T4T A Discipleship ReRevolution An Overview by John Lambert
Chapter 1: “Kingdom Come!”
This chapter starts with some impressive stats. Since its inception in 2001, the CPM initiated by Ying Kai has yielded a conservative number of:
- 1.7 million baptisms
- 150,000 new church starts
- 2,000 new churches started each month in places from high rises to factories
T4T is said to be influencing missions efforts throughout the world.
Steve Smith is introduced as a CPM Trainer and Ying Kai is introduced as the father of T4T.
It is said of T4T that it is about:
- Cooperating with God to see CPMs
- The Development of a CPM plan
- God’s vision for a MOVEMENT
- Majoring on practical ministry
The question that arises in Chapter One is, “What are Churches”? Steve says in a footnote,
I will define this more later, but these are Acts 2 type churches that display the basic covenant and characteristics of that Acts 2 community whether they meet in homes or in dedicated buildings. Usually I am implying house churches or church-like small groups of a larger worshiping community.
Ying Kai had an end vision of 200 churches in his CPM plan. He reached that in three months! These groups were meeting in homes, parks, and factories.
Based on conservative reporting, researchers found 18 generations in this movement in only 4-5 years.
T4T is called “Training for Trainers” because Ying Kai expected every disciple to train others.
Steve Smith’s work was among a poor, uneducated, and remote people. He used local partners and trained them.
He told them to make a plan on how 80 churches could reach 5,000 villages in five years or less.
T4T emphasizes principles and practices that each of these men operated under.
Chapter Two: It’s Happening Again!
This chapter outlines many scriptures from the move of God that happened in the book of Acts. From the examples, the authors desire for us to see T4T as not a new movement but rather a ReRevolution of Discipleship that was seen in Acts.
We then learn the story of Ying Kai-
- He is the son of a successful church planter and Pastor from Taiwan.
- Ying was successful in his own right.
- While in Hong Kong, he planted one new church each year.
- He and his wife believed that they could personally lead 60-80 people to Jesus each year.
- But they asked themselves what was that compared to the great need before them.
In the year 2000 he sat in a CPM training staring at a poster that read, “How many of my people will hear the Gospel today among my people”? (This was a turning point moment)
From Matthew 28:19-20, he sensed the Lord giving him some key insights:
- Go, not come.
- Everyone, not just some.
- Make trainers, not just church members
He and his wife (no kids in the family) started by training 20-30 groups over a given week then moved them to meeting every other week so that he was training 40-60 groups every two weeks. (Hard worker!)
We are told that “T4T is an all inclusive process of training believers over 12-18 months.”
Steve Smith says, “I was learning that the shape of my ministry had to be dictated by the end vision, not by what we enjoyed doing or what brought personal fulfillment.” (I think this is a challenging statement for missionaries today.)
Steve Smith labored for almost three and a half years with almost no fruit. Then he had a breakthrough of 25 new churches in extremely remote villages. The next year they had 80. The next year they had 176 despite fierce persecution.
People were simply taught:
- Follow Jesus
- Fish For Men
- Train Others To Do the Same
Smith mentions a convening of urban CPM practicioners. The requirement to come was that they had at least 100 churches who were at third generation or more. All nine that were able to come had three things in common: They had been trained in T4T, adapted it to their local context, and were training believers in the process.
T4T is nor a magic solution but a clear process that effectively applies Kingdom principles that too often get neglected such as:
- Mobilizing existing believers
- Teaching them to witness as a lifestyle
- Discipling them to lovingly obey Jesus
- Starting new groups or churches (usually both)
- Developing maturing leaders quickly
- Cascading into multiple generations
- Equipping missionaries to model and leave once things have taken root.
T4T is not a set of lessons or a six week outreach.
Chapter Three: The T4T Story
Ying Kai’s father planted 28 churches in 28 years! (Ying had seen some of the best that one model could do in a lifetime)
We learn more about Ying Kai
- In 1994, Ying became a missionary to Hong Kong.
- He had to learn Cantonese because his mother tongue is Mandarin.
- While there his assignment was to plant one new church every five years.
- In 96 he started his first one. The 2nd year he started his 2nd and so on.
- In 99 he went back to the US for a visit, when he returned he was told he wasn’t need in HK anymore.
- In 2000 he was asked by a businessman to start a church in his home country. The man owned a factory there. He visited and saw many open doors there.
Strategy Coordinator term is introduced: “a person who oversees a CPM strategy to reach a people group or a city.”
He attended a four week training on CPM strategy but didn’t know what to do so he says he “prayed, and prayed, and prayed.” He later says he was on his knees often. (This is a key!!)
He started with an official registered church of his nation. He told the leader, “I will teach your people a fast way to share the Gospel.”
Why Don’t Christians Share? They don’t know: “why, whom, and how.” Ying explains this critical teaching.
With this group from the registered church, he started in November of 2000-
- after 3 months there were 27 small groups
- over 200 had come to believe in Jesus.
- In 2001 that group of 30 intial people had catalyzed 906 small groups,
- taking the Gospel to 17 different towns,
- making 10,000 new believers!
Chapter Four: Why It’s Working
Steve Smith says that T4T is a return to basic Biblical principles. He gives many scriptures. He talks about Jesus as King and that the King’s ways are counterintuitive.
He says that we need to “surrender and cooperate with the Holy Spirit” in order to see a movement.
This section launches into key parables told by Jesus in order to illustrate some key points taught in T4T. They are:
- The Sower and the Soils- There are always four types of responses to the Gospel message.
- Treasure Hidden in a Field and the Pearl of Great Price- We must help people discover the value of the King!
- The Tares or Weeds- Don’t be surprised when some fall away.
- Seed Growing Quietly & The Mustard Seed- It’s critical that we get the beginnings right. T4T focuses on initial expectations of the new disciple. They are taught immediately to think of others around them after their conversion.
- The Two Sons-Obedience is the mark of a true disciple not knowledge.
- The Scribe in the Kingdom- Kingdom multipliers could be former “scribes and Pharisees.”
- The Spirit As Attacker & Teacher- We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit. We cannot make the wind blow, but we can be ready by having our sails raised when it does! T4T is a process that raises the types of ministry sails that can move with the blowing of God’s Spirit. T4T also helps us “sniff out” persons of peace.
Other areas covered are:
- What it means to be a post-Pentecost people as it relates to discipleship. He makes some really good points on this.
- “Obedience based versus knowledge based” maturity
- Maturity Progression: “Believe-Serve-Mature” vs. “Believe-Mature-Serve”
- Can T4T work for where I am?
- All fields don’t yield the same harvest but all fields are harvestable.
Finally we are encouraged strongly to “adapt the tool (T4T), but not to violate the Kingdom principles.”
In a foot note, Smith makes a keen observation. “Virtually every CPM that I have ever studied has included significant mobilization and training of existing national believers- same culture or near culture to the target people group.”