John Mott on Establishing Movements

This is a long post, and well worth our time to digest. John Mott, global Christian statesman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for developing volunteer Protestant movements, distills the essence of Christian movement-building for us. If you feel lost in emerging- missional- organic- apostolic- leader/follower-speak, Mott will refresh you.

by John R. Mott

1. Jesus Christ constitutes the only enduring foundation for a movement with objectives like ours.

2. The vital processes should have right of way. What are the most vital processes?
a. Exposing men to Christ Himself. He will then make His own impression and if He makes the impression, it will be profound, transforming and enduring.
b. The intensive and appropriate study of the original writings of the Christian faith – Bible study.
c. The practice and discipline of prayer and intercessory action.
d. Augmenting the leadership of the Christian forces. “He who does the work is not so profitably employed as he who multiplies the doers.” Count the day lost that you do not do something, either directly or indirectly, to multiply the number of unselfish workers.

3. It is easier to attempt and carry to success large and exacting undertakings than small ones.
a. It is the impossible situation which brings out our own latent powers.
b. If we do not have tasks that we honestly know are too difficult for our own wisdom and strength, we are by no means so likely to avail ourselves of our superhuman resources.

4. The heroic appeal makes possible to heroic response.
The strongest men can be inspired to accomplishment by putting before them something that is really baffling and truly significant.

5. Make the gospel difficult and you make it triumphant.
“Christ never hid his scars to win a disciple.” The application of the principle of sacrifice invariably ensures the most abundant harvest.

6. It is highly important that we study and employ strategy.
This constitutes the means of doing with smaller forces that which we cannot do with large forces without strategy. One of the most strategic times to work is in time of war. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

7. Give right of way to work on behalf of youth of adolescent age, say, twelve to seventeen.
Other strategic classes, for example, are students, men of the armed forces, rulers of nations, places, methods and times.

8. Nothing takes the place of hard work.
It was said of the great statesman and Christian, William Gladstone that he “toiled terribly”.

9. No great work can be satisfactorily administered from an office chair.
We must appear on the battlefield.

10. In any work abounding in pressing needs and great opportunities, we must make a study of priorities.
We must plan the use of our time. No man can do:
– all the good that needs to be done;
– all that others want him to do;
– all that he himself wants to do.
Therefore, he must acquire the habit of putting first things first. Every ambitious worker should form the habit of planning each year, month, week, and day. Each day we should be asking, “What does Christ want me to be and to do today?”

11. It is not necessary that we do so many things, or that we have our own way, but it is necessary that we should be Christ-like.

12. We should never be content with second best.

13. Group thinking, planning and action constitute the most highly multiplying method.
Christ sent workers out two by two and in groups. We cannot know the full mind of our Lord or achieve the finest and largest results if we play a lone hand.

14. Loyalty is the cardinal virtue in Christian work.
After wide observation and prolonged study of biography, I place it first. Loyalty ensures unity, confidence, liberty and power in all Christian movements which, year in and year out, achieve the greatest spiritual results.

15. We must be constantly weaving into our organization the new generation.
My work the world over and across the many years has shown me that young men can be trusted with great loads and great responsibilities. You have never disappointed me when I have put heavy burdens upon them.

16. We must preserve the power of growth and continue to grow.
Remember the word of the Psalmist, “He shall be full of sap; he shall bring forth fruit in old age.”

17. We should live under the spell of immediacy.
“I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man can work.”

Lesson for aspiring leaders: Metabolize these 17 principles.

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at

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