This is the excerpt for your very first post.
Busyness is a major enemy in our lives. We can easily get so busy that we don’t have time to pray, to listen to God, to share good news with the Lost, or to adequately spend time with those who are expressing interest in coming to faith. These things usually happen in the early stages of our efforts to start a movement. When we don’t see things “take off” as fast as we had hoped, we allow ourselves to get involved in other ministry tasks that give us a bit of a sense of fulfillment. Teaching here or there, doing emails, making a video for a church about what we do, attending a seminar or conference someone invited us to…suddenly we realize we have had little time for the task of disciple making.
Later, when (and if) we do have some disciples and the first church gets going, it is again easy to become busy with things related to that church’s programs rather than continuing to pursue relationships with the Lost, or to invest in quality disciple making. We make the mistake of thinking that a weekly meeting of a few hours will make quality disciples. We fail to truly invest our lives in those God has given us whether it be in detailed prayer for them, or in developing deep relationships.
One of my favorite Old Testament Bible Heros is Nehemiah. In the sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, messengers come asking Nehemiah to attend a meeting with Sanballat and Geshem. Instead of agreeing he says,
“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)
Nehemiah is completely focused on his God-given task. He is not going to stop his work to go and resolve a conflict, listen to his enemies, or attend a meeting. He knows how to say a clear “no.” He continues to focus on what is most important. We need to do the same.
How hard is it for you to stay focused on what is really important? Do you clearly know in your own mind what is most important in light of your goal to see a movement of disciples?
In a recent training I asked the participants to make a list of everything they had done in the last week that took more than an hour of their time. After they had listed at least 15 things, I asked them to circle which of those things directly related to making disciples among the unreached. It was eye-opening for many of them to see how little time they actually devoted to the task they said was their primary vision. We all would benefit from a similar exercise from time to time.
Feeling convicted? I truly hope you don’t feel condemned. It’s very human to get distracted and not at all uncommon! Instead of feeling bad, look carefully at where you are at. Recommit yourself to stay focused on your true calling as a disciple-maker and messenger of the good news. Be willing like Nehemiah to say no to some things so you can say yes to what is really important.
The unreached wait to hear your message. New disciples wait to be encouraged, trained and mentored. Let’s get busy doing the most important things that lead to the release of movements.
What Makes This Tool Powerful?
What is a T4T Lost and Saved List? How does it work? What are the benefits of using one? The simplicity and power of this tool is amazing. It helps us identify people in our lives who we already have relationships with, but they do not know the Lord. The list also shows us who we could begin to train. Using this inventory of people we already know helps to shift our mindset from thinking of ourselves only as a trainee. We begin to think of ourselves as a trainer of trainers. It also gets us started with a regular habit of prayer that will deeply impact our disciple making.
My Lost And Saved List
On one side of my list are the names of my neighbors. The name of the girl who works at the coffee shop I frequent once a week is on my list. My language helper’s names are there too. On the other side of the list are names of movement leaders and people I have trained. Every day I spend time praying for these people. I pray for their children and for their health issues. I pray that their hearts will open to the gospel. Boldness and faith for the movement leaders, as well as protection from persecution, are other things I pray. I keep this Lost and Saved List in my Bible and also on my computer. The daily habit of praying for these people makes a big difference in my heart attitudes. It has affected my fruitfulness too.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Rom. 12:12- NIV
Learning to Make A Lost And Saved List
I first learned about making a Lost and Saved List from Ying Kai, the man who started T4T. I am so grateful to him for teaching me about this tool! Ying came to our region and ran a seminar for us about T4T. One of the first things he had us do was to make a two-column list on a piece of paper. On one side we were to write down a list of “Lost” people we knew. On the other side, we were to write down a list of “Saved” people we knew.
It was actually kind of hard for me at that point to write down very many lost people’s names. I was able to list three or four. I realized that I didn’t have that many relationships with people who didn’t already know Jesus!
My right-hand column, the “Saved” List, was easier. I wrote down the names of 15 or 20 people.
Then, Ying challenged us to pray daily for these two lists of people in a detailed way. That was the starting point- regular, daily prayer for them. As we prayed, we were also to choose 5 people from each column that we would take an action with.
For the “Lost” people, we were to choose 5 people that we would share our testimony with that week. We might have 15 or 20 names there. Every day, he encouraged us, we should pray for each person.
But we don’t stop only with prayer. As we pray, we also share the good news
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.
Have you ever found yourself trying to go somewhere fast and then decided to take a shortcut? You see this little lane and you are pretty sure it will cut through to the main road? “I’ll go for it,” you think. It seems like a good idea that will save you time and get you there faster.
As you are driving along on your motorbike or in your car, suddenly, the road narrows and there is a huge truck parked in the road. You can’t get by because the road is too narrow. That has happened to me more than once. Another time, I came up the road and suddenly found a big pile of rocks dumped in the road for the construction of a nearby building. Then there were the times I took a shorter road but hit an avalanche. When this happens, you back up, turn around, and by the time you get back to where you started from, you are frustrated, annoyed and it is 15 minutes later but you are still at the same place.
This reminds me of when we try to make disciples using only a weekly meeting with them. It looks like a shortcut, but it’s not.
Discipleship Is Not A Meeting- It Is Doing Life Together
Discipleship doesn’t happen only in a weekly meeting. It is an intense investment of our lives into others. This is a whole lot more than what happens in a weekly gathering where you “preach” to them, or even do a Discovery Bible study or tell a Bible Story.
Discipleship happens when we do life together. It’s when we become a community of Jesus followers who challenge, encourage, support and commit to helping one another grow in following Jesus. Our lives “rub off” on others and they “catch” from us a passion for the lost, a faith in the God of the Impossible, a love for God’s Word, etc.
I’m always interested in strategies and structures. I’m fascinated to learn about what different people are using for their short and long-term discipleship. Having a good system can facilitate a lot of things being released. Sometimes, though, we look for the “perfect” system and think that is what will turn things around for us in our efforts to multiply disciples.
Discipleship Is Not A Structure Or System
The last few years I have been doing a lot of training in T4T (Training for Trainers). The T4T meeting structure includes all the important elements that are so vital to multiplying disciples; celebration/accountability, member care, worship, the Word, goal setting, fellowship. It’s a proven structure that has produced great fruit around the world.
The same could be said for DBS (Discovery Bible Study) groups- another great system to use.
As much as I like these systems, I must say that both T4T and DBS are just structures and systems. They will not produce fruit unless coupled with a deep commitment to relational discipleship. We must “go deep” with those in that T4T or DBS circle.
We must get into their lives and let them into ours.
That is what Jesus did with his disciples. They lived together, spent hours around the fire cooking fish and eating together. They did ministry together, and Jesus spoke into their lives not only as a group, but one on one.
We can’t do that with everyone. We need to choose a few key people, those who are faithful, fruitful and focused.
I know you are busy. You might be thinking, I just don’t have time to give more than I already am.
Here’s is what you need to do.
This doesn’t take a ton of time, but it will get you started in going beyond trying to just disciple people in a meeting.