, Leading Kingdom Movements, we delve deeper into the life of Paul as a kingdom movement leader as well as looking at how to:
- do contextual mission
- live on the continuum of Organized and organic
- create something that is sustainable and scalable
- operate in the power of the Holy Spirit