4 Ways to Keep It Simple

keep it simple

Human beings are complex. We like to complicate things. Jesus knew how to keep it simple. This is easier said than done. Simple doesn’t mean easy or light. When we keep things straight-forward, they are easily reproduced by others. The baton we try to pass to others can quickly become heavy. If you want to see a multiplication of disciples and leaders, work hard to keep things simple.

Experiencing the Kingdom

I sat on the floor in their tiny home. A group of women and a few kids had joined me. We chatted about their children. It was then time for the Bible story. The day before I had come to this same home. I’d shared the story with the beautiful lady whose house we now occupied. We’d practiced it until she could repeat it easily. She was not highly literate, but she was a fantastic storyteller.

keep it simple
A simple cup can hold the most delicious chai tea

She finished serving tea to everyone, then settled herself comfortably on the floor. Opening her Bible, she read a line then began the story. It took about three minutes to tell. She then told it once again and set out to make sure every woman there could repeat it. Discussion followed. read more

How to Vision Cast in Your Disciple-Makers Meeting

vision casting

Have you ever heard an advertisement jingle on the radio, then found yourself singing it later? Catchy tunes get stuck in our heads. Advertisers know the power of repetition and simplicity. As we work to motivate disciples to become disciple-makers, we must use the power of repetition to influence them toward action.

Jesus knew the power of repetition. He repeated important concepts again and again. Take Luke 15 for example. He tells not one, not two, but three parables about the importance of reaching the lost. He was casting vision to His disciples, wanting them to engage in the things that mattered most to Him. As disciple-makers and trainers, we must do the same.

I wrote last week about the power of the three-part disciple-makers meeting. In the first section of the meeting, right after the friendly accountability time, comes vision casting. Vision casting is simply this. You use a short story, example, or scripture, to bring the cause of the lost (unreached) before those in the group. You want to fan the flame of missions and evangelism every single week. By doing this, it will grow into an unstoppable passion…a fire that can not be quenched. read more

How Not to Motivate Your Team (and 4 Ways that Work)


Working in a united team with a high level of commitment and diverse gifts is an amazing experience! As the Bible says, “One man can chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight…” (Deut. 32:30-NIV.) This is only true when your team is united around the same vision and moving in the same direction. How do you get your team, or church, on board with the idea of launching a Disciple Making Movement (DMM)?

Much vision casting is necessary during the beginning phase. It carries on throughout the movement launching process. Learn how to do this well from the start. A deep commitment to multiplication will become an integral part of the movements’ DNA.

How Not To Vision Cast For Movements

When we first started vision casting, we thought this meant that every time we met we should repeat from memory our End Vision statement. It was quite a mouthful and many of us struggled to remember it. “Uhhh…we want to start a hundred groups…uhhh…and see a movement happen?” Someone would say. Others who had memorized it well, scowled and tried to help them. This exercise wasn’t exactly having the right effect. read more

Need a Great List of the Most Vital DMM Startup Tools?

DMM Tools

Rice, meat, spices, herbs, onion, garlic…you make your list and go to the market. Before making a special meal, you first prepare the ingredients you need. You wouldn’t want to start cooking and then have to stop and run to the store. In the same way, as you begin your journey with Disciple Making Movements (DMMs), it is good to get your tools, training, and material in place. This will give you a better chance of moving forward in your DMM journey.

Invest in Your DMM Toolbox

There are many different tools you can add to your “toolbox” as you make disciples. But there are several things that are most essential. Get those basics in place. Then, as a builder or carpenter does, when you come across various new materials and skills, you can also add them to your DMM tool belt.

Essential DMM Tools and Resources

1. The Bible

This is so obvious I almost didn’t list it, but then decided I must. The Bible (particularly the example of Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament) is your most important instruction manual for how to start a DMM. Take extra time to study, re-read and meditate on the principles for multiplying disciples that are there. read more

Why and How to Track Progress in a Disciple Making Movement

track progress

Why track DMM progress? Let me illustrate.

I come from a city in America called Minneapolis. It has many beautiful lakes. We like to rent canoes and go boating on them. I learned something about canoeing. Keeping my eyes fixed on the other side of the lake matters. Otherwise, it is easy to paddle around on the lake for hours without actually crossing it.

Some people engage in disciple-making efforts without tracking their progress. They are a bit like me on the lake. They take their eyes off their goal.

That is fine if you just want a fun way to spend a day off. But if you are serious about making progress in starting a DMM, you have to measure forward movement.

You need to know where you are at. You must be able to determine whether or not the movement is multiplying.

Multiplication is your destination. Stay focused on it. The only way to know if you are getting there (or not) is to keep careful records and regularly measure progress. Are you seeing multiplication growth or only addition? Tracking allows you to celebrate, assess, and make needed changes.

“How do I do this well?” you may ask. Few people like to fill out monthly reports! Especially volunteers and unpaid workers like we have in house church movements.

Indicators, Charts, and Evaluation

  • First, identify which DMM indicators you want to track.
  • Then, create a simple way of monitoring those things. Many people use generation charts or maps to help them do this. Particularly with oral culture people, a visual picture is very helpful. Compare previous charts with current ones. This makes it easy for trainees to see their progress (or lack of it).
  • Lastly, evaluate. Diagnose problems and make plans in response to what you have learned through the reporting process.
  • read more

    How to Make Sure Your DMM Efforts Are Headed in the Right Direction

    Dmm basics

    Have you ever gotten on the wrong bus or train and not realized it? I have! Without a good understanding of Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles, we can easily get off track. We waste time going in the wrong direction in our discipleship or church planting efforts.

    Oh No! I’m On The Wrong Train!

    A few years ago, I was heading to Bangladesh to train a group of church planters. I went to the train station. A local porter helped me carry my bag and get on my train. Being a bit late and in a rush, I didn’t check the name of the train carefully. I was lazy to read the Hindi script fully, so only read the first part of the train’s name. It was Kanchan something.

    Not a good idea! Instead of getting on the Kanchenjunga train, I boarded the Kanchankanya train instead. I went in the completely wrong direction.

    A few hours later the train conductor came to my berth. He checked my ticket. “You are not on the right train!” he announced.

    I had to get off at the next station, board another train and return back to where I had started from. Arghh!! My husband kindly booked me a new ticket and the next day I started my journey again. This time, I got on the right train.

    In our attempts to multiply disciples among the unreached, we can similarly go the wrong way. When we aren’t familiar with the basic DMM principles we end up on the wrong path. Our efforts take us toward addition rather than multiplication growth.

    We then have to return to the beginning and start again. This can be discouraging. There are key DMM principles we need to understand (and be ready to apply) for multiplication to begin. Otherwise, we will be blocked in our efforts to see a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). Click here to read about other obstacles to DMMs.

    Ugly Unfinished Buildings

    When we visit South Asia, we often see houses that have been started but are not completed. When driving along a national highway, these are commonplace. Steel rebar sticks up out of the pillars. It is quite an ugly thing. Many seem to start building a house but run out of the money to finish.

    dmm basics

    Jesus must have seen something similar with towers. He used this as an illustration and told his disciples, before starting something, count the cost. Understand what is needed to see it completed. This is true of starting a Disciple Making Movement.

    For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” Luke 14:29-30 NIV.

    What are the basic things you need to understand and apply for a DMM to start in the right direction?

    6 Powerful Understandings You Need To Start A Movement

    1) Understand the power of releasing all believers as royal priests.
    The priesthood of all believers is one of the most foundational DMM concepts. It’s crucial to seeing a movement grow. Knowing their identity and authority in Christ will help disciples multiply. Without it, they will hesitate to do what are considered “pastoral” tasks.

    2) Understand the power of simplicity.
    Our human nature tells us simple things are less valuable. We like to make things complicated. Jesus is our model in simplicity. His teaching was not complex, but it was deeply transformational. He used stories and real-life illustrations to teach and shape the worldview. The simpler our Bible study methods, the more likely new disciples will train others. Bringing in complicated or expensive methods dramatically slows down growth. Those launching DMMs must highly value simplicity, guarding it carefully.

    3) Understand the power of multiplication vs. addition growth.
    Addition growth is when one person (or team) starts a new church every year or two. Multiplication growth happens when the disciples in those churches start new churches. If all the new growth is coming from you and your team, it is addition, not multiplication growth.

    Many teams struggle to break out of addition growth and into multiplication. There are many reasons for this, but the first is that they have not fully understood the necessity to do so. Instead of applying principles that lead to reproducing churches, they do things in complicated ways. Ordinary believers lack the confidence to do the same. Consequently, these fellowships do not multiply.

    4) Understand the power of “going local” with language and culture.
    Churches and DBS/T4T groups that function in the local language are much more likely to multiply. Be careful about bringing in foreign ways of singing, using English songs, etc. The data is clear on this. Fellowships operating in the heart language of the people multiply much faster.

    5) Understand the power of participatory worship and study.
    In a recent training in India, they coined the phrase “discussion church.” This is in contrast to a “preaching church.” Why is dialogue in disciple-making groups so powerful?

    It builds understanding, ownership and leads to obedience-based discipleship. When you practice the story/lesson and then discuss it, everyone is involved. They remember what they talk about. This gives a much greater chance that the disciple will pass on what they have learned to others. That is how you get multiplication to begin!

    6) Understand the power of the three-part meeting.
    T4T uses a three-part model for the discipleship meetings (house churches). The first part is “Look Back”. In this section, the disciples remember what they learned last week. They discuss how they obeyed God’s word. The middle section is “Look Up.” They learn a new story or do a discovery Bible study. The third part is “Look Ahead.” In part three, they set goals for how they will obey God’s Word in the coming week. They also decide who they will share the gospel with.

    This three-part meeting includes a friendly accountability cycle. Report, train, goals. Report, train, goals. This helps produce obedient disciples whose lives are rapidly transformed.

    This is not an all-inclusive list, but these six things will definitely get you started!

    Do Your Trainees Have the Basics?

    Take a moment to evaluate yourself and your team. How well have you or your trainees understood these 6 powerful DMM concepts? Do you need more understanding on any of them? Or maybe you understand them but aren’t applying them fully in your actual context. Make sure your “DMM train” is headed in the right direction!

    Let me know in the comments (or on the Facebook page) what you will do this week to move forward.

    What is Just In Time Training?

    “Just in Time Training” was an unfamiliar concept for me. Why are they not applying what I taught them? We taught how to create a set of stories for discipleship in the Orientation Program, but they are just preaching. They seem to have completely forgotten everything they learned in the training! Argghh!!

    Have you ever felt frustrated that you invest a lot in training people only to see little field application happen?

    I sure was! Then I put into practice what is called Just in Time Training. Just in Time Training (sometimes called Micro-Learning) is when you give people only what they need to use immediately. You train in small learning segments.

    You start with where they are and train them step by step.

    • Do they already have five 1st generation groups? What do they need to see those multiply?
    • Can they share the gospel effectively? Maybe they need help with choosing a gospel story?
    • Are they just beginning to learn the language?

    This style of training is in contrast to giving them in one long training for everything they will face over many years as they work to start a DMM.

    I first caught a vision for disciple making among unreached people when I was on a missions trip in college. I then went through a 4-year program to learn how to do church planting. It was excellent. I had great teachers and had excellent material that was “cutting edge” for its time.

    The problem was that by the time I finally was doing what I’d been taught, most of what I’d learned was several years old and had gotten pretty fuzzy in my memory. I’d try to find old notes and quickly gave up. Like most people, I went back to what I knew from experience and memory. This is what happens for most people.

    Without “Just In Time Training”, traditional Christians generally go back to traditional approaches- even after being trained in DMM principles! read more

    Key #3 DMM Breakthrough Growth: Train Don’t Teach

    trainer of trainers

    Do you long to see more multiplication through your discipleship training?  Are you tired of only seeing a few new disciples each year?

    The last two blogs talked about Keys for seeing DMMs released. The first keys were  Key #1: Praying With Faith and Key #2: Perseverance.

    There is another crucial key to releasing a movement. If you want to multiply disciples, an important change needs to happen in how you do discipleship training. You need to shift from being a teacher to becoming a trainer.

    Are you a Trainer or Teacher?

    I was speaking in a training program the other day and began to realize how big of a shift God has brought in me over the past few years. What I do when I am invited into a classroom full of people wanting to learn and grow has dramatically changed.  I’m still speaking about the same topics, but my mindset is very different!

    Don’t Choose Easy- Be Fruitful

    Teaching is easier but yields less fruit. In many ways, teaching is more satisfying to my ego. When I teach, I give information and pass on knowledge. It’s quite easy to feel good about myself when I teach. If I make a good presentation and everyone likes it, responds well, and gets excited, …then it was a success. I like teaching and there is certainly a place for it. It is a wonderful spiritual gift God uses. read more