Wednesday, August 02, 2006


One signficant example of a Strategic Alliance for evangelical mission work in many countries of the world is DAWN.

I lifted the following from the DAWN Europe web-site

DAWN is an acronym for "Discipling a Whole Nation". It is a strategy developed to fulfil our Lord's command to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19,20). To do this DAWN seeks to mobilise the whole body of Christ in a nation to provide Christ-centred cells, congregations or churches for every village and neighbourhood of every class, kind and condition of person in the nation.

The purpose of DAWN is to see saturation church planting become the generally-accepted and fervently practised strategy for completing the task of making disciples of all peoples in our generation. Our concern is that the body of Christ in every land ought to be praying and working for the discipling of that whole nation, including all its people groups.

Our conviction is that this is accomplished most effectively when the whole church of a whole nation is committed to the goal of having at least one Christ-centred congregation within easy access of every person in the nation. There should be a living, growing, Christ-centred congregation for every 1,000 people or smaller community unit.

With a witnessing congregation in every neighbourhood, every person will have the opportunity to make an informed, intelligent decision for or against Jesus, and will have a place of fellowship where he or she could be discipled should they become a believer.

DAWN recognises that the job of discipling a nation is too big for any one denomination. It provides an answer by bringing a unity of purpose to a diversity of styles and means.
DAWN seeks to further national movements of saturation church planting and encourages research, intercession and strategy.

DAWN works to see existing churches take on their God-given responsibility for the community around them, and to see new churches planted into communities where there is no church.

The basic vision of DAWN, as I understand it, is to get all of the churches, denominations, and mission organizations working in a country to set common goals for the discipleship of the entire country, through saturation church planting; and then to pray and work together to divide up the task between them, keeping abreast of what each one is doing, and coordinating efforts whenever practical in such a way as to avoid overlapping each other, and use the best stewardship possible of the various resources available.

DAWN is not a substitute for denominational efforts, but rather a channel for all Great Commission Christian groups to do more effectively what they are already doing. The article that can be viewed here shows how the work of individual denominations are actually the heart of DAWN’s strategy.

For what reason I do not know why, but I have heard that DAWN has become taboo in the US with NAMB. If anyone out there can enlighten me as to why this is the case, I would be most interested to know. I personally am very excited about the possibilities of DAWN for Spain, and other countries around the world, and hope that we as IMB workers will be in the middle of projects like this, and not on the outside looking in. I believe our IMB administration would be in agreement with this. But I am picking up bits and pieces here and there that lead me to believe that some in SBC circles in the States are not. Anyone know why?


Neill Mims said...

Hi David... DAWN has wonderful goals and has done great work in a number of countries. They are all for church planting and in helping agencies and churches cooperate. I look forward to hearing more about why NAMB has not worked with them. But there is a difference between saturation church planting (SCP) and Church Planting Movements (CPM). DAWN caught on big in India and has many good partners... the goal to start a church in every "zip" (PIN) code of the country... they have helped start many churches but often it is costly as they have to geographically coordinate the work and spread out the church planters who are often paid by their various organizations (often not bi-vocational). So DAWN has been a big fund raiser and helped many 1st world countries and churches send money for the effort. They have also led in research on churches in India as they have so many significant churches and organizations cooperating.

, almost all churches started in India are among the same people groups and low "castes" of India -- just different zip codes. So while starting many churches (wonderful), they are still missing the fact that the world is a "waffle" and not a pancake. Not that they need to change (they can still start many churches)... just that it can be much faster to use CPM missions than saturation missions. For example... it is much harder (and expensive) to send someone to the next village or city to start one church than to start 4-6 more house churches with the various people groups in my village / city.

I have often said CPM comes first... then you look at SCP to finish the task. And that usually needs to happen by ethno-linguistic -- not geographic. Once there are 100 churches in a CPM, then they can help us finish the task in the villages and cities nearby -- and far.

Some countries like Spain might differ if it is a fairly homogenous country.

There is an old church growth principle that goes along with the above truths... the more churches in one area, the higher average attendance at each church (more Great News getting shared and more impact in that area / people).

But let's do get the Gospel getting shared in the first place and share it with someone today!

Bryan Riley said...

Here is my question with regard to SCP and CPM and whatever CP acronym that may exist (please understand that is not glib... it is an expression of my ignorance with regard to such language and request that people would try to be more plain english): churches really are people, not buildings, so why would this be expensive beyond sharing the gospel (which requires going), discipling (which requires some amount of staying), and then helping new disciples learn to gather together in groups (churches, wherever they may exist--e.g., in homes, parks, public places, existing buildings, etc.).

I understand that some countries would not afford the people the freedom to worship publicly, but, homes would still be an option. Does CPM/SCP always mean building church buildings???

I also understand that travel and staying costs money. But if multiple churches would group together to sponsor discipling missional teams... well...

Ken Sorrell said...


Neill makes an interesting point contrasting the difference between (CPM)Church Planting Movements, and (SCP)Saturation Church Planting. To David's dismay this post and comments may move in a different direction than he intended. First, I have not heard and do not know of any issues concerning NAMB and DAWN, but I too do not live in the states.

However, for us on the field, it is going to be difficult to engage in any strategic partnership if the strategies of the two entities do not compliment one another in some way. They do not have to be exactly the same but they cannot contradict.

For example, if one entity is offering to pay church planters to go to another area and plant a church while a second entity encourages a bi-vocational tent-making model that pushes toward multiple new church starts in an area, these two entities are going to have a hard time alligning themselves together. At least in my way of thinking.

It has been my experience over the past 14 years that money issues more than doctrine or practice tends to the be deal breaker for most relationships.

Sorry David for getting off topic.

mr. t said...

At the risk of generalizing this too much... here are some distinctions between SCP & CPM -

Saturation Church Planting -
-More geographic focus
-More paid professionals
-More dependency on outside resources
-More traditional church structure

Church Planting Movement -
-More ethnolinguistic focus
-More volunteer workers
-More dependency on inside resources
-More simple church structure

I am sure there are other distinctions, and the lines are blurred between the two. But this is generally what these strategies emphasize.

I see NAMB with an SCP emphasis, so I don't know why they are not more involved with DAWN. IMB was very involved with networking with DAWN in the early stages of New Directions but gradually withdrew close cooperation (at least where I have observed). IMHO because cpm strategy emphasizes multiplication while scp is more about addition.

David Rogers said...

Very interesting comments, everyone.

The difference between SCP and CPM is something I don't remember hearing a whole lot about here in Europe. Probably, I imagine, because anything anywhere close to either one would be a major breakthrough for us.

It is interesting that DAWN in many parts of the world seems to be making a big emphasis on house churches or "simple churches" as well.

However, there is a very interesting discussion going on over at the South American Region "Church Planting Forum" hosted by our friend, Guy Muse, which I believe is bringing out some very interesting observations related to "house church" and how it relates to the area of the world in which one serves. I don't know if it would be possible, but I believe a lot of what is being said over there would be of interest to blog readers as well. (Any ideas, Guy?) I personally believe the "Blind Men and the Elephant" illustration serves well in this case. "House church" may well be the best thing since sliced bread, for certain contexts, and certain parts of the world. But not necessarily every context everywhere.

Just thinking out loud here. But I'm wondering if this difference between SCP and CPM approaches is a big part of what is causing some tension regarding strategy in IMB work in Western Europe. IMO, Neill Mims' comment is very relevant at this juncture: Spain (despite the recent influx of immigrants) is indeed a fairly homogenous country.

Two of my main concerns in all of this are: 1) we don't feel pressured to adopt a "cookie-cutter" approach just because it has worked in another part of the world; 2) we don't avoid Strategic Alliances to advance the cause of fulfilling the Great Commission with groups like DAWN (or fill in the blank with any number of Bible-believing, evangelical GCCs) because of our hangups with "denominational distinctives" in the States.

GuyMuse said...

Everything I have ever heard, read, or dialogued with DAWN people has been right down our alley. I find it hard to understand where any differences might be. In truth, we too, are about "Discipling a Whole Nation", they just beat us to the acronym!

GuyMuse said...


You mentioned above in your comment the dialogue going on about "house church" over on the SAM Region Church Planting Forum.

Anyone interested in dialogue about church planting issues is welcome to join the dialogue. There are curently 101 missionaries signed up. Most of the church planting dialogue is in the context of South America, but certainly applies to other places as well.

To join, write me at guymuse[at]bigfoot[dot]com telling me who you are, where you serve and we'll get you signed up.

Bart Barber said...

How would the "coordination" of this to avoid "overlap" be different from the comity agreements of a century ago? It seems to me that in at least some ways that methodology was disastrous. In my view, the big problem with comity agreements was the false assumption that any denomination would do just as well as another in evangelizing its assigned territory.

Bryan Riley said...

I admit that I am the most green and ignorant in these topics, but as soon as I start reading about strategies and comity agreements and [fill in the blank] my eyes start to gloss over and I begin to ask myself, what about just having people share their lives, their passions, their loves, all of which are made possible through the saving power of Jesus Christ, teaching and training others who Christ is as they go through new lands and places? Perhaps it is this focus on "churches" that causes denominational issues, when all we need to do is teach people about Christ and who He is and how He is offering Himself as a sacrifice for their sins and help them find ways to grow together as followers and disciples of Christ??? Does anyone else have this reaction or think that much of the talk sounds like the ways of man versus the ways of God? I'm not in any way trying to judge or call it out... I'm trying to learn and be sensitive to new ideas here. I have not had much missions training, so please forgive me if I am just completely off base.

Bryan Riley said...

p.s. I understand the need for strategy to accomplish something. Proverbs and wisdom teaches us much about that.

David Rogers said...


The difference is that no one is saying that any place or population segment is "off limits" to anyone. This is all about encouraging everyone to be more proactive in church planting, and how we can work together in synergy to accomplish more.

I am in agreement with you that "comity agreements" are not helpful.

David Rogers said...


There is a difference between "frontline missions" and "missions strategy coordination." Not everyone is cut out for both. But there are times when they necessarily cross paths. Both are necessary. It is possible to do missions from a "frontline" perspective alone, but, I believe in the long run, you will be a much better steward of God's Kingdom resources if someone takes the time to think through the more complicated questions as well.

Bryan Riley said...

David, while I'm sure what you said is true, I need it in plain language (and this is coming from a guy who was a lawyer for 10 years--the irony) (ya know, people who use legalese...).

Donald said...


No idea why there would be a problem with cooperation with DAWN and NAMB. I know that we have cooperated with DAWN in the past as relates to compiling people group (country) data. We worked with them trying to come up with accurate percentages of evangelism, etc... I will say that some within the movement were a little more ecumenical than I was comfortable with but that probably doesn't apply to the entire organization.

Read the book, Dawn Two Thousand - Seven Million Churches to Go (1989) by Jim Montgomery. It is quite an inspiring read.