In his book, “Church Planting Movements”, David Garrison talks about the Yanyin Church Planting Movement, working in a region of China. Over a ten year period, this movement grew from 3 churches to more than 900, totalling almost 100,000 believers.
Garrison shares twelve important lessons learned by the leaders of that movement:
- Prayerwas vital not only for the unreached Yanyin people, but also among the new Yanyin believers.
- Everything that we wanted the people to do, we had to model as well as teach.
- We learned to emphasise application rather than knowledge, and found that the knowledge always followed.
- We always tried to include feedback loops with our mass evangelism efforts to ensure follow up of new believers.
- We tried to make sure that everything we did in the areas of evangelism, church planting, and trainingcould be reproduced by the Yanyin people.
- We encouraged locally produced hymns and praise songsto spread the faith.
- We found that our expectations of the converts were usually met, so we set the mark high for growth and new fruit!
- We taught the new churches to quickly assimilate new believers into the life and work of the church.
- We found that multiple leadership and unpaid leadershipkept the movement growing while eliminating the gap between clergy and laity.
- We learned to build accountabilityfor both leaders and church members into the way they do church.
- We learned that meeting in homes rather than dedicated buildings allowed the movement to stay below the radar of the government and spread rapidly without gaining notice.
- We learned that the new Yanyin believers must take responsibility for fulfilling the Great Commission.
Though the context for church planting in Yanyin is very different than many of the contexts we find ourselves in, many of these lessons can be adapted to our own circumstances.