Three Ways to Use a DMM Approach – Which is Best for Your Church? 

If you were asked to describe a church, what would you say? You might think of a service with collective worship through song, a sermon, and minimal interaction from the audience. But what else could church look like? 

If you’re familiar with Zúme, you’re probably also familiar with the concept of Disciple-Making Movements (DMM)—the “rapid and exponential increase in disciples making disciples.” The goal to bring more people in to learn at the feet of Jesus may be appealing to you, but how do you bring this idea to your church? 

On a recent episode of our podcast, Pastor Ron Johnson of Restoration Church shared with us “three primary options” for applying DMM principles to church, which he paraphrased from Damien Gerke’s book In the Way. Let’s look at them together. 

  1. Ron describes the first approach as “Pure DMM.” This focuses primarily on the disciple-making movement, emphasizing movement rather than the traditional trappings of a church service. “That takes a lot of courage,” Ron says, because it’s a more drastic change that could make people who are used to the prevailing church uncomfortable. 
  1. Some churches will go for a parallel approach, where they’ll continue with the traditional church model and pursue a disciple-making movement alongside it. Ron recently recommended this approach to a pastor he described as a “teacher/prophet.” “Given his schedule and nature,” Ron said, and given that “he has a strong, apostolic leader in his church who’s, like, constantly kicking the door down” trying to get a DMM started, Ron suggested the parallel structure so the teacher and apostle can work beside each other. 

The model is also helpful because many disciples have a “historical knowledge of a certain way of church operating,” which involves meeting in a particular building, having holiday programming, etc. By pursuing a parallel approach, churches can provide the structure congregants appreciate while encouraging them to be disciples who make disciples. 

  1. Finally, hybrid models try to “maximize synergy between the typical programs in the church and the disciple-making movement.” For Ron’s church, this looks like trying to “reinforce the values of the movement through the weekend experience.” Throughout their structure, Restoration emphasizes DMM values like staying rooted in prayer, obeying the Spirit, and making active disciples rather than passive converts. Rather than turning from traditional programming altogether or having a disciple-making movement run alongside the main programming, a hybrid approach attempts to integrate the two. 

Which approach might work best for your church? If you want to learn more, check out Damien Gerke’s book, In the Way. If you want to get involved in DMM with a small group of your friends or neighbors, sign up for our free, 10-session online training to join the global movement