5. Simple Church Leadership



This list is addressed to existing church leaders wishing to transition to a DMM model of growth:

  1. Are you a second generation leader in your fathers church?
  2. Have you already raised up leaders and released them to the harvest?
  3. Do you encourage people to be released in their ministry?
  4. Do you share Jesus in your own time outside your own ministry?
  5. Will you commit to put this training into action?
  6. Have you had any breakthroughs in leading non-Christians to Jesus?
  7. Is your church made up of first generation or second generation believers?
  8. Are you frightened of sharing Jesus with Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs?
  9. Would you be willing to let people from your church be fully released into the harvest?
  10. How much of my time are you spending in the training of leaders verses problem solving and administration?
  11. Are you the bottleneck stopping growth?
A movement can only grow as fast as its leadership base is growing.

The number one reason why movements stall is because the person leading is a bottleneck by not training new leaders


A leader in a DMM mass movement system is simply someone with a willing heart to join the Holy Spirit in the harvest. It is never about position or titles. Each of the Four Fields represents increasing levels of leadership:

Field 1 Leader: you are ploughing your heart and getting a passion for the harvest.

Field 2 Leader: Seed sower, spreading the good news.

Field 3 Leader: Discipler, growing new believers.

Field 4 Leader: Church planter, leading a simple church.

Then there are levels of leadership above the Four Fields:

Level 5 Leader: A church multiplier who is training multiple Field 4 leaders, and who is training even more workers to enter new harvest fields.

Level 6 Leader: these are very rare. They are movement multiplies leading multiple streams of  simple churches that are much more than 4 generations deep. They often work at crossing cultures. They are strategic gap fillers. They are apostles.


The parable of the sower gives us an insight as to why not everyone gets into the harvest:

  1. A minority of existing Christians who are trained in the Four Fields actually do anything with the training and become Field 2 Gospel seed sowers. Studies in the Western world indicate that only around 10% of those trained will actually put their training into practice.

Why: Fear, lack of accountability, or no tools, lack of ploughing of their own heart (shallow roots). Too many distractions (weeds).

  1. Not everyone who sows Gospel seeds will become a Field 3 discipler

Why: No vision for discipling, a claimed lack of time, other priorities: selfish lifestyle (weeds) and lack of spiritual watering of their own heart (shallow roots).

  1. Not everyone who can disciple will become a Field 4 church leader

Why: Lack of character, Western mindset, insecurity, lack of investment in leaders by their own mentor, they won’t let go and release people into their gifts.

  1. Very few Field 4 church leaders can become Level 5 or 6 church multipliers. This is a rare gift. These are the apostolic 4th Soil people. The few that do exist will take the DMM mass movement to the tens of thousands! Pray for these multipliers.


What to Look For:

Are they faithful in the little things (2 Timothy 2:22)?

Are they obedient to the nine commands of Jesus?

Are they seeking to serve the body of Christ?

Are they being led by the Holy Spirit?

Are they showing initiative?

Are they managing their family well (1 Timothy 3:1-12)?

Are they putting new instructions into practice the first time?

Are they displaying a hunger for God?

Are they already a Field 1 and Field 2 leader: sowing seeds and discipling others. They must have mastered these skills before they become a simple church leader?

Those servant-hearted disciples who take the Gospel seriously, who show great faithfulness to the Great Commission, who display love and compassion, who are keen to see others matured in the faith, and who are eager to teach others the ways of truth; these are the people to look for as new leaders.

Spend lots of time with these people, train deeply. There is a window of about a year when these new believers are open to be moulded by you. And they are often not the person you expect to be a leader!


Jesus called the disciples and became their spiritual dad. Then he sent them out to do the same. He modelled. He trained. He led by example. He expected others to copy what he did (John 14:12-14, Matthew 28:18-20). This is how he started his own mass movement in Galilee.

Jesus was most happy when the well-trained disciples duplicated his own actions (Luke 10:17-21). Your emerging leaders will also be doing life with you and make you most happy when they duplicate your heart for the harvest.

Model:             They watch while you do

Assist:             They help while you do

Watch:             They do while you watch

Leave:             They do while you keep connected from a distance


The best example of a mentoring relationship in scripture outside of Jesus and the disciples is Paul and Timothy:

Acts 16: 1-3:               Paul began mentoring him because he was already growing in Jesus

2 Timothy 1:1-7:         Paul encourages him, prays for him, instructs him.

Philippians 2:19-22:    Father to son relationship, completely loyal and unselfish

1 Thessalonians 3:2:    Paul trained Timothy in evangelism

Acts 17:13-14:            Paul handed over his Berean church to Timothy

Timothy also helped write the books of Philemon, Colossians, Philippians and Thessalonians!

Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father. That is the relationship that will develop between you and those in leadership under you.


Invest extra time in these people. Twice a week, then once a week, leading to once a month as they develop their own down-line leadership networks.

Most leaders will be self-supporting, or bi-vocational. Only when you reach higher levels do they need support. Rod Gilbert’s mass movement in New Delhi has about one paid worker per 1,000 disciples. Lay leaders can supervise around five simple churches each, but should be spending most of their time just with the leaders, not in the meetings.

Train and retrain the beginning principles of the movement.

Train and retrain the vision of the movement

Model everything you want them to copy

Create systems of accountability

Make sure everything you impart is reproducible in their network

Use the checklist of a healthy church movement (Acts 2:41-47, Acts 11:19-26, Acts 13:1-3)

The Bhojpuri movement has great wisdom in this area of leadership training.


Scripture uses the terms pastor, elder, shepherd and overseer interchangeably (1 Peter 5:1-2).

Deacons are leaders of practical tasks in the church such as handling money.

It is best just to say leader, nothing more than that.

To many people get caught up on job titles and not the job description


In addition to the list of errors that crept into the New Testament church listed in the Simple Church Health Check lesson, be aware that Satan will initially use persecution, and often counterfeit arguments or even distraction through materialism. Then later he will use discouragement and this is often the bigger problem. Sexual sin is also always an issue, as it is anywhere. If men disciple men and women disciple women this problem is minimised.

Another way bad spiritual DNA can creep into a simple church movement comes from jealous external ministries trying to take over the movement. These are often funded by Westerners. Avoid the following dangers at all costs:

  1. Let me build you a church building.
  2. Let me fund you to go fulltime and do the job faster.
  3. Let’s start a Bible college.

How to combat false teaching:

Scripture is the authority. If someone brings a teaching that does not agree with scripture then anyone should and must openly challenge it in the simple church meetings or the DBS. The simple church’s emphasis is on obedience, not mere knowledge. This emphasis takes care of a whole range of doctrinal issues. Accountability to scripture is shared by the group and movement as it grows into Jesus, instead of one knowledgeable person trained in theology taking control.


The leader of a simple church is almost certainly a local bi-vocational worker. This is because Jesus said to take as few resources into the harvest as possible (Luke 9:1-3-4, Luke 10: 4). Even the great Apostle Paul was a bi-vocational worker, modelling what he expected the leaders under him to do also (Acts 18:1-3). Bi-vocational workers have much more access to people yet to be reached than professional workers who tend to be cut off from unsaved people.

The quicker you pay leaders the slower the movement grows!


  1. Read 1 Timothy 3:1-13.
  2. List the qualities of leaders under the three headings of

Character     Education      Gifts/skills.