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Below are answers to some common questions. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

What is the vision of Pattern Platform? 

Pattern Platform exists to leverage technology to accelerate gospel proclamation and disciple making – even in the most hostile regions of the world. In families where the members may have only a single set of clothes each, research tells us someone in the family still likely has a smartphone. We believe that phones can be used to bring disciple-making and micro-church gathering resources into every home – no matter the location or language.

Pattern Platform was born from the belief that the task of sharing the gospel and making disciples “to the ends of the earth” is not limited to the select few but is the responsibility of every believer.

We believe in community-based discipleship, which is empowered with custom apps that can pass from person to person, house to house, village to village. Pattern Platform enables any missionary, church, or group to create a disciple-making and church-gathering app and place it in the pocket of anyone, anywhere, in any language.

Every part of the Platform functions with elegant simplicity to bring app creation and management within reach, both technologically and financially, for missionary teams and churches.

What is generational disciple making and church planting? 

Jesus chose disciple-making as his way to see the good news of the Kingdom spread throughout the world. “Go and make disciples” – as simple as that. This assumes that every disciple will repeat the pattern of making another disciple. Thus, a disciple-making movement is a chain of disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Every healthy disciple of Jesus is able to make disciples. This thought isn’t new or even opposed; however, it is not frequently seen and experienced.

Jesus called these gathering groups of believers his “Bride” and his “Church.” He saw them both as his Church universal and his church in miniature. And when his disciples fulfilled the “Go” portion of his command, new baby churches of disciples emerged throughout “Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.” Acts, of course, is an exciting book reflecting on how the Apostle Paul saw these rapidly multiplying movements of disciples and churches.

So why do we reference these terms and this goal?

We believe that by returning to the foundational principles and practices of being disciples of Jesus who share and multiply, and by embracing the simple principles and practices of what it means to be the Church, we will join the Holy Spirit in his quickly expanding work. When you look at a Pattern app, you will notice the simplicity of the principles and accompanying practices of discipleship and church. There is nothing fancy or inherently revolutionary about the app itself, it’s a simple guide to help people respond to the Holy Spirit and see his transforming power at work within them and within their families, circles of friends, and contexts. 

This is such a woefully inadequate explanation, so we recommend the website of Zume.training as a place to learn these principles in depth.

We believe Pattern Platform is uniquely prepared to assist teams and existing churches with sharing this simple strategy and method in any language, anywhere. And, whether you “subscribe” to all of these ways of thinking or not, we believe the system is well organized to assist any team or church with a way to easily share your discipleship resources.

What do we mean by a “pattern”? 

The idea of a pattern comes from creation. God created time, days, nights, weeks, and seasons for the earth. God made every animal and type of vegetation to produce after their own kind. God made mankind in his image. God created the pattern of the sabbath. God had the pattern of walking with humankind in the garden. Even after sin, God instituted a seemingly endless set of patterns relating to forgiveness and celebrations. Later, he told Moses to build the tabernacle “after the pattern I showed you on the mountain.”

Jesus also lived within this world of routine and life patterns. He even exemplified many more that we are called to follow. The patterns of disciple making, prayer, training, correction, loving, serving, miracles, going, and more. And Jesus simplified the challenging life of being a disciple to loving God and people, loving obedience and fruitfulness, and a life of living on the narrow road of the Kingdom. He did it so gracefully, mostly using parables as his teaching and questions as his rebuttal.

The disciples began, both by tradition and by the guiding of the Holy Spirit, a new set of patterns. The early church patterns of Acts 2 and Acts 4 are beautiful as they describe the simplicity of the church pattern. Paul modeled patterns of sharing, worship, teaching, leader selection, and the rapid formation of simple churches.

What does this mean in a Pattern app?

Pattern apps attempt to provide a simple, biblical, context-neutral pattern of apprenticeship and obedience-based discipleship for people to do in small, life-giving community groups. In the app, we believe you will see all the basic principles of discipleship modeled by Jesus and the simple characteristics of church from the book of Acts. The simple patterns are memorable, reproducible, adaptable, and contain the core DNA of healthy discipleship and churches.

In a good pattern, everything you encounter/practice can be understood and reproduced by even the youngest of believers (or even pre-believers). Pattern apps use questions and simple group action points to guide the meetings. Discovery through questions paves the way for obedience to the Spirit’s voice through the Scripture. It doesn’t attempt to remove mature believers from influence, instead it helps the mature believers fully empower (without creating dependency) the new disciples of Jesus to follow, obey, and be faithful with whatever they have seen and heard.

The established pattern creates the same exact flow and use of questions for each lesson. In general, there is no custom teaching or training for each lesson. Rather, each lesson uses the same introductory text and questions to assist the group in listening and responding to the Spirit while reading and interacting. This is a bit of a foreign concept to those who are used to a paradigm where truth is discovered and declared by a single person to the crowd/group. However, this lesson format establishes the ability of every believer to discover, apply, and follow what the Spirit says. The leader who creates the lessons is thereby challenged to craft simple, reproducible questions that allow the discovery and application from the text.

As you set your pattern, choose your always-repeating questions, and sometimes add special/custom questions into each lesson, you will be positioning people to eat the meat of God’s Word and equipping them for works of service.

Download our Pattern for Life app to see a sample of studying Scripture through a repeating pattern.

Who can launch an app on Pattern Platform? 

In short, any missions group or church who is willing to sign a partnership agreement for use of the software can launch a custom app.

Each custom app has a Launch fee and then a minimal monthly service fee. These ensure that the apps are always able to be downloaded for free by the end-users. Additionally, the app Launch and monthly service fees only represent a small portion of the actual costs. Pattern raises money to subsidize the costs and keep our app prices as low as possible. Additionally, we have a “never say no” policy to anyone in need – particularly those working with unreached people groups. Please contact us with any financial questions.

As a preliminary starting point, all app teams must fully agree with the National Association of Evangelicals Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the process to create your own app? How long will that process take? 

Great question! We’ll be honest, it’s a significant investment of time and finances. For groups that have large amounts of resources and their disciple-making strategy already created, it will take less time. However, if you don’t, then the process of creating the app will take a bit longer. The Pattern team is here to guide you and we’ve created a simple app-creation system to make your process as easy as possible.

Here are a few things to know: 

  1. The Launch Center: We created a simple to use, yet robust system, to guide you through the app-creation process. We call this the “Launch Center.” Using this app-creation system, you make choices about the design, prepare content that follows your purpose and strategy for making the app, translate the basic the app, and more. 
  1. The amount of time needed will depend on the level of customization you desire. We make all of our existing artwork, lesson structures, and lesson content available for you as a starting point. The amount of time needed for app design is heavily dependent on whether you choose to create your own artwork and lessons or use ours. On average, if you are not creating custom artwork, then the average time investment will be 40-60 hours.  
  1. We’ll coach you! Our system provides detailed tutorials for creating the text, art, and audio resources – and our team is available to answer questions and walk with you through the process.
  1. The Content Creator: Once your app is designed, we have another simple system (the “Content Creator”) that allows anyone on your team to easily design lessons for your app, according to the “pattern” you have chosen for your small groups.
  1. You can do this! We can help! While the initial process may seem daunting, groups have found great success by starting simple and then improving their app as needed. Anything and everything on your custom app can be changed and updated after you get feedback from those using it!
Can we customize the app to fit our needs?

Yes! The basic appearance and functions of the app are the same for everyone. However, every image, animation, color, title, lesson layout, and lesson content is customizable.

We built so much customization into the process because we want the app to truly be your own! But don’t worry, our easy-to-use Launch Center walks you through every step to customize your app.

In addition, you can customize as much or as little as you like. We give you a lot of graphics and content to use, if you’d like, or you can create everything on your own.

What is a “Discovery Bible Study”?

Pattern Platform is based on a model of simple, reproducible, Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) for small-group gatherings. These studies follow a path of growth that encourages healthy, reproducing disciples and, in turn, multiplying small groups.

A Discovery Bible Study (DBS) uses questions to facilitate group discipleship gatherings. In relation to the Scripture-study portion of the gathering, the questions provide a simple method for biblical interpretation which encourages every believer to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow what he says.

  • What does this passage show us about God’s character and what he does? 
  • What does this passage show us about how people act toward each other or God?
  • Based on this passage, is there something for us to believe? Is there something for us to obey?
  • How will you respond and put this into practice this week? 

Traditional church services or Bible studies require a Bible expert, or a book with the Bible expert’s opinion. Alternatively, the simple questions in a DBS tell the pre-believers or new believers that they can discover and hear for themselves. Using DBS helps every believer start their life in Jesus with the foundation of hearing and obeying for themselves. It also provides a simple model for them to quickly reproduce with others – and they often will.

Download the Pattern for Life app to see an example of a Discovery Bible Study.

How is the app content organized? 

The goal is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples, and churches/groups that form new groups that form new groups. The patterns and actions of obedience to Jesus we encourage in an app’s structure and lessons will either encourage this or limit it. It seems that the most fruitful discipleship models are also the most simple – as simple patterns are easy to reproduce. As such, we encourage simplicity for apps built on our Platform, while allowing flexible customization for those who need to add a bit more content to their discipleship path and lessons.

The app allows for 4 or 6 main categories by which to organize sets of lessons. The original design (found in the Pattern for Life app) was inspired by the 4 fields of Mark 4:26-29. From the perceived 4 different stages of growth in that passage, we organized our growth path as a circle of life that ends in fruitfulness and repeats itself. 

We added 2 more categories to assist those who would like additional flexibility. Some groups are using the categories as we originally designed, and others are doing something totally different. It is up to you! 

Here are the categories we used in the Pattern for Life app:

1. BEGIN: The empty field in need of seeds
The Pattern for Life app places lessons here which provide an entry point for pre-believers as they journey toward Christ. In this way, the empty field with the falling seeds represents the intentional action of a sower to go out with the gospel.

The “begin” field contains lessons for pre-believing people to discover the great story of God’s good news which was promised in Genesis.

2. FOLLOW: The seeded and sprouting field
The gospel/good news that people embrace will determine the trajectory of their apprenticeship and obedience to Jesus.

The lessons in the “follow” field represent the opportunity for people to take a journey into obedience-based apprenticeship with Jesus – responding to the Spirit and becoming a disciple. There is a lot going on under the soil as the seed first dies and then pushes through toward the sun.

3. GROW: The growing field
These lessons are where, by their obedience or disobedience, people choose whether they will be choked and bear no fruit or become super fruitful. The ongoing journey of transformation takes place when people obey in word and deed all that Jesus commands through time (not just in a moment). 

The lessons in the “grow” field present the path to making disciples. It sometimes seems easy to be a Christian without much ongoing transformation, gospel sharing, or participating in spiritual community. 

4. GATHER: The harvest/gathering field
In our disciple-making path, we emphasize the power of spiritual community, which Jesus called his “Bride/Church.” Just as Jesus left groups of believers in every place he visited, we believe that his true disciples are meant to do the same thing. The Apostle Paul lived this example of planting small churches everywhere he went, and those churches continued to plant churches until they spanned throughout and beyond the Roman empire.

The lessons in the “gather” field encourage groups of believers to believe and act like the rapidly-multiplying early church.

We also included two more categories that are not on the front page, but in the menu to the right. We use these for training/leadership lessons and topical study sets. You may do the same or choose another layout!

How much can the lessons be customized?

Each set of lessons can be divided into either three or four segments/tabs. This creates what we call a “template,” upon which each lesson will be built. A template is the repeating portion of your lesson that remains consistent across an entire set of lessons. Templates are separated into small portions of text and audio for the different tabs in the lesson.

Our “Content Creator” app makes it easy to design lessons by taking your template content, combining it with the unique content for each lesson, and presenting it in your app. It’s auto-magic!

Three-Tab System

We used the three-tab system in the Pattern for Life app. We created the three-tab template to represent discipleship/church gatherings in the simplest form. The emphasis is on simple, repeating patterns of interaction for the group, with an emphasis on discovery-style questions that teach basic Bible interpretation and application skills to every person. In the three-tab system, the lesson questions/content (except for the Scripture portion) remains the same across an entire set of lessons.

Four-Tab System

We created the four-tab system as a way to remain true to simple, repeatable patterns for lessons, while also allowing a location for additional information about the lesson subject. While we always encourage simplicity in the layout of question-based lessons, we understand that outside voices and teaching are also needed. The four-tab system provides for a place for such custom text in each lesson.

What kind of team is recommended for creating a custom app? 

The Pattern team endeavors to make the process of creating a custom app as easy as possible, but there are still a lot of tasks to be accomplished in a project of this size.

We encourage you to create your app with a team, rather than trying to accomplish everything alone. Here are some suggestions for different team members:

  • Project Lead (vision, Scripture copyright coordination, finances, project coordinator, marketing)
  • Content Lead (all general app text and creation of all desired lesson sets)
  • Translation Lead (all language files for the app text and created content)
  • Art Lead (color scheme, custom icons, custom images, branding)
  • Audio Lead (record and prepare all audio)
What does it take to legally use the Bible in an app? 

Pattern apps honor international copyright law. This means that, together, Pattern and you must arrange copyright permissions for the Scripture version you prefer to use. Most Bible translations are owned by Bible societies or publishing companies.

Usually the Pattern team works to secure the permission on your behalf, and on behalf of others who might also want to use that translation. However, if you have previous arrangements with Bible publishers, Pattern will work with you to make sure you have permission to use the translation in a mobile app. Depending on which Bible version is preferred, the license can take several months to secure. 

Most of the Scripture owners have allowed Pattern to use their translation without cost as long as it is being used in a free app; however, that is not always the case. 

Do you own the software or do you license the software? 

Each team who creates a custom app is a licensee of the software platform from Pattern Resource Group, LLC. The requested launch fee is not a purchasing of the app suite. Instead, the launch fee and monthly service fees cover the actual cost of hosting, distributing, maintaining, and improving the software.  

To use the software, you [the client] are required to sign a software license agreement. Like all legal documents, it is lengthy. Below is a summary of the intent of the license and also a summary of the services provided under the license. Should you pursue building an app, we’ll gladly provide the full license agreement for you to review before proceeding.

General license services: 

  • Client use of the software in agreed upon application/s for Android or iOS 
  • Client use of the software for the progressive web apps (website) 
  • Client use of the content creation and management tools 
  • Pattern Platform team to provide support for hosting and bug fixes 
  • Pattern Platform team to provide launch assistance 
  • Pattern Platform team to provide a growing repository of support resources for the software 

General license terms: 

  • The software, its code, and its use in all applications and deployments remains the intellectual property of Pattern Resource Group, LLC and its parent organization. 
  • The included text and audio scripts, not including actual Scriptures, of the lesson guide and popup tutorials are considered copyright free and able to be used as needed by the client in the app and elsewhere. 
  • The icons, images, and videos used within the app are restricted to use within the app platform only. Permission must be requested for any other use. 
  • Scripture text and Scripture audio portions are copyright restricted and can be used only within the application platform and only with the appropriate usage agreements in place. Usage of the app without an active license with Bible copyright holders is a violation of both this memorandum and international copyright law. 
  • The use of copyrighted text, images, audio, or video without proper permissions and attribution is strictly prohibited. Pattern Resource Group will require proof of ownership or permission for all items included within the application. 
  • After launch, the download repository will be under the management of the client; however, all copyright agreements must still be honored. 
  • Pattern Resource Group does not require official attribution within the application if the Scripture copyright holders are made aware of the application use case.  
  • The client agrees that the development of customizations in the software, though paid for by the client, are considered a gift to the Platform and all other users. The customization in code remains the intellectual property of Pattern Resource Group. 
  • Failure to abide by any of the above general partnership agreements may result in the removal of the software from Pattern Resource Group hosting and the loss of update and maintenance services. Further, the client will receive a cease and desist request for distribution of the application via any software stores or other websites.  

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