Answering William the Wise

How are you training these new believers to follow Jesus and fish for people? What are they doing?

After a recent post this question came in from a mentor. I like to call him William the Wise.

He's rejoicing in what God has done through us, but the knows the end game. How are we training these new disciples?  What is God doing through them? That's the question that separates just a great ministry from a disciple-making movement.

So what are we doing to make sure we’re focused on a movement rather than just our ministry?

  1. We disciple to conversion.

    Our discover bible studies help people to begin obeying Jesus as they are learning about him.

  2. We baptize new believers immediately.
    Actually not immediately. But as we share the gospel with them we talk about baptism as an essential element of following Jesus. Typically they get baptized within a couple of weeks.
  3. We teach new believers to share their story and the gospel story.
    When someone believes we immediately ask them who else in their world needs to know Jesus. We ask them who they will share their story with in the following week. We pray with them for those people by name. When we catch up next we ask how it went. We immediately begin teaching them how to share their story and share the gospel.
  4. We teach disciples to make disciples.
    Everything we do is simple. We want a new disciple to not only lead people to Christ but to begin discipling them. What we do they can immediately learn to do with the people in their world.
  5. We teach new disciples to form church.
    We do discovery bible study with passages like Acts 2:36-47. We let the bible speak concerning what God’s people do when they come together. You don’t have to go to church to become a follower of Jesus, but no disciple can follow alone.
  6. We teach disciples to rely on the Word and the Holy Spirit.
    A disciple-making movement cannot be centrally controlled and organized. Nor is it a free-for-all. Our end game is to see church communities that can study the scriptures for themselves, govern themselves, led by the Holy Spirit, taking the gospel to their community and beyond. We’re not there yet, but that’s the end-game.
  7. We train anything that moves.
    There are two types of people in the world. People who need to know about Christ, and people who know Christ and need to be trained to reach others. We train new believers. We train existing believers. We look for those who are obedient and fruitful and we pour our lives into them. We help them become practitioner-trainers.

There are still a lot of missing pieces in our experience. Yet all the signs are there that God is at work. People are coming to faith and learning how to follow and obey.

I spent twenty years advocating for church planting and church planting movements. I’ve give that up. Now I look for those who want to connect with people, share the gospel, train disciples, gather them into communities, and multiply workers.

And I’m having too much fun to stop.

UPDATE

Here's the current form of the tool we use for making disciples and training trainers.