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Movement is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

By Ben Hunnicutt

I don’t know about you, but I like seeing results. And as a budding disciple-maker, I want to see people meet Jesus as soon as possible. Yet, if I were to stick with a traditional understanding of what ministry success looks like, I could easily become discouraged. I can’t say that I’ve seen 100 people raise their hands in response to a gospel presentation at my church gathering or that I’ve handed out 500 gospel tracts.

In this CDM Podcast, Paul Watson said, “Movement is a marathon, not a sprint.” That’s because if we are seeking to start Disciple-Making Movements, our measurements of success are different.

Instead of measuring surface-level activities, we look at foundational, gradual steps of growth, such as how many and how often people are praying for movement. We track the steps toward finding those few disciples who truly obey and share God’s word in a way that multiplies disciples. And that process can take years. So, even if you’re not seeing immediate fruit, don’t dismay. It’s a slow burn.

In Disciple-Making Movements, we seek multiplication, not just addition. Take a look at the graph below. It compares how many disciples would you have if you added 365 per year versus multiplying by 2 per year.

If you compare both sides of the graph at year 5, you can see that with multiplication, you only have 32 disciples, which pales in comparison to the 1,825 disciples on the addition side. However, year 13 is where the tide turns, and multiplication far outreaches addition. Now look at what happens at years 20 to 33. Although it takes time to ramp up, multiplication has overwhelmingly better results in the long run. We just have to have the patience to go deep to spread far.

Attracting people to our churches who mostly just attend is much easier. Developing disciples who make disciples and prayer warriors who make prayer warriors is hard work, but it’s worth it. Replicating yourself takes time. You can’t start a movement overnight.

Some Tools to Get You Stared

Movements are daunting. And the truth is, stewarding a movement of God is a huge responsibility. So we have to start small. Want to learn a simple tool that will instill the core movement principle of prayer in your life? If so, give the latest CDM podcast a listen. It’s entitled, “How the Prayer Calendar Can Develop a Prayer Culture in Your Church or Community (Part 1)” and it’s available on iTunes as well. To discover how the Prayer Calendar fits into the greater scope of a movement, unlock Part 2 by becoming a $5 supporter on our Patreon page.

Or maybe you’re in the midst of trying to facilitate a Discovery Bible Study, Disciple-Making Community, or prayer gathering. There are a lot of details to keep track of to make sure we keep moving forward. If you’re wondering about the why's, how's, and what's behind tracking a Disciple-Making Movement, listen to our CDM podcast episode, “Tracking The Details (Part 1)” here. There's also a Part 2 available to Patreon subscribers.

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