January 6
People as the Minimum Viable Product

In a startup, a "minimum viable product" (MVP) is the thing the startup is offering to the public. A startup has a promise it makes to the market--we will help you organize your email better, or we will help you schedule appointments better--and the MVP is the product that meets this promise at the bare minimum. It may not be very elegant, it may be a little buggy, but it's out there. The first iPhone was an example of an MVP--it didn't even have cut-and-paste.If we think of a disciple-making movement as a kind of startup, then I propose that, in a sense, people are the 'minimum viable product.' DMMs produce disciples--but more than that, DMMs produce disciple-makers; if they don't, the movement isn't sustainable. Like a startup's MVP, a disciple-maker may not be elegant, poised or well-developed when they start out. In fact, a disciple-maker can be a little buggy. Their gospel delivery may not be pristine. They may be nervous facilitating a DBS. They may (gasp) make theological mistakes from time to time. At bottom, the minimum requirement for a disciple-maker is not perfection but willingness. They have to want or be willing to make disciples - they have to be able to overcome their short-comings and fears and uncertainties and reach out. If 86% of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists (in fact of all non-Christians) don't personally know a believer--personal contact is the primary barrier that must be overcome. If a believer is unwilling to make personal contact, all the information in the world will just be a waste. So before we train, we have to filter for people who meet the minimum requirements of viability. One man who did micro finance training filtered by asking people to raise the $10 in capital required to start a business (the program brought the training and knowledge to the table). We at Beyond filter for our online trainings by asking people to gather a group to participate--if someone can't gather a group of friends for a training, are they likely to have the ummph to gather a group of nonbelievers? Are there other "minimums" to be "viable"? Things that people have to be willing to be/do in order for a movement to multiply? While I don't claim these are all of them, I suggest a few: 1. a willingness to feed themselves from Scripture, and adapt their behavior (obey) to its demands 2. a willingness to live their faith out loud, sharing Scriptural stories, values, etc. with nonbelievers, at the risk of persecution 3. a willingness to invite people into their homes to study Scripture 4. a willingness to lead people to Scripture and let them learn from Scripture rather than being the "authorized teacher" 5. a willingness to submit themselves to others, for accountability, and to shape behavior based on feedback 6. a willingness to hold others accountable to obedience to Scripture I'm sure, in this casual list, I've missed a few. What would you add? Nowhere in this list am I adding things like seminary training or literacy. By not including them, I'm not saying these things are bad. All I'm saying is - what's the minimum you have to have to be a disciple-maker in a DMM? Here's another way to consider it: 90% of all disciple-makers are simply parents of children. What does one need to be successful in parenting?