“Everything we do must be reproducible.” It’s a simple statement. Not quite as easy to put it into practice. In Disciple Making Movements, we must think about multiplication at every level. This requires radical changes in our actions. It is these adjustments, however, that cause your disciple making efforts to grow rapidly.
Remember the rabbit and elephant principle? Rabbits reproduce rapidly. They multiply. Elephants reproduce slowly. They add only a few new members to their families in a lifetime. We want to start rabbit groups that become rabbit churches.
To do this we must regularly ask the question – “Is this reproducible?”
- If your disciples can not immediately teach what you teach to others, you need to simplify.
- If new believers can’t turn around and do evangelism in the same style you use, reconsider how you do evangelism.
- The same goes for prayer. Is your style of praying something a new believer can easily adopt? Or do you use fancy words and religious language? You may need to consider changes.
There is another obvious application as well. It has to do with what we do in church. If you need years of training in an expensive theological institution to be able to start a church, you will not start thousands in a few years! Or we could speak of building church buildings and the reproducibility of that. Let me give an example from my life.
How Simple Language Skills Helped
I’ve lived in several different countries over the years. Its always my desire to learn the local language. This is a high personal value. I always want to communicate in the heart language of the people I am trying to reach.
It isn’t easy. Some people think I’m particularly gifted in language learning. I don’t see myself that way. It is important, so I prioritize putting hours in to study the language of the people I’m focused on reaching. I also do it in a highly relational way, which helps with both learning and motivation. That’s not my point, however!
Though I have somehow, by God’s grace, achieved a certain level of fluency in a number of languages, my speaking of these languages is very basic. I used to think that was a bad thing.
In the context of DMMs, however, this has helped me. It forces me to keep things simple when I train. My spoken Nepali is at about a third-grade level. I can communicate anything I want to, but I can’t use complicated vocabulary. My Bangla is even lower, at about Kindergarten or class 1. Thai, well, let’s just say I’m still learning and have a long way to go!
This has been great for multiplication. Anything I teach or train people in, they can immediately pick up and teach to others! Unless I speak in my mother tongue English that is. Then, I’m tempted to do things using a higher vocabulary. In English, I have to purposefully restrict myself. I choose to keep things easy for everyone not only to understand but also to reproduce!
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.1 Cor 1:27-29 ESV
Are Gospel Crusades Reproducible? Let’s Evaluate!
Learning to check the reproducibility of your activities is a learned skill. It takes time to become good at this. A coach can help. Peers who are also working to launch DMMs can assist you in this area as well.
To help us with this new ability, let me give an example.
In some parts of the world Gospel Crusades are a popular means of doing evangelism. We set up a tent, print flyers to distribute and post around the city. An inspirational, anointed speaker is invited. Follow-up plans are organized. Counselors for those who respond are recruited.
Is this a “rabbit church” style of evangelism? Is it reproducible? Can a new believer organize a Gospel Crusade? No! Of course not.
What about finances? Does this cost a lot of money to do? Is that money available to the average person? At the bare minimum, a Gospel Crusade will cost thousands of dollars. The cost alone makes it fail the reproducibility test.
There are many good things about Gospel Crusades. They have had their place in bringing people to Christ through the years. Maybe you even came to the Lord or experienced personal revival through a Gospel meeting of this kind.
That is not, however, the question we are asking. Our question has to do with reproducibility. If you make this your primary way of doing evangelism, will it lead to a Disciple Making Movement?
If you are longing to see multiplication growth, you must ask these questions! Not only about Crusades, but about everything you are doing.
Generational growth will only happen as we simplify what we are doing so everyone can be a part of the work of God.
Don’t Limit What You Multiply
As you pursue a movement, consider multiplication in everything you do. This doesn’t only apply to multiplying disciples. What about intercessors? Are you multiplying those who are praying with you for a movement?
Other aspects of ministry to access reproducibility are:
- Giving and finances (think multiplication not addition here as well!)
- Prayer and Intercessors
- Team Members
- Disciple Makers
- Apostolic Teams
- Coaches and Mentors
- And more!
Keep multiplying on all levels and you will soon see your impact grow far beyond what you ever dreamed was possible. Keep evaluating reproducibility in all of these things!
One last example. Let’s consider leadership training. What about organizing special training at an expensive venue? You invite an outside speaker to teach and hope they might cover some of the costs of the event. They are asked to pay their own travel and often yours too!
Is this reproducible? Will it lead to a movement that is indigenous and led from within? To local ownership? Or will outsiders who support your leadership training also control it? Will doing it again yourself be impossible without their help?
These are big issues. Think about reproducibility in everything you do. Sometimes you may even need to say “No” to good things so you can say “Yes” to better, more reproducible, ways of working.
What will you change to increase the chance that the things you do will multiply?
Let us know on the DMM Facebook group or in the comments below.
These informations have given me insight on what my priority should be in making disciples.
Yes, yes, yes.
After 29 years on the field seeking to always ask, “Is this reproducible”, we would agree with seeking to learn local language, even if it is minimal. You learn the heart and thought process of the people as you do. Secondly the encouragement to keep trainings multipliable rather than always footing the bill… And making them so simple that the attendees can turn around and act on it in their own setting and pass it on to others. It isn’t so important that they are given a truck load. Let’s give them a wheel barrow load each time if that’s what it takes to make it reproducible.
Well said Vivian! Blessings.