A method known as Disciple Making Movements (DMM) has taken over the missions discussion. Few missionaries sent out in the last 8-10 years have been trained in any other method. Amidst many biblically questionable assumptions is the reality that DMM downplays the need for fluency. To ‘adjust DMM’ (as many try to do) is, for the most part, pointless because missionaries trained in DMM have been instructed that a ‘Person of Peace’ will be the real gospel worker. They have been told that teaching, reasoning, and persuading folks of gospel truths is an ‘outdated Western technique'. Within the DMM world there is little desire for the missionary to be a teacher of scripture so it only makes sense to not see culture and language fluency as critical components.
In one session, direct quotes from the creators of DMM were read that very clearly stated that missionaries are ‘NOT to teach or preach’…they are to passively ‘expose’ people to scripture. In the DMM model it is ideal if the missionary himself is not in the room; he is to hand off to an unsaved surrogate, the Person of Peace, the job of leading the Bible Study. This method, which relieves the missionary of the burden of learning the language at a high level, is truly music to the ears of a potential missionary who isn’t excited to master (the difference between ‘mastering’ a language and being ‘conversational’ was demonstrated at the RMC) one or two languages. DMM relieves that pressure, but, in doing so, relegates the missionary to speaking at a childlike level for the rest of his years of service. In the last 8-10 years nearly every sending organization has presented only this method to its candidates and thus there is now a whole generation of missionaries overseas who, by and large, only know DMM as a way to do pioneer church planting. Sadly, and with little overstatement, nearly a whole generation of pioneer workers have been lost due to this method alone being taught, and in most cases implemented. Some missionaries came out of solid enough churches to where they were not taken in by this method… but even for many of those it has been difficult when DMM alone was presented to them in candidate school. As a missions pastor, I know this for a fact. Candidates sent from my church were only given DMM training while in their candidate stage.
I must admit I, too, was baffled at the acronyms, vagueness and repeated claims that “it’s working”. It was difficult to do my job as a mission pastor…I was busy and studying this method would take time I didn’t have. It is truly heartbreaking to think of the hundreds, or even thousands, of workers sent overseas who have had their efforts to be capable gospel workers knee-capped because in their earliest days they did not set out with diligence to overcome the language barrier. Those workers will almost assuredly be crippled for the rest of their service overseas because it is rare for the seasoned missionary to go back and re-ignite a motivation to study and learn language once he has begun to do the ‘work of the ministry’… even if he’s doing so at the language level of a 5-year old.
("Disciple Making Movements and a Lost Generation,” Radius Report, 6/27/18)