For the past 10 years it has been impossible to be involved in the worldwide Christian movement and not be aware of church planting movement (CPM) strategies. Miraculous Movements is a new book by Jerry Trousdale of CityTeam International about these movements. There are many organizations that have been focusing on movements over this past decade. CityTeam and Trousdale have been at the center of the spread of the Gospel through these efforts and this book reflects their expertise.
This book is a good introduction to the ideas behind CPM strategies. In the 1st chapter we get a glimpse into exciting, life transforming events that are taking place in a substantial way among Muslims. Through the use of one man’s story, the author frames his topic and then broadens it to a discussion of movements that are happening worldwide. This is not a scholarly, statistical, scientific survey of the spread of Christianity among Muslims. Rather, it is a motivational and inspirational window into what the Holy Spirit is doing in ways that will amaze the rest of the global church.
In the bulk of the book Trousdale covers the whole range of topics that are commonly discussed in CPM training sessions that I have attended with missionaries. Those have that already been exposed to CPM efforts this book will not find this to be particularly groundbreaking. However, along with David Garrison’s Church Planting Movements, I know of no single source that will get you a better overview of CPM methodology. I expect that Miraculous Movements will become required reading for anybody working to share Christ with Muslims. This book will be a big seller.
The topics included are: Jesus’ disciple making strategy, prayer, why Muslims are attracted to Jesus, the importance of discovery Bible studies and obedience-based discipleship, the power of simple churches that are easily reproduced, and how God is using the supernatural to break through to Muslim cultures. You’ll be treated to testimonies of incredible breakthroughs as God has worked in ways that are not normative for the Western Christian. Chapter 11 is titled, “Ordinary People Achieving the Impossible,” and it shows how the things you just read about have been seen in the lives of new converts. Trousdale suggests that there are a number of significant paradigm shifts that we must make in order to adequately apply the CPM strategy. These reinforce the message that has already been delivered. A practical chapter on getting started with this type of strategy in your own context mirrors what seasoned missionaries are trained to do all around the world.
Having been a critic of CPM strategies when I 1st heard about them I am a bit fearful that Trousdale’s treatment of the topic lacks a theological section. I personally do not need to be convinced about the application of CPM strategies. I know, though, what the objectors will say. Particularly for those coming out of the traditional Christian environment these sorts of ministry strategies can be very counter intuitive. I anticipate that for those who are already convinced CPM ideas this book will serve to bolster their confidence. It will be, however, critiqued by detractors. A work about the theological basis and implications for CPMs remains, in my view, an unconquered challenged.
Miraculous Movements is an excellent overview of CPM strategies as currently being taught in missiological circles. I highly recommend it.