Wow, there is so much I could write about the first day of Church Planting Movement (CPM) training. Too much to put into one blog post, so I will focus on one powerful concept we learned:
The resources are in the harvest.
We compared movements to avalanches--large movements of snow that flow down a mountain. People sometimes set off avalanches intentionally (such as by throwing dynamite or shooting the snow with a gun), and sometimes they set them off unintentionally (such as by skiing down the mountain). In moments, the snow gathers such momentum that it sweeps everything away with it and the skiiers cannot control it. It can be very dangerous for them. But the people who start avalanches do not make them flow and gain velocity. The potential energy is already built up in the snow and only needs to be triggered in order to make it happen.
Though the analogy is incomplete, it demonstrates that CPMs, when they occur, do not occur because an individual missionary or Christian is organizing and structuring the entire effort, and raising tons of money and people to come in from the outside to make it happen. Instead, one flake of snow pushes the next flake of snow and it multiplies on a grand scale. CPMs happen when the people themselves share the gospel with the people around them, plant a church among them, and then they in turn repeat this process until churches are multiplied throughout the entire people group.
The method initually introduced must be simple and reproducable. If a missionary starts out with an evangelization or church planting method that the people themselves could not reproduce, then it will not trigger a church planting movement. He might start one awesome church, but it will stop there.
This approach is like trying to move snow by making a snow ball. You roll it and it grows in size until it is quite large. But then it becomes too large to push and it stops. To make it move you must call other people in to help push it. The snow itself can't push itself as it does in an avalanche.
Though it is counter-intuitive, sometimes the "better" we do church makes it more unlikely that there will ever be a movement among the people we're attempting to reach.