Our story begins in an industrial city of northern England called Sheffield, at an innovative parish church called St. Thomas’ Crookes led by Mike Breen. The people of this church lived in a post-Christian culture and knew they weren’t going to reach their city for Jesus by trying to get more people to attend their church services. The leaders and people of St. Thomas’ began learning how to live more like Jesus and connect with their unbelieving friends outside the walls of the church. They developed tools and vehicles that allowed them to train others in this Jesus-shaped way of life, so they could in turn pass it on to others. As they multiplied this way of life in their living rooms, on their college campuses, in the pubs and on the streets, more and more lives were being transformed.
Over the course of a decade or so, they quietly started a missional revolution. In an environment very inhospitable to the church, people were becoming disciples of Jesus from all kinds of backgrounds, and the gospel was being shared in every cultural nook and cranny of the city. At the heart of it all was a church culture that didn’t just create converts or invite people to church services — it was multiplying disciples who were learning to live like Jesus did. They trained people to listen to the voice of God and respond, to pass along what they were learning, to become leaders. Disciples made disciples, who made disciples, who made disciples. It was becoming a movement. St. Thomas’ Church grew rapidly, planting into the center of the city, and eventually becoming a network of churches.
Before long church leaders from all over Europe and Australasia, along with missionaries from the developing world were coming to Sheffield to learn how to use these biblical tools and vehicles to build discipling culture and missional movement in their own unique contexts. And so the movement began to spread around the globe. Eventually many of the key leaders of St. Thomas’ felt called to move to the United States in order to bring this global movement of discipleship and mission to North America. Today 3DM is a decentralized movement with training Hubs in a growing number of different cities across North America and around the world. The mission of these 3DM Hubs is to invest in and raise up leaders who empower everyday people to do the things Jesus did and so transform the world.