Diaspora Mobilized Disciple Streams
By Jim Spikes and Phil Kesler
Working with Diaspora peoples is nothing new; the Gospel has spread for years strategically through people from all walks of life. Paul and others made disciples among diverse people groups (PGs) through commercial, military, religious, and personal relationships. These disciples then took the Gospel to their own peoples and to others. While some of those peoples remained in the vicinity of where they were led to Jesus, many of them moved on to other locations as their employment or life circumstances led them elsewhere.
It is important to recognize that, in today’s increasingly globalized world, Mobilized Disciples (MDs) – those that become disciples and are challenged to make disciples no matter where God takes them – are highly mobile people.
The Christian church, especially in Global Cities, is really more of a liquid than a solid. Diaspora Christian meetings /services may form and appear to be solid like ice – but as ice eventually melts and flows away – often the Diaspora Christian MDs move to other locations within cities, within countries, or even move away to other countries – all the while seeking to form other MDs among their own PG as well as other UPGs.
Diaspora Christian MDs form semi-permanent church groupings that, though they may diminish in size or even cease to meet in one location, may blossom and multiply in other locations. Traditional means for measuring “success” related to some sort of permanent gathering with stable leadership presence may not be the best tools for capturing and understanding the impact and spread of these Diaspora MD assemblies or leadership development networks.
This is not to say that one cannot “track” or “count” Diaspora Christian growth. The challenge is to develop approaches and tools that take into account Diaspora realities and that can identify and measure significant elements. One of these elements could be the ongoing relationship and contact modern technology allows many of these MDs to have with their mentors. Through natural relationships, Diaspora MDs can be encouraged to report their progress, and are often quite joyful to do so! In some cases, for example, Diaspora Mobilizers have been invited to another country to witness firsthand the fruit of their labors, seeing how Diaspora MDs have planted multiple churches back in the MDs home country! However, it is important to recognize that, in normal conditions, after the 3rd or 4th generation of Diaspora Christian MDs /gatherings, reporting may be sporadic at best. In order to make the reporting work well, Diaspora workers must foster the spirit of family at all times in all gatherings and encourage their MDs to stay in touch no matter where they are, often by regular Skype or other social media communications.
When considering Diaspora Christian MDs, the best and most expected outcome is to see multiple “streams” of movement and exponential growth that ebb and flow and quite often cross cultural and geographic boundaries, regardless of which PG was the base group that initiated the network.