Last summer, I commented on a review of Mike Breen's Building a Discipling Culture. The original review was at a blog entitled Notes from the Trail. In it, Jeff Noble offered a mixed review of Breen's book, lauding its intentional and structured approach to discipleship, but questioning the necessity of such a convoluted approach to discipleship and the effectiveness of the geometric images that Breen employs.
Based on my own experience in a church that had begun using Breen's approach, I commented on Noble's review. I've thought long and hard about whether to deal with the subject here on this blog, and decided that rather than saying a lot myself, I'd simply reprint my comment on the original review, along with a couple of the responses to me. I'm doing so because I think that Breen's approach is dangerous, and I feel that I need to let people know. My comment on the original review read as follows:
I have a fundamental problem with the exegesis in Building a Discipling Culture. Breen seems to want to shoehorn passages in order to fit his LifeShapes: for example, he uses what I can only term a fanciful exposition of the Sermon on the Mount in order to support the “Kairos circle,” one of the most fundamental tools of 3DM. Proponents call the Kairos circle learning to hear the voice of God; I think it’s learning to submit oneself to groupthink and possibly manipulation by the leader. If the principles in 3DM can’t be supported biblically without far-fetched interpretations, why should anyone submit to them?
I also have a problem with the fact that Breen insists on the necessity of a common language with which to do discipleship, but then instead of using the language that the Bible already gives us, he substitutes his own. I envision communities of people who go on and on about Kairos circles and Up, In, and Out triangles, but are biblically illiterate. How is creating an insider lingo going to expand the Kingdom of God?
I would say, listen to that holy caution. I don’t think that there is anything in the 3DM pyramidal approach that will prevent it from going down the same path as the Shepherding movement of the 70s and 80s. I’m sure that most people using it are well-meaning people who only want to help others become more Christlike, but if the foundation is not solidly biblical, the fruit won’t be, either.I received the following response from a woman named Diane, whose church had been negatively affected by the teachings in Building a Discipling Culture:
Thank you, thank you, thank you Keith, for offering up a warning regarding 3dm, Mike Breen, and Building A Discipling Culture. Tragically, our church has been torn apart and dismembered by the promulgation of this material. Even in the face of the facts presently before us (a mass exodus of devoted disciples, including associate pastors) there is denial by our pastor that there is anything wrong with Breen’s program; in other words, there is no “bathwater” with the baby! Some of us also saw hermeneutical problems with BADC and have been told that we are interpreting Scripture “too narrowly.” What I perceived as a consistent “backfilling” with Scripture to support his agenda made reading Breen’s book an exercise in discernment and critical (not criticizing) thinking. I am prepared to agree that perhaps my pastor completely mishandled the introduction of this program (a term that Breen denies applies to his vision) but, having read BADC myself, I see that my pastor stuck to the playbook. The secrecy, the inherent divisiveness of the program (creating two classes of disciples) the “language” that must be learned AND the obvious similarities to the Shepherding Movement should be discussed openly with a church’s leadership before this program is implemented. Our pastor uses the dearth of a dissenting view online or in our denomination as “proof” that the people who have left our church ( and those that continue to offer up a differing viewpoint) are simply fearful! For any Bereans out there who are doing research about 3dm, “holy caution” is indeed warranted. In our case, the “end” has not justified the “means” no matter how well-intentioned Mike Breen, et al are.A brother named Mike also responded regarding The Order of Mission, a neomonastic order that Breen leads:
Anyone considering the 3dm model with holy caution should also review the materials found at missionorder.org. You will find that Mike Breen, the leader of 3dm, is also the Senior Guardian of the Order of Mission, a self-proclaimed “neo-monastic order.” The Order of Mission aspires to be a small, radically committed group of people who will seek to usher in the next great awakening or next large move of God.I appreciate the input of this sister and brother, which confirm to me what was bothering me about the 3DM program. I think it lends itself to control and manipulation by leaders, and takes its adherents' focus off of the Bible and the truths of the gospel.
A person seeking to join the Order of Mission must make a multi-year commitment. The Missionorder.org website states the following:
On taking their three year temporary vows for The Order of Mission, members take the following vows at Initiation:
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
I solemnly promise before God
to devote myself
to a life of simplicity, purity
within The Order of Mission.
I vow before God and in the presence of the Senior Guardian (Guardians)
and the members of the Order,
to live and work according to its Rule.
I ask for the grace of Almighty God
and the prayers of all those present.
Interestingly, the vow requires members to live and work according to the Rules of Life of the Order. The Rules of Life of the order are based upon the concept of “Lifeshapes.” The Lifeshapes used by the Mission of Order are the same Lifeshapes that are taught by 3dm ministries. The Order uses geometric shapes to teach their “rule of life.” The shapes used are:
The Circle: Listening to God’s voice and responding obediently
The Triangle: Balanced and deep relationships
The Semi-Circle: Kingdom-oriented rhythms of life around Rest and Work
The Square: Multiplying the life of Jesus into the lives of others
The Pentagon: Personal calling
The Hexagon: Prayer
The Heptagon: Organic Health
The Octagon: Relational mission
Both 3dm and the Order of Mission think that in order to build a discipling culture, you must first have a discipling language. They believe that the language used creates the culture. Tthe language used by the Order of Mission and 3dm is completely different than that used to describe discipleship in the Bible. The 3dm groups call their meetings “huddles.” They engage in close knit missions or “oikos.” They talk about SWOT analysis and inflection points. They talk of high challenge, high invitation churches, etc., etc.
Members of the Order of Mission also take vows of Simplicity, Purity and Accountability.
The use of “accountability” and the ushering in of a “new” discipling language clearly makes the 3dm and Order of Mission potential candidates for a re-emergence of the abusive and heretical Shepherding Movement that ran from the 70s and 80s. I was part of a church involved in that movement and saw first-hand the damage that it did. When your desire is to create a system that requires people to take vows to live by the Rule of Life of the Order, you steep them in a “special” language, you tell them that they are a part of a radical movement that will usher in the next great awakening, and you make them accountable to you, you have taken far too many steps down the road of Shepherdship error. The steps outlined above can lead to “disciples” who are alienated from other Christians (who do not share their language), who have taken vows to live by something other than the Bible, and who voluntarily submit themselves to the authority of another human being under the guise of “accountability.” There really is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus.
I never want to see the abuses of the Shepherdship movement repeated, and I don’t want believers to think that in order to be “radical” you have to learn something “deeper” and “more effective” than the language that Jesus and his disciples used to transform the world. If you are like the Bereans who studied the scriptures daily to see if what was taught them was true, you will find that Jesus did not use Lifeshapes, he did not require a special discipling language, he never authorized Senior Guardians or Guardians, and he never required anyone to take vows or oaths.
Our church is in the midst of heated discussion between the council and pastoral staff in electing to follow the 3dm model of ministry. council has decided to not follow this after much research. sounds like freemasonry cloaked.ReplyDelete
Well, I'm very sorry that this has caused such a dissension in your fellowship. I will pray for you all. I know that it is very frustrating and painful for pastors to feel that their leadership is not being followed. But in this case, I agree with the council. My own experience in participating in 3DM for several months has convinced me of its dangers. God be with you.Delete
the church mentioned above i believe i am a member at. i had to leave sunday service on april 6th, 2014, listening to an apology turned push for this program. there is a "control" on the minds, it seems, for some leadership in the church. there is great division. the patterns how this is brought seem to be what i have read even using the same lauguage in other churches that have been dooped to go with mike breen. and are we paying $30,000 a year to join this. Council people, i support you. anonymous contribution.Delete
Thanks for the comment, Anonymous #2. I truly am sorry that your church is going through this.Delete
I would like to offer a caution to everyone else in this particular church situation, though: I would prefer that the comments section here not become a forum for debating with one another. That hasn't happened yet, but if I wait until a pro-3DM person chimes in, then it will look like I just want to silence one side. Honest and sincere sharing of convictions is welcome on all sides, but I'm concerned about my own responsibility to keep things in a spirit of Christian kindness and love toward one another.
Also in the midst of discussion after seven sessions. The church has decided to drop the program, dispense with the language, and move on. Pastors humbly apologized for having made a mistake and opened the floor for comments.ReplyDelete
While I certainly understand the turmoil over some of the teaching, what if I was not subjected to objectionable material, but rather introduced to the model as a tool only? There were no vows, no pledges, no two types of disciples, and no hierarchy- should I assume that it was yet to come, or rather, that I was introduced to a method and not a system? Am I being naive?
That's actually a really good question. I thought a few of the LifeShapes had merit as a means of envisioning certain biblical principles. If they were simply used as a sermon illustration, and the listener could take it if they wanted to and leave it alone if they didn't, I'd have little problem with it.Delete
My own experience was to be invited into the first "huddle" (although my church didn't call it that) and to start being indoctrinated into the LifeShapes as a framework for Christian life. All this was happening without the church as a whole knowing much about it. The conceit at the heart of Building a Discipling Culture is that "language creates culture" and the LifeShapes are the graphical language at the heart of this new culture. So that's where I began to have a problem, since I didn't see the LifeShapes overall as a great expression of biblical truth--at least not the core of the gospel.
The way my church was doing it was exactly what was recommended in the book: the pastor was a part of a "huddle" that met online, and he was reproducing the huddle concept with leaders in the church, who were then supposed to start their own huddles, again, using the LifeShapes as the unifying concept. The pastor, meanwhile, was using the LifeShapes as a central focus in his preaching, and I felt that rather than using them merely to illustrate certain biblical principles, he was interpreting the whole scripture through the filter of the LifeShapes concepts.
In short, I felt that it was taking over everything. I can't speak to how your church and pastors were planning to use it, but it's entirely possible that this was already happening before it all became public. That's not merely my experience or a matter of paranoia; it's the way the book recommends that it be done.
But I'm sure that many people involved are sincerely trying to follow God as much as possible, and that's why I was very cautious about how and what I shared in my original post. (Yes, I quoted others with stronger opinions.) I'm sure the motivations of your pastors were entirely honorable, and I'm sure that the experience has been very discouraging to them.
Thank you for this blog post and the comments it has prompted.
I am the member of a church that is engaging 3DM. For months I have been trying to understand why I have this uncomfortable feeling about it all, given that, so far, the church membership has been given little information about it and there was nothing very visible to disagree with. Now, I think I'm starting to understand. While the church membership has been told that the Leadership Team is working with an organisation called 3DM concerning discipleship and mission, beyond that, very little has been said.
But based on what I've been reading, it appears the 3DM approach is being subtly introduced through the back door and has been assimilated into church life already:
Our church values are re-worded versions of the 3DM triangle (up, in, out).
Our church vision now uses 3DM language ("Disciples making disciples")
For over a year, our senior pastor has continually referred to the "two questions" that I've seen referenced by 3DM ("What is God saying to me?" and "What am I doing about it?"). Barely a sermon goes by without it appearing on a slide.
The Leadership Team meet for huddles, but we've not been told much more about it than the name. Apparently it'll be explained later...
We've recently completed a "Kingdom and Covenant" teaching series, which is 3DM material (although this was never mentioned). The focus of this was on understanding our relationship with God through a triangle diagram. I assume this is a 3DM "life shape".
It's all happening very quietly, and the lack of acknowledging where all the above is sourced seems like subterfuge. If it's such a good idea, why not just be up front about it? If it's so complicated that the message needs to be so carefully managed, then is it really a good idea? Jesus didn't use such a complicated approach. Why do we need a new language to do church?
It also seems to be all-consuming. Nothing new seems to be happening in church life that isn't tied in some way to discipleship and mission (and implicitly, 3DM). I get that these are important things, but the monotonous diet doesn't really taste like "good news".
When I looked online, there was very little to actually critique 3DM. Your post and the experiences of some of your commentators, being the main source of such material. Thank you for being that space for some of us doubters to post.
I don't know what the future holds for our church. At this point I can't see how it will work out. I struggle to see how our church will flourish with a vision that is imposed from outside and not from the membership. There seems to be a real disconnect between our leaders and regular congregation.
Thanks for listening.
I meant to reply a while back but somehow it got lost. I believe that the leaders that are using 3DM, at least for the most part, believe that they are doing something that will enhance the spiritual growth in their congregations and eventually lead to outreach and numerical growth for the congregation. My problem is that while it claims to be biblically based, and claims to be reproducing what Jesus did (Breen sees the 12 as the prototype of a huddle), it completely ignores the finished work of Christ on the cross.Delete
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm sorry that this is causing so much grief for you and disruption in your congregation. I pray that your leaders come back to the word of God as their foundation, or that God delivers you from the situation. Grace and peace to you.
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Hi, Matt. Welcome!Delete
I'm glad that you've come and shared because it's my hope to have a genuine conversation with all parties concerned. I'm sorry that you see my comments as "condemning a man." I don't think I've said much of anything about Mike Breen personally, or anyone else participating in 3DM, other than that so far as I know they have good motives. So I truly don't want to condemn anyone, and I'm sorry if it comes off as though I did.
What I know about 3DM is restricted to precisely this: my reading of Building a Discipling Culture and my participation for about 9 months in the first huddle that my former pastor started when beginning to implement the program. I have not read Kingdom and Covenant, and perhaps my view is skewed by what I'm not familiar with. Everyone's frame of reference is limited.
That being said, though, I stand by the remark I made about ignoring the finished work of Christ on the cross. I'm not saying that it isn't ever acknowledged; I'm sure it is, and it was at my old church. My point is that that's not the thrust or focal point of the teaching, and that's a problem wider than 3DM. There's a movement toward focusing on the human life and ministry of Jesus and trying to reproduce that (which is what the "discipling culture" and the huddle concept is trying to do), as though what Jesus was mainly about was starting a movement and teaching certain principles of life, and our job is to continue that movement and keep propagating that teaching. It's very much the same way a person would follow Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Look at what they did, listen to what they taught, and try to reproduce it. That's what I see, not only in 3DM, but in much of evangelical Christianity today.
That's quite frankly not what the gospel is. The gospel is that we have been reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we receive his grace and forgiveness through trusting in him. That's not just the starting point; that's the Christian life through and through. As Paul wrote in Galatians, "Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"
I'm not saying that Mike Breen, 3DM, or the wider movement of which I consider it a part are denying Jesus' death and resurrection or its importance; what I did say and do maintain is that they largely ignore it in practice. Functionally, it's the same old works-based religion that Martin Luther protested against.
Matt, I do not see where anyone sharing on this blog has "condemned" Mike Breen. The comments made have certainly disagreed with him and 3DM but condemned him? Certainly not. Such a strong word that should never be used lightly. Disagreeing is NOT condemning. It is ironic that you advise against making off base comments that are not fair assessments of the situation and then make one yourself. Based on my own personal experience with 3DM attempting indoctrination of my church, and seeing first-hand how any disagreement or opposition to 3DM beliefs or tools was met with false accusations of me having trust issues, being afraid of commitment and labeled a "lazy consumer" and not a "person of peace", your comment does not surprise me. I'll just add your false accusation of "condemner" to the list too. Very sad.Delete
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Thanks for sharing, Matt. I actually do agree with quite a number of the specific ideas and goals that you're sharing. Obviously I've had a different experience regarding the degree to which I think 3DM and the BADC approach accomplishes these goals, but I'm glad that you've shared your experience because this conversation does need the voices of people who have experienced another side of it.Delete
I especially concur with you regarding the need for discipleship, and that it's more than just sharing coffee. It's actually something I'm passionate about.
God bless you, brother.
It's unfortunate that you have been negatively labeled again by a 3DM supporter. This time as "the most unkind of the comments here". I'm sorry you have to continue to endure insult. I'm sure many others on this blog feel the same way. Thank you for having a passion for the truth.
Brad C. no good can come from retorting past this short blurb. all i can say is that i hope you read my post thoroughly and with a clear heart to know that he's not intended to be negatively labeled or insulted. and i apologize if it came across otherwise, i did my best to voice it all sweetly and kindly while still strongly. but... the part about pursuing kindness, love, and understanding in the midst of trial. i stand by. and as mentioned above i will be praying and i feel deeply for the pain encountered.Delete
i'm actually going to take it down to avoid further accidental inciting, and what was said was meant for them and them alone.
but brother lets make each others joy complete knowing that , [we are] being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. -Philippians 2:2 May the Kingdom come and his will be done in your life where your feet walk today.
-kid who loves Jesus and his word above all else, he's all that matters
From what I remember before you took your post down, you said that your experience with 3DM included reading the book, following along on-line and knowing some people who are friends with a few folks who work at 3DM. (Please forgive me if I left something out.) I do remember that it didn't say that you personally participated in a huddle, a 4-day immersion experience or a 2-yr learning community. So you may have only scratched the 3DM surface. Therefore, I would encourage you as well, to read through these posts thoroughly and with a clear heart to gain as much knowledge as you can about 3DM and The Order of Mission. Take the time to research the links that were shared as well as the videos. The information in the links is directly from 3DM staff or Mike Breen and is not just the "opinion" of others. God bless.
I thank God for your healing words to me. Thank you for the brotherly love you've shown a sister today. God bless you.
North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills MN was recently overtaken by 3dm and the council of elders has just voted (April 2014) that any ministry or persons that maintain any relation to or teaching of the 3dm philosophy either change their ways or exit. Exiting; senior pastor, associate pastors (2), co-leader children's ministries. While I strongly believe that these persons leaving do have Jesus in their hearts, the thought of being led by a person (Breen) that claims a higher power with a new language and symbolism that is not Biblical is difficult to swallow. May God bless the Breen followers, for the rest of us the Bible and Jesus will provide salvation.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the review, Keith. Anonymous, my parents have been tangentially involved with what's going on at North Heights. Their (now former) church in South Mpls (Ebenezer Luth Brethren) has likewise been "taken over" by 3DM. The pastor has been teaching in the FORM program done by 3DM. No fruit to show for it. As the NHLC council of elders said in their statement, it separates the congregation into factions, you have the ins and the outs etc. No dissent is allowed at Ebenezer. People have found that out the hard way. Problem is, there are I'm sure many who have had the same experience with 3DM but nobody puts that info out anywhere. Very hard to find anything negative about the experience. Praying for you all.Delete
North Heights lost several very dedicated pastoral staff because they "didn't do the huddles right". And several other very vital non-pastoral staff. The congregation had their eyes and ears closed to the changes, as the numbers of attendees plummeted. It used to be that the classrooms on sunday mornings were filled to the brim. Classes met in the halls, the sanctuary was full and overflowing. Over the past few years, with the inception of 3DM, the church attendance has dropped nearly 40%, Tithes and offerings are barely enough to pay basic salaries and bills. The "discovery" of 3DM is something that many had seen, but didn't know what was causing the decline in the spiritual life of the congregants. With the exits (voluntary) of the leaders of 3DM from the NHLC pastoral staff, the remaining pastors can focus on the spiritual health of the congregation, and not so much on "doing it right". It is painful, but sometimes ripping out the thorns is the only way. And the healing can begin.Delete
Thanks to all who have shared their experiences with 3dm & TOM. The church we have been part of has recently, implemented the above movement and philosophies, with very little indication to the majority of the congregation. Subtle implementation, being introduced to the Leader Huddles - which I found very secretive and dividing - placing the majority of the congregation "outside the camp."ReplyDelete
I could not find any of the rules and philosophy that was being promoted,aligning with any Scripture. Just religious sounding concepts
My wife and I resigned from our roles in the fellowship and removed ourselves after private dialogue with the Sen. Minister. (He sees himself as a Pioneer of the movement in Australia) He was very accepting to my discussion with him,on the matter - but could not see any error in what he was introducing to the Fellowship.
We have prayerfully committed the situation to God, and have been grieving in way, for those we have left behind. We left extending grace to the Minister and his leadership, without any arguments. Yet I feel we have been the guilty party in it all - it is approximately 12 weeks since we resigned,and have not had the desire to seek out a new Church Fellowship through this sad time. Are we alone in this? Please pray with us.
I will indeed pray with you. Sometimes grief involves some alone time. But please know that not only do you need fellowship with other believers, but others need the blessing you can be in their lives. It's very hard to lose relationships and have to build other ones, but you don't want to let the Enemy use this situation to rob you of the fellowship that we all need.Delete
We Christians do know how to shoot ourselves in the foot and how to stab each other in the back. It deeply grieves me when we fail to follow Christ’s admonition that “they will know we are Christians by our love” – and when we fail to complete His joy by our lack of unity. I know fellow Christians who are adherents of 3DM; they preach Christ crucified, dead and risen; they know and demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit; and they are committed to the one true God. However, I am glad that our church has left the 3DM movement. A couple of years ago, the leadership in my church shut down the successful sports ministry that I was leading with the explanation that I was not part of the discipleship huddle. I was confused by that explanation until this month when I realized that our church had adopted 3DM and that was the language & requirements of 3DM. On Monday night, I felt one of the most powerful moments in the last 5 years when I saw an overflowing crowd of the congregation give a standing ovation to the Church Council as they announced that our church was ceasing 3DM affiliation. Despite the good intentions of 3DM personnel, there must be something amiss with the program if thousands of devout, sincere, and gracious Christians cheer its removal.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing. I think the early part of what you shared is important: people in the 3DM movement love Jesus and sincerely want to follow him. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they're following a man-made system that distracts from the core truths of the gospel.Delete
Thank you so much for this article and for comments. I have felt bullied to be in a huddle. When I explained it wasn't right for me, the leader really tried to pressure me. I thought the huddle wasn't right because of the group dynamics...now I realise the dishonesty in it 'not being public knowledge ´ it causes division and is downright dangerous in the wrong hands. I just long for the Gospel, from my Lord. I refuse to be used to help a member of the clergy progress their career. I spoke to the senior pastor and made it clear that secret groups and cliques are not of the Lord and I will have no part. He was very good and said it is not public knowledge because it's an experiment and he doesn't want people confused..... I challenged this because people DO come to find out and THEN what do they make of it? I will not be manipulated. I answer to Jesus and His word is not in need of reshaping. I am hurt but will persevere with my church, it needs the salt. God bless you. Thank you Lord for showing me the full reason for my reluctance.ReplyDelete
So many atrocities happen when you mix money and the gospel.Delete
If this was such a Jesus copying ministry, then I challenge 3dm to drop any profit making, and start giving away resources, time, and knowledge.
Jesus never said "Come follow me, and by the way you need to find finances to the tune of £x000 to get going."
Nor did he say "And then there's an Order you need to join, it requires lifetime vows and a monthly contribution per person."
No, his disciples took nothing, but went and simply shares the amazingness of God, and how the power of inviting Jesus into your life is life changing.
No sound of geometric shapes to narrowly interpret scripture, or skew your preaching.
No exclusion of people who want to follow Jesus but reject the lifeshape model involving huge amounts of money. Of course it'll create disunity in your church.
Churches don't have that sort of money without cutting elsewhere ie staff - vital youth workers, talented children's ministry workers, and of course a cut in time your pastor can spent actually doing things on Sunday, or through the week as he's too busy 'walking with the lord' 'eating with his Oikos' (small exclusive selected group of people) or 'huddling people of peace' (those who sign their life away and decide this narrow interpretation of scripture is it)
I urge you 3dm, stop being a business, become a charity, after all, it's not about the money is it?? Give away your resources freely to all. Stop coaching people only from churches who have the money... it's all about reaching everyone right? So why be exclusive, why charge so much, why make churches choose between paying staff and buying into your program.
I don't think you have all the answers, I do think some of the ideas have merit, so let people choose, make it all available, freely, like Jesus did. Start letting people share what does and doesn't work instead of forcing a one size fits all on every church.
Our church has already been badly affected by these "huddles"... it is a man made system and when you exceed biblical parameters you are open to demonic forces. This system does not honor God, it is dangerous and the evidence is there to prove it. Our church has become divided because of it, it makes me sad, if this was a system that would honor God, then none of this would happen..... I'd like to ask Mike Breen one thing...WHAT WOULD JESUS DO????ReplyDelete
Well, to be fair, Breen is actually attempting to follow the "What would Jesus do?" model. He takes Jesus choosing the 12 as the model for a huddle. Whether that's actually the way in which we're supposed to imitate Jesus' example is another question.....Delete
Yeah i get that but what i mean is Jesus although he himself had an inner circle, I'm sure he wouldn't have expected little huddles or groups to be created that are secret and actually exclude people, your article is excellent by the way, thank you and God Bless :)Delete
Saddening to read all of the prior posts regarding 3dm. I am part of a church using, in a small group/huddle approach, the 3dm model. We have seen lives changed and Christians better equipped to live their faith, faithfully. We do not see this approach as a substitute for biblical teaching, rather as a way to help disciples 'pay attention' and process life as a follower of Christ in a broken world- all the while using scripture and Christ incarnate example as a model for living.ReplyDelete
From what I understand of 3dm, it is not intended to be taught as a church wide curriculum. A huddle is intended to be a safe place of growth and shepherding.
It's dangerous though and i strongly believe that it's not something that pleases God. It's based on secrecy and is not biblical....Delete
Thanks for your comment, Sarah, and welcome. It's my desire that this whole discussion be kind and Christlike. It's possible--I strongly hope it's true--that your church is using a more balanced approach than what others have seen. And I don't have a problem with small discipleship groups or with using illustrations for teaching.Delete
I do still think that the exegesis Breen uses to support his LifeShapes is stretched at best, and that systems of accountability in general can easily be turned into levers of manipulation and control.
Whatever system of discipleship is used, I think it's important to focus on the finished work of Christ, and not just on the example of Jesus in his earthly ministry, which was by anyone's standards unique in many ways.
Kairos is "Making the most of your time or opportunity". It is NOT a moment where God is speaking to you. Breen has a vimeo video out there where he does a sort of healing service forming a triangle around people (up/in/out). He also speaks of a demon showing up at his confirmation. Guess maybe there was a conflict and now we are seeing the fruits of his "Life Skills" (life skills is what life shapes was originally called - didn't even start out as a church thing - but what a sell). Churches beware - know what your church plants are doing.ReplyDelete
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. your kingdom come. your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for posting this blog and helping to get the word out about Mike Breen, 3DM and The Order of Mission. It is really important for people to educate themselves about this movement since most churches that begin using these materials are not forthcoming with their members about the origin and history of it. In fact, it’s usually shrouded in secrecy. Mike Breen explains 3DM and The Order of Mission best himself in a video on YouTube entitled: “The Order of Mission: A look back at 2013”. Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfObp8AqpNM In it he states how 3DM has been working in Australia “quietly and under the radar”.ReplyDelete
I commend the Council of Elders at North Heights for finally removing 3DM from their church. From what I can see, the TOM members and 3DM affiliates there have all left. It sounds as if they were not asked to leave, but they were required to sever all associations with 3DM if they wanted to stay on staff. My experience is similar, but the outcome is unfortunately different.
My church here in Fort Myers, FL implemented a discipleship program without telling the congregation that it was based on the 3DM model and Mike Breen’s book, “Building a Discipling Culture”. We have 3 pastors/elders who make up our Leadership Team who implemented this new program. They introduced new “language”. They created a 10-session course and called it a “Discipleship Primer”. They told us very little about it. They also told us very little about our new “Pastor of Mobilization” who would be leading it. After researching him on our own, we came to learn that this new pastor is actually the former Director of Content for 3DM and his wife is the former Director of Communications for 3DM. This pastor is actually personally thanked by Mike Breen in the acknowledgement section of at least 5 of his books—Mike Breen calling him “his writing partner in crime”—so he is directly involved with the content. Our Leadership Team insisted that they were not teaching LifeShapes because they had renamed the LifeShapes. The “Circle” was being called “The Hear/Obey Tool”. The “Triangle” was being called “The Jesus Pattern Tool”. Nonetheless, they were LifeShapes from the Order of Mission and our leadership wouldn’t admit it. Life Groups were terminated and our college ministry was told that their small groups were being converted to Missional Communities. Concerns were brought to the Leadership Team but they insisted that we were not a 3DM church. That was true—they were not paying 3DM to be part of their network like other churches—but they didn’t need to. They had the co-creator of the program on staff with us! Finally, among growing concern from the membership, the Leadership Team announced that they were doing away with the language, tools and program. They said it was an “error in judgment” and they were going through a “course correction”. However, they decided to keep this new pastor on staff despite his continued affiliation with Mike Breen and 3DM/TOM. They also were not at all forthcoming about his role at 3DM and the fact that he, himself, had developed much of the content. As you may already know, The Order of Mission’s current main initiative is the “TOM Project.” This is a plan to plant a 3DM/TOM church on the 100 most influential college campuses in the U.S. Our new pastor is the 3DM staffer who wrote the whitepaper on the TOM Project. Their website is www.tomproject.org Our church is adjacent to Florida Gulf Coast University which is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation so the reason why he is here is very obvious. Many members have left the church as a result of this. We continue to pray for the Leadership Team and those who are still struggling with what is going on there. I would just encourage everyone out there who may be experiencing something similar to not dismiss any check in your spirit. Actively seek God’s wisdom and discernment and present your concerns to your church leaders with gentleness and love. Pray that they allow God to lead them in all truth.
Many of your "facts" are incorrect. If you are still part of Summit Church, you will find that Doug Paul is a man of outstanding character and very faithful to the Word of God. He has zero connection to 3DM/TOM anymore and did not create any of Mike Breen's content. He primarily served as a ghost writer and editor - a job from which he has long resigned from and moved on to serve you and your church.Delete
Come on, Anonymous, Doug Paul was 3DM's Director of Content. You mean to tell us he didn't have any input and didn't write any material used by 3DM? Here's a link from when he was the Director of Content. Isn't it kind of misleading to say he was just a ghost writer? Ghost writers usually don't get the title of director. Usually means they're in charge of that department.Delete
"A special thanks to my writing-partner-in-crime, Doug Paul, for believing in the content of this book like no other and making sure it came to life".Delete
Would you care to revise your earlier comment?
The following link is for blogs written for 3dm by Doug Paul. They specifically state that he is working at Summit Church and is bringing 3dm materials and philosophy to Summit. He continued to write blogs for 3dm after he was hired by Summit.Delete
It is heartening and heartbreaking at the same time to read the experiences of others since I last posted; heartening, because 3dm is finally being exposed; heartbreaking, well, for obvious reasons. I am praying that our church be included with those who are able to proclaim the Lord's deliverance from secrecy, division, and biblical distortion; but alas that hasn't happened yet. Three years after our pastor's intial buy-in (literally) to the program, our decimated church is still in a state of tension and disunity. There seems to be an inexplicable inability to see and admit failure. While asserting the program to be "voluntary" and "simply a tool" I have been warned by the pastor that due to my abstention I will "not understand the language the rest of us are speaking" and I have been accused of "undermining (pastoral) authority." I have taken the position from the beginning that the Lord Himself will judge between His sheep (Eze 34:17); He will show who the approved workmen are; 3dm willl stand or fail as He sees fit. But we are commanded to watch ourselves and our doctrine closely. "Loving one another" is how we will be known as Jesus' disciples, a commandment which cannot be fulfilled in any man-made program that advocates secrecy ("put it in the water") and is inherently divisive (leaders only, huddle-by-invitation.) Isn't it odd that the New Testament writers refer very rarely to systematic discipleship but very often to false doctrine and church unity? Three years into this trial I am able to see how the Lord has used it in my own life to test and discipline me; "endure hardship as discipline." Yes, Keith, learning to love and maintain a spirit of Christian kindness in the face of "differing opinions" is imperative; thank you for the admonition as I press on.ReplyDelete
Thanks for continuing to engage in the conversation, Diane. I'm so sorry that your church is still so torn over this. My family and I left our church, for reasons that included but weren't limited to 3DM, and God has brought us to another church that we really love.Delete
I actually think that discipleship is very important, although I might agree with you on "systematic." One problem with attempts to systematize discipleship is that it tries to fit everyone into a cookie-cutter mold. I've discussed some of this in my book, What's Wrong with Outreach, if you're interested in checking that out. It deals with a lot of unhealthy issues in churches when they take programs intended to create growth as the raison d'être.
Incidentally, I think it's wonderful how biblically literate you obviously are, Diane. I wish your pastor could see that your position is coming not from biblical ignorance or apathy, but from knowledge and passion for the scriptures. Why should you need to understand a manufactured language when you clearly have a grasp of the language of the Word?
I think everyone should check out this link from North Heights Lutheran Church, who just decided to remove 3dM. http://www.nhlc.org/3dmDelete
Here is 3DM's response to NHLC - http://margarethe.net/ebenezer/3DM_response_NHLC_4.10.14.pdfDelete
Thank you ... very helpful to get a balanced perspective on both sides. I'm just becoming more familiar with 3DM efforts to forward kingdom work and have also been through disappointing church departures as a lead pastor over misunderstandings and missional disagreement.Delete
I just found this site and could not believe that others have experienced the same things that we did recently at our church. The creation of insiders and outsiders, only person's who adhere totally to the 3DM methodology being qualified to serve in leadership positions, those who have been huddled being the least charitable to Christian brothers and sisters that they have known and loved for decades. This is an insidious program that was instituted in secret at our church with only the pastor, staff, and board being allowed to know what was going on. Having read Building a Discipling Culture twice I have highlighted many passages which are just "out there" in terms of historic Christian doctrine and belief, such as "you can learn to do everything that Jesus did." Really? I haven't heard of anyone walking on water or raising the dead lately. When the temple veil was rent at Jesus death it signaled the destruction of the old system that was characterized by exclusion. Under the old covenant the closer you got to the presence of God in the Jewish temple the more exclusive, i.e. court of the gentiles and women, court of the men, the Holy place where only the priests could go, and then the Holy of Holies where only the high priest could go once per year. Yet 3DM creates a system of exclusion by its insistence on learning the "life shapes" and its unique language. Christ came to destroy the barriers and 3DM erects more, how could anyone call this discipleship. If this comes to your church run, run, run.ReplyDelete
I TOTALLY agree with the above comments. the rest of the church have NO idea. I was started to be regarded as one of their 'favourites' I was being groomed and they didn't expect me to have the maturity as a new Christian to say no, I think it's wrong.Delete
The enemy is ruining fellowship and trust. This evil and divisive rubbish that Breen is pedalling needs to be exposed.
The pastor was furious when I challenged, they have clearly invested loads of cash and don't want to admit it's a disaster. I am so so sad.
explain john 14:12 also jesus invited the 3 into a closer relationship. is that exclusion?Delete
Jesus didn't have favorite disciples that he invited to use a different discipling language with to the exclusion of the others. He didn't take his favorite disciples and teach them Lifeshapes to the exclusion of the other disciples. It is one thing to have favorites, but it is entirely a different thing to intentionally create divisions and rifts between your favorites within a group and the rest of the group.Delete
The point is that 3DM invites only certain people to their huddles and gives them new discipling language and culture that is not given to anyone else.
Jesus wanted his disciples to be one. (John 17) What 3DM is doing is intentionally creating a division between those Christians who adopt and use 3DM language, culture and tactics and those Christians who resist adopting a new discipling language and culture from 3DM.
As for John 14:12, Jesus did say his "he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." There is no question that is what He said, and I assume that He meant it.
To the brother or sister asking about John 14:12, it would be helpful if you gave us more context for your question than "explain John 14:12." I'm going to assume that you mean we should invite people into huddles because Jesus invited the twelve to disciple out of the multitudes. The problem with that is that Jesus' statement cannot mean everything he did, else we would all be paying taxes out of fishes mouths and dying on crosses for the world's sins. Certain parts of Jesus' ministry were clearly unique.Delete
So the question is, is forming the Twelve one of the "works" that Jesus expects us to emulate, or not? The best way of answering that question is looking to the book of Acts. And in Acts, we don't see anything like the huddle concept. There are obviously leaders, and people who work together, and mentoring, but these aren't huddles, and they don't look like Jesus and the Twelve.
With regard to Jesus inviting Peter, James, and John into a closer relationship, we need to make sure we're not inferring more than what the Bible says. Peter, James and John were present for a few incidents that the rest of the disciples were not--most notably, the Transfiguration. That is it. Did Jesus have something of a special relationship with these three? Probably. But trying to figure out what the nature of that relationship was is complete speculation. And making it the basis of a multi-tiered discipleship strategy is really stretching the evidence.
Thank you Keith and everyone else who has posted already. It's important to speak up. Do not be deceived by this program if it comes to your church. Even if you don't see all that has been mentioned in the previous comments going on in your church, and only see a fraction of what is being said, do not be fooled. The rest is coming. Also, you can be certain that it has been in the works for a long time behind the scenes with your leadership team. Your pastors are either being huddled by and paying for a 3DM coach/consultant or a 3DM Frontier Leader is on staff at your church. Your pastors will be told by their coaches to expect that some members will not be on board with it. Those members will be labeled as as narrow-minded, fearful, afraid of commitment or "lazy consumers". They will try to convince you that their content is all based on Scripture and it's Jesus's way of making disciples. Nothing could be further from the truth. As stated in earlier comments, they mis-use Scripture and take it out of context to support their own ideas. They speak with authority and humility because that is how they've been trained by 3DM. When we took our concerns to our pastor, he called the 3DM staffer working with our church, "the most brilliant and humble guy he's ever met." He is in complete denial and absorbed by this guy. That's because Mike Breen and his 3DM staff are in the business of making THEIR OWN DISCIPLES. Here's a quote from Eric, a 3DM coach, from the 3DM Coaching Blog on Wordpress: "While I had followed Mike for so many years, I had never really entrusted my heart to him. Jesus made it very clear--Eric, you can submit yourself to Mike's authority, trusting my Spirit within him. By the grace of God, I submitted myself under Mike's authority."ReplyDelete
What truly grounded Christian who was really pointing people to Jesus would ever allow himself to be adored and worshipped like that?!! But here are two quotes from Mike Breen himself:
"When you stand before God, He will ask you one question. Where are YOUR disciples?" And speaking at a 3DM seminar, "Hang with us and we'll teach you how to heal. It's fun."
Mike Breen and his 3DM team have somehow convinced the American church (and churches worldwide for that matter) that they have something we desperately need in addition to God's Word and the Holy Spirit. And well-meaning, Jesus loving churches have bought into this--literally. A quick look at their website (3dmovements.com) shows all the workshops, learning communities, materials, coaching/consulting you can pay for to get their expert guidance on discipleship. They call themselves "expert thoughtful practitioners" and "spiritual entrepreneurs". 3DM is the financial resource arm of The Order of Mission. It's how TOM makes their money. Both 3DM and TOM have non-profit status in the state of South Carolina so it's very lucrative for all of them.
Do not be complacent if this comes to your church. Speak up and if your leadership doesn't heed the warning, LEAVE. Don't allow yourself or your children to sit under this teaching.
Thanks for this passionate but thoughtful and well-reasoned comment. Much of what you've said really resonates with me, especially this: "They will try to convince you that their content is all based on Scripture and it's Jesus's way of making disciples. Nothing could be further from the truth." This is absolutely correct. The supposed scriptural basis for the LifeShapes would be laughable if it weren't so tragic.Delete
Also this: "Mike Breen and his 3DM staff are in the business of making THEIR OWN DISCIPLES." Yes. The disciple-making process envisioned by 3DM seems to have in view a rabbinic discipleship model in which each participant eventually becomes the leader of his or her own huddle, and the process replicates. In the one that I was involved with, the leader (our pastor) kept addressing us as "disciples," the unstated implication being that we were disciples of him, rather than disciples of Christ. To be fair, this was done in a "Follow me as I follow Christ" way (1 Cor 11:1), but it creeped me out and was as much as anything else the reason why I left.
Can you post a link to the site where you found the quote from "Eric" the 3dm Coach? I would like to read this and the quotes from Breen you posted at their original locations.Delete
You were very wise to leave. I stand with you in prayer for every person currently on this blog, and for future visitors to it, who may be researching, affected by, or hurting from this dangerous movement.
I went back to the link I saved where I found the first two quotes on the 3DM Coaching Blog to provide the link for you only to discover that they deleted the blog (strange timing???) I did however, find the cached version. Once you copy & paste into your browser, scroll down to the entry on 4/16/2010 entitled "Character & Gifting . . . Why I'm in a Huddle" for all the statements about surrendering to Mike Breen. For the next quote, scroll down to the entry on 4/2/2010 entitled, "Square is the Vision for Huddle" at the very bottom of the page.
The last quote about teaching people how to heal comes from a vimeo video. It is found at the 54 min 45 second mark.
Hope this helps.
3dmcoaching.wordpress.com is no longer available.Delete
According to this response from 3DM....... TOM is completely endorsed by the Church of England. That has made my mind up that I can no longer be part of the CofE. I am devastated that this secret club is taking a hold on my church. I feltI should try and weather it because I have dear brothers and sisters who haveno idea this is taking root but I need truth, the Gospel (which is being preached less and less in recent months) What do you think of this Keith?ReplyDelete
I don't know what "officially acknowledged as a religious community within the Church of England" in the statement you cite means, or if it is the same thing as being "completely endorsed by the Church of England." From what little I know of the Church of England, it has consciously and deliberately chosen to encompass a broad spectrum, from "Low Church" evangelicals to "High Church" Anglo-Catholics. If CoE recognizes TOM as simply a legitimate monastic order, I don't think that means that TOM has the full endorsement of CoE. They probably just consider it a legitimate religious expression, like taking the Alpha course. I don't think you have to leave the CoE just because you disagree with TOM or 3DM.Delete
Then there are the vows! I am absolutely terrified by this!ReplyDelete
I don't think fear is the response that Jesus would want us to have. Be aware, "test the spirits to see if they are of God," pray, and trust Jesus. God is in control.Delete
Keith, I am terrified that most of our church has NO idea of this and without sounds scriptural understanding, people are going to be coaxed into this.Delete
North Heights Lutheran Church Removes 3DM http://www.nhlc.org/3dmReplyDelete
3DM Response to North Heights statement: http://margarethe.net/ebenezer/3DM_response_NHLC_4.10.14.pdfReplyDelete
3DM also uses the "Persons of Peace" philosophy in their search for disciples. They tell their adherents that some people will reject the 3DM message, but that is fine because the people who reject 3DM are not "Persons of Peace". They justify this position using Luke 10 where Jesus told his disciples to come to a persons house and say "Peace be with You" and if the person hearing it is a man of peace, then your peace will rest upon him. If the person is not a "Person of Peace" then you are to shake the dust off of your feet and go on. However, they use this way out of context. Jesus was sending out the 70 disciples to go and preach the Kingdom to unbelievers or non-Christians. 3DM uses it as a way of dividing people WITHIN a congregation. In other words, if a congregation member rejects the 3DM message or invitation, that person is simply NOT a person of peace and the teachings of 3DM direct you to shake the dust off of you and seek the next person of peace.ReplyDelete
This is far different than rejecting the Gospel. When 3DM entered our church, I was told that I was simply not a person of peace because I would not accept their invitation to participate in a Huddle. It was explained to me that some day I might achieve the "person of peace" designation, in which case I would be accepted into a Huddle for 3DM training.
This is very undermining to a congregation and it is inherently divisive. It is one thing for me to reject a teaching which I find divisive, but the 3DM adherents in my former church simply dusted themselves off and went in search of someone else with whom to share their 3DM message.
I was a worship leader in the church and, for a while we were growing. We had over 150 people coming regularly. Our Pastor decided to pay for 3DM training and the church has now dwindled to about 50 regular attendees. I have not been there for over a year now, and it is sad to see the impact that the 3DM teachings have had. I also think that our small church paid over $16,000 for two years of "coaching".
Now I understand why the church leader said she 'chose' me, she said it was because she 'had peace' with me and another person. She also gave examples of people she wouldn't choose. When I finally said 'no' the leader was very unpleasant and I realised that she wanted to control me. I have been giving the ministers time to come out and be open about 3DM but they have done nothing. My brothers and sisters in church have been asking the lead minister why I have not attended things as I normally do......he has made up lies like..... 'she is not ready and I don't push people'.ReplyDelete
Why has he not been open about 3DM if it is so wonderful? 1 Corinthians 1:10 makes it clear there should be no division.
The following excerpt is from 3DM and talks about the "Person of Peace" philosophy that is used by 3DM: "Mike [Breen] read through the New Testament wanting to discover how the message of Jesus spread and realized Jesus sent the disciples out looking for a “person of peace” not operating ministries the way his church was doing. The “person of peace” is someone who is open to spiritual conversations and going deeper spiritually.ReplyDelete
“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.” – Luke 10:6
This does not require the gift of evangelism or charisma, etc..
The “person of peace” is the one who God has prepared in advance for you to advance the Kingdom. This is the relationship strategy of Jesus. Looking to get married? Look for the woman of peace. Looking to move to Africa as a missionary? Look for the person of peace who will invite you or connect you there.
Who are the “persons of peace” in your life?
How can we find a “person of peace”?
They like you. They welcome you.
They listen to you.
They want to serve you. (Don’t forget this one!)
Is it possible the people in your life (even those who are annoying) are the “persons of peace” in your life? God has prepared the person of peace before I’ve even met him/her.
Consider the family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors of the “person of peace” as the next people to serve. Stay with the oikos of the “person of peace” in your life.
Ask the “person of peace” – Who do you know that will do what you have just done?
Just because they are called “person of peace” does not mean it won’t be difficult. It is a spiritual battle! “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people (like David’s Mighty Men) have been raiding it.” – Matthew 11:12
If someone is not a “person of peace,” then we entrust them to God and to someone else so that we can invest in the one(s) God has prepared for us.”
The entire blog can be found here:
There are numerous problems with this approach. First, it is used to determine what people are prepared to receive the 3DM teachings and NOT the Kingdom teachings of Jesus. Second, it is used WITHIN CHURCHES to create a class of "persons of peace" and an inferior class of non-"persons of peace." The 3DM message is shared with the persons of peace and, as the excerpt above shows, the chilling 3DM answer to those church members who aren't "persons of peace" is the following: "If someone is not a “person of peace,” then we entrust them to God and to someone else so that we can invest in the one(s) God has prepared for us."
In other words, leave that person behind so we can "invest" in the ones that are willing to accept our teaching.
The way 3DM says that you can recognize a person of peace is to look for the following things:
They like you. They welcome you. They listen to you. They want to serve you. (Don’t forget this one!) [that is in the original -- I did not add the "(Don't forget this one!)”]
The dynamic within the smaller church I used to attend was that the pastor started a huddle with the 10-12 people he felt were his "persons of peace." Of course, that tended to be his friends anyway. They liked him, they listened to him, they served him. It seems to me a very skewed way of determining who you are going to "invest" in, but that was how it was done. The invitations went out to the 10-12 and they were invited to join a two-year commitment to a Huddle. During that time, the Pastor and his "persons of peace" almost disappeared from church life. The church went from 150 regular attendees to about 80 before I left. It is now down to 50 or so.
The "Person of Peace" concept might be good for evangelism to the unsaved, but it is a divisive and clique-producing force within a church.
I would have to say that in my own experience, the "person of peace" concept was mainly used with regard to evangelism. I don't recall it being used, at least not much, with regard to inviting people into huddles. But maybe I didn't stick around long enough for it to get that far.Delete
Even with regard to evangelism, I find the exegesis behind the concept problematic. I think it's fine to look for people who seem open, rather than trying to shove the gospel down everyone's throat. But the passage in Luke 10 has to do with provision for the missionary effort--the "person of peace" is the person whom the apostles would stay with when they visited a town. They're not the direct (certainly not the only) objects of evangelism. The entire passage is about provision, not about selecting an audience. This kind of problematic exegesis was my first red flag that something was amiss.
The "person of peace" approach is yet another example of how Mike Breen and 3DM take scripture out of context and uses it to fit their own agenda. So extremely unsettling is the part where Anonymous points out "They want to serve you. (Don't forget this one!)" Fits right in with Breen and 3DM being in the business of making their own disciples as a previous post on this blog pointed out. I'm so thankful to come across this site and for all who are taking the time to share.Delete
When I refused to be involved in the leader's huddle, she became very nasty indeed...... I was unwilling to serve 'her'.Delete
Hi Keith, I am the anonymous post writer regarding the Persons of Peace info. I am very grateful for you allowing your blog to be used to bring up very concerning issues about 3DM. It is one of the few places you can find any information about 3DM, and as I can see from the many comments here, there is definitely a need for the methods of 3DM to be brought into the light so that people will have the ability to decide if the methods and actions of 3DM are appropriate and Biblically sound.Delete
A guy named Ben Sternke wrote the following in one of his blogs:
"Look for People of Peace
The third lens is to look for people of peace. This phrase is taken from Luke 10, and simply refers to people who welcome you, who like you, who want to be around you, and who serve you. As you cast the seeds of vision for discipleship, watch for where the crops start coming through the soil. Don’t spend time trying to convince people who aren’t sure, because it’s impossible to disciple someone who isn’t open to you. It’s frustrating for both you and them.
The other thing about people of peace is that they are available and ready to invest the time and energy needed to be discipled. It takes a lot of time and energy to grow as a disciple, and I don’t make any apologies for asking people to step up to it. Some people are simply unavailable for the kind of commitment it takes to do this."
The full link is here: http://bensternke.com/2012/05/how-i-make-disciples-who-to-invite/
Now, he was not an employee of 3DM at the time, but he is working for them full time now.
In addition, if you look at the definition of "person of peace" from the above excerpt, it says, "The “person of peace” is the one who God has prepared in advance for you to advance the Kingdom. This is the relationship strategy of Jesus. Looking to get married? Look for the woman of peace. Looking to move to Africa as a missionary? Look for the person of peace who will invite you or connect you there."
So, the person of peace is that person is the one God has prepared for you to "advance the kingdom." It doesn't say to add to the kingdom, but merely to advance the kingdom. For 3DM, adding another disciple is advancing the kingdom, and from my experience and several others who have commented, a fair portion of the 3DM crowd is using the Persons of Peace concept to choose who they are going to disciple within a congregation.
I'm sure you're correct. I simply didn't see it in my own experience, but as I mentioned, it might be that I just didn't stick around long enough. It's interesting to me that the concept has been adapted to so many different situations--a clear indication that the actual context of the phrase in scripture is being ignored.Delete
I reviewed Building a Discipling Culture today and found the following excerpt on pages 217-218:
"Really ask God who should be in your Huddle. Spend at least 3-4 weeks praying about this. The inclination will be to think strategically. That's fine. Think strategically. But don't let strategy interfere with who God wants to be in your Huddle. God will often surprise you with who He brings into the Huddle and who doesn't end up being a part of it. Look for the People of Peace whom God has prepared for your Huddle. That's who you want......"
I believe that the actual context of the scripture is being completely ignored and/or misrepresented by 3DM and Mike Breen.
I have been following these comments as I have been struggling to find truth regarding 3DM and TOM. When our church council decided to lay down 3DM tools, it was as if Abraham grabbed Isaac, kicking and screaming “who are you, God, to require this of me?!?” and ran away, instead of obediently and willingly trusting in God. I wonder what blessing was missed out on by this act of defiance.ReplyDelete
Through much research and discussion with others who have been impacted by 3DM, I have come to find that nobody can put their finger on and articulate what exactly isn’t right about 3DM. It is so interesting how different people can see this through different lenses and come to (gasp!) different conclusions. I have been praying for God’s truth and wisdom to be revealed through His Spirit (1 Cor. 2). For now, I will need to trust the catch in my spirit with the many red flags I see with 3DM. Satan himself knows scripture well and uses it for his purposes (Luke 4:9-11), therefore man can certainly use scripture for worldly gain. Jesus says to look for fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). If a 3DM query is responded to with hostility and ushering to the door, that is worrisome fruit.
For now, I will say that 3DM is clearly not right for our church. That is as far as I can see. I will trust our church’s council who have chosen to remain silent in the onslaught of verbal attack from the 3DM community. It is God's place to judge, not ours. The council, however, has fought with a vengeance against the immense spiritual attack that ensued, and they have won ground against the principalities of darkness. Our church, for the first time in many years, is experiencing freedom. I will not blame 3DM entirely, but its implementation definitely had a big part in creating hostility and factions, as others have also noted. I am so excited to see that the Holy Spirit has been loosed once again and I want to shout from the rooftop of our church just how great our God is! I always want to be a part of a Biblically grounded church under the Lordship of Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit. If we are unwilling to lay down everything else, there is something wrong.
Being old enough to remember the Shepherding movement of the 70s and 80s, I can see a lot of parallels. I am willing to believe that the motives of Breen and those who initiated 3DM are genuinely positive, but the whole tenor seems to lend itself, in my opinion, to manipulation and control. That and the faulty exegesis behind the LifeShapes is what I feel is wrong.Delete
You are absolutely correct, Anonymous, when you say "man can certainly use scripture for worldly gain". This is exactly what 3DM is doing. You are also correct when you say "Jesus says to look for fruit"(Matthew 7:15-20). There was no fruit to speak of at my former church which implemented 3DM. One of the criticisms I've heard about this discipleship program has been just that, very little fruit, but much burnout since based on man's efforts. But the leadership at 3DM seems to have this recent criticism covered in their latest blog just posted on their website on 5/26/14 http://3dmovements.com/blog/how-to-fight-the-recurring-temptation-to-give-up/ It addresses the issue of the "lack of fruit" people are experiencing in their churches while using 3DM tools. They explain it away as something that just needs time. They say "even though there isn't a lot of 'outward breakthrough' (3DM language for fruit) visible in the FIRST 5 YEARS, the roots are deepening and the fruit is worth the wait." This is so disturbing to me on so many levels. Besides sounding to me as a blatant attempt to keep churches from cancelling their monthly 3DM coaching fees, more importantly is this--the Word of God and the Holy Spirit does not take 5 years to produce fruit in the life of a believer. And everything you can have in God's Word and His Spirit is available free for the asking.Delete
I think the biggest red flag on this blog: http://3dmovements.com/blog/how-to-fight-the-recurring-temptation-to-give-up/ is the first comment ending with:Delete
"There is no other alternative to growing genuine disciples."
Really?? No alternative method of discipleship?? Not even pointing others directly to Jesus and helping them follow Him?? Cut out the middle-man.
This blog's breakthrough moment is that someone who has been a Christian for only 10 years prayed for healing out loud: "Last week he prayed for healing for one of his golf buddies which was the first time he had ever prayed out loud for anyone. He came to our house afterward and was so excited. Untrained ordinary people discipling other ordinary people. It’s happening! Sounds like Acts 4:13 kind of stuff." I'm sorry, but we have been praying for people (out loud even!) for healing since 1970's in our church - and they've been healed a good portion of the time. We did not need 3DM for that, and we do not need it now. The Word of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are all-sufficient.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 1ReplyDelete
For the benefit of all believers who come across this blog, and are questioning what 3DM is about and why they have the Holy Spirit telling them that something is wrong, but yet can’t put their finger on the reason yet, I would like to submit my encounter with 3DM and the Holy Spirit.
I’m a church planter. I’m young, married, passionate, undereducated, coming right out of a secular vocation into accepting the call into bio-vocational church planting. I don’t put a ton of value on a seminary education (Not that it’s a bad thing, but I didn’t want to wait another 4 years in order to do what God was calling me to.), and like many of you I lean totally on the Word of God and the Holy Spirit for discernment and direction. (As best a broken, saved by grace, young man can.) After a few months of being in the field and realizing I was both underequipped financially, with very little church support, my wife and I began to realize the reality of our situation: we were going to be unable to continue our ministry due to both being financially underequipped and that we met a lot of resistance in the area we felt called most: to live and church plant missionally. (Loads of churches want to financially support a good worship service though. Imagine that!)
It was at about this time we met another wonderful couple that was looking for another couple to join them in planting missional communities. Knowing that God has clearly laid in our hearts the foundation for missional living and discipleship… and that our work was going to be mainly with non-believers, we courted the idea of joining forces, and after praying much on the subject, decided to join together and invest in bringing the Gospel to an area desperate for hope.
My fellow church planter is an awesome servant of the Lord, and he is always looking for good resources to help us teach the Gospel effectively. Our first stop was the Tangible Kingdom, which although we both disagree with about 20% of the book, we both agreed with the sentiment of it: Teaching the Gospel and actually making disciples is a lot easier and less complicated than we’ve made it out to be as believers. Going to a bar and actually spending time with a non-believer actually does produce fruit, in that I’m doing what God did: I’m showing up and being in the world but not of it, to teach and to share what Christ has done.
We went then to SOMA One Day. It was refreshing. We loved what Jeff has been teaching on and really centering our lives around the Gospel, not just mission / serving others or the community of believers. It’s great stuff. If you feel like your church has really checked out of living the Gospel out, check him out. Very scripture centered, very Holy Spirit centered.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 2ReplyDelete
Then we were invited to a 3DM learning community through back door channels. By that, I mean we should not have been there. I should not have been there. They start you out with Theology and Doctrine that is mostly true (like 9/10ths of the way there, they are cross denominational so everyone has their own stances on a few things) and then after you all agree to the discipleship coaching and pay them, you THEN get to go to the learning communities. (So you are already financially invested at this point.) My co-planter had some connections and history with 3DM, and was able to get us around this rule.
The room was very excited about the tools. Due to the hype of the 3DM team, and the reception of the 60 or so pastors present (who were all coming from what seemed to be bone-dry congregations that struggled immensely with the discipleship process), it felt like I was at an Apple keynote and they were about to unveil the next iPhone. Had Steve Jobs walked out, I think people would have gotten charismatic and rolled in the walkways. I give 3DM credit; they know how to get you excited about tools. It was on the level of the Exponential conference in terms of excitement from the staff.
So they brought the tools out. They were understandable. They were simple. They make sense. They have some loose scripture backing and can be modified based on the situation with other scripture to support various issues. I might even have drawn them myself if I was playing a game of charades from a stage in some worship center. The “napkin illustration” level of teaching someone to understand the Gospel has merit. So all good then?
It was all good, right up until they started talking about how the shapes were a lens to look at life through. That’s when the Holy Spirit punched me in the gut.
And it just kept coming. Discipleship needs a new language. Teach everything through the use of these shapes. Look for “Persons of Peace” in your existing congregation. Don’t invite other church leadership into your huddle if they are not a “Person of Peace.” People can’t spiritually grow in a small group or a bible study. Use other tools but teach them through our shapes.
May God forgive our arrogance.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 3ReplyDelete
I felt sick to my stomach. The Holy Spirit twisted my insides like no other. I went for a walk and really began to question what seemed like a hijack of my second attempt at church planting. While I was dealing heavily with the Holy Spirit, my co-planter thought these tools and accountability were great! I walked about a block during one of our scheduled breaks, praying to the Lord, asking Him to give me an understanding in this moment.
And God answered.
Around the corner was a little antique shop. Written on a whiteboard in front of the shop read:
“Let everyone do his very best, for the personal satisfaction of work well done, so you don’t have to compare yourself with someone else.” Galatians 6:4
God is so good. May I encourage you, wherever you are, whatever level of 3DM you have involved in your church, that God is present and moving.
As I went back there was a ton of pressure in the room. They were pressuring for commitment levels, so they could hold us accountable to their teachings. One person asked, “What if I have real disciples in my church who do not want to adopt this new language or use the shapes? What if they want to learn a few ideas but stick to relying on scripture?”
The response was quick and COLD. “Why would they be unwilling to submit to your leadership if they are really a disciple? Why would they be unwilling to use the language and lifeshapes if they believe in scripture?”
And that was enough to shut the guy up. Out of the 30 pastors in that break-out session, nobody challenged this thought.
I’m a coward. I didn’t say anything.
And so my wrestle with God began.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 4ReplyDelete
After the training, I discussed some of my concerns with my co-planter. Explanations of the 3DM teaching were as follows: They did not teach it right. They are learning to do this for the first time as leaders. That guy was a little too passionate. It’s not really like that. 3DM isn’t really like that. The shapes are based on scripture, why would you oppose using scripture?
From that moment things got really bad.
I knew that I would be putting a nail in the coffin to argue about this stuff. I knew in my spirit that 3DM was not right, I knew verses to back up why what I experienced was wrong, but for every reason I would provide to say that I don’t agree with their teachings, 3DM had quite a few talking points based in scripture of their own, and my co-planter was into it.
I was in a fight I knew nothing about.
For 5 months, God sought me out on this issue. I would have bad dreams, feel a ton of anxiety, loads of pressure, and every time I opened the Word God, He was pointing out a new passage about false teaching. The Holy Spirit was relentless.
For 2 weeks I stopped talking to God about it. This isn’t a fight I chose. I want to disciple others. I want to share the Gospel. I want to serve. I don’t want to cause division. I want to love my brother. 3DM is just a tool. 3DM is just an approach.
God wasn’t amused at my disobedience.
It got worse. I was becoming the Jonah of the 3DM conversation. Avoid, change the subject, busy myself in other planting work. (Since I became the assistant pastor of the church plant before the 3DM training, dissent has teeth: financial hardship and a move if we parted ways, and failing to plant a church on the second try.) The Holy Spirit would not let up. Every time we started discussing “our kairos moment” (The Circle) I cringed, knowing that my kairos moment was God consistently saying there was a big issue with 3DM.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 5ReplyDelete
More nightmares. More scriptural confrontations by the Holy Spirit.
“I am not qualified or worthy to carry this message.”
It came to a head this month. After weeks of resisting the Lord on this, I finally submitted to His leadership on addressing this issue. I spent hours studying “Building a Discipleship Culture” and scripture. I prayed seeking God’s face on this.
“What are you doing Lord and why is this my responsibility?”
Then I took to web searching. This forum as well as a few others popped up. That discovery led to my discovering of The Order of Mission. If you’ve read this far by now you know what I’m talking about, but if not go check it out. It’s a grade A human religious order, and not one that treads lightly. They have teamed up with 3DM on various fronts including church planting and seminary education reforms. I won’t waste your time here giving you the details, go check their website out for more gut wrenching facts.
So the Holy Spirit makes it really clear to me that I need to put my thoughts down in a document, and share what God has convicted me of with our other church planting couple.
The Next 2 Parts are what we covered:ReplyDelete
My 3DM Encounter: Part 6
Why 3DM and The Order of Mission concern us:
• They operate under a monastic hierarchy structure and insist on it’s historical importance to the great movements of God. They structure both 3DM and their discipleship / accountability model upon this structure. The discipleship / accountability methods they employ are a monastic hierarchy disguised and explained as how Jesus would have done things.
• The Order of Mission (and by extension some 3DM leadership, as evidenced by 3DM speaking on the issue) requires an oath of it’s membership: that they submit themselves to the direct leadership of Mike Breen and vow to live by the rule of the life shapes. This is not only contradictory to what Jesus warned against in Matthew 5:33-37, but an absolutely unspeakable discernment error – they pledge to follow the Order’s rule (also they must submit themselves to the rule of the mandatory life shapes Breen created).
• The Order of Mission and 3DM believe that a shared language and the use of life shapes are a mandate to the discipleship process. Scripture directly counters this claim.
• Due to the forced shared language and adoption of the “tools”; they have consistently divided churches adopting their approach by classifying two types of disciples: Those that submit to the leadership and teaching of their “discipleship” process (or their program, tools, and language that are “based on scripture”), and those that only hold to actual scripture and the Holy Spirit. 3DM consistently advises church leaders to leave behind other Christians, church outreach programs, and church leaders who do not conform to their way of discipleship. Simply put, they divide the church and the bride of Christ intentionally over the adoption of their language and tools.
• Many churches pay them considerable money for training. The money covers the cost of the training, and the cost of accountability. We totally understand why the training would be expensive: it takes considerable time and effort to teach a new language and church structure. Of greater concern however, are the multiple stories of church leaders who pay 3DM for “discipleship consulting” and actually start the process of submitting themselves to the 3DM leadership and it’s teachings, thus employing the same teachings and influence on their faith communities, without their elders and church leadership fully understanding the content of the material and the history of the organization. The 3DM material is clearly not just a tool, it is an extension of The Order of Mission and it’s structure in the guise of a discipleship-training curriculum. Many churches have reported that their focus and internal structures were modified to fit the same structure of 3DM and by extension The Order of Mission’s structure.
My 3DM Encounter: Part 7ReplyDelete
If we were to operate under the assumption that the teachings of 3DM and The Order of Mission were 100% biblically accurate (which we obviously do not believe) would there still be an issue?
Yes. We find three major concerns with their approach:
1) They believe you MUST adopt their shapes and language to disciple properly. This is simply a human based false teaching under the guise of “tools to equip your church.”
2) Under this curriculum, new believers would be taught language that disconnects them from existing spirit filled believers. Existing believers would adopt this language and alienate other believers in their community that do not adopt the new language. This can be described as division of the body of Christ at best, and clearly not unifying of the body. The Order of Mission and 3DM not only recognize these effects in advance, but also place their approval upon them.
3) There is one thing all dissenting parties who have taken to the internet to discuss 3DM say they felt through the experience. 3DM is about control. Control of the spiritual lives of the bride of Christ, and making the body as a whole more dependent on leadership. If you don’t agree with the lifeshapes and new language, your program and leadership status is cut. You must not be a person of peace. Where in a culture like that is the concept of iron sharpening iron? Of testing the spirits to see if something is of God? Of comparing a doctrine with the Word? 3DM is clearly saying through their training and actions that those principles can only be applied once you have adopted their language and mentality. This thought process is spiritual cancer, and will kill any Gospel centered church we prayerfully try to build. It will however, succeed in building a Lifeshape centered church.
Who’s kingdom are we building?
Is 3DM and The Order of Mission actually Gospel centered in their approach (defined by what they DO)?
Does their teaching become an object of worship? Do they really teach the one true Gospel, or an iconic version of it?
Why can’t disciples actually be made outside of their model?
If disciples can be made outside of their model, why are they encouraging 3DM leaders to shun those who question their approach?
My 3DM Encounter: Part 8ReplyDelete
It was not easy to present these things. And it’s not going to be easy for anyone who is questioning their church leadership on these things. My co-planters - dear friends that we care about - have spent a long time under 3DM teachings. At best, we collectively decided that we were not going to be a 3DM church, but that we would look to use some good elements of language and the shapes, if it fits our context. That’s not the 100% we will never touch this stuff approach, but then again 100% of this stuff wasn’t unscriptural, just the organization and it’s accountability / manipulation structure and required language teachings.
As for my relationship with my co-planter, I see hope and healing on the horizon as long as we don’t slip into accepting false authority, or putting something between scripture and the people of God - namely shapes and language barriers. God has finally given me rest and peace on this issue, because I was able to speak His truth into the situation. That took a ton of faith, but God has taken care of us so far. I will admit I love the Lyrics to an old Five Iron Frenzy song: “…and if He ever let’s me fall down, for the good of those who believe him, He will make me into a CANNONBALL.” I don’t know what is on the horizon, or the future of our church plant, but the Lord just taught me how to speak His truth in a loving way to a fellow brother and sister amidst high stakes. A lesson learned, and a pure spirit I have now that I submitted to the leadership of Christ on this issue.
And so I decided to share this story with you, the Bride of Christ. The Bride He loves dearly.
To my brothers and sisters in great pain and great challenge with regard to 3DM: Peace be with you. God is in control. Submit to His leadership. Treasure His Words. Search the scriptures, and put them into practice. Lean not on human tradition, human creations, philosophy or psychology - but on the Spirit of the Living God, who speaks clearly through His Word. Pray that He gives you wisdom, discernment, and a love for your brothers and sisters entrapped by a snare of the enemy. Be prepared to reconcile when His lost sons and daughters come home.
To my brothers and sisters at 3DM: Turn back to your first love. Was your salvation, the finished work of Christ, incomplete due to a lack of adherence to language and geometry? Did our Lord draw the 3DM circle in the sand before saving a woman from being stoned? The Kingdom of Heaven is more than geometry and language. The Lord alone will claim His people for His own. Repent of your unbelief in the Word of the Lord, and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit. Is it your spirit, o man, that makes disciples? You have no spirit but that which you received from the Father. So in the same manner, go and make disciples, relying on His Holy Spirit and trusting is Christ’s completed work. Repent of your pride, and reconcile with your brothers and sisters, whom Christ loves as much as He loves you.
Thank you for sharing your experience of 3DM in such detail. This will really help me to explain the way 3DM works to members of my church. I pray that your co-planter sees the truth. God bless you.Delete
AMEN. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the effort it took to share your story like this. Thank you for the encouragement it provides the precious people currently on this blog and for the help it will provide future visitors to it. God bless you.Delete
Thank you very much for sharing your whole story. Very well written and thought out. I pray God's blessings on the mission God has got you on.Delete
You can find Mike Breen on Youtube, some are very recent films about TOM. I was very interested to hear him say that he is looking for a monk at a local Benedictine Abbey to be accountable to, check out Breen from 31 mins 54 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hISHmABoC6Y 'the problem for of course leaders, is that eventually you get to the top of the totem pole and err there isn't anyone around you who is functioning as a peer, that's just the realities of leadership and life....' Mike BreenReplyDelete
He really sees himself at the 'top' of a 'totem pole'? Shapes, totem poles, additional language, vows???? Warning bells should be ringing loud and clear to our church leaders.
Hi, I posted my own comment on Mike Breen's TOM YouTube channel: Here it is...ReplyDelete
"On taking their permanent vows for The Order of Mission, members take the following vows at Initiation:" The fact this man made system invites people to say vows frightens me deeply and mirrors actions taken in a cult. The word initiation is deeply worrying as the official definition reveals the true nature of 3dm and TOM.
Initiation is "the action of admitting someone into a secret or obscure society or group, typically with a ritual." It worries me that this is on the OFFICIAL website for TOM. I believe the leaders have good intentions but this system is dangerous and not of God!!! It has done so much damage to numerous churches and the evidence is everywhere, even in my OWN CHURCH. Stay true to the word of God..."Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar." Proverbs 30;6.
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5/33-37)
I posted this on one of Been's video's about a vow of purity and accountability. It was literally 5 minutes later and they had disabled their comments. If it's such a wonderful system then why not shout it too the world and reply to me and prove me wrong? They couldn't, you can't argue with scripture... They obviously wanted it deleting as quickly as possible so no one else would have their eyes opened to the truth. It shows TOM to be what it truly is, they couldn't even provide a good argument in favour of TOM. What a mockery of Christianity. people have died for the Bible and they can't even bring themselves to defend their views!
Sorry a few spelling mistakes *Breen, *To, *Deleted. Was in such a rush when typing, I still can't believe how unprepared they were to back up their views!!!Delete
My church, just a stones throw away from Keith Schooley, initiated this program less than 2 years ago. The congregants were only aware of the "Huddles" for those who were invited. The deeper depths of the program became apparent when wonderful Christian of flawless character were denied nomination to the board. Only those whom the pastor approved were allowed to run. Nine people for nine positions. Church attendance is 1/2 of what it was when our pastor arrived from Ohio less than 2 years ago. Teens and young children have services in darkened rooms "to hear from God". It is really frightening and cultish. We are discouraged from saying "Praise the Lord" which has been replaced with "Yea God".Delete
I have a friend who says that the church he used to go to had huddles and , when the bible study was going on a small group of participants would disappear into another room and were in the 'know' about church events. He realises now that they were having huddles whilst the rest of the church was left confused and uninformed. It's makes me so sad that this is still happening.Delete
Is every ones experiences from the USA or is it similar in europe and the UK ???ReplyDelete
There are many many churches effected in the UK as the church of england in particular seems to have embraced the use of TOM and 3dm, very sad.Delete
I think sadly that anyone classed as one of Mike Breens generals as he calls them is very swiftly breen washed again if the have any doubts or there church members have concerns etc. I think some leaders are so swept up with it all they just can't see the damage it's doing in the body.Delete
I am the author of the anonymous post dated May 03, 2014 4:26 PM (and this is only my second post, so I'm not any of the other "anonymous" posters). I'm based in the UK and my experience is with my home church.Delete
"However we do expect and encourage members to contribute financially to the work of the Order." http://www.missionorder.org/tom-life/supporting-tom/ReplyDelete
This is how a lot of false prophets make their millions... pray for discernment.
They also encourage you to donate a sum of £15 per MONTH!!! to the work of TOM.ReplyDelete
"Following Temporary Vows a period of at least 3 years will be spent testing a call to TOM. This period is marked by a commitment to be in a huddle, to go on a TOM retreat and undertake at least one mission trip with TOM members or perhaps spend some significant time at a church led by a senior leader in TOM that operates with TOM vision & values at its heart. We expect that temporary members would spend some time processing what it means to be part of TOM with their Accompanying Member.ReplyDelete
Permanent commitment takes place at Order Gatherings when the Senior Guardian and members of the TOM community are present. Permanent Vows are binding for life and for this reason a married person cannot be a permanent unless their spouse is at least an Associate Member.
Associate Members are those who support the values, calling and work of The Order of Mission and seek to live according to the pattern of the community but do not feel called to take vows to become either Temporary or Permanent Members of TOM. We encourage people who want to join TOM as Associate Members to explore TOM membership as described above. Once someone has become an Associate Member, an Accompanying Member is no longer required unless that Associate intends to further pursue Temporary Membership."
This is worrying and to say alarm bells are ringing would be an understatement. Jesus never said "oh you have to be a member of a group and follow a set of man made rituals to be saved" Mike Breen is making Christianity appear more complicated than it is and this system appears to show how you can work your way to God through a legalistic system. To be saved...
New International Version (NIV)
30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31
jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
And the members wear wooden crosses with their vows engraved on them around their necks to identify themselves. Take a look at this 2-minute video of Mike Breen and a group of TOM members who are planting a church among the "party dance culture" in Zurich. I certainly believe that every person needs to be reached with the Gospel but something just isn't right here. http://vimeo.com/83936717 It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad.Delete
I watched that video and nothing seemed "off" - seems like they are excited about planting a church in Zurich...Delete
Anonymous June 12, 2014 9:15 PM. I think something seemed off... it was all about him as a leader, i was listening to a sermon the other day funnily enough and it was on about how many modern leaders bring glory to themselves and they aren't serving people as Jesus did.Delete
I'm absolutely devastated... I've just discovered that despite my church having huddles and being involved with St Thomas Crookes in Sheffield UK, it says on our church website that basically we are now officially following the leadership 3dm. Despite me talking to the pastor about it, nothing seems to have changed and my whole family and christian friends are totally shocked.ReplyDelete
Please pray for us. God Bless.
I thought that our reluctant (the leadership weren't reluctant and no surprise there) involvement with St Thomas Crookes would be as far as it would go but it seems our leadership is now fully endorsing 3dm.Delete
"This is expressed by inviting others to walk with us, to challenge and to call us to account regarding the internal and external realities of our lives – the things we think and the things we do. The outworking of accountability embraces both encouragement and challenge." They've already broken this "vow" as when i did challenge them, they dismissed me completely!!!ReplyDelete
My experience of any leaders challenged about the movement of 3dm and tom are that they are very quick to close ranks and tend to beat the challenges down into submission. Any one that does not actively agree are help the movement is sidelined and asked to leave as you don't fit with the vision. St Thomas Philladelphia in sheffield where TOM and 3dm europe was birthed from has lost a heap of leaders that have now gone across to work for 3dm instead of being discipled to go plant another church which is the great commission. Either that or they have spoke out against the movement and were asked to move on. We need to pray for their eyes to be opened to the truth.ReplyDelete
Yeah, that is one of the characteristic of a cult, the leadership doesn't like to be challenged. I know that it says that even satan disguises himself as an angel of light but i still can't believe how many christians have fallen for it. Yes we all need to pray that Jesus will open their eyes to the truth.Delete
Regarding loss of people from St Toms Philadelphia (NCS - now has 2 bases - did have 3, one has left)Delete
Yes true - lots of people have recently left. Leadership has been poor, secrecy has been high on the agenda. And all the leaders are TOM members, self perpetuating through the huddle system. The new leader who is supposed to have 'properly appointed' has been huddled for 7 years by the old leader (who is huddles by Breen) Even as the new leader starts work in Sheffield, he is still going to be huddles by the old leader... crazy! Straight back to shepherding movement.
People are unhappy but nothing can be done as its so engrained. The church governance system is terrible. Unlike North Heights, there is no way out.
Be careful if 3dm are in your church that your leaders don't dilute the council / elder ship to be powerless, citing 'apostolic leadership' as the way forward.
'Line up behind your apostle' type prophetic words - very heavy, not at all from Jesus.
Believe what you will, but these people are powerful and dangerous.
Shepherdship Movement and 3DM/TOM Part 1ReplyDelete
The 3DM movement is eerily similar to the Shepherdship Movement of the 70s and 80s. I attended and participated in a Shepherdship Movement Church. It was a church set up to minister to one of the Ivy League schools. We had two sister churches, with each one being on an Ivy League campus. Their goal was exactly that of TOM, to plant 100 churches in the top schools of the nation in order to minister to the best and brightest of this country and to the best and brightest exchange students. The goal was worldwide revival (as is TOM's stated goal).
We had Apostles in our church. Our church raised up other Apostles to plant churches in the other Ivy League cities. We were all to be accountable to those in leadership over us, and, ultimately accountable to our lead Apostle. Our lead Apostle served much the same role as the Senior Guardian of the Order of Mission. He was the person of final authority and he was accountable to no one.
Interestingly, as one of the comments stated above, Mike Breen is now looking to be accountable to someone outside of TOM simply because he has no one else that functions "as his peer" within his organization. Thus, he is accountable to no one within TOM, while the entire membership of TOM is accountable to him. The link was provided in one of the comments above, so that you can actually hear him utter the words.
The Shepherdship churches were all "high commitment" churches. You had to be all in. You had to be utterly submitted to the Apostles and leaders over you. You even were told to trust the leadership over you to the point that even if they were doing something wrong, your job was to trust that God would change the heart and actions of your leaders! This point was also touched on in the comments above when one of the 3DM leaders posted that God told him he could entrust his life to Mike Breen. 3DM makes no qualms about being a high-commitment church, although they try to minimize the impact of the statement by adding that they advocate "high commitment, low control" in their huddles and lifestyle. But I question why anyone would voluntarily give someone else any control over his or her life simply because that person is in authority over you (as, say, a Huddle leader).
Shephardship Movement and 3DM/TOMReplyDelete
When someone would speak out against what was occurring in the Shepherdship church, the church would immediately declare that the person speaking was ungodly and lacking in character for failing to trust the leadership structure that God had provided. That person would be shunned and exiled, and many would even say that the person's actual life and health was at risk for being "outside of their spiritual covering." As can be seen from some of the comments above, 3DM and TOM quickly close ranks on dissenting opinions and ask the dissenters to remove themselves from the "mission."
I ascended to the position of the Student Minister for the college outreach. I was then informed by my Apostle that I have to tell certain people in the college ministry who they could date and who they should marry. When I refused, I was fired and my family was shunned and exiled from the church. Great pressure is exerted on each individual to conform to the wishes of the leadership, and there are very bad consequences for those who refuse to comply.
What I found interesting is that the Shepherdship church I was in used exactly the same phrase that TOM and 3DM use when they say that they will pick "Character over Competence" any time. What that is code for is that they will pick as leaders those people who display an absolute obedience to their leadership over people who are talented leaders and ministers, but are not firmly committed to the organization's leadership.
I can't say it better than in the first Post I made on the Notes from the Trail blog, “When your desire is to create a system that requires people to take vows to live by the Rule of Life of the Order, you steep them in a “special” language, you tell them that they are a part of a radical movement that will usher in the next great awakening, and you make them accountable to you, you have taken far too many steps down the road of Shepherdship error. The steps outlined above can lead to “disciples” who are alienated from other Christians (who do not share their language), who have taken vows to live by something other than the Bible, and who voluntarily submit themselves to the authority of another human being under the guise of “accountability.” There really is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus.”
I believe 3DM and TOM is simply a reworking of the Shepherdship Movement and the comments on this blog have only convinced me further that, whether wittingly or unwittingly, 3DM and TOM are going to have a negative affect on many, many people and churches.
well said, completely agree.Delete
Everyone should e-mail / contact Tom and 3DM offices and churches who are main hubs we need to get this info out there for the body of Christ to make their own decisions at individual bases. Remember that church leaders are elected by the people for the people who trust them to lead them forward in the body's best spiritual interests not for the leaders best interest.ReplyDelete
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Sorry I had to delete the previous entry. I'm happy to host people sharing their own experiences or linking to websites or videos containing more information, but naming other people and organizations and linking them to Mike Breen or TOM is not something I'm comfortable with. One minor factual error and I could be facing a libel lawsuit. If you'd like to share that information, you're welcome to host it on your own webspace and share a link to it here.Delete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
Keith. Not sure what happened to part 2 of this comment. Please could you remove it and I'll repost a balanced and full account of my experience with my name. I don't want to be accused of backbiting etc. There is much more to say. Don't want to be libellous etc either.Delete
We may all be posting as anonymous but please share this link with as many people as possible we need to put a stop to this movement within the body of the church, we need to keep telling people our concerns, for too long we have stood by and let this happen in our churches and too our loved ones, we need to make a stand !!!! Keep telling the leaders, send them this link, for evil to triumph all it takes is for good people to stand by and do nothing !!!ReplyDelete
Let me be clear there are many lovely honest gifted people who are still involved in this church and at different levels of 3dm and TOM there are equally many who have left because of a feeling of spiritual elitism. . financial conflicts of interest amongst the leadership etc etc.ReplyDelete
If you want to pay for consultancy fine but insist on payment by results. How will 3dm like that?
Don't believe that St Thomas is the fastest growing church in Europe either. . It is a church like any other with good points and bad. All 3dm is doing is creating a subculture that talks a good game but delivers little. I don't think Mike Breen is a malicious guy indeed his intentions are probably to see church growth but he needs to stop believing his own publicity and start embracing humility. I am posting this as anonymous because I'm not sure how else to do it. I hope that my good friends who continue to invest time money and effort in pedalling this stuff will wake up repent and realise what's going on
I'm amazed at how this has taken off. I searched for many hours looking for this kind of information about the Breen methods and found nothing. Sometimes all it takes is an ignition source. It appears that North Heights Lutheran giving 3DM the boot was that ignition source, because the original book review was posted 29NOV13 and the first comment wasn't until 05APR14, when NHLC threw 3DM out. My parent's former pastor, Todd Mathison, of Ebenezer Lutheran Brethren Church in Minneapolis is one of the teachers for FORM, so he's "all in". The church's 30 year treasurer, re-elected on a unanimous ballot in February, was threatened with church discipline if she didn't resign as treasurer. She had questioned the methods and outworking of the 3DM philosophy, along with others, and this was the punishment. Now, I've had trouble posting here with my name attached. Call me ignorant of social media, but I'm going to post as Anonymous, because it doesn't need a URL attached, but my name is Jeff Dyrud from Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and I was born and raised at Ebenezer. One of the elders who brought this in is my college roommate, another I grew up with, another is my cousin's husband, so I know these folks well, and what I hear from my parents is very disheartening. When I left the Twin Cities to move up here going on 13 years ago, I never thought that one day my parents would be fleeing the church of my youth. It just shows how even a solid church can be swept away by false teaching if the right people get into positions of leadership. So sad to see.ReplyDelete
Ah, I see now how to post with your name attached. You pick Name/URL, and then type in your name, and copy and paste the URL of this blog page in and then you're set.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'd love for more people to post under their name. If you choose Name/URL, it gives you fields to type in your own name and URL (that is, the URL of your own website). You don't have to use the URL of this website. You can even leave that field blank, and it will still post with your name attached.Delete
Thanks for clearing that up, Keith.Delete
I just discovered that North Heights Lutheran Church took down their letter and link describing why they terminated the presence of 3DM at their church. The old link was: http://www.nhlc.org/3dm. It is no longer available.ReplyDelete
Yeah I noticed that too...Delete
If you e mail them directly they will send you a copyDelete
Found it in pdf form. Go to http://www.nhlc.org/filerequest/36785ReplyDelete
From an insider (member and not part of the staff at North Heights), looking from the inside out, the church felt void of the Holy Spirit. Out senior padtor at the time got rid of things, such as those dancing and waving flags to God as to not "offend" outsiders. We cite the Lord prayer on doing His will in earth as it is in heaven, and yet discourage those dancing to God, as King David did. We follow a business model on trying to get people in the church, and at the same time people feel the Spirit grieved and so they leave. What happened to letting the Hoky Spirit flow in freedom, and sing or dance in the front or wave flags because of our love for God. Now that the 3dm is gone, the Spirit of God is coming back full force. Praise the Lord for a new season of change. I pray those subtly indoctrinating other churches would turn from this teaching as if its the only way. Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life, not a model made by man using scripture to justify its own movement and bleed churches of its money.ReplyDelete
Bingo….you hit the nail on the head. This type of model totally discounts the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is simple. No need to complicate it. A child or an uneducated adult should be able to understand the simplicity of being a disciple with the help of the Holy Spirit.ReplyDelete
I don't have time to go into my personal experience with Building a Discipleship Culture, but let me say this my brothers and sisters. The kairos moment eventually becomes nothing more than mental rosary beads, and negates the Gospel and Word of God working by the Spirit in a believers heart. The language isolates, divides and disconnects New believers. Continue to expose this work of darkness, as it divide, separates, alienates, and puts into bondage, all things NOT of our Lord. Take no part in works of darkness, but rather expose them. Remember 2 Corinthians 11, and may the Lord keep you undefined from false teaching.ReplyDelete
We were led to believe that our pastor was just using some of the tools of 3DM and was staying true to God's Word. Over time (7 years) it has become clear that the methodology of 3DM has become the message. There is really no room for or eternal value in any ministry that is not done the 3DM way. Our desire is that we would get back to a message that is all about God and not us, but we don't know if we will have a church to even pursue that goal. God help us!ReplyDelete
im really glad you are featuring this subject on your web site. lots of people are talking about it. It seems to have become a forum for people to finally get the truth out about how devastating 3dm is on a church.ReplyDelete
So now, after throwing the church into division, the pastor of Ebenezer Lutheran Brethren Church in Minneapolis has resigned. The 3DM advocates are already spinning this to say that 24 dissidents were the cause of the wreckage, and yet, several of those dissidents had left already, while the pastor, and all the folks that were so in favor of 3DM, were still the ones calling the shots. The logic doesn't work here. Two (recently resigned) elders, both still on the same page as the pastor, have left, as well as a trustee. The congregation, which recently found out the church roof needs upwards of $200000 in repair (tough to swallow with a dwindling attendance), now gets to sort through the wreckage, while these folks bail. The pastor and elder board (with the exception of the one elder who didn't fall into lock step) were upset and saying that the dissidents were not following Matthew 18 for conflict resolution, and sent a letter to the synod, asking for help with this problem. Now the Lutheran Brethren is an autonomous group of congregations, so the synod doesn't rule with an iron fist from on high. They were contacted more through a " we've taken it as far as we can; please tell us what we can do next" line of thinking. Not following Matthew 18???? They had brought their concerns to the elder board and pastor, and were either given no consideration or were taken aside by said elders and read the riot act. When you've taken your concerns all the way to the local church leadership, I think you've complied with Matthew 18. What a mess. Please pray for the remnant (the dissidents as well the true 3DM believers) as they try to sort out the debris.ReplyDelete
My advice Jeff is to get rid of all 3dm and tom material / links and get back to being a good old bible believing church, standing on the rock is the only way forward brother, repent of anything that needs repenting of then move on, only then can the healing begin and you can start rebuilding. I hope it all works out for you all. My prayers are with you.Delete
Hi Anonymous, thanks. I'm not in that church anymore. It's where I grew up but I live in NW Minnesota now. However, my parents have left to find a healthy congregation, and I have many friends still there. I've been trying to get the warning out to others. The ones now leaving (in the past two weeks) are those that were pushing the 3DM model. Thanks for your prayers. The folks there will need it.Delete
Peter preached to the crowd on the day of Pentecost and the crowd was cut to the heart and asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”ReplyDelete
Can you imagine Peter saying,
“Well, I guess you better repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit......But, what you really need to do is make at least a year commitment to me to be discipled. See, I hung around Jesus for the past three years and watched how he did things. But really, he should have used shapes to tell you how to live and become disciples. I have these eight cool shapes that I'm going to teach you, and it will take a year or so for you to understand, but when you do, you'll be a disciple that can teach other disciples. I know 2000 of you just got filled with the Holy Spirit, but I'm gonna take 5-8 of you, my 'persons of peace' and disciple you for the next year. We're going to use different language than Jesus used to create a 'discipleship culture', because Jesus wasn't really in tune with the language and culture of discipleship like I am.
In fact, we'll meet together in a Huddle for at least a year. All of you will be accountable to me and I'll challenge you in those areas where I think you need to be challenged. We'll all meet and discuss what God is saying to us and we'll use words like “kairos moments” and “oikos”, you know, stuff that no one outside our group will understand. I'll get all the other apostles to do the same, so there will be at least 60-96 real disciples after a year! Then they can start their own huddles. Pretty soon, all those Christians that got saved will be discipled, assuming that they are 'persons of peace.' But listen, don't tell the other Christians what we are doing. That would only confuse them.
Oh, and for those of you who really get it, I will allow you to become temporary members in this new Order that I run. I need a name for myself. I think I'll be “Peter, the Senior Guardian.” I like that! You'll make a three year commitment to my Order so I can tell if you really are Order material. I'll have you swear to live by the Rules of Life of my new Order, which is ok, because the Rules of Life are based on my cool shapes that will teach you how to make disciples. I'll have you take vows of purity, accountability and simplicity, too! I know Jesus didn't require that, but I want to create “super disciples” and that means I need to be way more demanding than Jesus ever was. I'll call it the Order of Mission! I'll have you swear to your obedience in front of God, the Senior Guardian (that's me, Peter!), and the other Guardians. After three years, you can take a permanent vow to become an Order member for life! That is, if we accept you.
The best thing is, I will charge you guys for the “coaching” that I am going to give you! The laborer is worthy of his wages! Not only will I charge you for coaching, but you should also give at least 20 denarii to the Order of Mission each month! In addition, once my disciples get jobs in the big churches, I will get the churches to pay me for coaching! I imagine the coaching fees for the big churches will bring in some big money! Then, I figure I'll write some books on what I'm doing and sell them. Then, we'll start to have training clinics everywhere and charge people to attend! Eventually, we'll invite them to my retreat and charge them for intensive coaching. In fact, I think that I'll require that they come 2-4 times per year to my retreat as part of their “training.”
Hmmmm.....I wonder what I should call my little endeavour?”
Pretty funny. I actually do think that God has more in mind for us than simply "repent and be baptized," and that there's a place for small group discipleship to help people grow and mature in their faith. I just disagree with how 3DM goes about it.Delete
Ouch. Very insightful parody! Made me laugh out loud.Delete
Nice! You seem to have nailed it. The whole thing makes you think, "Wait a minute.....wha..?" in real life. As a parody, it's even better. After doing so much reading of the materials and online on their blogs, this is dead on.Delete
Mike......... this is a brilliant article and appeals to the UK sense of humour! My church is now imploding, it is extremely upsetting. I didn't attend yesterday morning and dear brothers and sisters contacted me because they miss me and because the services are now shambolic. I have waited for the vicar to deal with this, most of the congregation do not understand what is going on, they can see favouritism, people missing and they are weary of the poor services, the unwillingness of the clergy to respond to their requests ..... they have no idea that 3DM has taken a hold of our vicars. However, they can see that people who are strong Christians are leaving the church and they are grieving and confused. Thankfully I have attended another church and in the last 5 and half weeks, I've been spiritually fed. I am now able to help my fellow Christians. It doesn't mean I will stay there indefinitely but it is OUR church and I have a duty to support people. This blog has been such a blessing, Keith, THANK YOU.Delete
Very well-written paroday Mike! Paints a very clear picture of what the program acutally looks like in practice. I wish the following excerpt was a parody too, but it's an excerpt from an actual blog written by a 3DM staffer. You can find it here under the Aug. 3rd 2011 post on http://dougpaulblog.wordpress.com/Delete
"In the next few weeks, I am going to start two discipleship Huddles. Each Huddle will have 5 people in them and we’ll meet for a period of 6 months. The Huddle will happen every-other-week on a conference call, though you will have access to me outside of the Huddle calls.
More and more people are familiar with Huddles and there is a certain buzz around it right now as they have been used by Mike Breen and 3DM (who I now work for) and how this discipleship has really produced some amazing fruit.
This Huddle would come with a high commitment level. It would take:
• You scheduling other things around it. You can’t miss Huddle unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
• You will be held accountable. At the conclusion of each Huddle you will be able to answer two questions: 1) What is God saying to me? 2) What am I going to do about it? You will know exactly what you’re going to go and do in the next two weeks and the first thing we’ll do in the next Huddle is ask, “Did you do what you said you were going to do?” This isn’t “mean” accountability. This is doing discipleship with integrity.
• It will cost you financially. To participate in this Huddle is $100 a month. This is for two reasons. One, you will ALWAYS take something more seriously that costs you financially. That’s what I care most about. Secondly, the money you pay is going straight to discipling people who aren’t able to afford it. You are helping to train others. I don’t see a dime of this money.
• A pay it forward mentality. I’m assuming from the beginning that you’re going to grow a lot, both personally and in your ability to disciple people. Either during our 6 months together or soon-thereafter, you will need to start a Huddle of your own.
So that’s the opportunity.
There are a lot of people who are wanting these 10 slots, so here’s what I’d like you to do if you’re interested. Email me (XXXX@weare3DM.com) and tell me why you want to be in this Huddle and what you’re hoping to get out of it."
So there you go--the two reasons why this particular staffer explains the $100/month fee--so you take it seriously and pay for others to be discipled who can't afford it. What a mockery of Matthew 28:19-20.
Hey Keith, I totally agree with you that there is more than simply repenting and being baptized. I am all for making disciples and helping others to grow. My point is that I totally disagree with 3dm and their methods, and the context of the parody above simply attempts to show how outrageous their system really is.ReplyDelete
does Acts 2:42-47 seem like Peter had a hands off approach with the converts after Pentecost? Or the Ananias and Saphira episode... I'm wondering if we could actually make the cut?Delete
Nobody here is advocating a "hands off approach." It's a matter of the way discipleship is done that is at issue.Delete
And the comment about making the cut is really revealing. Forget about salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ. Let's focus on whether we're good enough to make the cut. How much accountability do we need, how many vows do we need to take, how much money do we have to donate, how much insider lingo do we need to learn, in order to make us good enough?
You are desiring exegisis to be at the center of the evaluation here, but when someone uses a biblical example to discuss how the early Christian community does not seem to be as free from rigorous ways of participation, you make it about "making the cut..." My statement is about the life of the early church. Their commitment to one another was rigorous. Their commitment to the Apostles teaching was rigorous. To say Peter did not "require" this of them can be a little off center, when in the same chapter of scripture as his sermon, we are told the converts were under his teaching on a daily basis. I am not willing to submit to anyone's teaching on a daily basis... Not Mike Breen's, not Keith Schooley's, no one's... I wonder, if I was there at Pentecost, if I would have stayed in Jerusalem and come back to the temple day after day to listen to Peter's teaching? That is what I was saying Keith.Delete
You have fostered fear mongering here Keith. You need to do some more hermeneutics and church history. Monastic Orders have led the way for church renewal for the last 2,000 years. The Order of Mission is recognized by the Church of England because they recognize the fresh expression of faith it brought to St. Thomas and they have endorsed Mike Breen as the leader to explore taking that expression out into the world. This is the same type of order John Wesley was endorsed with when he brought the gospel to the fledgling United States 200+ years ago. Many have imitated what Wesley did... including anyone who has every led a small group or done a Sunday School class. The Order of Mission's vows are modeled after Wesley's vow. Check it out... Many Protestant's who are allergic to tradition will feel allergic to church history, but it is how God has worked throughout the ages. Including St. Patrick, St. Francis of Assissi, Ignatius of Loyola, Wesley, and many others... No one is required to be in the Order of Mission to use 3DM's material. It is a voluntary organization.
Keith has done plenty of research, he is a humble brother of Christ and there are plenty of responses on here from different people in different countries showing the extent to which 3dm has damaged many, many churches. If Kieth's wrong then so are the many churches that have been damaged. Keith is not fear mongering at all!!! You are entitled to your opinion but Keith is doing what I believe to be God's work, he is speaking the truth, he has his eyes opened to the truth and has discernment. I respect Kieth and this blog. This blog is a blessing and has helped so many people. God Bless you Keith.Delete
"The Order of Mission's vows are modeled after Wesley's vow." I find this quite disturbing that you're almost justifying TOM's use of vows when it clearly states in the bible, in James 5:12 "But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation."Delete
Just because The Order Of Mission's vows are modelled after Wesley's does that really make them right? We should model what we do and say on Jesus and him alone, not Wesley or anyone else for that matter....Delete
Please tell us Anon 13th June 12:14 ....about the fruits being produced in your church by 3DM? Does the whole congregation know that it is being slowly introduced? Do they know that if they don't accept being in a huddle they are termed as 'resisters'? How does your church interpret Breen's 'person of peace' advice? Do you consider that committed Christians who don't want to be indoctrinated by 3DM are not 'people of peace?'Delete
I am interested to hear about the monastic orders from 2000 years ago, please tell me where they are given in the bible?
How much money have you committed to 3DM and TOM? I hope that the congregation know they are tithing to this.
I find this more useful.... http://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2014_06_01_archive.html
Be cautious of mystic hype, it is not of the Lord.
anon HANNAH well said, we shouldn't look to Wesley or Breen or anyone else but Jesus the Prince of peace. We should look to his word.Delete
Anonymous June 13, 2014 12:14 PM, 3dm isn't voluntary if you've done your research and actually read all the genuine comments on here you'll realise that it's forced upon a church...Delete
In response to Anonymous June 13, 2014 12:14 PM's comment and the flurry of comments that followed:Delete
First of all, Anonymous, welcome. Obviously we have different viewpoints, but I don't want to argue with you point by point. I've always said that I value the comments of those who feel that they've benefited from 3DM as well as those who feel they've been hurt by it. Listening to one another is the only way we can learn from one another. Even for those of us who don't agree with 3DM's specific tactics, it's helpful to understand what the appeal is to those who do agree with it.
The one thing I'd ask, Anonymous, is please do not confuse my opinions with some who have posted here who have much stronger ones. All I did was comment on a book review and offer up some concerns. Completely unforseen by me, it has turned into a place for people to share their experiences, mostly painful ones, regarding what their pastors adopting the 3DM program has done to their churches. I think it would be worthwhile to take those experiences into account, and ask the question why something that you consider so positive is experienced as so divisive and so hurtful to so many.
To all those who've responded to Anonymous, especially in my defense, I appreciate it, but there's no need. People can express their opinions here, even if they disagree with me, as long as it doesn't erupt into flamewars. I don't want to chase away people who disagree; I'd rather enter into dialogue and if possible persuade others, and that can only happen if we let them have their say as well.
I don't really think St Thomas Crookes is a good church to learn from. Has everyone already forgotten the harm done by the Nine o'clock service??? It's ripples are still felt today....Delete
I fully agree with you Mike and I appreciate your time in sharing on this blog. Although a parody, it's extremely fact-based. Having been a member of a healthy church body for 8 years, I have seen first hand how 3DM can confuse, damage and ultimately divide a church. The Holy Spirit confirmed for me that it was time to leave after several meetings with the leadership showed me their reluctance to admit any fault with the program. Praying for my brothers and sisters who are still there.ReplyDelete
I have read most of this topic with a growing sadness. "...your minds are being led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." That passage comes to mind, along with 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 - "...that your faith might rest not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."ReplyDelete
I know a man who has spent 30 + years birthing a discipleship movement in a foreign country. There has been no fanfare, no visible structure, no body of knowledge to master, except the Bible interpreted by the Holy Spirit, no person with special knowledge. What God has done with this man and his brokenness will last a long time. There are passionate lovers of Jesus who are loving Him and each other and gradually spreading out to their circles of influence. They are people of the kingdom. We don't need another movement like this 3DM. It takes the focus away from Jesus and puts it on Discipleship as the answer. Sorry. I'm not buying.
I've just finished reading "Building a Discipling Culture" and would value you opinion on one part of it:
The chapter about the "Pentagon" uses the roles described in Ephesians 4:7,11-13 and states that while the traditional interpretation of these verses was concerning leadership in the church, it actually applies to all Christians and that we all fall into one of the roles described in these verses (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher).
The basis for this seems to be picking verse 7:
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."
And linking that with verses 11-13:
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ".
I can sort of see what the book is getting at if you read it in a certain way (although that's not how I naturally read it), but is this good exegesis? Are we all really supposed to fit into one of these five roles, or is it that there are some people in church that fulfil these roles (not everyone), and they are used to help build up the wider body of Christ?
I'd appreciate your thoughts, but also any pointers on good Biblical commentaries that you recommend.
Kudos on reading the book for yourself. Always best not just to get sucked into other peoples' opinions.Delete
Thanks for such a great question! That's the real issue--not whether we happen to like the shapes or the ideas they embody, but whether they are legitimately backed up by scripture.
In my opinion, it's lousy exegesis. There's nothing to connect the "grace" in verse 7 with the various gifts in verse 11. Moreover, even if the grace in verse 7 includes these gifts (which, in a larger sense, I do agree with), there's nothing that suggests that this gift list is exhaustive--that everyone has one or more of these specific gifts.
If it were the case that the gifts in verse 11 were possessed by all believers, then the transition into verse 12 is nonsense--"to prepare God's people for works of service" would mean "to prepare each other to exercise the same gifts I just mentioned." I take the gifts in verse 11 (and I think that there are four of them, not five) to be some among many gifts God has given, others of which are discussed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.
Incidentally, Breen's view of the "Fivefold ministry" didn't originate with him. I'm not sure where it was first proposed, but it's a significant part of Alan Hirsch's The Forgotten Ways
I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations of commentaries on Ephesians. I have myself written on this particular passage in a four-part series:
Thanks again for such a great question.
Thank you so much for your quick and clear answer. I have found it most helpful in understanding these verse. I am finding that as I look closely at the different life shapes, the basis for some of them is barely scriptural.
Your writings in the four part series was also very helpful and I have a much better understanding of these verses now. Thank you.
I may have further questions, but really appreciate the quality of teaching I've received through this blog.
This man-made methodology continues to divide churches and ruin fellowship.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this article from a UK writer.
Learning Circle Response Part 1ReplyDelete
Knowing God's voice is a theologically and scripturally sound concept. The tools of 3dm are not strange and heretical; nor are they loosely based on scripture.
3dm's Learning Circle is a tool much like the tools in Blackaby's "Experiencing God". "Experiencing God" is a tool/process that has helped the body of Christ grow in experiencing God and following Christ.
The Learning Circle is based on scripture and is a tool that assists disciples of Christ in identifying God at work in their lives. Learning to identify where God is working in ones life is a central part of a living faith in Christ. Using concepts like listening to God's voice is a central component of the Learning Circle. There is immense scriptural credibility for a desire to listen to God's voice and hear God's voice.
Look up the word voice in a concordance and you'll see how the concept of listening to God's voice quickly becomes a central theme of scripture. In the NT, John 10 looms large as a primer on listening to God's voice. I would encourage a careful reader of this blog post to read John 10. Read the whole chapter and look for direct and indirect references to the importance of hearing, knowing and responding to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
In John 10 there are several direct references to listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Here are a few excerpts from the ESV - "hear his voice - know his voice - know the voice - listen to my voice - hear my voice -" .
The desire to hear God's voice is not a strange desire or a heretical mind controlling concept as some have stated and or implied in above comments.
We as followers of Christ can hear HIS voice in scripture and we can learn to listen to HIS voice in our daily lives.
Mountain man, The tools of 3dm and TOM are strange and heretical and many people would agree! Where does it say in the bible that you have to be an associate member then a permanent and oh yeah, then you have to give a set amount of money to their supposed cause each month! This is appealing to some but we need discernment as even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. This verse from 2 Corinthians 11;3 comes to mind "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." This is showing how we can be led astray from the pure simplicity of Christ. You also talk constantly about listening to God's voice, this is the point that many of us on here have to come to realise, it's not God's voice... This system is appealing, yet destructive and dangerous. Of course i respect your opinion, people can believe in what they want and I've genuinely considered what you have said because we will get no where if we don't listen to eachother. However,I am still not convinced and I won't keep quiet about the truth.Delete
Jesus calls us to speak the Gospel and to shed light upon false prophets and 3dm is not scripturally sound at all.Delete
Learning Circle Response part 2ReplyDelete
Knowing God's voice is a multi-faceted mysterious subject that is broad and deep. There are some facets of knowing God's voice that can be broken down into simple steps. These simple steps can be taught in a discipleship process. The Learning Circle consists of two simple steps to learning God's voice that are absolutely scriptural.
The two steps are: 1. Repent and 2. Believe.
My question is this: Does the Body of Christ need some Repenting and Believing?
----yes...we need more repenting and more believing that will result in following Christ.
The Learning Circle from 3dm is a simple tool akin to a simple sermon illustration.
The Learning circle is a tool similar to Blackaby's "Experiencing God".
The Learning Circle doesn't change you ---God changes you.
The Learning Circle is a simple process to assist a follower of Christ in discerning God's will in general and specific ways.
The Learning Circle has two parts: REPENT and BELIEVE.
I can't think of any more basic NT concepts than REPENT and BELIEVE. The overall idea of the Learning circle is to repent and believe so that one can hear God's voice and grow into a follower of Christ.
Lifeshapes may appeal to some, yes but why do we have to complicate things, why can't we just stay true to the Bible? Jesus used plenty of parables in which we can use to spread his word. I must say that lifeshapes are extremely similar to the shapes used in freemasonry... Additionally, the idea of self made positions such as senior guardian are reflective of some of the features of a cult. When you look into it properly the evidence is everywhere. Many Christians I have spoke to have a gut instinct that something is wrong about it and some ministers have actually said to stay well clear of it.Delete
Learning Circle Response part 3ReplyDelete
The learning Circle is further broken down into REPENT-[observe reflect discuss] and BELIEVE -[plan account act]. It is safe to say believers have a low level of bible education in many cases. There is a great need for simple tools that can be used in small group discipleship concepts to equip the saints to follow Christ and respond to simple biblical imperatives.
In my estimation, the body of christ in the west is most similar to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 4. We need to REPENT and BELIEVE. How are we doing as a church? Where are our growth areas?
Revelation 4:20 says "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
------If you don't like the learning circle---come up with another tool that is better. I would like to see a better tool that is more scriptural. I would use it if I found it.
sorry for the error in the above biblical citationDelete
-------Revelation 3 describes the church in Laodicea.
Revelation 3:20 says "Behold I stand a the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
"It is safe to say believers have a low level of bible education in many cases". Yes that is true to an extent. The best thing to do is to do is to recommend a good bible commentary, life shapes in my opinion are dangerous as they are not scripturally sound.Delete
However, many may suggest that you have a low level of bible education, as you are defending this heretical teaching. That may be what some people may think. As I've said what you said is true but to an extent. Many people do have sound knowledge. Those who struggle need a good leader who isn't patronising and who they can relate to, not these group of shapes that confuse matters. You don't need a theology degree to understand the bible and you don't need lifeshapes either in my opinion.Delete
Learning Circle Response part 4ReplyDelete
Take away the circle shape and the essence of the teaching stands. The circle is just a helpful sermon illustration.
If we are going to be disciples of Christ, then remember that millions of people need discipling. We need simple memorable tools to equip the saints for the work of ministry. If 3dm tools are not scriptural, please start with the learning circle, and help me understand how it is not scriptural. I cannot see how a process to help folks repent and believe towards the goal of hearing God's voice is not scriptural.
I am not an employee of 3dm. I have used some of the 3dm tools and have seen great fruit. 3dm is not the only organization out there. Alan Hirsch wrote an excellent book that is a free download titled "Disciplism". Rise up Church! We need to wake up and respond to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
I am responding anonymously due to the tense nature of this dialogue. You can refer to me as "mountain man".
Mike Villar has already pretty much responded as I would have. I don't dispute that hearing God's voice, repenting, believing, or seeking wise counsel are biblical concepts. I do dispute that the process of hearing God's voice equates to repenting and believing; that repentance involves a three step process of observe, reflect, and discuss; or that believing involves a three-step process of plan, account, and act. You can't find any scripture to make these equations stick. When these words are used in this non-biblical way, it skews our understanding of what the words mean when we encounter them in scripture. In four posts, you haven't shown the biblical basis for this teaching, which was your purported goal. Mike Breen's own attempt to scripturally ground this teaching in BADC involves trying to wedge the Sermon on the Mount into these six categories. In my opinion, it's completely farfetched.
In practice, what I found this teaching to amount to was submitting a moment of insight or a problem to a group, having the group push you into making a plan, to which you are then accountable to follow up on. I don't find anything about this process helpful in hearing God's voice. I also don't see biblical examples of people hearing God's voice following anything like this pattern.
Yes, absolutely, we must know His voice and that is also how we are able to discern the voice of the enemy. John 10:3-5 " To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him for they do not know the voice of strangers."ReplyDelete
I am a committed follow of Christ and hear His, not the voice of Mike Breen.
Mountain man....... I know the voice of Jesus, I know he did nothing in secret, I know what Jesus meant when he sent 70 out to non believers, and to look for people of peace. I know from discernment, scripture and the damage explained on here that Breen contorts the Gospel to suit his own needs. You seem to completely overlook that committed Christians, who DO read their bibles, are rejecting Breen's methods because Christian maturity and discernment tells them that this is not the Shepherd's voice. Not only this, they understand 'people of peace' as Jesus intended. Christians who do not wish to submit to 3DM have been labelled as 'resisters', Breen tells leaders that such people are not ready, move on to someone less discerning is the advice! This poor style of choose and reject parroting is deeply divisive and damaging. The arrogance is breathtakingly.
Committed Christians in our church are united in rejecting Breen's voice, NOT the voice of God. In our church there is a significant lack of fruit and people are leaving. There is NO parroting, the congregation is not listened to, leaders do nothing about people leaving after THIRTY years in our church, no phone call, visit nothing. The leaders are so wrapped up in their own journey with Breen that they invalidate everything we say.
Tell me the fruits enjoyed through 3DM in your church mountain man..... tell me why as saved and forgiven people, we must submit to 3DM or be seen as inferior Christians?
Rather than regurgitating all of Breen's teaching, I would appreciate your responses regarding secrecy, additional language and the need for vows to earthly groups.
So YES, hear God's voice and pastor His flock, if they are hurt, left out and confused, if they are leaving........ reconsider the possibility of false voices.
~'Pastoring' not parroting..... predictive text! Sorry. Though it made me smile.Delete
---mountain man says:Delete
i see fruit as in John 15 by the Holy spirit not "enjoyed through 3dm". Like any good sermon, the 3dm tools have served to focus attention and clarity on scripture and the person of Christ. It is scripture that points us to Christ...and magnifies Christ. That is my experience. I think its safe to say that there are divergent experiences. Many comments above are sweeping generalizations.
I don't submit to 3dm.
Never have i had the sense of anyone connected to 3dm staff as creating an inferior class of christians.
I am not regurgitating 3dm teaching ---just looking for biblical credibility.
I could go on---but the whole point I was making is the scriptural basis for the Learning Circle. do you dispute that? That was Schooleys first serious salvo and the primary one i am interested in at this point.
I was also drawing a connection from the 3dm tools to the "Experiencing God" tools. I'm sure there are folks out there who think those are dangerous as well.
Mountain man ..... anyway.... i would like to ask one question.... if this MAN MADE system is so good and of God then why has it caused so much damage to so many churches?Delete
Mountain Man, 3dm HAS already created a inferior set of Christians. The very fact that you have to be INVITED to a huddle... the fact that there are different labels in TOM showing your superiority such as generals or senior guardian...Also, do you not find it worrying that this system was created in the aftermath of the Nine O'clock service? This system erupted within a broken church at a time of desperation, is it really a reliable system to be using, should we really be learning from a church with a notorious track record??? I hope and pray that you consider this. I don't believe followers of 3dm are bad people, they are lovers of Jesus who i Believe have been led astray.Delete
You also say that "Many comments above are sweeping generalizations." I hope this isn't in reference to other people's experiences, Please clarify Mountain Man, Thank you and I know we have different views so I hope you respect mine, Thanks again.
Mountain Man. You have given us the 3dm information on the learning circle. You have given us the two 3dm steps to "knowing God's voice" which are Repent (broken into observe, reflect, discuss) and Believe (broken into plan, account, act). At no point did you ever provide any scriptural backing for your Repent and Believe Circle tool. My first, and most basic question, is why don't you just say Repent and Believe? Why do you need a “learning tool” to teach something that you say is so basic? If you say you need the tool because people are Biblically illiterate, why not simply teach them the Bible and kill two birds with one stone. You can search every inch of the new testament and you will not find the following words: learning circle, kairos moment, huddle, or learning tools.Delete
Second, I'd like to see you provide a scriptural basis for saying that to know God's voice you must observe, reflect and discuss what you think God's voice is saying and then you must plan, account and act on His voice. It seems to me that many in the New Testament simply heard God's voice and knew it for what it was. Moreover, not all hearing of God's voice involves the need to repent. If Paul heard in a dream that he was to go to Macedonia, he simply left for Macedonia. It required no observing, reflecting, discussing, planning, accounting and acting. Paul simply acted on what God said, and there was no need for repentance.
In the 3dm world, the learning circle is taught in the Huddle. So 3dm teaches that you must first have some “kairos moment”, either positive or negative, that has an impact on your life. Then you must observe, reflect and discuss that moment with the people in your Huddle. After that discussion, you then enter the plan, account and act phase. You decide, with the help of the group and your Huddle leader, what your plan should be. Then you become accountable to your Huddle or Huddle leader to carry out the plan. Thus, “knowing God's voice” becomes a process where you submit your experience to a group of people in order to determine if it was God and what to do about it if it was.
As Keith pointed out early on in this blog, “Proponents call the Kairos circle learning to hear the voice of God; I think it’s learning to submit oneself to groupthink and possibly manipulation by the leader. If the principles in 3DM can’t be supported biblically without far-fetched interpretations, why should anyone submit to them?”
This process does not allow a person to come to know the voice of God. Instead, it instills in an individual the thought that he or she is not able to discern the voice of God without a process and affirmation from a group of people who did not share the “kairos moment”, but who are going to filter what God is saying to you. This is precisely why 3dm can easily fall into the Shepherdship error of the 70's and 80's.
I would challenge you, Mountain Man, to come up with one Biblical example of a person in the Bible having a “kairos moment”, taking that moment back to a small group of people, then observing, reflecting and discussing that moment with the group prior to planning, accounting and acting on that word. It simply is not a process we see in scripture to learn God's voice.
I totally agree Mike, Why can't we just say Repent and Believe? Why can't we just stay true to the Bible. Well put.Delete
mountain man says---Sure we can just say repent and believe.Delete
-----which are the exact words used by the 3dm teaching tool. They are the foundational words...any other words are for clarification. Most teachers re-teach what repentance means from many different angles because it is such a loaded word and mostly misunderstood.
For example, is it natural to say when we are giving directions:
"Repent on the east side of highway 96." ?
or "if you reach the blueberry farm --REPENT-- you have gone too far"
Repentance has a spiritual connotation as well as a directional connotation but its meaning is lost on most people.
The meaning behind Repentance in the bible is a change of mind followed by change of action. Reflection observation and discussion are contemporary educational concepts applied to spiritual matters of the mind and heart. The Science of education is being applied here. Planning, accountability and action are hallmarks of every effective organization in our culture. I'm sure the apostle Peter probably was not doing this---but we are also not living in the first century. But I am sure if i tried I could pull these extra-biblical concepts from the bible anyway.
---something like counting the cost? or seeking wise counsel?
Think of the 3dm system as a sermon. Listen to your sermon this weekend --I'm sure you'll see some man made systems and non biblical language used to help clarify biblical terms.
Some biblical concepts need a lot of clarification in our culture...that is how i view the additional words like observe reflect discuss. or plan account act. The Learning circle is a helpful tool to put faith into action. There isn't anything heretical about observation, reflection or discussion. these words are just guides that may help someone through growing in their faith. Why do people get the sense that they HAVE to use these words? I don't think any practitioners of 3dm feel they MUST use them at all times.
if you don't prefer them or if the don't help you...then don't use them. They don't have to be demonized.
Parts of this dialogue on this blog post looks more like other historical mistakes when Christians were scared and responded accordingly. This dialogue reminds me of 18th century faith in North America.
what about S.M.A.R.T. goals? ---should we not use these in our spiritual life because S.M.A.R.T. goals are a man made system---not in the bible?
I noticed as I read "Building a Discipling Culture" that the explanation of a "kairos" moment was anything monumental (positive or negative) in your life..getting married, the death of a loved one, a divorce, an argument with a co-worker, the events of September 11th. However, the Learning Circle is described in this way..."But when a kairos moment occurs, we must decide to enter the Circle. From the moment we do so, we are in a learning mode. Two key words in the Mark passage help define the learning process:repent and believe..." Now, I'm a bit confused. The entry point into the Learning Circle when a kairos moment is encountered is to repent and believe? I thought a kairos moment could be any event that leaves an impact on you, positive or negative. The examples given were some where repentance may be called for and others that are completely repentance free. Why is there anything to repent for from your wedding day, from the birth of a child, from the events of September 11th? That was part of my problem with the philosophy. It's so muddy. I agree with Mike Villar. The idea of repenting and asking forgiveness is not hard in and of itself. Yes, we might resist it, but it still is not a difficult process. This Learning Circle becomes a convoluted method, especially when Breen's definition of a kairos moment or event is so muddied for the start. Argument with a spouse or co-worker?......repentance. Wedding or birth of a child?....Don't see the need to "enter the Circle". Scripture itself is clear on what we do for repentance. We simply go to the person we have wronged, or to God and ask for their forgiveness. It's not a complicated thing.Delete
As I suspected, Mountain Man, you are unable to come up with any Biblical backing for your propositions. You have to cite the “Science of education” and “hallmarks of every effective organization in our culture.” But at least you concede that 3dm is a man made system.Delete
You failed to address any Biblical basis for the 3dm learning circle. You also failed to address the system in which the learning circle is applied; namely, the Huddle. Why don't you address the fact that, in 3dm, hearing the voice of God requires the input and interaction of numerous other people, including your Huddle leader, to whom you are accountable? For there is one God, and there is but one mediator between God and men, and that is the man Christ Jesus. I Tim. 2:5. The Huddle seeks to instill a dependence upon others to hear and discern the voice of God. That is simply a system designed to add a middle man between the believer and God. From a cynical standpoint, wouldn't every Order want to make all of its members accountable to the leadership of the Order and dependent upon the Order to discern the voice of God?
You claim that the learning circle is not something that MUST be followed and that none of the practitioners of 3dm feel that they MUST use them all the time. However, for those entering the Order of Mission, well, they take a vow to live and work by the Rule of Life of the Order. They swear before God and the Senior Guardian (Mike Breen) that they will abide by the Rule of Life. The Rule of Life is embodied in the eight shapes taught by 3dm. So, for the 3dm practitioners who are also temporary or permanent members of the Order of Mission, they have taken a vow to live according to the Lifeshapes. The Lifeshapes are:
The Circle: Listening to God’s voice and responding obediently
The Triangle: Balanced and deep relationships
The Semi-Circle: Kingdom-oriented rhythms of life around Rest and Work
The Square: Multiplying the life of Jesus into the lives of others
The Pentagon: Personal calling
The Hexagon: Prayer
The Heptagon: Organic Health
The Octagon: Relational mission
Imagine if the Order of Mission makes it's members vow to live a life in accord with the Lifeshapes, would they consider the Lifeshapes simply “optional?”
I am not scared of 3dm. Rather, I am concerned for the well-being of those caught up in the 3dm system. 3dm is a teaching in line with the gnostic thought that there is a “higher knowledge” than that simply of the Bible. 3dm seems to believe that the Bible is not enough, and if you apply the science of education and some of the hallmarks of every effective organization in our culture, you can come upon the secret knowledge that allows you to exist upon a higher, more effective plain than the average believer. This “secret knowledge” of the lifeshapes and of 3dm coaching is being packaged and sold by 3dm to Christians and churches under the guise of putting discipleship into the hands of ordinary Christians.
This is true Mountain man.Delete
Mountain man join a huddle run by 3dm, look at joining TOM and experience the fullness of the 3dm experience that's on offer then after 3 months come back and say there is nothing wrong with them. Life shapes as a tool can be useful but if as a christian you choose not to use them as a filter to look at everything in life then you shouldn't be classed as a non person of peace ?? Is it right that if your a church leader or ministry leader and choose not to follow the huddle model etc that you should be asked to leave ????ReplyDelete
mountain man says- to the "man made systems" comment.Delete
i have a question in response: Is it not true that every sermon or discipleship process like Alpha, or Experiencing God is a man made system?
Yes they are man made.
So in order to side step this concern of having influence from "man-made" systems ---we would have no sermons --no discipleship systems-- only reading the Word of God.
---then the churches would never fall apart, right?
to the question of how many churches have fallen apart as a direct result of 3dm--Its probably much more complicated than faulting 3dm. It would be much more honest if the folks sharing their tragic stories of disintegration would also share other mitigating factors. Can they really claim that 3dm was 100% responsible for the destruction of their church?
Like a Tornado hit their church and swept it away?
Churches fall apart all the time over silly things and important matters. Most likely, folks don't like 3dm and they engage in a power struggle because of it.
Blackaby's "Experiencing God" is a man made system. It has done a lot of good but i am sure it has been misused as well.
Yes they are man made mountain man, but they haven't caused the damage to as many churches as 3dm or TOM. Also unlike Alpha, 3dm and TOM are cult like systems...Delete
Mountain man are you seriously questioning the division 3dm has caused. I do not think that it's a coincidence that as soon as 3dm turns up in a church trouble happens. There may be other factors that were significant, yes but i reckon 3dm was 99.9% of the problem.Delete
Regarding the circle - it's just too formulaic and business complex.ReplyDelete
It's really simple - if you mess up, repent, and believe that Jesus has given you a new start.
If there's stuff in your life you need prayer for - find people 2 pray with - where 2 or 3 are gathered... etc...
If you need pastoral support, that's what small group leaders / pastoral team / the pastor should be there for.
If there's stuff in your life that's going great - share it, thank God for it, give Him all the glory.
If you need help and support, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you - pray!
Any need for anything more complex??? What can 3dm possibly sell me that will be any more helpful than God himself?
Of course man made systems will mean your church will fall apart.ReplyDelete
We are not God, he gave us the bible to follow as our rule of life.
Breen gives us an extra- biblical filter through which to read the bible.
If you've ever heard an entire series of sermons through the lens of lifeshapes, you would realise the damage they can do. And the language can be oh so alienating to other Christian.
Ie - our youth pastor comforting a distressed member of the congregation - instead of properly listening, just tells her 'she is in D2' and things always get worse before they get better!
A burnt out person was told by our pastor, all they needed to do was work from rest. Fine if they were in the ministry, but working a difficult 70 hour week in a tough business to make ends meet, really not the most helpful advice. I'm not sure Jesus did adopt a working from rest position - there's not much about his working life in the bible!
As for looking for people of peace within the church - just a cover up for finding those people in then church who will unquestionably follow the new program. Is your church not full of disciples already? Aren't people of peace those outside the church who are open to hear the gospel? The gospel, as opposed to the 3dm formula. Disciples are people who follow Jesus, not open to immersion in 3dm.
Of course this man made system causes an in crowd and an out crowd. If your church leader has labelled you not a person of peace, clearly you're in the out crowd as you won't be invited into an Oikos or a huddle. You will in fact probably end up feeling unloved, left out and ultimately then leave the church... seen it happen lots of time.
Unfortunately I think those in the in crowd, deep into the system cannot see any of the problems and truly believe they are following Jesus path for their lives. Really really sad.
Repent and Believe part 1ReplyDelete
Mountain Man says to Mike Villar---
Repent is in the ESV 75 times
Believe is in the ESV 258 times
Mark 1:15 ---repent and believe in the gospel
Acts 19:4 John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is Jesus.
The biblical imperative to repent is throughout scripture.
The biblical imperative to believe is throughout scripture
Help me to understand if this is not sufficient scriptural backing??
The learning circle is an example of applying the bible to every part of one's life.
We can take the BIBLICAL filter of REPENT and BELIEVE and apply it to every situation in every part of our lives. Especially the times when we fail. I see the restoration of Peter in John 21 as an example of Jesus coming along side Peter and helping him be restored through REPENTANCE (change of mind --change of action) that looks like feeding sheep. Ultimately Jesus challenges Peter to BELIEVE and get ready to be tested again as Jesus prophesied the death Peter would experience to glorify God.
the Learning Circle is a man made tool ---much like a sermon---that is based on scriptural imperatives. 1Cor 10:13 is a famous verse regarding temptation. Do you think it would be helpful to break things down for an alcoholic who --faced with the temptation of getting drunk---could remember the words--repent and believe---and then break down the last experience where they fell into temptation ---and observe reflect discuss what led them down that path. And surely---if they don't want to make the same mistake ---they had better think of some different PLAN ---and ask someone to hold them ACCOUNTable so just maybe they can ACT differently.
And this is such a man made system that breaks down churches?
Many times the steps happen in the flash of an instant. But they happen.
Many times we don't REPENT (in times of anger especially) because we didn't take the time to slow down--pray and ask God to help us observe what is happening...reflect on what we are feeling---and take the HUGE step to call someone ---a friend ---any friend---and discuss our current PLAN---and because we aren't in significant Christian fellowship--- there is no one who can hold us accountable ---so at times our ultimate actions are not a God honoring path of action.
So if you don't like this preaching and you're leading a ministry where people are falling apart all over the place---come up with a MORE scriptural tool. I would love to see it and use it!
Yet again you have provided little or no biblical evidence in using a shape as a tool, this is similar to what cults do.Delete
Repent and Believe part 2ReplyDelete
--mountain man to Mike Villar
It really does not get any more basic bible than REPENT and BELIEVE. I am shocked that I need to provide scriptural basis for the need to REPENT and BELIEVE.
Especially when we need to recognize the larger and more important CATACLYSMIC failure of the Church to help each other REPENT and BELIEVE the good news.
Pentecost starts with the allegation from the crowd that they were a bunch of drunk guys. They were observing --reflecting on their past experiences of drunk people --discussing it and then (in verse 13) mocking them ---"they are filled with new wine!"
Peter makes a different observation and then reflects back on the great scriptural prophecy of the prophet Joel and then ties it all into how David foresaw the death and resurrection of Christ. This is a great Discussion for everyone hearing ---because they start with WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? in verse 12 and end up in RESPONSE to this discussion making a plan to respond in verse 37 as they say WHAT SHALL WE DO?
Peter says in verse 38 ---REPENT and be BAPTIZED every one of you ----( a believers baptism) in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So someone made a PLAN because there were three thousand people who were going to get baptized in an arid region ---three thousand people wanted to become ACCOUNTable to God and wanted to live the new life in Christ and ACT in a new way.
Mountain man no one has asked you to provide scripture for repent and believe but I am equally shocked that you are encouraging the use of lifeshapes within the church something which i fear the C of E is already endorsing. A church I have been at for 10 years has been ripped apart in the last month or so because of 3dm and these cult like tools.Delete
mountain man says---Mike Villar asked me to....read the posts.Delete
No I've read it,No one said 'oh yeah can you find scriptural basis for concepts of believing and repenting the post talks about scriptural basis for the learning circle which uses repent and believe, and yet you've still not provided any biblical evidence for it mountain man... This is what Mike said .... " At no point did you ever provide any scriptural backing for your Repent and Believe Circle tool. My first, and most basic question, is why don't you just say Repent and Believe". I agree with Mike TOTALLY, can you still find biblical evidence for taking vows and using life shapes?Delete
REPENT and Believe part 3ReplyDelete
---this is where I repent.
--mountain man to Mike Villar
So---i take it back ---maybe the Learning Circle isn't really a man made tool after all. maybe the Learning Circle is ---like a good sermon---the fruit of bible study and looking to GODS WORD for direction and guidance.
In Acts 6 they OBSERVED that the widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. (verse 1) then they decided to discuss it amongst themselves (verse 2) as they SUMMONED the disciples and did a bit of REFLECTion and DISCUSSION.
Then in verse three they made a PLAN to choose seven men of good repute ---and hopefully after they chose seven men these men were ACCOUNTable to serve the widows as the Others made a PLAN to devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the WORD.
So hopefully---the disciples ACTed on their findings in their learning opportunity as they CIRCLEd around them in verse 6 laid hands on them and prayed.
----And the word of God continued to increase and the number of DISCIPLES multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
It seems that if we followed this way of living (which we see in the bible) that THE CHURCH would grow.
Here's an idea if the learning circle is like a good sermon then why not keep it simple and just preach a good sermon!Delete
Mountain man again I ask what has the benefit of 3dm been to YOUR church because my church's attendance has AT LEAST HALVED!!! I find this very worrying, there are no fruits attached to 3dm in my experience!Delete
mountain man says---I don' t want to minimize the fallout of church politics. I wasn't there. But many times those directly involved cannot see clearly what is going on. That is why there are professional church mediators who specialize in this sort of thing. They bring perspective and fairness to the table.ReplyDelete
When someone says 3dm is 99.9% responsible for church breakups...that is grossly inaccurate; 99.9% is an hyperbolic overreach.
The likely scenario is the fact that both sides bear responsibility. It sounds to me like church leaders led out in secrecy and exclusivity where that is not faithful to what I have seen in 3dm or the Gospel for that matter...; and the other side rightly countered.
But then it got ugly...and that my friends---unfortunately is the under belly of the story of the Protestant Reformation. Reformers take ground and lose ground. But it is hardly true that one side is completely at fault where the other side are just innocent sheep.
how about this for example....
Guy buys a red sports car against his wife's wishes---the couple get divorced. Is it the car's fault?
Or is it all the other things connected to the car?
The husband feeling locked in to his 9 to 5er...the wife feeling controlled by her husband's budget---husband feeling nagged---pressures of life...the car makes him feel adventurous and alive ----he buys the car against the wishes of his wife...the wife files for divorce...they divorce...the car is sold---forever more the memory of the car is the bane of their existence when it was simply a leaf on a tree with a whole lot more to it than that.
Years pass and perspective increases ---the divorced couple know better than to blame the red sports car. At first the wife enjoys mocking her ex husband driving around like he's the bomb...but then the red sports car ceases to be discussed and in their quiet moments they regret the emptiness they feel inside and see their inability to get to the real issues.
It's the fault of 3dm I'm sorry mountain man but it's easy to sit there typing away when you haven't been personally affected by it, it's a cult like system, in all seriousness look up the key features of a cult and 3dm and TOM ticks most of them. Additionally to say 3dm is 99.9% responsible is in no way an overaction! In my view, no 3dm, no problem!Delete
Mountain man, you say that "It sounds to me like church leaders led out in secrecy and exclusivity where that is not faithful to what I have seen in 3dm". Yet people who secretly invite others to huddles are following the exact orders of Mike Breen, checkout the 3dm website! It's ironic, you defend 3dm, yet you don't seem to recognise some of it's basic and dare i say dangerous features!!!Delete
I have heard straight from leaders mouths who teach for 3DM that if a ministry leader or community leader doesn't join a huddle then after several attemps of trying to have them join one they are still unsuccessful then they are asked to leave / move on. I mean really what is that about ??? If there is a successful ministry with a bible believing leader then why should that be shut down as they won't follow the 3dm model, where in the bible is that justified ?????ReplyDelete
I am the church planter who wrote “My 3DM Story: Parts 1 – 8.”ReplyDelete
After much research, time, prayer, and watching this blog from afar I have to encourage those of you resisting 3DM to hold the course with love from your brothers and sisters led astray. Your discernment is not off, keep reading scripture and walking with the Lord, but be ready to reconcile when they repent of the 3DM methodology (those methods that don’t align with scripture) and return to believing in our Lord’s leadership and His word as being sufficient.
For those new to the conversation, or visiting for the first time with questions, welcome. May I offer a few words of insight and encouragement.
3DM and The Order of Mission are heavily influenced by Freemasonry as well as falling victim to the errors of the Shepherding Movement. Some believers without discernment and knowledge of the Word might not have issue with those elements, however my walk with the Lord and His Holy Spirit tells me to avoid these elements at all costs.
For those arguing with our 3DM friends on this blog: please stop. The spiritual work of rebuking false teachers must start on an individual level, in your existing churches, in a biblical manner.
Unfortunately, so many 3DM followers have the best of intentions and really believe 3DM supplements their faith. They often fail to accept that all of their 3DM colleagues could be a part of something like this. Those at the top know full well what they are doing. Those at the bottom are either at best naïve or complicit in pursuing this false teaching. (That is one thing all Masonry, Shepherding Movement Leaders, and Cults have in common: relational pressure to conform and not betray the group.)
Many will be led astray, but do not be confused, the way 3DM and Tom implement their shared language and Lifeshapes make them not just “tools” but a “code” you must live by in order to be a part of their huddles. The result is that when they enter your church leadership structure you will be heavily encouraged to conform to their teachings. It may take years, months or days, but they will force their thinking, beliefs, and practices upon your congregation. Once the leadership is involved, make no mistake, you are not forced to comply (as with any Masonry, Shepherding Movement, or Cult). You are simply pushed to the margins and “left out” if you’re not one of them.
The largest problem with 3DM is not their weak scripturally supported shapes, their choice of language, their liking to Monastic tradition, and their highly sociological and psychological focused education methods – but their forced adoption of everything mentioned together with top-down authoritarian leadership (that does not recognize that the 3DM / TOM methods could be scripturally inconsistent, and vilifies anyone who does) once they have a foothold in your church. This combination qualifies them for a very “nice” “friendly” “Christian influenced” yet worldly cult. To reference earlier comments -I have yet to see Experiencing God have this effect…if I did I would boot that teaching to the curb too, well meaning and scripturally influenced or not.
Don’t buy in to the lie that since scripture is a part of 3DM and TOM, that scripture and our Lord lead 3DM and TOM.
I pray for all of you. Be quick to reconcile with your friends ensnared by 3DM upon their repentance, and do not be afraid to follow God and serve Him when others around you fall away to false teachings. Jesus knew these things were to come. Paul writes often to Timothy about these types of situations. Be encouraged, the Lord is with you.