“We never had any idea what was really happening until we started using generational growth charts in our training,” the church planting leader said with a broad smile. “Now we can actually see our progress and where the problems are!”
It is not uncommon for Disciple Making Movement trainers to be in a similar position. You keep training. You keep mentoring. Testimonies are heard. It seems like things are going well, but you really don’t know how well. You feel somewhat confused and can’t visualize progress.
That is where Generational Maps or Charts can really help!
What do we mean when we talk about 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of DMM growth?
When we speak of generational growth, we are describing the process by which one house church or discipleship group reproduces another one (or more). As this process continues and one church starts another and that one another, we can see that new generations of groups are growing.
Sometimes it is referred to as mother churches (1st generation), daughter churches (2nd generation) and grand-daughter churches (3rd generation). More often we just call it 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G growth.
This “generational growth” happens on both an individual and group level. When we make a Gen Chart though, we are tracking the multiplication of groups.
Her name was Dalia*. She was sixteen years old and came from a strongly Buddhist family. One of our local team members had led her to faith but was unable to disciple her because she was a young woman. There were cultural barriers to his spending time with her. He asked if we would help.
Dalia moved in with us and became a temporary family member. When we first began to pray with her, she had no idea what to do! From the very simple basics of what it meant to follow Jesus, we began to train her. We prayed together, studied God’s Word together, ate food together and visited others in the community together. We prayed for the sick, shared the gospel and washed dishes together. Dalia grew rapidly in her faith and relationship with Jesus.
After a month or so, Dalia began sharing the good news with her friends at school. One of her classmates expressed a desire to follow Christ. Dalia led her in making a decision to become a disciple. She then came to me and said, “My friend Sunita has decided to follow Jesus…can you train her to be a disciple?”
“No,” I replied. “That is your job! Just teach her what I’ve been teaching you.”
I discipled Dalia. Dalia discipled Sunita. Sunita led others to the Lord who she then discipled. The movement spread.
First generation (Dalia), second generation (Sunita), third generation (other classmates).
2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.“
Paul discipled Timothy (1G), Timothy discipled “reliable people” 2G) and they were able to teach “others” (3G). We see this multiplication again and again in the book of Acts.
Churches that Paul started, sent missionaries out to new areas where new churches were formed. Those groups started other groups in new areas and on it went until all of Asia had heard the gospel (Acts 19:10).
It is helpful to track this generational growth on a chart and to update it each time you do Just In Time Training. We recommend a simple chart rather than a complex one.
As you do this, referring each training to the previous charts (it’s easy these days to take a picture and have it on your phone to look back at) you can see whether or not new growth is happening. You can also identify where the strongest growth is happening and then try to understand why. This diagnosis of the movement is a major key to seeing ongoing and sustained growth.
At the end of the training, while looking again at their Generation Charts, trainees can set new goals for the coming months. How many new groups do they hope to start?
Further training can happen by marking certain important things on the charts. For example, are they taking offerings in each group? Are they baptizing? You can use additional simple symbols to indicate these things along with other important characteristics of a healthy church.
Using generational charts to track movement growth and the growth of each stream has been a major key to multiplication for many teams.
Have you ever made a Generational Chart? Why not start now for your own team or with a disciple maker you are training? Watch this helpful video on how to do that.
Need a bit more help? Contact us for further resources and information.
*Names and details changed to protect the individuals mentioned.