Something remarkable is happening in our day

Throughout history, the spread of the gospel and discipling of whole nations has come primarily through Jesus movements of multiplying disciples and churches (like the Jesus Movement and earlier awakenings in the U.S. and Europe).

Such movements are also sometimes called Church-Planting Movements, Disciple-making Movements or Kingdom Movements. The main universal is lifting up Jesus through multiplying disciples and churches. These fulfill Jesus’ intent for His followers to become fishers of men who seek out the fourth soil (reproducing 30, 60 and 100-fold), just as we see in Acts.

Historically such movements have been widely assumed to be beyond human influence—solely the stirring of God’s spirit in response to prayer, perhaps through an individual we later come to regard as singularly yielded.

However over recent decades, Jesus movements have been birthed at a steadily increasing pace, and practitioners are learning from one another to cooperate with and be led by the Holy Spirit to be even more fruitful. As of April, 2019 at least thousands of efforts are underway and nearly a thousand teams have experienced Spirit-led fruitfulness in such Jesus movements.

As a result, Christ’s body is today closer than ever to discipling all ethné and filling the earth with the knowledge of God’s glory.

Beginnings of the tipping point

Following World War II, air travel first enabled experienced missionaries from many fields and agencies to pursue graduate studies together. While supervising those studies, Donald McGavran, Ralph Winter and others realized that common practices for starting and growing individual churches actually hindered the rapid movement of the gospel through whole people groups.

In 1974 Ralph Winter distilled insights from his students into the class known worldwide today as Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. In this course he identified how successive waves of protestant mission effort were carrying us closer to the completion of Mt. 24:14.

Then in 1981 Donald McGavran summarized his core insights into a single article for the Perspectives Reader in the article: A Church in Every People: Plain Talk About a Difficult Subject. (This links to a version with my annotations. See also my contemporary adaptation) In this article McGavran asserts:

  • Movements are the only way peoples become reached.
  • The common practices of 90% of missionaries inhibit movements.
  • The practices that lead to movements are relatively simple.

Fueled by a growing body of related insights, many prayerfully learned and applied the biblical movement principles modeled by Jesus and repeated by Paul, and movements began spreading.

You too can “set your sail” to:

  • catch the wind of God’s Spirit,
  • disciple others to multiply in our own context, and perhaps
  • see a full-blown movement spread far beyond your immediate influence.


To speed you on this journey, the resources following and listed at the links below include:

  • Books and Mission Frontiers (MF) issues/articles (in bold italics),
  • videos and audio podcasts (in bold), and
  • blogs and training resources.

Movements in General

As the following books and materials reveal, multiplying movements have played a central, biblical role in God’s unchanging purpose to bless all peoples through His people.

Lessons from Dominoes illustrating the social realities of movements. “Fruit Lover” coaches a movement network that has been doubling every 18 months (on average) since 2008. As of January 2018 this network had produced 25 full movements and spread to 47 language groups in 12 countries.

Church Planting by the Book by E. Elbert Smith (2015)

Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming A Lost World by David Garrison (2004) (Free PDF available here.)

Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? by Roland Allen (1912)

The following links provide additional details about several different model for movements

Discovery Bible Study (DBS—Watson, etc.)

Training for Trainers/No Place Left (T4T/NPL—Smith, etc.)

Obedience-Oriented Discipleship/Spontaneous Multiplication (Patterson, etc.)

Other Contemporary Streams (Addison, Choudhrie, etc.)

Movements among Muslims

Ministry toward Multiplication in Honor-Shame Cultures

Mission Frontiers issues focused on Movements

Additional Trainings, Columns and Resources

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