This week Michelle and I will participate in a Community of Practice with Jeff Sundell in Sydney. Twenty-five practitioners will come in for three days with Jeff. We'll report in, share what we're learning, share where we are stuck and plan next steps. One of the exercises Jeff will lead us through is Generational Mapping of new groups of disciples and churches. The best resource on this was produced by Nathan Shank. Michelle and I went through it together and some lights went on regarding our local work in Box Hill.
The other thing the exercise did for us was stretch our vision beyond making disciples to disciple making movements. Don't just read the article, go through the exercise and apply it to your ministry.
What would you do with 3,000 baptisms in a day? To what degree were the Apostles responsible before the Lord for the fledgling churches scattered across Jerusalem within the weeks that followed? How did Paul sleep at night, when the need for leadership development and church formation outgrew his calendar? (2 Cor. 11:28). A generation later how would Peter determine the necessary content of a letter addressed to churches scattered across Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia?
Clearly church growth, when genuine, must be credited to the investment of the Holy Spirit. But for the first time in our ministry the reality of multiplication brought the questions of ongoing responsibility in an emerging Church-Planting Movement (CPM) into our lap. Did we see 3,000 in a day? No, but within two years the networks we were coaching were reporting a sustained average of 46 baptisms a day. These newly baptized believers were being formed into an average of eight new congregations daily. The question haunted us, “How will we ensure elements of church health on the edge of these emerging movements?” We knew the discipleship chains that had multiplied new believers would be the key to multiplying elements and leaders for church health as well.
Into this scenario stepped a man named Jeff Sundell. Jeff had seen movements in the past. He had become a student of CPM’s firsthand in the Asian context. As we sat with local church planters, Jeff began to discuss and draw out what would become a revolutionary tool in our pursuit of healthy churches in the midst of movements.
Resource: Generational Mapping, Nathan Shank