The secret (which is not really a secret) to magnifying the fame of God and bringing lasting global change and is to make disciples…who make disciples, who make disciples. In a previous post, I said I’d give you further details about a process called Training for Trainers (T4T). T4T is a simple & reproducible process that has proven to be highly effective in making disciples and starting churches in various contexts throughout the world. Whether you are trying to reach a group of new refugees downtown, professionals at work, or a family in a rural Asian village, these principles can be applied to disciple people (both Christians and Non-Believers) into obedience. Ready to change the world?
1. Care for One Another
Like a shepherd tending to his flock make it a point at the beginning of the meeting to tend to one another’s heart. Be honest about your emotional, physical and spiritual struggles. Still dealing with anger or unforgiveness? Battling porn? Still hitting that pipe/doing drugs? Suffering from chronic back pain? Diagnosed with breast cancer? Having doubts about the Jesus way? Bring it out into the open. Pray for healing. Provide counsel. Love one another genuinely.
In my context of pioneer work among tribal Animists people struggle with leaving their old forms of spirit worship. Sometimes they will seek the local shaman for healing rather than trusting in Jesus. We just give counsel and show love, especially if they are genuinely trying to walk in faith. Remember to stay focused and don’t park the meeting here. Since everyone has crap to deal with you can easily spend the whole day in pastoral care. Be real, don’t rush but move on. Time: 10 minutes
2. Worship Together
Reflect on God’s glory and express it in community. Worship is not an experience but an act. Singing is just one form of worship. If you can’t sing, read. Read aloud a passage from the Psalms and have each person say one thing that is good about God. If you can’t read, draw. Have each person draw a picture that describes God’s character. Other forms include; dancing, rapping or spoken word – whatever fits the context. Not everyone has a guitar, stage or sound system. Worship is not about the production or the program, it’s about the heart.
I work with people who are largely illiterate – meaning they don’t read. They learn through stories, visuals, songs and dramas. We usually teach them a simple song in their heart language and add hand motions so they can memorize it. The goal of your worship is to look towards God in a way that people can relate to and reproduce with others. Time: 5 minutes
3. Love Through Accountability
Everyone must give an account of their actions both here on earth and in heaven. It is not a time to judge but to celebrate our progress and love on those who need more motivation. Obedience is the hallmark of a disciple. In Mark chapter 6 Jesus asked his followers what they had done (following Jesus) and who they had taught (fishing for men). Have each person in your group give an account of their obedience to God in these two areas;
1.) Following Jesus: How did you obey the lesson from last week? What is God doing in your life related to our lesson last week on (purity, marriage, money, etc.)?
2.) Fishing for Men: Who are you witnessing to? How are these new believers witnessing to others?
The goal of your accountability is to love one another to obey Jesus. We are not motivated to obey Jesus out of fear or judgment but out of love. Remember to remind people that they are accountable to God and not to you. Time: 10 minutes
4. Cast Vision
Changing the world doesn’t happen with policy-making at the United Nations or trendy tweets on Twitter…it happens with vision. Vision casting is a way of life. It is continually helping brothers and sisters see the potential of who they are in Christ. It’s visualizing what God wants to do in and through them and pursuing it with conviction. Take time to share a short word of encouragement to your trainees not give up in the journey of faith and making Jesus famous. Keep it short and memorable. Passages like Rev. 7:9 and Matt. 28:18-20 are sweet, visual and convicting. The goal of your vision casting is to give others a “clear mental picture of what could be fueled by the conviction that it should be”. Time: 5 minutes
5. Learn A New Lesson
Gather around God’s Word to hear and commit to obeying whatever it says. This is radically different than a Bible Study which tends to emphasize truth and knowledge. We must emphasize the authority of God’s Word to act upon it in the every day. People only need to know what they will put into practice that week. The content must be simple enough to understand, apply and pass it on to others. The basic Biblical lessons are super flexible and must be adapted to your context. For villagers who can’t read in Asia we tell stories; one story, one point, one lesson for one week. We always ask questions to help them discover God’s truth on their own:
- Say: What do we learn about God in this story?
- Obey: What should we obey from this story?
- Share: Who is someone we can share this story with?
The goal of your lesson time is to give them enough to obey and pass on but not too much that they are overwhelmed. The assumption is that YOU are committed to their spiritual growth and you will see them again in the near future to train them in a new lesson. To change the world you must be a disciple-maker, not JUST a pastor who speaks to a bunch of wobbly heads every week. Time: 30 minutes
6. Practice What You Learned
Like a coach before a huge game our players need to run drills so they are competent and confident enough to run the play. Have a time set apart to practice everything you just did in steps 1 through 5, especially the new lesson. If you told a story, memorize it together. Take turns telling it, play a game, do a role-play. If you read a passage and asked questions, break up into partners and have them practice the exact same thing with one another. Talk through the entire process of the meeting so far.
- How did we care for one another?
- What was the passage and song we did for worship?
- What did we discuss in our accountability?
- What passage was used for casting vision?
The goal of your practice time is to help very normal people feel competent and confident enough to train others. The average person will not try something new if they are not comfortable with it. It’s critical that you provide a safe place for missional practice before hitting the streets. Time: 20 minutes
7. Set Goals & Pray
Ending the meeting without setting goals is like sending troops into battle without an action plan – they’ll end up wandering into a mine field. Take time together to cry out to the Spirit, asking Him to clarify goals each person should set for the next week (or two). Some of these goals will be carry-overs from the previous weeks like “witness to five new people” but that’s to be expected. Others will be more specific to each person. Have them write it down then pray for each person. We like to take turns gathering around and laying hands on each person. Pray for God’s anointing on each person and open hearts of those they will encounter that week.
The goal of your planning and prayer time is to send every person out as a missional worker. Every person is a sent one. Every believer is a catalyst for change. Every Christian is a disciple-maker and world changer. Time: 10 Minutes
So there you have it. Change the world in 7 easy steps using a discipleship process called T4T. The whole meeting time is about 1 ½ hours. But remember that you will only produce according to what you put into it. The process of making disciples actually takes years of investing in others. Whether you are a pioneer missionary among an unreached tribal people, an urban missional starter among post-modern societal rejects, or a marketplace missionary among educated professionals, your disciple-making must be done in a way that others can understand, apply and reproduce. Go change the world for Christ.
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Thanks Tobias. Your post got me thinking (if you’re interested, check out my post.)
Hey Loren…definitely interested to check out your post! Thanks for your partnership in the Kingdom work.
I have always liked T4T, but especially liked your spin on it, and the practical applications of it’s use in your ministry. Blessings, my brother.
Hey Kurt, glad it can be a resource. My hope is to see more of it happening in a western context! Here is one great example from some friends practicing it in Indiana: http://www.onwardchurch.org/
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