— 馬太福音 4:4
— 約翰福音 6:63
— 希伯來書 4:12
「S.O.A.P.S. 香皂讀經法」是個簡單的讀經指引，能幫助我們更加了解、有能力遵守並分享神的命令。每星期讀至少 25-30 章的聖經，並且每天用 S.O.A.P.S. 寫讀經日記，
• 閱讀聖經 SCRIPTURE: 閱讀時把特別讓你感到有意義的經節抄一兩節下來。
• 觀察思考 OBSERVATION: 再用你自己的話重新寫下這些經節的意思或重點，會幫助自己更瞭解經文。
• 生活應用 APPLICATION: 思考一下在你的生活裡遵守這些命令是什麼意思？
• 禱告祈求 PRAYER: 把禱告寫下來告訴神當天從祂的話語裡學到什麼，以及你打算要怎麼遵守你所學到的事？
• 分享心得 SHARING: 想想你可以跟誰分享你所學到的事或該怎樣應用？
— 馬太福音 6:9-13
• 手掌 = 與神的關係: 手掌是整個手指頭的中心，單獨與神相處的時間，是我們與祂之間建立個人關係的基礎。 (v9a)
• 大拇指 = 敬拜: 大拇指提醒我們，在向神有任何祈求之前，必須要先來敬拜祂。 (v9b)
• 食指 = 降服: 接著我們降服於神，把我們的生命、計劃、家庭、財務、工作、未來、一切的事都交託給神。 (v10)
• 中指 = 祈求: 之後求神供應我們的需用。 (v11)
• 無名指 = 饒恕: 現在求神饒恕我們的罪，我們也要饒恕別人。 (v12)
• 小指頭 = 保護: 然後求神保護我們。 (v13a)
• 大拇指 (再一次) = 敬拜: 結束時要跟開始時一樣 — 我們再來敬拜全能的神 — (v13b)
「禱告輪」是一個簡單的工具去操練禱告。可以自己操練，也可以跟任何一位主的門徒分享使用。像時鐘，只要順著 12 個簡單的步驟，每個步驟花 5 分鐘。繞著「禱告循環圈」走一遍，可以學到聖經教導的十二個禱告方式，禱告結束時，正好是一個鐘頭。
• 讚美: 以讚美神來開始你的禱告時間，腦海裡面想到什麼讚美神的說話就用來讚美祂。想想在上個星期神在你生命中所做的哪件事應當讚美祂；或者讚美祂向你家人所賜的厚恩。
• 等候: 花點時間安靜下來等候神，沉澱一下思緒。
• 認罪: 求聖靈光照，看看在生活上有沒有任何不討神喜悅的事，不正確的態度，也求祂指出你還有什麼未承認的罪，就向神認罪，得神赦免潔淨。
• 讀經: 花點時間閱讀聖經中的詩篇、先知書，以及新約裡面有關禱告的經文。
• 懇求: 為自己向神懇求。
• 代求: 為他人向神代求。
• 禱讀: 以禱告的心來讀神的話語，並用神的話語來做回應禱告。如聖經中的禱文，特別在詩篇裡有許多禱告，都非常適合。
• 感恩: 為自己生活上、家人、教會事工所蒙的恩向神獻上感謝。
• 唱詩: 唱一首詩歌或聖詩去敬拜讚美神。
• 默想: 靜默禱告，求神對你說話，準備好紙筆，把祂所給的感受寫下來。
• 聆聽: 再花點時間整理所讀到的、禱告過的、唱出來的，看神如何融合這一切對你說話。
• 讚美: 為有這段與祂親近共處的美好時光讚美神，也為神自己值得敬拜的屬性讚美祂。
— 希伯來書 10:23-25
• 檢查進度 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS: 我們透過互相分享掙扎彼此守望互相勉勵。開始時逐一討論「守望互勉問題」（45-60 分鐘）。
• 聆聽話語 HEAR THE WORD: 我們透過閱讀上下文並和其他人一起閱讀聖經幫助你在屬靈上逐漸成長。討論主透過每星期經文給你留下的印象。你的小組應該每星期閱讀 25-30 章。有許多人發現大聲朗讀是非常有幫助的。如果有人在指定的一個星期內沒有完成應讀的，整個小組在下個星期繼續完成相同的功課。
• 實踐行動 ACT ON IT: 每天我們透過去愛人實踐應用聖經的真理。活出主在閱讀經文時給你留下的印象，實踐應用於你的生活中，並將真理分享給其他人（5-10 分鐘）。
• 告訴他人 TELL OTHERS: 我們為那些需要神的人禱告，並在有機會時與他們接觸。結束時禱告：互相為彼此禱告。部分時間應該為整個星期小組一直禱告的對象禱告（如：未得救的朋友、家人和相識的人）（5-10 分鐘）。我們透過禱告和順服來承認神。在你禱告的時候，不要忘記讚美和感謝主祂的屬性，祂透過你在你的小組和你的身上所作的。要記住，你對主的順服（「實踐行動」）本身就是一種敬拜！（5 分鐘）。
7. 在上個星期內，你至少讀聖經 25 章嗎？
14. 練習用 1-3 分鐘簡述福音重點。
— 馬可福音 5:18-20
— 路加福音 24:48
「我的故事」— 每一個人怎樣認識神，跟神之間的關係如何，這些故事就是你的見證。而每一個人都有自己的故事。 分享你的見證就是最好的練習機會。要使你們的見證有力，不用很長，也不用講太多細節；因為把你們的見證限制在 6 分鐘左右，會讓對方有時間問問題，也有更深入交談的機會。如果擔心不知怎麼開始，那就保持越簡單越好 — 就只簡單陳述你為什麼要來跟從耶穌！神會使用你我的生命故事來改變他人生命；只是要記得 — 你就是那個講自己的故事最適合的人。
— 使徒行傳 1:8
— 歌林多前書 15:1-8
神的設計: 在我們周遭都我們可以看到美麗的設計，設計的目的和設計的證據。聖經告訴我們起初神創造的世界原本就是完美的 — 世上一切和每個人都和睦相處。神創造每一個人都有一個目的 — 就是要敬拜祂並與祂同行。
— 創世記 1:31
— 詩篇 19:1
罪: 當我們無視神和在我們生命中神原本的設計時，就不能活出真正的生命。我們的自我中心堅持用自己的方式去生活。聖經稱之為罪。我們都犯了罪並歪曲了神原本的設計。我們犯罪的後果就是與神分隔 — 在今生和永恆中。
— 羅馬書 3:23
— 羅馬書 6:23a
— 羅馬書 1:25a
— 箴言 14:12
福音: 這一刻我們需要一個挽救的方法 — 有個好消息。因為神的愛，神並沒有把我們留在我們的破碎之中。耶穌，神道成肉身，在我們中間並按照神的設計去活出真正的生命。耶穌來是為了拯救我們 — 為我們成就了我們不能為自己成就的事。祂在十字架上擔當了我們的罪和羞辱，代替我們付了罪的工價而死。不但如此，耶穌從死裡復活 — 為我們預備了拯救並與神和好的唯一道路。
— 約翰福音 3:16a
— 歌羅西書 2:14
悔改 & 相信: 只是聽到這個好消息是不足夠的。我們必須承認我們是破碎有罪的並且不再信靠自己。我們沒有能力可以自己逃離這破碎。我們需要被拯救。我們必須要求神赦免我們 — 從罪轉向神並且只有信靠耶穌。這就是悔改和相信的意思。相信 — 我們透過耶穌接受新的生命並神將我們的生命轉向新的方向。
— 馬可福音 1:15b
— 以弗所書 2:8-9
— 羅馬書 10:9
和好 & 追求: 當神恢復與我們和好的關係時，我們開始會發現在這個破碎世界中的意義和目的。現在就可以在我們生命中的所有層面上竭力追求神的設計。即使我們跌倒，我們也明白神拯救的道路 — 這就是同一個耶穌的好消息。神的靈使我們能夠追求祂的設計並應許我們在今生和永生中祂常與我們同在。
— 腓立比書 2:13
— 以弗所書 2:10
— 羅馬書 10:9
— 羅馬書 10:13
• 讀經 — 聖經是所神默示的話讓你知道如何追求祂。
• 禱告 — 神希望你與祂對話傾談你的一切重要事物。
• 教會 — 教會是神的家去幫助你學習天天與祂同行。
• 分享 — 既然你已經歷過這個好消息，分享給他人。
— 約翰福音 20:31
— 馬太福音 6:33
— 歌羅西書 2:6
|例. 名字||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☑ 不清楚|
|1.||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☐ 不清楚|
|2.||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☐ 不清楚|
|3.||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☐ 不清楚|
|4.||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☐ 不清楚|
|5.||☐ 信徒||☐ 非信徒||☐ 不清楚|
— 馬可福音 1:16-20
編寫名單 — 寫下需要聽到福音的一百個人（家人，朋友，鄰居，同事和同學）的名字。每個星期為五個人禱告，並邀請他們於尋求神的過程中踏出下一步。在「百人名單」上的人，必須是你們能夠聯繫，而且你們之間仍然有來往，或者很熟識的人。
面對非信徒或不清楚背景的人，可以分享「我的故事」/「神的故事」或 邀請他們參加一個守望互勉小組或 三分三組。如果你發現他們已經是基督徒或他們剛成為基督徒，可以挑戰他們開始一個三分三組並提出願意栽培他們。
— 馬太福音 28:19
— 羅馬書 6:3-4
「洗禮」，或說「浸禮」，原文是 βαπτίζω — 意思是完全濕透或者是沉在水面下 — 像在染布一樣，把布浸在水裡，拿出來後顏色完全轉變。所以洗禮象徵我們原來的生命，沉浸在耶穌的樣式裡，轉變成順服神的生命。 是我們對罪而死 — 正如耶穌已經為我們的罪而死； 是把我們舊生命埋葬了 — 正如耶穌被埋葬； 是我們在基督裡重生了新生命 — 正如耶穌從死裡復活現在仍然活著。
• 如果他們對以上的問題都回答：「是的」或「我相信 / 我願意」，就接著說：
— 約翰福音 6:51
— 歌林多前書 11:23-24
— 歌林多前書 11:25
• 再把預備好的葡萄汁或葡萄酒傳下去，然後各自默禱飲用。 最後讀以下經文作結束：
— 歌林多前書 11:26
— 提摩太前書 2:1-4
「步行禱告」是一種簡單的禱告方式，學習順服神要我們為他人禱告的命令。按字面就知道 — 是「一面走路，一面禱告」的意思。不是指平常我們閉上眼睛、低頭禱告，而是要張開眼睛來看我們身邊的需要，然後受感動謙卑地求神來做工，改變情況。可以兩三個人為一小組，來做行走禱告；也可以各自分開來，邊走邊禱告。如果是以小組進行，可以每個人試著開口大聲禱告，就像跟神對話，把所見所聞所感受的告訴祂。如果是各自分開走，就邊看邊默禱，偶然在路上遇到合適的人，也可以邀請他一起禱告。
• 觀察: 你看到什麼？
• 考察: 你了解多少？
• 感動: 聖靈可能會感動你或把一個想法帶進你的心思意念。
• 經文: 聖靈可能會把一節經文放在你的心裡。
• 政府機關: 法院、立法機構、執法機構。
• 商務貿易: 金融中心、購物中心。
• 教育單位: 學校、行政機構、職業訓練中心、社區大學、大學院校。
• 傳播媒體: 廣播電台、電視台、報社。
• 屬靈場所: 教堂、清真寺、廟宇。
步行禱告時，為遇到的人禱告的方法 —「B.L.E.S.S. 祝福禱告法」：
• 身體方面 BODY: 健康狀況 — 保守、力量、醫治。
• 事業方面 LABOR: 工作狀況 — 財務、保障、指引。
• 情感方面 EMOTIONAL: 情緒狀況 — 喜樂、和平、安慰。
• 社交方面 SOCIAL: 人際關係 — 忍耐、恩慈、愛心。
• 屬靈方面 SPIRITUAL: 救恩需要 — 信心、盼望、恩典。
• 關於基督: 宣告耶穌是神和人中間的一位中保並且是所有人的救贖。宣稱耶穌為這社區和你所看見的生命之主。
• 關於領導者: 為一切在位的人而禱告 — 為教師，警察，行政人員和家長而禱告。
• 關於和平: 為神子民的敬虔和聖潔而哭求，以致有實質和平的增加。為建立新教會而禱告。
• 關於真理: 公開宣告神只有一位是鐵一般的事實。為人的心眼不再被撒但所蒙蔽而禱告，以致他們能夠明白真理。
• 關於福音: 為神的心願意萬人得救而讚美祂。求天國將今年指定為一個 “合適的時間” 重新賜給簡單的力量去見證基督。為特定的人而提名禱告。
• 關於神的祝福: 為所有人代禱而獻上感恩。為神所當得的因祂的良善賜給你經過的每個家而獻上感恩。求神帶來持久的屬靈醒覺。
• 關於教會: 求在人際關係中得到醫治，並在神的子民中間沒有憤怒或分歧。求神使祂的子民不論男女都以生命閃亮和聖潔生活作為敬拜。求我們的敬拜以聖徒在社區中行善的力量作為裝飾。
一個簡約的聚會模式 —「三分三組」— 將聚會時間分為三個時段，讓我們可以實踐遵守耶穌所吩咐的命令。
— 馬太福音 3:16-17
— 提摩太後書 3:16-17
希望系列 — 適合慕道朋友。
1. 犯罪者的希望 — 路加福音 18:9-14
2. 窮乏者的希望 — 路加福音 12:13-34
3. 離家者的希望 — 路加福音 15:11-32
4. 失喪者的希望 — 路加福音 19:1-10
5. 哀慟者的希望 — 約翰福音 11:1-44
6. 尋道者的希望 — 約翰福音 3:1-21
神蹟系列 — 適合慕道朋友。
1. 變水為酒 — 約翰福音 2:1-12
2. 大臣之子 — 約翰福音 4:46-54
3. 癱子行走 — 約翰福音 5:1-17
4. 五餅二魚 — 約翰福音 6:1-14
5. 海面上走 — 約翰福音 6:15-25
6. 瞎子看見 — 約翰福音 9:1-41
7. 死人復活 — 約翰福音 11:1-46
起步系列 — 適合初信者或從未參與過類似小組聚會的基督徒。
1. 我的故事 — 馬可福音 5:1-20
2. 神的故事 — 歌林多前書 15:1-8, 羅馬書 3:23, 6:23
3. 得人如魚 — 馬可福音 1:16-20
4. 信而受洗 — 羅馬書 6:3-4, 使徒行傳 8:26-40
5. 聖經話語 — 提摩太後書 3:14-16
6. 向神禱告 — 馬太福音 6:9-13
7. 面對困難 — 使徒行傳 5:17-42, 馬太福音 5:43-44
8. 成為教會 — 使徒行傳 2:42-47, 歌林多前書 11:23-34
主命系列 — 適合初信者或需要專注門徒訓練的組别。
主耶穌說 — 學習遵守耶穌的基本命令。持續向「百人名單」上的人分享耶穌。
1. 知而即行 — 約翰福音 14:15-21
2. 悔改 • 相信 • 跟隨 — 馬可福音 1:14-17, 以弗所書 2:1-10
3. 信而受洗 — 馬太福音 28:19, 使徒行傳 8:26-38
4. 愛神愛人 — 路加福音 10:25-37
主耶穌又說 — 學習遵守耶穌的基本命令。持續向「百人名單」上的人分享耶穌。
1. 與神對話 — 馬太福音 6:9-13
2. 記念耶穌 — 路加福音 22:14-20, 歌林多前書 11:23-32
3. 彼此分享 — 使徒行傳 4:32-37
4. 薪火相傳 — 馬太福音 28:18-20
剛強系列 — 適合初信者或需要專注門徒訓練的組别。
傳承使命 — 建立門徒。把所學的傳給別人。再教導這些人也要繼續傳下去。
1. 尋找門徒 — 提摩太後書 1:1-14
2. 薪火相傳 — 提摩太後書 2:1-4,14-16
3. 樹立榜樣 — 提摩太後書 3:1-17
4. 面對困難 — 提摩太後書 4:1-22
倍增小組 — 讓所帶領的門徒成立新的小組。
1. 開始計劃 — 路加福音 10:1-11
2. 同心合意 — 使徒行傳 2:14-47
3. 和平之子 — 馬可福音 5:1-20, 6:53-56
4. 撒種收割 — 馬太福音 13:1-9,18-23
帶領小組 — 學習如何帶領三分三組。
1. 示範 (要這樣帶領) — 約翰福音 13:1-17
2. 示範 (別這樣帶領) — 約翰三書 5-14
3. 輔助 — 馬可福音 4:35-41
4. 守護 — 路加福音 10:1-11,17,20
5. 放手 — 馬太福音 25:14-30
根基重溫 — 學習門徒聚會最重要的是什麼？
1. 耶穌居首 — 腓立比書 2:1-11
2. 與神對話 — 馬太福音 6:9-13
3. 彼此相交 — 希伯來書 10:23-25
4. 聖經話語 — 提摩太後書 3:10-17
立志跟隨 — 學習剛強壯膽並持續到底跟隨耶穌。
1. 不肯遵守 — 約拿書 1
2. 立志委身 — 約拿書 2
3. 遵守順服 — 約拿書 3
4. 遵守到底 — 約拿書 4
5. 非用即失 — 馬太福音 25:14-30
要去系列 — 適合需要專注門徒訓練的組别。
你們要去：本地 — 學習如何傳福音到本地社區。
1. 你們要去：本地社區 — 使徒行傳 1:1-8
2. 賙濟窮人 • 廣傳福音 — 路加福音 7:11-23
3. 去奉差遣之處 — 使徒行傳 10:9-48
4. 有計劃地而行 — 使徒行傳 13:1-3,32-33,38-39, 14:21-23,26-27
你們要去：世界 — 學習如何傳福音到地極。
1. 你們要去：直到地極 — 使徒行傳 1:1-8, 馬太福音 28:19-20
2. 去奉差遣之處 — 使徒行傳 8:26-38
3. 神愛所有族群 — 約翰福音 4:4-30,39-41
4. 有計劃地而行 — 使徒行傳 13:1-3,32-33,38-39, 14:21-23,26-27
探索系列 — 適合需要知道聖經背景和熟悉聖經的組别。
探索上帝 — 認識上帝是誰？祂是怎樣的神？
1. 神創造天地 — 創世記 1
2. 神創造人類 — 創世記 2
3. 人不順服神 — 創世記 3
4. 挪亞與洪水 — 創世記 6:5-8:14
5. 神應許挪亞 — 創世記 8:15-9:17
6. 神對亞伯拉罕說話 — 創世記 12:1-7, 15:1-6
7. 大衛被膏立為王 — 撒母耳記上 16:1-13, 撒母耳記下 7:1-28
8. 大衛王與拔示巴 — 撒母耳記下 11:1-27
9. 拿單的故事 — 撒母耳記下 12:1-25
10. 神應許拯救 — 以賽亞書 53
探索耶穌 — 認識耶穌是誰？祂為什麼來到世上？
1. 耶穌的降生 — 馬太福音 1:18-25
2. 耶穌的受洗 — 馬太福音 3:7-9, 13-15
3. 耶穌趕污鬼 — 馬可福音 5:1-20
4. 好牧人耶穌 — 約翰福音 10:1-30
5. 耶穌醫瞎子 — 路加福音 18:31-42
6. 耶穌與撒該 — 路加福音 19:1-9
7. 耶穌召馬太 — 馬太福音 9:9-13
8. 唯一的道路 — 約翰福音 14:1-15
9. 聖靈的降臨 — 約翰福音 16:5-15
10. 最後的晚餐 — 路加福音 22:14-20
11. 被捕與受審 — 路加福音 22:47-53, 23:13-24
12. 釘死十架上 — 路加福音 23:33-56
13. 從死裡復活 — 路加福音 24:1-7,36-47, 使徒行傳 1:1-11
14. 相信與實踐 — 腓立比書 3:3-9
— 馬太福音 22:37-40
— 馬太福音 28:18-20
— 使徒行傳 2:41-47
敬拜 • 讀經 • 禱告 • 相交 • 傳福音 • 奉獻 • 施洗 • 主餐 • 領袖
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.
— 2 Timothy 2:2
Training Cycle helps disciples go from one to many and turns a mission into a movement. As believers increase in their competence in these areas, it is important to help them understand the phases of the training cycle so they know when and how to transition from modeling, to assisting, to watching, to leaving as they initiate work with new believers or new churches. This is a natural process by which they can help others grow into maturity as well, both individually and corporately.
M.A.W.L Training Cycle:
• MODEL — when a child sees someone riding a bicycle, that is the MODEL phase:
Modeling is simply providing an example of a practice or tool. It is the briefest part of the training cycle. It usually only needs to be done once. It is simply creating an awareness that a practice or a tool exists and giving a general idea of what it looks like. Modeling repeatedly is not an effective way to equip someone. They need to be allowed to try the skill themselves.
• ASSIST — when a parent is holding onto the bicycle while a child is learning to keep his balance, that is the ASSIST phase:
Assisting is allowing the disciple to practice the skill. This takes longer than the modeling phase. It requires “hand-holding” on the part of the coach. The coach needs to be directive and take an active role in coaching the disciple. This phase does not last until the disciple is fully competent, but merely until they understand the basics of the skill. If this phase is continued too long, then the disciple will develop a dependence on the coach and never advance to full competence. The end of the assist phase should be marked by the disciple starting to model for others.
• WATCH — when a parent is observing a child ride a bicycle and ensuring they have adequate skills & knowledge to ride unsupervised, this is the WATCH phase:
Watching is the longest phase. It involves more indirect contact with the disciple. It seeks to develop full competence in all facets of a skill. It may be ten times or more as long as the first two phases combined. As the disciple progresses in skill, the contact with the coach may become less regular and more ad hoc. In this phase the disciple gradually takes more responsibility and initiative in the performance of the skill. Typically in disciple making the mark of the end of this phase is when the disciple has passed on the skill successfully to the fourth generation through those whom he or she is coaching.
• LEAVE — when a parent releases a child to ride their bicycle completely unsupervised, that is the LEAVE phase:
Leaving is a sort of graduation when the disciple becomes a peer of the coach. Periodic contact and peer coaching may continue to take place if the disciple and coach are in the same network.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
— Acts 13:1-3
Paul’s pattern in planting churches was an average of six months or less per church network in the Model and Assist stages, and then he would spend years even decades in the Watch stage, and then eventually he would leave and tell them he would not return and charge them to be obedient to what he trained them to do.
PART OF TWO CHURCHES — Every disciple should be involved in two churches:
• HOME CHURCH: Your primary spiritual community.
• NEW CHURCH: Group that you are personally investing in the Training Cycle.
Things to consider:
• Best practice is to start new churches. We go to them before asking them to come to us.
• Don’t underestimate Jesus to be with two or three gathered. Two people meeting for coffee could essentially be a “church meeting.”
• Attend two simple churches in your area for a season while modeling and assisting a new simple church’s formation in person.
• Embrace creative ways of communing — text messages or video chat.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:18-20
EVERY DISCIPLE A DISCIPLE-MAKER
In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “make disciples of all nations.” He is talking to every disciples because the command is coextensive with the promise. Jesus promises — “I (Christ) am with you always, to the very end of the age.” That promise is given to every believer. If that promise is to every believer then the command is also to every believer — all of His followers.
Every disciple needs to multiply.
If we are living out the Great Commandment then we will be making reproducing disciples because part of the disciple-making process is “teaching them to obey everything I (Christ) have commanded” and the Great Commission itself is one of those commands. Hence, every believer should by definition be involved in making reproducing disciples. It is a short step from this toward starting reproducing spiritual communities (churches) because several of the other commands demand a spiritual community to carry out. Reproducing disciples will result in reproducing churches as a matter of obedience.
Become a disciple worth multiplying.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands. … Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. … Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
— John 14:15, 21, 23-24
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
— 1 John 5:2-4
LOVE MEANS OBEDIENCE
Obedience is the flip side of love. It’s the expression of love; it’s not some onerous duty that we have; it’s the overflow of our gratitude for all that the Lord has done for us. We can sing all the worship songs ever written and proclaim to all that we love Christ, but these songs and statements are meaningless and hypocritical if we are not obedient to Him in every area of life. Our feelings do not define our love. Our words do not define our love. It is our motives, our actions, our obedience to Christ that defines our love for Christ.
IMMEDIATE • RADICAL • COSTLY • OBEDIENCE
Discipleship means following Christ. Every disciple should be in the process of maturing, but the focus is the journey, not the destination. The destination is to be fully conformed to the image of Christ. This will not fully occur until we meet Him in face-to-face in glory. The journey involves us daily growing in our expression of immediate, radical, costly obedience. The journey involves us becoming increasingly faithful and effective in passing on to others what we are learning along the way, not just in head-knowledge, but in life application. The journey involves becoming more practiced at learning more of the character and nature and will of God through learning to interpret and apply Scripture, in prayer, in relating with the Body of Christ, and through persecution and suffering. The journey implies following Christ and influencing and blessing others day-by-day wherever we are along the way.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones. By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
— Hebrews 11:1-40
Jesus said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
— Matthew 10:8
Jesus said, “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
— Luke 12:48
FREELY RECEIVE • FREELY GIVE
The spiritual economy differs from the earthly economy in that the spiritual economy is based on giving away what one has. It’s like we are BREATHING IN, from God, receiving from Him and then BREATHING OUT by obeying, internalizing what He has given us, making sure we embrace it. We make it part of who we are, then we exhale to the world around us, sharing what we have received. Whatever we get, we give away. It’s just the opposite of the world — which tries to keep what they get and charge others to give it to them.
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
— Romans 14:12
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
• Accountability to OBEY the Lord.
• Accountability to PASS ON to others what we have received.
This means the most loving thing we can do for one another is to hold one another accountable for obeying what we learn from the Lord and to share it with others. This is not a matter of legalism but of love. This is what we must do if we truly want the best for one another, the greatest spiritual blessing and insight, the deepest intimacy with our Father.
3 Legged Stool — Faithfulness > Maturity:
KNOWLEDGE (IN) • OBEDIENCE (OUT) • SHARING (OUT)
God reveals more of Himself to us when we are faithful in sharing with others what we already know of Him. He gives more insight and revelation to those who are faithful in sharing with others what they already understand. He speaks to us more clearly when we obey what He has already spoken to us.
The Parable of the Talents:
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
— Matthew 25:14–30
To equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
— Ephesians 4:12-13
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
— James 1:22-25
3 LEGGED STOOL — Faithfulness > Maturity:
KNOWLEDGE • OBEDIENCE • SHARING
Knowledge is worthless without practice, without applying it to one’s life.
Often we fail to allow for the involvement of new believers, thinking that they need to mature before they become involved in ministry. The first few weeks of a Christian’s spiritual life are potentially the most fruitful. One reason for the way we treat new believers and expect so little of them is related to our view of maturity. We often mistake knowledge for maturity. This is related to our view of discipleship as a body of knowledge to be transferred rather than patterns and processes to be passed on. If people are not allowed to apply what they have learned, they will not grow in maturity. A relatively new believer can in reality be more mature than a much older believer if he is practicing a high percentage of what he has learned. Perhaps a better measure of maturity would take into account not only the level of knowledge but also the ratio between knowledge and practical living out of that knowledge.
We often spend time on maturity instead of faithfulness. But faithfulness results in maturity because He invests more in those that are faithful in what He gave them like the Parable of Talents. Path to maturing is being faithful by obeying what the lord has shown us and sharing with others.
“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
— Luke 6:47-48
Every new disciple must be equipped to be spiritually self-feeding in at least these aspects: scripture, prayer, body life, share, and persecution & suffering. These are some of the primary ways God grows us to maturity. Self-feeding refers to items that must be evident in our lives if we are to become disciples worth reproducing. We should be producers, not merely consumers, of spiritual truth.
• WORD: In terms of being able to interpret and apply Scripture, this can most easily be done by teaching a series of questions that can be applied in any Scripture study. Generally, this will include questions of observation, interpretation and application. There are a number of sets of questions that can be used in this way, depending on the age or education level and the level of spiritual sophistication of the believers. The point is that after reading or hearing a passage of Scripture, every believer should be able to tell what it says, what it means, and the implications it has for his/her life. Clearly someone’s ability to do this and the depth at which they do it will increase over time, but the point is to establish a pattern for how they view and respond to Scripture.
• PRAYER: Prayer is another key tool God uses to grow us into the likeness of Christ. Through prayer we speak to the Lord, hear from His heart and mind, minister to both believers and unbelievers, and more. Prayer is a teaching tool. It is an evangelism tool. In fact, praying for unbelievers in their presence can be one of the most powerful evangelistic tools that exists. It is often under-utilized. The best way to teach prayer to a new believer is by example reinforced by studying what the Bible says about prayer.
• CHURCH: Church serves not only as a spiritual community, but also as the Body of Christ. The Bible expresses how we as members of the Body of Christ have differing gifts and abilities that are to function together in a coordinated fashion in order to build up the Body and bring it to maturity. Thus, for both individual and corporate growth and maturity, we must understand how this works and participate in it. This idea is supplemented by numerous “one another” passages in the New Testament. More than fifty times we are told in Scripture to do something for one another in the Body. We need each other in order to grow.
• SHARE: Sharing helps us know it even better, as it goes from head to heart and hands. The spiritual economy differs from the earthly economy in that the spiritual economy is based on giving away what one has. God reveals more of Himself to us when we are faithful in sharing with others what we already know of Him. He gives more insight and revelation to those who are faithful in sharing with others what they already understand. He speaks to us more clearly when we obey what He has already spoken to us.
• HARD TIMES: Persecution and suffering are also venues for our spiritual growth and development. The Bible tells us that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. We know that we have an enemy who will also oppose us in many ways as we follow the Lord. New believers need to understand how God works to perfect our character, prove our faith, equip us for ministry, and provide a testimony for him through persecution and suffering. Being aware of this before it happens can help fend off discouragement and help us to be intentional about taking advantage of these opportunities rather than wasting them or responding to them inappropriately.
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 16:17
“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
— John 8:47
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
— Hebrews 5:14
In the process of discernment we should become aware of four voices and need to learn to distinguish them from one another. Being attuned to the voice of God will make the other voices easier to separate. It is not always easy to tell these voices apart from one another, therefore discernment requires time, patience and perseverance in the face of struggle.
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and His brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and His brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.
— Mark 1:16-20
We need to equip every disciple to view the world through two sets of lenses.
Two Focal Lenses:
• 1st Lens: ONGOING RELATIONSHIPS — people with whom we interact on a regular basis — family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and classmates.
• 2nd Lens: WORLD BEYOND — people with whom we don’t interact on a regular basis — every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
Every time when we contact with someone, if they are pointed away from Him, help them to turn towards Christ. But if they are pointed toward Christ, help them to increase their faithfulness, increase their passion for Christ, increase the magnitude of their love for Him. This is a good guide how we can be relating to any person that’s in our network of relationships and beyond.
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
— Romans 10:1
List two or three individuals who need the Lord’s salvation. Write down the names of all those identified on the card so that all of you pray for each of the lost souls weekly. Keep this card in your Bible as a bookmark for your daily reading so that each time you open your Bible you are reminded to pray for these people.
1. Bring ________ to recognize and understand his/her emptiness and purposelessness in life. Bring ________ to the end of himself/herself so that ________ will turn to You.
2. Cause ________ to hunger and thirst for more in life.
3. Bring ________ to understand the truth of his/her condition without Christ and to understand what Christ has done for his/her salvation.
4. Bring conviction of sin. Allow the consequences of his/her sin to cause ________ to desire a different life. Let ________ become fed up with his/her life as it is.
5. Jesus, reveal the Father to ________.
6. Father, exalt Jesus in ________ eyes.
7. Father, draw ________ to Yourself and Your Son Jesus.
8. Guide and create circumstances that create a need, then show Your love through meeting needs through me or others of Your people.
9. Bring godly people into his/her life that will influence ________ for Christ.
10. Prepare circumstances in his/her relationships where a Christian (me if You choose) will have the opportunity to forgive ________ and thus reveal something of Your mercy.
11. Open ________ ears to hear Your call.
12. Allow ________ to see the unity and love of Your people in a way that ________ is convinced that Jesus must be sent from You. Convince ________ that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world.
13. Protect ________ life to receive the planting of Your Word.
14. Protect ________ from Satan’s attempts to blind ________ and steal away the Word that has been sown.
15. Reduce the cares of the world around ________ that could choke the seed planted.
16. Raise up intercessors in behalf of ________. Guide my praying for ________.
17. Reveal to me the time and the way for me to share a witness about You and tell ________ about the good news of salvation.
18. Bring ________ under the hearing and influence of Your Word through teaching or preaching. Create in ________ and openness to listen.
19. Create opportunities for ________ to hear a witness for Christ from several different trusted sources. Use the timing and diversity of these witnesses to convince ________ that You are the Author behind them all.
20. Cause ________ to recognize his need for a Savior.
21. Lord, do whatever it takes to cause ________ to seek after You. Break the hardness of his/her heart toward You.
1. Lord, I pray that You draw ________ to Yourself. — John 6:44
2. I pray that ________ hear and believe the Word of God for what it really is. — 1 Thessalonians 2:13
3. I pray that ________ seek to know You. — Acts 17:27
4. I ask you, Lord, to prevent Satan from blinding ________ to the truth. — 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Timothy 2:25-26
5. Holy Spirit, I ask You to convict ________ of his/her sin and need for Christ’s redemption. — John 16:7-14
6. I ask that You send someone who will share the gospel with ________. — Matthew 9:37-38
7. I also ask that You give me or ________ the opportunity, the courage and the right words to share with ________. — Colossians 4:3-6
8. Lord, I pray that ________ turn from his/her sin and follow Christ. — Acts 17:30-31, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
9. Lord, I pray that ________ would put all of his/her trust in Christ. — John 1:12, 5:24
10. Lord, I pray that ________ confess Christ as Lord, take root and grow in faith and bear fruit for Your glory. — Romans 10:9-10, Colossians 2:6-7, Luke 8:15
v4 – does not waste time
v5 – opens his door to you
v6 – receives your blessing and shows interest
v7 – opens his house to you / hospitable
v7 – offers to sustain you in some way
v13 – he is worthy
v13 – has influence in his home
v14 – receives you
v14 – hears your words
v2 – prays for laborers
v3 – goes with danger all around
v4 – leaves behind bags
v5 – gives greeting
v6 – if favorable response, give blessing
v7 – fellowship with them
v9 – ask God for healing where needed
v9 – minister to them
v9 – proclaim the words of the Kingdom
v10 – if no response, announce protest, then leave
v5-6 – goes where God sends
v11 – inquire / search / identify
v11 – spend time with the candidate
v12 – give greeting
v13 – gives blessing
v14 – proclaim words of the Kingdom
v14 – if you are not received then leave
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.'”
— Luke 10:1-11
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
— Matthew 10:5-14
1. Pray for laborers.
2. Go where God sends you.
3. Enter a place or area proclaiming the Kingdom.
4. Do not waste time.
5. Inquire with discernment.
6. Visit the Person of Peace candidate & engage him and family if possible.
7. Give greetings & ask spiritual interest questions.
8. If there is a favorable response, give blessing & ask evangelistic questions.
9. Spend time with the candidate and their family.
10. Fellowship with them and discern. Proclaim Kingdom Words and the Gospel.
11. Minister to them.
12. Always be bold and truthful.
13. If there is no response, announce protest, and then leave.
FILTERS FOR THE PERSON OF PEACE:
2. Hungry for Spiritual Things.
3. Opens their family / group / community to spiritual things.
1. They are open when you make spiritual statements.
2. They respond with spiritual statements.
3. They ask questions of you (not just tell you their opinion but want to know yours).
4. They respond to your invitation to open their “oikos” (Greek word for “household”) to directly learn from God’s Word.
Jesus said this is how you should pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
— Matthew 6:10
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
— Psalm 10:17-18
“He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.”
— Proverbs 3:34
EYES TO SEE WHERE THE KINGDOM ISN’T
Every disciple needs to be equipped to have eyes to see where the Kingdom isn’t. We are naturally wired to look at ‘what is’ and our eyes are drawn to “what is” but not to “what isn’t”. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer — “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, we are acknowledging that there is a gap between “what is” and “what God’s intent”. As citizens of the Kingdom, our job is to be concerned with closing that gap.
God has favorites — the last, the least, and the lost. The Bible repeatedly teaches about how people treat widows, orphans, and aliens. God is highlighting the need to care for those who need the most care. We need to be concerned for where the gospel is least accessible.
Who are the people who need the good news of the Kingdom more than anyone else? Where are those people?
God loves the humble and gives grace to them. This concern for the last, the least, and the lost is to develop awareness of where the Kingdom is growing and where it is not. We need to look for opportunities to enter new places and new people groups to meet the greatest needs so that God’s Will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
— John 13:15
Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
— 1 Corinthians 11:1
When a mother duck leads her ducklings, they go single file, with each duckling following the one in front of them. To lead a duckling you don’t have to be a mature duck, just one step ahead. Only Jesus is a mother duck. The rest of us are merely ducklings. From the moment we begin to follow Jesus we are also to be “leading” others. From that moment we are at least “ahead” of non-Christians spiritually so there is always someone we can lead. This effectively reduces the duration of a spiritual generation to almost nothing. We can begin to reproduce spiritually from the moment of our rebirth.
Discipleship means following Christ. Every disciple should be in the process of maturing, but the focus is the journey, not the destination. The destination is to be fully conformed to the image of Christ. This will not fully occur until we meet Him in face-to-face in glory. The journey involves us daily growing in our expression of immediate, radical, costly obedience. The journey involves us becoming increasingly faithful and effective in passing on to others what we are learning along the way, not just in head-knowledge, but in life application. The journey involves becoming more practiced at learning more of the character and nature and will of God through learning to interpret and apply scripture, in prayer, in relating with the body of Christ, and through persecution and suffering. The journey implies following Christ and influencing and blessing others day-by-day wherever we are along the way.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles.
— Luke 6:12-13
Today — we see lead pastors/ministers who are part of a church service movement that emphasizes Sunday or weekend gatherings. These gatherings do not create the outcome (at the end of the funnel) of disciple making movements. Jesus-style disciple making model — we see Jesus created a disciple making movement that, over time, witnessed many disciples who went out and made disciples.
Jesus had thousands of followers.
He had dozens of disciples.
He picked twelve to train more deeply and send out.
And He had three that were with him even more often.
The process of multiplying disciples and simple churches is NON-SEQUENTIAL.
The mental pattern which can have tremendous impact upon the way one works or thinks about church planting is whether one thinks of the process as a series of sequential segments or as a whole. Many people consider the process of church planting as a series of sequential steps. You arrange for prayer support and begin praying yourself. You do evangelism. After people are converted, then discipleship begins. Once discipleship begins or initial discipleship is completed, some people even put in a proving period, which is definitely not biblical. But at the end of either the discipleship or the proving period the converts are baptized. Then there is a step by which the church is actually planted. After the church is planted, you begin to develop leaders.
It is far more helpful to realize that what is done from the very first contact with an unbeliever has implications and effects on discipleship, church planting, leadership development, and ongoing approaches toward spiritual matters. For instance, if the approach taken during evangelism and discipleship is a one-way monologue from a knower to a person who is ignorant, it is not participative or interactive. It implies that one person is a giver and the other person is a receiver. Then the result will be people who do not view themselves as capable of leadership. It will also affect the nature of church life. Such patterns established early on can be difficult to break down later. You can inadvertently set up many barriers and roadblocks to growth and development, either in individual disciples or in churches, by the approaches you may take in the evangelism and discipleship process or the timing of leadership development. You can be developing leadership from the moment you begin interacting with an unbeliever who is going to be converted. You can be affecting the nature of the church which will be planted by whether you approach things from an individual basis or a group basis. There are many applications to this principle.
We are pursuing simultaneous rather than sequential church planting qualities: One process. Vision casting, pre-evangelism, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, leadership development, and gospel movement cultivation can all happen at the same time during the same process if we focus our energy and time on putting into practice the disciple making best practices. All of the seven fields can happen at the same time when birthed and bathed in prayer. Discipleship multiplication DNA is built into the pre-evangelism process, so that you’re viewing everyone as a potential trainer of trainers. The resources are in the harvest field! Let’s not forget that the laborers we are praying for are most likely already in the harvest fields waiting to be told the gospel and trained to be trainers.
Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
— Mark 16:15-16
In the West — Time is money; in the Kingdom of God — Time is souls.
The Lord does not delight in the death of any man, but desires for all to come to repentance and for all to willingly love and worship Him. But the fact is that more than one non-Christian per second passes into a Christ-less eternity.
• Right where you are, begin snapping your fingers every second. Keep going.
This pace does not slow down when we are sleeping, when we are at our respective jobs, in the classrooms, or while we are on vacation. One soul. Every second. Dying. And living forever in torment apart from Jesus Christ. More than one person dies every second apart from Christ, and God is robbed of his glory. That’s the pace of multiplication. That’s the reason why a disciple making multiplication strategy is so essential. Every disciple needs a place to learn, a place to lead, and the passion and urgency to help complete the Great Commission.
PACE matters. URGENCY matters.
Imagine we try to get 10 people and each starts a church of 100 people every year — which is already impossible to do. That is 1,000 people a year. In ten years, that would be 10,000 people. In thirty four years, that would be 34,000 people — which is still less than the Bay Area population 7,000,000.
If we started with just one Christian and that person made one disciple and then the following year they each went out to make one disciple and continued that pattern. That the whole world would have access to the gospel in just thirty four years! Each line is a year, and the number is the number of disciples in the scenario we described.
8,589,934,592 is greater than the world’s population 7,700,000,000 (2019). That is the power of exponential growth. God’s plan for discipleship in His kingdom is not by addition, but by multiplication — new disciples make more disciples. The multiplication of disciples will result in exponential growth of God’s Kingdom.
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast:
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
— Matthew 13:31-33
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:1-2
• BOUNDED SET: This type of set is static — it’s all about BOUNDARY. Christians are those who affirm right beliefs and practice right behaviors; and those who don’t aren’t . The attractional church is a bounded set. That is, it is a set of people clearly marked off from those who do not belong to it. Churches thus mark themselves in a variety of ways. Have a church membership roll is an obvious one. This mechanism determines who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’.
• CENTERED SET: This type of set is dynamic — it’s all about MOVEMENT in a particular direction. Christians are those moving toward Jesus, rather than away from Him. The missional-incarnational church is a centered set. This means that rather than drawing a border to determine who belongs and who doesn’t, a centered set is defined by it’s core values, and people are not seen as ‘in’ or ‘out’, but as closer or further away from the center. In that sense, there is no ‘in’ or ‘out’ because there is no ‘circle’. Though some people are close to the center and others far from it, everyone is potentially part of the community in it’s broadest sense.
Put our focus less on whether someone is inside or outside of faith in Jesus; and more on whether someone is moving toward or away from Jesus. On where someone’s arrow is pointing, as it were. Approaching faith in Jesus this way opens us up to the prospect of profound connection with just about anyone.
A Church Planting Movement by definition requires rapid multiplication. Rapid multiplication can be illustrated by rabbits; slow multiplication can be illustrated by elephants.
|10 Years||60 Months||18 Months||12 Months||6 Months||4 Months|
|Churches||4||64||1,024||1 Million||1 Billion|
The point of this illustration is to show that reproduction rate matters. It matters in churches too. If you have a reproduction rate of five years, which is sixty months, over a period of ten years you will end up with only four churches. However, if you could knock this down to a twelve month reproduction rate for a period of ten years, starting with one church, in ten years you would have one thousand twenty-four churches. If you could knock the rate down to a four-month reproduction rate and maintain that for a period of ten years, you would have one billion churches.
As in rabbits, so with churches. Very high rates of reproduction cannot be sustained over a long period of time because of the decreasing number of lost people who are accessible and many other factors. However, high reproduction rates can be maintained for a period of time. A reproduction rate of under nine months was maintained in the endvisioning case study for five years; and, since they started with three churches, they ended up with five hundred fifty churches after only five years. So fairly high reproduction rates can be maintained for a period of time.
We need to build into the DNA of every local church around the world the DNA of disciple making multiplication strategy. If we will follow the disciple making multiplication principles by putting them into practice, we can reach the whole world in one generation, around ten years.
Simple church gatherings are very different from a regular small group or a cell group. Simple church is not just a Bible study—a supplement to a Sunday service—nor is it centered on a set teaching. Simple church is a real church that empowers all its members to take responsibility, support one another and share life together.
The primary difference between cell church and simple church network is in regard to structure. A cell church is hierarchical in structure, and teaching and authority flow from the top down. A simple church network is a network of autonomous simple churches which voluntarily cooperate together and submit to one another in mutual accountability. There are advantages and disadvantages to each form. The difference may perhaps best be illustrated by the difference between starfish and octopus.
Starfish represent simple churches. If you cut off the leg of a starfish, you get two starfish, and nothing is lost. With an octopus, if you cut off the leg, you get a new leg, and the old leg is lost. With a cell church the leadership level that develops in each cell is not nearly as mature as that which develops in an autonomous simple church because the cell group depend upon the hierarchy to provide regular teaching and structure and authority instead of learning to feed on scripture for themselves. So if, because of persecution or severed relationships or some other problem, the cell group breaks off from a cell church, it will typically die.
Similarly, with a starfish, if the head is destroyed, you get as many starfish as there are pieces of starfish. But, with an octopus, if the head is destroyed, the octopus is dead. In the cell church, if the senior leadership of this church is imprisoned or dies or falls into sin or some other problem, typically the church is seriously damaged or even killed. Whereas there is no problem like that with simple churches, because each unit is not reliant on the organization but is self-sufficient for feeding and growth.
Starfish are simple and non-specialized, whereas octopi are complex and specialized. This is true of cell churches and simple churches. A cell church that is complex and specialized can provide a myriad of services and opportunities which can never be offered by the simple churches because the simple churches are simple and non-specialized. They simply meet the simple, basic, straightforward needs, not the highly specialized needs. The authoritative structure in the cell church enables it to act with greater coordination than is possible with a simple church network.
One other advantage of starfish is that you can’t eliminate them even if you try. You can try chemicals or biological warfare against them, but they are very tough to eliminate. Whereas, octopi are an endangered species in areas where they come under environmental stress. This points out a fact that is true about cell churches. They are appropriate for only certain settings. They tend to be appropriate for urban settings but not rural settings and for authoritative societies but not consultative societies. Simple churches can thrive in both urban and rural settings in consultative and authoritative societies. They are much more versatile and adaptable than cell churches pattern.
The Parable of the Growing Seed:
Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
— Mark 4:26-29
FOUR FIELDS Diagnostic Diagram:
• EMPTY FIELD: Entry Plan — Where or with whom (what people groups) are you planning to extend the Kingdom?
• SEEDING FIELD: Gospel Plan — Where or with whom are you sharing the good news of the Kingdom? How are you doing that?
• GROWING FIELD: Discipleship Plan — How are you equipping people and growing them spiritually, individually and in their natural networks?
• HARVESTING FIELD: Church Formation Plan — How are new spiritual families (simple churches) being formed?
• MULTIPLYING: With whom, how and when are you filtering for faithful people, equipping and holding them accountable for reproduction?
Coaching Checklist is a powerful tool you can use to quickly assess your own strengths and vulnerabilities when it comes to making disciples who multiply. It’s also a powerful tool you can use to help others – and others can use to help you. Use the following steps to take this quick self-assessment.
STEP 1: Read through the Disciple Training Tools in the far left column of the Checklist.
STEP 2: Mark each one of the Training Tools, using the following method.