How do you get generational growth in disciple-making movements?
They were a faithful and passionate team of local workers. They shared the gospel often and led people to the Lord. They worked hard. They had started 10 1st generation groups of disciples. Not too bad by most peoples standards. Generational growth in disciple-making had not yet begun though.
They were stuck at 1st generation (1G) growth. They only knew how to start groups themselves. They didn’t know how to get the believers in those groups to start new groups. Sound familiar?
Is this your team? Or a team you are training?
As we began to work with them, things began to change. Today, they have reached 6th generation growth and the movement has grown by about 400%!
What do you do to get from seeing only 1st Generation growth in disciple-making to seeing many generations?
5 Steps to Increase DMM Generational Growth:
1. Share a Clear Vision for a Disciple Making Movement
A Clear Vision for a DMM must be understood and owned by the existing churches and believers or you will find it difficult to see generational growth. Do all the believers understand what a Disciple Making Movement is? Do they understand why a DMM will reach more lost people than if you are just a traditional church? Have they prayed and received this as their own? Have you shared scriptures about how the gospel spread and multiplied in the book of Acts?
Regularly share the Vision for a Movement until it takes root in their hearts.
Then share the Vision over and over each time you meet.
2. Train Everyone to Share Their Testimony
Use a simple method to train everyone to share their testimony in 3-5 minutes. I like to use Ying Kai’s 3 steps from T4T.
- Before I met Jesus-what was my life like?
- How I met Jesus- briefly who shared with me and what they shared
- After I met Jesus- what changed and how was my life different?
After you introduce this, get them to practice it several times. Then set goals for who you will share your testimony with the coming week.
In one place a church planter did this and one of the believers immediately turned around and led about 50 people to Christ!
3. Filter and Focus on the Obedient Disciples
After you train them in how to share their testimony, practice friendly accountability. Watch and see who is doing what they learned.
Whenever you teach a new skill and set goals, ALWAYS check and see who actually did what they said they would do. Celebrate and affirm those people and invest more in them. These are the people with the potential to start new groups!
4. Lead Them on a Clear and Simple Path Forward to Starting a New Group
Almost everywhere we train, we find that the natural tendency when someone leads a friend to the Lord is to want to bring them to the church (or house group) that they are already a part of. If you want to see second generation groups start though, you can’t do that. Instead, you have to get them to start a new discipleship group through that new person who is believing.
For that to happen, they have to gain confidence that they know what to do when they begin to meet that person to disciple them. I strongly recommend using a simple short-term discipleship set of lessons or stories. I like to use the T4T Baby Lessons that we have adapted for Oral Culture Peoples. These are simple to learn how to use.
Other story sets or Discovery Bible Study sets work great too. The important thing is that they feel confident that they know what to do to start a new discipleship group with the person they’ve led to Christ. As they start meeting with that person and going through the stories or lessons, other people in that person’s family and friend’s group will naturally join.
Suddenly, you have a new 2G group!
5. Celebrate Progress in Starting New Discipleship Groups
If someone even attempts to start to disciple someone on their own rather than bringing them to the 1st generation group, make a big deal of this! Affirm, affirm, affirm them! Be excited and let it show! This will encourage other believers to do the same.
Remember, this is not the “natural” or easy thing to do for traditional Christians or anyone. That is why you need to celebrate both new groups and attempts to start new groups. Remind them again and again of the vision for multiplying groups in order to reach more Lost people.
Some of our church planters even give out small prizes to encourage people. It doesn’t have to be big (a pencil or a chocolate bar) but it needs to be in front of the others you are trying to motivate.
These 5 things are proven steps to spark generational growth in disciple making movements. You will see 1st generation groups move into further generational growth.
Look back through the list of 5 Steps. Which ones will you start to do this week?
1st Generation Skills
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