Rapid Growth in Mongolia
The vision of YWAM Frontier Missions is to experience a supernatural increase. Over time, Disciple-Making Movements (DMMs) among the unreached bring that increase. The miracle of Disciple-Making Movements is the transformation of obedient disciples. They have come to faith in Jesus Christ and have been changed!
This story from Mongolia is told by Brian Hogan, one of YWAM’s pioneer church planters. It is about how a growing movement looks. Miracles take place among a people group with no known history of Christ followers.
How the Growing Movement Started
In March 1990, Mongolia opened its doors to foreign missionaries. In June, the first two Mongolian disciples were baptized. Within a few more years, they formed three small fellowships. A Swedish, American, and Russian team trained by YWAM Frontier Missions was based in Erdenet, a major city in Mongolia. They joined with fourteen teen-aged female disciples in growing these house groups.
The work started was the first Disciple-Making Movement in that city. The movement multiplied into a city-wide church of almost 400 baptized believers.
The rapid expansion and supernatural increase of the Erdenet movement had several causes:
1) The Holy Spirit’s outpouring in 1994 brought Mongolians of all stations, ages, and genders to faith. This transformed what had been, prior to this, mainly a move among teen girls.
It was amazing to see entire families respond to the gospel. There was a high cost as well, which is common when pioneering a movement. For our family, that price was a Christmas burial of our infant son on a frozen hill outside Erdenet.
2) Our team kept things simple and easy to pass on. Indigenous Mongolian forms and expressions were allowed to carry God’s message. Everything required radical trust in new believers. They experienced the Holy Spirit and quickly took on ministry leadership.
One Man’s Evangelistic Fervor
During the summer of 1994, our Swedish team leaders took a much needed vacation, and we were alone leading the work in Erdenet.
During a Bible study, Damdinsuren, a tall man in his mid-50s, responded to Christ. He confirmed his faith by praying with Mongolian leaders at the meeting. He walked back to his home in the shantytown outside the city. At that time, almost the entire congregation was made up of urbanized, teen-aged believers.
He shared the good news with his wife and their eleven children. His entire family prayed with him to enter the Kingdom of God. Damdinsuren was very encouraged! He went to his neighbor’s tent and shared his newfound faith with that family of six. They, too, received Christ. He invited his neighbor who had just believed in Christ to come with him to share with another family. He helped that man to win his neighbors to Christ. Another six came to faith in Jesus! There was so much to rejoice about. They finally went to bed very late!
Launching a Disciple-Making Movement
The following day, Damdinsuren brought all twenty-four new believers into Erdenet. He was looking for a church leader. He did not know where to find the young believers he’d met the evening before. His group ended up at our home because everyone knew where the American family lived.
When I answered the door, I was surprised to see Damdinsuren, a man I’d never met. He had a large group standing behind him but refused to bring them inside, which was very thoughtful. The custom was to serve everyone tea and food if they enter the house. After briefly explaining how he’d met Jesus the day before, Damdinsuren asked me, “What do I do with these new believers?”
I said, “They need to be gathered into a house church so they can learn to obey Jesus.” I knew there was not yet a church gathering in their district so I said, “And now you’re a house church leader!” He immediately agreed and I realized we had a problem. I explained “the strategy was to keep these groups small and interactive for growth. A group with more than a dozen people was too large and would now become two churches.” Damdinsuren then asked, “So what do we do when this happens?”
Mongolian Leaders in training
Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I explained. If this group had been following Jesus for a few weeks, he would have a disciple ready to lead half of them. He paused a moment and asked, “I taught my neighbor how to lead people to Jesus last night. Will he do?”
I assured him that this would be fine. I said I wanted to invite a Mongolian leader to come over so we could model leading a house church. Damdinsuren and his neighbor stayed. The rest went back home to prepare for the churches starting that night.
A new believer planting two churches within twenty-four hours of coming to faith can be shocking. Although this is rare, God’s Spirit working in the new disciples makes a huge difference. The best biblical model is to have a very simple gathering. Meeting with the new leader is also very essential. The teachings should maintain a focus on the commands of Jesus.
Damdinsuren was a Mongolian snowball. He started a movement of disciple-making that increased significantly. The movement grew to 400 baptized believers in 27 house churches. The Mongolian’s church plant reproduced into other communities.
YWAM Frontier Missions Vision in Progress
At a ceremony on Easter in 1996, the foreign church planters passed on the leadership of the Erdenet movement to the trained local Mongolian leaders. Our team left Mongolia, promising the believers that we would return. The supernatural increase was visible. The plan to start a missionary training center for Mongolian pioneer church planters was in progress. This later became YWAM Erdenet.
Could You Start a Movement too?
God used Brian and his family to launch a Disciple-Making Movement. What about you? When God calls us, He also appoints us to bear much fruit. If we are willing to embrace biblical principles of disciple-making, His Kingdom spreads!
Find out more about how to start a movement of disciples! Check out our Frontier Missions Seminars and training opportunities today!