In his book Church Planting Movements Around the World David Garisson gives the following definition of Church Planting Movements (CPM).
A Church Planting Movement is a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment.
First, a Church Planting Movement reproduces rapidly. Within a very short time newly planted churches are already starting new churches that follow the same pattern of rapid reproduction. “How rapid is rapid?” you may ask. Perhaps the best answer is, “Faster than you think possible.” Though the rate varies from place to place, Church Planting Movements always outstrip the population growth rate as they race toward reaching the entire people group.
The second key word in our definition of Church Planting Movements is multiplication. Church Planting Movements do not simply add new churches. Instead, they multiply. Surveys of Church Planting Movements indicate that virtually every church is engaged in starting multiple new churches. Church Planting Movements multiply churches and believers, like Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.
The third word is indigenous. Indigenous literally means generated from within, as opposed to started by outsiders. In Church Planting Movements the first church or churches may be started by outsiders, but very quickly the momentum shifts from the outsiders to the insiders. Consequently, within a short time, the new believers coming to Christ in Church Planting Movements may not even know a foreigner or outsider. In their eyes the movement looks, acts and feels homegrown.
The fourth part of our definition is churches planting churches. Though church planters may start the first churches, at some point the churches themselves get into the act. When churches begin planting churches, a tipping point is reached and a movement is launched.
Finally, Church Planting Movements occur within people groups or inter-related population segments. Because Church Planting Movements involve the communication of the gospel message they naturally occur within shared language and ethnic boundaries. But they rarely stop there. As the gospel works its changing power in the lives of these new believers it compels them to take the message of hope to other people groups.