There is a big difference between the way rabbits and elephants reproduce! We know this. It is often referred to when explaining what a Disciple Making Movement is. Movements multiply rapidly. They grow and reproduce organically. Getting your disciples to take off and multiply like rabbits can be easier said than done.
To see rapid, rabbit-style reproduction of disciple makers, you must depend heavily on the Holy Spirit. Many of us lean too much on our own skills and experience as we train disciples. The Holy Spirit lives within even the newest of believers.
He is able to help them as they step out in obedience and faith. Another key is intentionally using simple patterns that can quickly be learned by everyone you train.
Rapid reproduction in a movement looks messy, but without it your movement won’t ever begin to see organic growth.
Trusting the Holy Spirit
“Do you trust me?” the Holy Spirit’s still small voice seemed rather loud in my ear. I was arguing with Him. Yes, sometimes I do that. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s okay. We are friends.
I wasn’t at all convinced that this person who had just become a believer was ready to share their faith with others. They came from a Hindu background and still hadn’t even removed all the idols from their house!
“Lord, what about their example? Don’t we want to wait until You transform their lives a bit further, before they start sharing about You with people around them? What if they say something wrong? Or what if someone asks them a question and they don’t know how to answer?”
I expected to hear answers back from God. Instead, once again came that inner voice. He didn’t answer me. He repeated the same question. “Do you trust me?”
I knew the Holy Spirit lived inside every believer, even the one who had just begun to put their trust in Jesus for salvation. That belief hadn’t yet moved from my mind to my heart. It wasn’t part of my behavior either.
Funny thing about my arguments with God. He always wins them in the end! “Okay Lord. I get it. Yes, I do trust You, Holy Spirit. I don’t necessarily trust young Mohan yet, but I do know He believes in You and You live in him now. I will let You be in charge. I’ll walk alongside him and work with You to help him if any messes come up as he shares with others.”
When I finally laid down my right to be in charge and gave over control to the Holy Spirit to flow through new believers, we saw multiplication. It wasn’t perfect, and yes, there were messes and mistakes. But I was amazed at how much God used the new Jesus followers. They healed the sick, they cast out demons, they shared their faith, and they baptized new people.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.John 16:13 NIV.
Rapidly Reproduce at Every Level
1. Rapidly reproduce at the evangelism/first invitation level.
Some people like to use the word evangelism. Others prefer to simply invite people to begin to study scripture and later give the invitation to become a Jesus follower. Either way, at this first point of entry, there must be a DNA of rapid multiplication. What does that look like?
If you are using an approach where you share your story and then God’s story, be sure that when people believe, you immediately expect them to reproduce. Can they do what you did with them? Can they do that immediately?
If you told your story, within the first day of their coming to faith, teach them to share with others what God has done in their lives. Teach them to share their story (3-minute testimony).
If you are using an approach where you invite people to study scripture first, train those who begin to attend groups to do the same. As they share stories or scriptures, train them to invite people to join them to study on a regular basis.
This means we must keep our evangelism/first invitation methods extremely simple. If it can’t be done immediately by someone else with only 5-10 minutes of training, it is likely too complicated. If it requires an investment of money that many wouldn’t have, it is too expensive.
If you need to be specially gifted and trained to use that style of speaking or ministry, it won’t multiply.
This is why we discourage people from using a crusade or big healing meeting approach. This requires money, organization, and a gifted speaker to make happen.
Think about rapid multiplication in how you introduce people to Jesus.
2. Rapidly reproduce at the Disciple Makers Meeting level.
For the learning portion (look up), keep it simple! Practice and repeat the passage before you discuss it. Don’t skip the last question where each person sets specific goals to share the passage or story with others!
I often am in Discovery Studies where people choose long passages, even two or three chapters of scripture to read. The other day I was in a DBS where no one repeated the passage in their own words before jumping to the discussion time.
These things dramatically reduce the multiplication factor.
Keep the stories or passages short. Not more than three to five minutes. You can break up longer stories into several weeks of study. Repeat, repeat, repeat and practice, practice, practice in the group.
If you are stuck at only having first generation groups, check on how well you are doing with these multiplication elements.
3. Rapidly reproduce in leadership training
Some years ago I made a hard decision. I would never again teach something that my trainees couldn’t immediately turn around and teach to someone else. It was hard work and I had to significantly change my style of training. The fruit, however was good. People I trained started training others who trained others.
As you work to develop leaders, immediately assign them to train other leaders. Who are they developing?
Consider making this a requirement. If they are not willing to train someone else, maybe you should reconsider whether they are the right people to invest your time in.
If you expect this and make it part of the normal way leadership training is done, it becomes part of the movement’s DNA.
Are You Mixing Rabbits and Hippos?
We want rabbit churches. We pray for our groups to multiply rapidly. Be sure you aren’t mixing elephant, hippo, or rhinoceros DNA in how you share Christ, disciple new believers, and train leaders.
Take a look this week at each level in your movement. Does it have rapid multiplication DNA?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions about this on the DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook group! Also feel free to leave a comment below.
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