North Americans have a reputation for innovation as several churches and individuals are finding unique ways to implement Kingdom Movement (CPM/DMM) strategies in North America and not all of them are relying on existing local churches.
Take Lee Wood for instance. The moment he first learned about CPM/DMM strategies, he loved them. He began talking to and praying with down-and-outers on the streets of Tampa, FL. These were people who were far from God—and light-years from existing church culture. Little by little, God began doing something in their lives. Within a few short weeks, Lee had started 60 groups single-handedly! He chuckles at himself these days. “I didn’t even think about how busy that would make me. I didn’t even know I wasn’t supposed to try to do it all by myself. I just wanted to implement. Fortunately, I had a great mentor who refused to give up on me.” Today, researchers estimate that the “genealogical tree” that has resulted has now topped 3,000 new believers—and it’s still growing.
Keep in mind–Lee’s work didn’t really happen in the context of the local church. These were people who were pretty much off everybody’s radar. But CPM/DMM strategies shine in those circumstances.
Take Mark Aspinwall for instance. He first learned about CPM/DMM strategies in 2010 when he flew with Curtis Sergeant to a large island in the Pacific to help organize a series of trainings. He’s never been the same since. The next thing Mark knew, he was in charge of training for that island. If he was going to help with training them, he reasoned, he should be implementing it himself. He decided to start a group in his house and, well, the rest is history.
Talking with Mark, it’s hard to miss the fact that this CPM/DMM stuff is hard work. For his first group, he invited 16 families to a three-thirds group, only to have just one family show up. Mark laughs, “Fortunately, that family had 8 children and we had 4. It felt like a full house!” But in short order, 30 people were taking part in this thing Mark had started. Most of the 30 were teenagers. They desired fellowship. They loved visiting. “The kids picked it up faster than we did,” Mark says. “They had less to unlearn. We watched our own children, and their friends get serious about doing what Jesus says, and sharing it with others.”
With that as the basis, the group in Mark’s house had grown to 23. That’s not 23 people. That’s 23 groups!
Once again, this wasn’t really happening primarily in the context of a local church, though some of his participants did attend a local church on the side. International students at a nearby university turned out to be one of the most fruitful fields. Many wanted to practice English so Mark’s wife would patiently have conversation groups with them. From there, she would invite them to practice English by discussing stories from the Bible. And when they would return to nations like China or Argentina, Mark and his wife would keep on communicating with them and encouraging them. They didn’t do it for pay. This was “zero budget missions.” They did it because they felt that if they failed to do it, they would be failing as Jesus followers. So now, Mark “fishes Facebook.” He studies the Bible with people over Zoom. “With the pandemic,” he observes, “geography has pretty much been taken off the table.”