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Frequently Asked Questions

ADVANCE

ADVANCE! is one of the tools of M4 Intercultural. And M4 Intercultural is part of M4 Europe. M4 Intercultural started in 2024 after a merging of ICP Europe and M4 Europe.  

Intercultural. We desire to plant new churches which are intentionally intercultural. The ultimate goal is that a new community in Christ will be formed, where unity within diversity is celebrated. 

Missional Communities. We primarily focus on reaching out by deeds and words with a holistic mission to those who do not walk with Jesus. The best way to reach our nation is through Missional Communities where all believers stand together in the mission.  

Discipleship. The goal of the community is that everyone becomes like Jesus in a way that fits each other’s personality. 

Multiplication. Multiplication has to take place in many different ways, in order to impact every corner of society with the Gospel. 

Gospel Centred. We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and our infallible authority for faith and life. In every aspect, we are driven by the Gospel, not by cultural trends or church traditions. In doctrinal and ethical choices, M4 Intercultural stands on the foundation of classic Christianity: the cross-denominational, cross-cultural abundance of teachings and practices of the Church of God throughout the ages and around the world. 

Through Alpha we can easily reach seekers! It would be rather easy to start walking with Christians for an extended time. But that is exactly what we would like to avoid: this is all about Jesus’ heartbeat to make disciples of all ethnicities. We do believe that sharing life and relationships is at the core of that. Alpha is a strong brand, a proven concept and many people across Europe already have experience with that. Alpha helps to get started fast and include Christians and seekers who walk together on the trail of mission and discipleship. That is why we are so excited about Alpha and decided to work with this course. In this video, Johanna Weddigen from Alpha Germany explains why Alpha is such a powerful tool in planting a church.

We are very grateful for our friends at Alpha. We enjoy the relationships, and work well together, both nationally and internationally.

ADVANCE! TRAINING

We developed the ADVANCE! training program to inspire you first of all to live your life in the Presence of God. After that, we train you to live as a disciple of Christ, which makes disciples through planting missional communities.

During the first year of the training, we would love to train and equip you to live a missional lifestyle and then to start an Alpha course well, developing these meetings into a Discovery Group and eventually continuing with a Missional Community. After the first year, you might decide to extend the training program, which helps you to start an Intercultural Church Plant. 

During this year M4 Intercultural offers a training which exists of ten online lessons. In this overview you will get an idea which topics will be covered during the first year of the ADVANCE! training.

There are some reasons why we are so excited to walk with you this journey:

– Participate in God’s mission so that He receives glory for His name.
– Sharing the Good News in a starving world
– A passion for diversity in the church of Christ
– Being a disciple who makes disciples
– Flourishing in the Presence of God by putting faith into practice

We believe that everyone with a heart and passion for Jesus and leadership skills (let’s say: to build and lead a team) can join the ADVANCE! training program.

  • You participated during the Advance! conference at the workshop about ‘the 7 best practices’ of Alpha, or you are committed to go through the online lesson about ‘the 7 best practices’ at the ICP training platform before the first lesson starts.
  • You are dedicated to start within 3 months after enrollment with building a team and running an Alpha course in your own context.
  • You are dedicated to go through the materials before the online meeting starts. You are present at 7 of the 10 online gatherings with your training group.
  • You are willing to raise €250,- in your church and/or network in order to make your training possible.

A lesson is divided in three parts:

  1. Preparation. Three weeks before the online meeting you get access to the online materials.
  2. Online meeting. This session is about the TOOL modules, practical advices and intervision regarding Missional Lifestyle, Alpha, Discovery Group and Missional Community.
  3. Go! Connect after the online meeting with your buddy/buddies in order to go through the SHAPE and SKILL modules.

In every lesson three modules will be highlighted, which are categorized as SHAPE, SKILL and TOOL. The first two modules are meant to be studied in couples (we call it a buddy system), the tool module will be discussed during the online meetings.

SHAPE, SKILL and TOOL are the three categories in which the ICP training modules are divided. 

  1. SHAPE for personal development,
  2. SKILL focuses on deepening knowledge,
  3. TOOL provides practical equipment.

The modules SHAPE and SKILL are designed to study with your buddy/buddies. 

Each lesson of the ADVANCE! training program contains three modules. The modules SHAPE and SKILL are designed to study together with your buddy/buddies. You are fully responsible for your own spiritual growth and training. 

Besides that, we encourage you to make sure that you really start practicing what you have learned. With a buddy you might share your experiences and struggles.

Yes. Three weeks before the online meeting, you will receive an email which gives you access to the online materials. 

In order to prepare yourself well, start three weeks before the online meeting in accessing the materials. It takes around two hours per week to go through the materials.

During an online meeting you have the opportunity to connect with your regional coordinator and meet with other participants of the training.

An online meeting exists of:

  1. Start, connecting, relating
  2. Talking through the materials of the skill module
  3. Intervision
  4. Prayer and preparation for next time

Your regional coordinator will communicate these specific dates to you. Normally spoken, an online meeting occurs once a month.

 

Three weeks before the online meeting starts, you will receive a notification which gives you access to the resources.

No, you don’t. You are expected to join the meetings. In exceptional circumstances you may skip the online meeting. Please inform your regional coordinator beforehand.

Yes, you can. That is a great way to get an impression of the ADVANCE! training. Please inform your regional coordinator.

If you are able to recruit a group of at least 5 participants, we are able to start the ADVANCE! training with a new group at any time.

If you are interested to starting in your region, please connect with [email protected].

Yes. In our brochure we provide all information which is needed to figure out if the ADVANCE! training program is for you the next step to take.  

Feel free to contact us through [email protected] .

THE TRAIL

We can never guarantee that the ADVANCE! trajectory is successful in your context, but we do see some very promising fruit already. The advantage of ADVANCE! is that this is one of the few things that has been developed in the hard soil of mainland Europe. In addition to that, both Alpha and DBS are proven and tested tools, that’s why we included them in our program. Since we also added the elements of coaching, sharing with peers, yet keep the trajectory simple, we strongly believe this will be fruitful!

Yes, we need to make sure we first build relationships with those who don’t yet know Jesus. This is why we start with the phase of Missional Lifestyle.

We will never say that multiplication is easy. It needs to be done intentionally and the leaders really need to have a vision for multiplication. It also needs to be repeated time and again, since vision tends to weaken. There is an emotional barrier because people experience multiplication as a loss:  they have been walking alongside people as their friends and now are getting sent out to form a new community. However, we have seen that it works. Since we are still in the beginning stages, we need to gain more experience to learn the lessons in order to improve the training.

Transitions need to be prepared well and people need to know in advance what will happen and what the difference will be. In the ADVANCE! trajectory, the biggest transition is from Alpha to Discovery Group.

Quite often, after the Alpha weekend the people from the group will even start to ask that question themselves: how to continue after Alpha? If they don’t, you could raise the question. You might suggest the idea of a Discovery Group and ask them, for example: “How about continuing with another weekly series of 7 meetings, about the wonderful message that Jesus shared on what it means to follow him (Sermon on the Mount)?” This might help to introduce the Discovery Group phase well and prepare for a smooth transition.

Halfway through the Discovery Group it would be good to raise the question of what to do next after the Discovery Group. The fourth meeting of the Discovery Group series on the Sermon on the Mount speaks about “How could my connection with God grow?” This would be a good moment to discuss with those who are open to this how you could move on. You could share the next step of building a community with loving relationships (internally) and then decide together if you could do some meaningful things for your neighborhood (externally).

As soon as you developed a Missional Community, you need to be sensitive to when and where you could address the topic of multiplication. Address in the initial stages of the Missional Community the vision of the ADVANCE! trajectory with the group. Train new leaders on the job, send people out to form new Missional Communities with the vision to reach a certain people group or location with the Good News. When three or four Missional Communities are formed and function well, it is time to announce the formation of a new Intercultural Church Plant.

A great danger of church planting is that the organizational aspect of the Sunday meeting takes too much energy. That is why we have developed the idea that the communities themselves take care of organizing Sunday meetings. Every community is responsible once in a while for organizing the Sunday service. That keeps the burden light and helps to stay focused on the vision for the community.

We want our people to share their lives with others, and we don’t want to become too heavily organized. During the training we will share some ideas to make sure that you do not add activity after activity to the weekly calendar. Besides that, our advice would be to decentralize as much as possible, so that the focus lies on the communities.

Regularly we hear people say that DBS is only for non-mature Christians. Actually, that is a common misunderstanding. If a Christian leads a DBS, this will help him/her grow. Of course, there are always opportunities to delve deeper into Scripture. Studying Scripture is relevant for everyone at whatever stage the person might be.

In every church plant, the question pops up: “How to feed those who know Christ and want to grow in him?” We have developed some courses and materials which can be used as an addition to the normal Sunday meetings.

Many people in Europe don’t like things that are prescriptive. We understand that. Yet, if you want to climb a high mountain, you want to go there with a mountain guide, don’t you? You prefer to hike together with a group, instead of doing this all alone, right? In the ADVANCE! trajectory we have combined the tips and tricks of church planting. We would challenge you to climb the first time with us, later you may try different tracks yourselves. We would like to encourage you to take advantage of what others have learned already.