By Tom Planck
Considering the events of this last year, there are more than a few reasons to expect evidence of a deceleration of impact in the Church. While this may be the case on some fronts, it certainly has not been the case for the Mission 120 initiative.
The Mission 120 initiative is a partnership that exists between the state ministries of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, along with Healthy Growing Churches and Groundswell. These ministries linked arms in November of 2019 with the purpose of resourcing 120 churches across the region through a six-month cohort journey for church leaders. This cohort opportunity was designed to help these leaders build an intentional pathway for disciple-making in their congregations.
In January of 2020, only weeks before COVID-19 began its rapid spread across the United States, we launched the first wave of M120 cohorts. Forty pastors from these three states embarked on a journey to develop these discipleship pathways. We began with the passionate aim that these pathways would result in producing obedient followers of Jesus, who would then produce another generation of disciples – and so on. Each of the pastors who participated in the first wave of cohorts are now implementing their pathways and have started to disciple the first generation.
The second wave of M120 cohorts launched in September of 2020. These pastors will complete the cohort material in March and soon transition to the construction phase and begin implementing their pathways!
This March, we are launching a third wave of M120 cohorts with another 35 pastors across the region. When this third wave finishes early this summer, several churches will be moving toward a second generation of disciple-makers discipling a third generation of disciples. We will have also surpassed our goal of 120 disciple-making churches in the region, with more than 130 churches working to construct these pathways and moving toward a second generation of disciple-makers discipling a third generation!
We are beyond excited to share this update on the progress we are making on the M120 front. Our excitement extends way beyond simply surpassing our goal of raising up 120 churches in the region. Our deeper excitement centers around two key dynamics:
- First, we believe Matthew 28:19 captures Jesus’ Plan A for reaching the world (there is no Plan B). Empowering churches to become more effective at making disciples means each of these churches are and will be better positioned to reach their community, make more and better disciples, and create a pipeline of leaders to multiply!
- Second, we also firmly believe that disciple-making to multiple generations of disciples is the best step toward accelerating a church’s movement toward health and multiplication.
Fast forward a few years from now and ask yourself this question: What if these 130+ churches from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana really do produce multiple generations of disciples? The answer provides a window to the incredible fruit that could (and will!) be born in the Church of God in the region over the next couple of years. We will see the quality of the disciple our churches are producing increase. We will watch our leadership pipelines fill with leaders who are prepared and ready to lead at a higher level. Our churches will be positioned to send these pioneering leaders to launch new multiplication ventures.
May the Holy Spirit continue to anoint this initiative and lead us to see an acceleration of healthy multiplication!