Multiply

Ying Kai grew up in Taiwan, raised by an active evangelist and church planter who started a new church every year for 28 years! For several years Ying replicated his father’s practices and most looking on would have said he was remarkably fruitful. He and his wife, Grace, would lead 40-60 people to Christ every year and start a new church.

But then they attended a CPM (church planting movement) training and begin to implement the practices of multiplication instead of addition. He shares the story in the video above. And more resources are available from T4T here. The book, Training for Trainers is an inspiring and practical read.

Also check out Steve Addison’s excellent resources and podcast here. For years now Steve has been collecting stories and sharing strategy to multiply disciples and churches everywhere. And the great news is that it is happening! Lipok’s story is just one of many inspiring accounts of regular people the Lord is using to transform the world!

The key is MULTIPLICATION. In the west we are usually fortunate to see ADDITION – a few new believers each year, a few new churches every decade. But the church has always been designed to multiply.

“And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Matthew 4:19-20

The expectation for the disciples was that they would 1) follow Jesus and 2) fish for more followers. Those who responded to the gospel of the kingdom were immediately trained in these commitments – following and fishing. As soon as we reach someone with the Gospel and begin to care for them, we should mobilize them back into the harvest field, and provide training as they go. At first, of course, we must go with them!

Jesus spelled it out in the Great Commission.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Matthew 28:19-20

The clear instruction as we make disciples is that we must teach them to OBEY all of Jesus’ commands. This must at least include His first commands to follow and to fish.

Paul also assumed and exhorted multiplication:

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

2 Timothy 2:1-2

We train in order to train others. We follow Jesus by enlisting more followers and training them to do the same. It’s a process that is designed to multiply. The reason it doesn’t is because disciples don’t obey. We don’t follow very faithfully and we don’t fish very effectively.

One of the key lessons from those who lead movements is the expectation of obedience. Movement leaders expect a 1:1 correlation between what believers learn and what they obey. A whole method of Bible study called “Discovery” has been used since 2008 and adapted for hundreds of different cultural contexts. I first saw it here. No Place Left has put together a whole set of resources called Four Fields.

https://noplaceleft.net/four-fields/

“Those who have multiplied themselves share a common process. This process goes by many names as practitioners seek to describe their mentorship. For clarity, within this manual, we will draw on the descriptions offered by Steve Smith and Ying Kai in their book T4T. The T4T process is the engine for movement. Application of the pattern of discipleship modeled by our Lord in the creation and investment of his apostolic band is essential in the understanding of Kingdom growth.”

From the Four Fields Manual, Nathan and Kari Shank

The engine for a movement is “the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5). Disciples are expected to follow Jesus. And following Jesus means becoming a more and more adept fisher of men. The evidence of a movement is second and third (and fourth and fifth) generation disciplemakers. Disciples make disciples who make disciples… and so on.

Notice the progression: 1) before someone responds to the Gospel, they are lost – dead in their sins. 2) At the moment of saving faith the sinner is reborn as a saint, made new in Christ, and needing care and support. 3) The young follower of Jesus needs milk to start growing and exercise to start obeying – they need to quickly be mobilized to obey Jesus by sharing what they are learning. 4) Training and oversight must be provided for these maturing believers as they actively seek to reach more people for Jesus.

We often think the progression is:

  1. Spiritually dead
  2. Newborn Christian
  3. Young believer in need of teaching
  4. Mature believer who studies the Bible a lot
  5. Leader in the church who teaches the Bible a lot

But that is not the New Testament pattern at all. That pathway simply expects more and more knowledge of God’s Word without any real expectation of obedience to God’s Word. Maturity as a Christian was never defined by knowledge but was always characterized by obedience – especially obedience to the Great Commission itself. The key to the disciplemaking process is not growing Christians into “adults” but training Christ-followers to become spiritual parents and grand-parents. The mature believer is not one who knows a lot but one who reproduces him or herself a lot into other people, training them to reproduce. So the Biblical progression is more like this:

  1. Spiritually dead
  2. Newborn Christian
  3. Young Christ-follower, beginning to obey
  4. Growing Christ-follower, actively leading others to Christ
  5. Leader in the Church, modeling and training others to multiply

When we follow the method Jesus designed, the result is multiplication!

“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

Acts 9:31

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