T4T: A Discipleship ReRevolution: An Overview by John Lambert
Chapter 5: “How To Begin”
T4T is a process, not a set of lessons (The author drives this home!)
He says it is often misunderstood as a set of lessons or an outreach, but he says it is meant to cascade as a church planting movement, generation by generation. Each challenge faced at each new stage in the process is still part of the T4T process.
Many learned that Ying Kai:
- Had 6 initial lessons
- Encouraged new believers to witness 5x per week
- Had frequent training retreats for leaders
- Used inductive Bible studies after the first initial lessons
But those same folks didn’t understand that T4T is an “all-in-one-process” that God uses to take a person from lostness to maturing disciples who can start new groups and train others to reproduce the process. They just copied parts and were not successful.
What has T4T done? Basically it has tied all of the basic parts of a CPM plan together well and enabled believers to naturally progress from one stage to another as they are trained: evangelism, discipleship, church planting, leadership development-repeating the process generation by generation.
Measuring Rod For CPM: When groups consistently reach 4th generation with new churches formed in several places over a short period of time, then a sustained CPM has emerged. (One trainer, David Watson, says 200 churches in less than two years with at least 4 generations)
Lesson Content: This is the most adaptable part of T4T. Many have adapted the content for their own context.
Everyone is taught that true disciples are those who are followers of Jesus and fishers of men.
The word “trainer” was used by Ying Kai because disciple had lost its meaning. He wanted to emphasize the disciples as trainer because it carries on the idea of passing on what one receives.
Most questions faced in the process are said to be answered by simply remembering the goal: To build multiplying generations of trainers (disciples). It is a 2 Tim 2:2 process.
The First Session of T4T
- Find new or existing believers to train
- Cast vision to many groups to find the few who will both say and do “yes.”
- Teach “Why-Whom-How”
- Teach them how to share the Gospel using two things:
- A Bridge
- Simple Gospel Presentation
A Bridge is a way to start a transition in a conversation to spiritual matters. It is usually a person’s 2-3 minute personal story of coming to Christ or how God helped them overcome a problem or difficulty in life.
- Have the group write it down and practice telling it with one another
- Remove “churchy” words that don’t make sense to a non believer
- Encourage them to give feedback to one another- Is it boring?
Once confident in their testimonies, move on to sharing the Gospel presentation.
The goal of a testimony is to move someone’s heart to listen to the Gospel but it is not the Gospel itself. (Present the Good News especially in a way that can be understood by the culture as good news!)
Ying’s presentation of the Gospel comes in the form of a lesson called “Assurance of Salvation.” You can adapt this to any presentation you like. (We would use a more context sensitive approach.)
- Have them practice the lessons in pairs again.
- Send them out by praying and commissioning them, encourage them to pray for the sick as well!
- Encourage them to repeat lesson one with those who believe- why-whom-how
Key point Smith makes is that everyone commits to being a “follower of Jesus and a fisher of men” including the one leading the group (could be us!). (We must be an example of what we are teaching!)
The fastest way to keep the group from becoming a movement is by failing to ask them about the assignment that God gave them. See Hebrews 10:24-25
Three Thirds Pattern for Weekly Meetings is mentioned
1st Third is Pastoral Care, Worship, Loving Accountability, and Vision Casting
2nd Third is the New Lesson or Inductive Study of the Bible
Last Third is Practicing the Lesson, Setting Goals, and Praying for One Another
Smith encourages the reader to ensure that the trainer walk through the first lesson with a new believer within minutes of them believing the message.
Chapter 6: Building A Movement Through The 20%
Smith gives us a dose of reality saying, “Not everyone we train will become fruitful or a trainer of trainers.” He lists four types of people in your groups:
- Witnesses (Which could include “superspreaders”
- Starters or “Workers”
Only 15-20 % of those you train will lead others to faith, start groups, and train new believers to witness and train others.
The principle of only a FEW bearing multiplying fruit is critical for you to understand in CPM. Invest more of your time in fruitful soil people.
Starters (of groups) are great, but planting new churches is not enough because our end vision demands more. (The end vision is driven by the reality, especially for our context, that 99% don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior!)
The starter’s goal is to start a group (a church) but the trainer’s goal is to start a movement!
Steve Smith then asks these key questions,
- “How many genuine trainers of trainers do you feel you need for a movement to start?
- If only 20% become trainers, how many do you probably have to start training to find this many trainers?
- If only 20% become trainers of trainers and you only train 3-4 people, what is the likelihood you will see a movement start?
He says, “Don’t try to predict just train! People we think will be the most fruitful are usually not and the people we think may never succeed at all are most fruitful.”
Building a Movement
Fill your schedule with training-This is the highest value activity of CPMs (those who are believers and those who you find from within the harvest itself!)
- Cast vision to existing believers
- If none, sow widely to win the first believers to train
- Mobilize short term teams- outsiders or nationals- to hunt for your first persons of peace.
CPM Lifestyle: Pray, Witness to the Lost, Train the Saved (You must train hundreds!)
Leading By Example
Ying Kai and his wife (empty nesters) trained an average of three times a day for two hours at a time, morning, afternoon, and evening for 6-7 days a week! Groups ranged from 2-hundreds but averaged no more than 20.
Key Question: How many 2-3 hour time slots can you really free up if you tried? (If you weren’t training during this time, you could be prayer-walking two by two and hunting persons of peace)
The Power of Two Groups- Encouraging trainers to start at least two groups makes a big difference in momentum.
Chapter 7: The Three Thirds Process
This is called the core process that enables believers to gain confidence and competence. If you miss this, you may end up giving people good evangelism and discipleship training only!
First Third: Looking Back
- Pastoral Care- How are you doing? I Cor 14:26 potential
- Worship- Could simply be reading a psalm or giving of thanks
- Accountability- Asking the right questions in a loving way
- (Chief Trap: Never give an assignment or goal unless you plan to ask about it at the next meeting.)
- Vision Casting- This is a way of life. Testimonies, Stories.
Second Third: Looking Up
- Not just emphasizing learning but obedience
- The goal it to give them enough content to obey. The biggest mistake is too much content.. Remember the goal is multiplying generations of trainers.
- Leave time to practice
Final Third: Looking Ahead
- The goal is giving your trainers confidence and competence. (We as master trainers need this as well!)
- Set Goals and Pray- Hear from God as it relates to sharing and starting groups, share what you are going to do, and pray for each person and commission them.
Chapter 8: The Bold Parts
Out of the parts of each meeting you have which are the parts that get you to reproduction? There are four:
- Vision Casting
- Set Goals
- Accountability is the key component if its done right in a loving way.
- Vision casting keeps God’s heart and vision before the people.
- Practice provides a time to build confidence and competence.
- Setting goals and prayer takes time to listen to God and share it with others.
When Pressed For Time– We tend to leave the bold parts out. It may be because we are uncomfortable or have a different goal such as just getting through the content, or having an awesome encounter with one another, or awesome worship time but not multiplying a generation of trainers.
Take the bold parts out and what do you have? A Bible study, cell, or Sunday school group.
We default to what we know best (intuitive) and what we know does not spark a CPM (counterintuitive)
If you are pressed for time, shorten each part or the lesson itself, but don’t leave the bold parts out!