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Movements Engine: Five Phases of Movement Planting

[Diagram: The Movement Engine]

Since starting Mission Britain we have searched to find the ingredients behind exponential movements in the church planting scene

On our first journeys across Britain and Europe we followed the principles and practices of Jesus’ instructions in Matt 10/ Luke 10, which we wrote about in Pioneer Mission and trained 1000’s of Pioneers through our Level 1 Trainings

But in the last couple of years, we’ve switched gears in the development of a Level 2 approach we call; ‘The Movements Engine’

We can see The Movements Engine clearly operating throughout the Apostle Paul’s Mission to the Gentiles, one example is Paul’s first journey out of Antioch (Syria) to the Gentiles living throughout Cyprus and Galatia (Acts 13:1-Acts 14:27)


The Galatian Movement began in PRAYER…

‘One day as these men were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them,’ So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit’ (see Acts 13:1-4)

At the end of the Galatia Trip there is a report that succinctly outlines the main phases of the development the Movement Planting Team undertook in the region…

‘After preaching the gospel in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the disciples. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. Paul and Barnabas also appointed leaders [elders] in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the leaders [elders] over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Then they travelled back through Pisisdia to Pamphylia. They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia. Finally they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The disciples there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed (see Acts 14:21-28)

Five Phases of Development

Through the Galatia Case Study we see an overview of Five Phases of Development in the work of Movement Planting:




4. COMMUNITIES (Churches)

5. LEADERS (Elders)

These Five Phases of Development are Instrumental to all Church Planting Movements. Notice it says at the end of the Report of the Galatian mission; ‘the work they had now completed

What made their work complete?

In a future trip, the Apostle Paul left one of his co-workers Titus on the island of Crete so that he could ‘complete their work there’. The completion of the work required that Titus ‘appoint leaders in each town’ (Titus 1:5)

So the Movement Planting begins in Prayer and is completed with the appointing of indigenous/local Leaders in each place



The Five Phases of Development in Movement Planting corresponds with the Five Gifts Jesus gives to build the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16)

PROPHETS create an atmosphere of PRAYER in which we expect to hear the voice of God and be led by the Spirit and equip all God’s people to engage in these practices

EVANGELISTS catalyze zones in which the GOSPEL spreads rapidly as everyone is trained to be witnesses

TEACHERS cultivate an environment of learning in which DISCIPLES are encouraged and strengthened to hear and obey, building their lives and communities on the word of God

SHEPHERDS nurture a loving COMMUNITY where we meet one another’s needs and grow in right relationships

APOSTLES lay foundations in which all these five gifts and practices function and thrive as LEADERS are developed and multiply


So how do these FIVE work together when Planting Movements amongst unreached PLACES, PEOPLES or SPHERES?


First, like the apostles in the book of Acts, we begin in PRAYER, the kind of prayer that’s combined with fasting. The kind that involves listening to the Spirit and expecting him to speak to us. In this first phase of development, it’s good to have prophetic people involved, those who pray with passion expecting the presence of God and direction from the Spirit. It was out of that kind of prayer the Spirit spoke and Paul and Barnabas were sent out to Cyprus and Turkey (Galatia) to begin their work amongst the Gentiles. Once sent out and going to the places and peoples indicated through prayer, Travelling Workers continue to depend on the leading of the Spirit. For example, God often spoke to Paul through dreams and visions, sometimes through prophets and when on the road they would sometimes seek out places where people prayed to begin the process


On being led to the right people groups and places through PRAYER, we preach the gospel with boldness and the Spirit’s power from town to town. We see this pattern in Paul’s missionary journey and in subsequent journeys. When Paul writes back to the Movement in Galatia he reminds them of the gospel he preached to them. When forming Travelling Teams (Apostolic Teams), it’s good to bring in evangelists that can kickstart the gospel amongst those ‘far from God’, model boldness and train everyone to share their story of how Jesus changed their life


Through preaching the gospel, we find people (including People of Peace) receptive to the message, it’s at this point that we invest more time in making many disciples from these people. Teachers often put together resources or tools that train people in the basic teachings and practices of Jesus. On Paul’s second mission trip with Silas we are given an insight into how they made disciples, particularly through their writings to the Movement in Thessalonica (see 1 Thessalonians)


Through the Person of Peace, new disciples are gathered into Jesus-centred-communities that became known as ‘the church that meets in so-and-so’s household’. These churches form in the places where relational circles of interconnected people live, work or play. Nowadays communities of people meet in coffee houses, hairdressers, colleges, schools and universities, art centres, sports clubs, workplaces, pubs, bars and nightclubs as well as homes. With Jesus at the centre, His Word and Spirit can breathe life into these communities, transforming them into churches; outposts of the Kingdom, firstfruits of a whole new world. After Paul’s second mission trip Planting Movement amongst the Gentiles in Greece, he wrote back to the Movement in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians) some very helpful instructions on what communities should do when they meet together as church. Shepherds emerge that help to foster caring loving communities of Bring+Share centred on Jesus


After these new churches form amongst unreached people and places emerging LEADERS are recognised, strengthened and appointed from amongst the disciples of the new communities. At first, these new leaders are recognised by the travelling workers. We see how Paul modelled leadership amongst the Gentiles through the Movement in Ephesus (see Acts 20:17-38) and how he instructed travelling workers to appoint local leaders (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9)

Diagram: FiveFold Movement Planting (shows some of the dynamic each of the FiveFold Bring to Movement Planting)


As a Movement Planter, what’s your Sphere of Influence and Responsibility? In other words,what’s the vision? What’s the Big Idea? What’s the size of the field you are planting into? When I first started Movement Planting, my sphere was Nottinghamshire (population: over 1 million people). At the time I wrote a list of all the major cities, towns and villages in the county and began the Mission Farming Process.


Below is an example of a Movement Scoreboard that can be used in your Sphere of Influence, listing places in your region (or Sphere of Influence) down the left hand column and the Five Phases of the Movement Engine along the top so that we can track what phase of development we are at in each field we are planting movement into

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to see how this works in practice, Every Month we have ‘Come+See’ Experiences where teams and individuals can come from between 2-10 days to experience this Movement Planting in practice. If you would like to book onto one of these contact me

[If you got something out of this article, you may also enjoy this article on Fivefold Lenses]

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lee

    Love this
    All of it

    1. Peter J. Farmer

      Thanks Lee…
      Perhaps this is a scriptural pattern we could adopt, adapt and practice in the context of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in this next season 😉

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