We Believe in Training Trainers and Discipling Disciple-Makers.
We are discipling disciple-makers. We are training trainers.
By F. Smith
As the “outsiders” coming into the midst of an unreached people group, we should see our task being discipling local disciple-makers. We are to become trainers of trainers. The concept of Discipling Disciple-Makers and Training Trainers is based on several Biblical ideas that lay the foundation for rapid multiplication in the harvest.
God is preparing:
1. There is a basic belief that the Holy Spirit is already at work and preparing people’s hearts to receive the
good news (John 16:8). Our task is to find them by sharing the gospel with as many people as we can
2. The gospel travels best through relationship networks or friends and family (e.g., Cornelius gathering his
family and close friends in Acts 10:24, and the Philippian jailer bringing together his whole household in Acts
16:31-33). Believers within a relationship network form the nucleus of new gatherings of disciples that are
able to lead and grow themselves (e.g., a list of various established key believers and those who meet
regularly in their houses ((1 Cor. 16:19, Rom. 16:3-15)) ).
3. Believers are trained so that they can repeat this process within new networks of relationships until the
4th or 5th generation (2 Tim. 2:2). It’s important that everyone can copy and repeat this process; therefore,
everything needs to be kept simple.
4. Out of the believers who are trained, some will turn out to be extremely fruitful (up to 100-fold increase as in
Matt. 13:23). These key believers, or “persons of peace,” are important for a movement to happen.
A Personal Journey
My wife and I did our SOFM in 1996 and went to the field to “plant churches.” We worked with a faithful local
YWAM couple and in 2003 we were eventually instrumental in planting a church and children’s work based
around a building. There was no multiplication (we knew nothing of DMM/CPMM back then) and ministry was
limited by the building we were able to rent.
In 2008 we re-started with a new strategy in a new place. By envisioning and working with a near insider who
has an apostolic gift we quickly won many believers who were put into small groups based on relationship and location. After getting to about 300 believers we came to the end of ourselves because there were so many “pastoral” needs across a very wide area. Also, we continued to be an important factor in bringing in new believers because existing believers had a tendency to wait for the apostolic leader to bring seekers to faith and baptize them. When we had a series of leadership issues among the insider believers, we weren’t able to overcome these problems and in the end the whole thing collapsed.
After evaluation we decided to make another fresh start in new locations (but working among the same people group). The principles taught in the Harvest Multiplication Training (HMT) proved invaluable during this fresh start. So once again we experienced many miracles as God brought many to faith including a number of important persons of peace. One big difference this time is that we no longer ran around doing “pastoral” work; instead, we started to concentrate on training and coaching leaders of small gatherings and leaders of streams to be the ones who discipled the believers in their locality.
The meeting style among leaders is the same as they would have among small groups of believers. This style can also be used during evangelism or discipleship, or even pre-evangelism. The first part of the meeting is about hearing people’s stories of how they got on with the previous meeting’s application and praying for one another. Any “success” of applying God’s word is celebrated. The second part is about teaching / training. The third part is application and sending, and prayer related to multiplication.
We learned that we did not need to be the ones to baptize the believers nor to even be known by them. By
empowering and training others to lead, the total number of believers from the latest “fresh start” have
probably exceeded 1,500 (this is last year’s estimate) across a wide region, all meeting in small groups, many with group leaders.
These experiences have taught me a number of lessons about multiplication. Two which I like to highlight are:
1. Every believer is 100% priest and should be helped to mature to do the works of the ministry. In other
words, the works of the ministry do not rest on a few “mature” believers.
2. We are called to disciple disciple-makers, not to gather disciples so that we become the “pastor” who
does everything. The assumption is that every believer should go on to make other disciples.