review of miraculous movements
Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims are Falling in Love with Jesus is an outstanding and inspiring book by missionary strategist Jerry Trousdale. This book is loaded with extraordinary stories about Muslims who have come to Christ. The author beautifully paints God’s love toward Muslims. Moreover, this book has the potential to revolutionize your cross-cultural ministry to reach the nations here in Canada.
The movement described in this book is especially touching disheartened Muslim leaders who seem to realize how empty and uncertain their faith is. Trousdale points to these key ideas as a ‘new’ approach to missions that is distinctively effective in the Muslim world.
1. One of the key ideas the author uses throughout the book is making disciples who obey the Lord and make their own disciples. The church has been very effective in teaching doctrines, but it has often assumed that obedience would automatically follow. In reality, this does not always happen, and having knowledge without obedience creates a toxic spiritual dichotomy. However, obedience to God is the very purpose of all Biblical knowledge. He illustrates this set of methods as “Jesus’ Counterintuitive Disciple-Making Strategies.” They are:
Go slow at first in order to go faster.
Focus on a few to win many.
Engage an entire family or group, not just the individual.
Share only when people are ready to hear.
Start with creation, not with Christ.
It's about discovering and obeying, not teaching and knowledge.
Disciple people to conversion, not vice versa.
Coach people from the beginning to discover and obey biblical truth.
Prepare to spend a long time making strong disciples, but anticipate miraculous accelerations.
Expect the hardest places to yield the greatest results.
2. Another key strategy that powerfully underscores in this book is the discipline of prayer. Prayer is the greatest weapon that any disciple-maker can wield, and God’s people are using it effectively around the world at this very minute. New believers learn prayer by example and by participating. Then they go out and spread the Word, many in their everyday lives, and some as missionaries in other places.
Prayer is key. Here are the elements of a prayer strategy:
Leaders living and modelling personal disciplines of prayer
Praying for new regions and pioneer teams
Training new Christians to pray
Developing intercessory prayer in every church
3. The author talks about two kinds of churches:
· Elephant churches – lots of programmes, activities, people – we need them, but they take ages to multiply.
· Rabbit churches – small, able to hide and multiply quickly. 2 rabbits can produce over 100 million rabbits in 3 years.
The average church size in this movement is between 15 and 31. Leaders are self-supporting; all members participate in discovery bible studies, often, dramatic healing occurs in the first few months, which accelerates the growth. Between 50% and 70% of new churches happen in part because of signs and wonders.
4. Finally, the author gives “Seven paradigm shifts” to engage ministry in a new way.
Make intercessory prayer the top priority
Make disciples who make disciples
Invest time in the right person
Don’t tell people what to believe and do
Never settle for revealing just one dimension of Jesus’s life.
Never substitute knowledge about God for an obedience-based relationship with God.
Understand that Jesus does impossible things through ordinary people.
Anyone working among unreached Muslims or anyone considering ministry and friendship with Muslims.
Pastors and leaders who are involved in reaching the new immigrants.
Anyone interested in disciple-making within a cultural context.
As someone who spent most of my life in the Middle East and South Asia, I am thrilled to see miraculous movements happening in that part of the world. If God is moving powerfully there, we have hope because the same God can visit us here in this part of the world.
A quote from Chapter 13 provides a glimpse of what the "Miraculous Movements" has to offer us: "Don't start a program; develop a lifestyle of caring relationships. When people are a target of your program or a trophy that you want to get, they will know it in your way of dealing with them. Genuine love and friendship are what touch the hearts of people."
One of the most profound lessons I gleaned from this book was about the power of prayer. There are numerous stories of how prayer has opened opportunities to share the Gospel and see the most hardened people come to know the Lord. Prayer indeed brings breakthroughs.
Simple yet profound principles and practices through real-life stories that God is using around the world that any follower of Jesus can implement in his/her context.
Miraculous Movements shares the powerful stories of movements spreading like wildfire among highly resistant Muslim tribes in East and North Africa. These stories are interspersed with chapters teaching movement and multiplication principles.
Trousdale, Jerry. Miraculous Movements. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2012.