Friday, January 24, 2020

Introducing “Motus Dei: DMM and the Mission of God” | Global Missiology

The online journal Global Missiology has published my essay Motus Dei: Disciple-Making Movements and the Mission of God in their January 2020 issue. Here is the abstract:

God's mission is diverse, and so are the ways missiologists discuss it. This article outlines a constructive missiology of the current "disciple-making movement" phenomenon in a way that makes creative connections between different conversations in the field of mission studies. In so doing, a new concept called motus Dei (Latin for movement of God) is situated into our understanding of the missio Dei.

Here is the main outline:

  1. Integral Mission as Both Apostolic and Indicative

  2. Towards a Missiology of Disciple-Making Movements

  3. Locating DMM in the Missio Dei

    • The Globalizing Church and the Role of West-South Partnerships

    • DBS as Translation and Inculturation

    • The Eradication of the Laity

    • Obedience-Based Discipleship and The Common Good

    • Prayer, Miracles, and Weakness

From the Conclusion:

In their passion for movements, DMM advocates tend to discuss them as if they are the primary way God is working in the world today. The same could be said for those who advocate the missio Dei with respect to holistic ministry. This article represents one bridge-building attempt to show that there is more common ground than is often recognized. Discipleship movements, occurring at the intersection of divine initiative and human responsibility, play an important role in God's mission to redeem his creation back to himself. Despite the tendency to emphasize our distinctive differences, we in the mission community need to embrace our unity in Christ and to listen more carefully to one another.

What can the wider mission community, and missiologists collectively, learn from the current DMM phenomenon? One central lesson is profoundly theological: sometimes, God moves quickly. Other times, slowly. In his sovereignty, speed and quantity is not the issue, but the quality of growth and the glory God receives. Related is that statistics should never be the sole measure of success. Furthermore, we should not expect movements to happen in every context if we just do ministry in a certain way. At the same time, this study of DMM demonstrates that there are approaches to mission and forms of ecclesiology that seem to facilitate movements better, so we are wise to inquire how they can be fostered more effectively.

God seems glad to work both inside and outside of traditional ecclesial patterns established in Christendom. However he works, God often moves in ways that defy expectations; it is his mission, after all. We might call this divine activity the motus Dei, the movement of God. In light of this motus Dei, we can - and indeed should - pray earnestly with apostolic and ecumenical passion, "that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored" (2 Thess. 3:1), just as it is with DMM.

Read the whole thing.


CameroonGuy said...

This is a great article and and important discussion to engage in. Thank you for sharing it.
I am a little surprised by the implication that DMM and holistic ministry advocates represent two different camps within the world of missions. The disciple-making movements that I have heard of and read about have been very holistic in their approach to kingdom advancement. A good percentage of the these disciple-making movements are taking place in Africa and the Middle East, where the indigenous anthropology does not know a dichotomy between a person's spiritual self and physical self.

Warrick Farah said...

Yes, I agree. Thanks for sharing!