Last week I had the opportunity to train church planters in Harrisburg, PA. My hope as I presented the training was not simply that they would leave having been trained to start churches by making disciples, but that they would leave with a commitment to train their church planting teams to become disciplemakers.
My goal in training church planters is to train them to become trainers!
If you want to see a multiplication movement, switch from simply training disciples, to training disciplemaking trainers. Don’t just train leaders, train leaders who are training leaders. Every time you train someone to do anything, include an emphasis in your training on how they can pass the training on to others.
Imagine the multiplication that would take place if everyone you trained were committed to training others to train others. This is what Paul had in mind in 2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Imagine the multiplication that would take place if every time you taught God’s Word to others, those whom you taught were obedient to God’s Word and they also taught others what they were learning. What if the gospel message was not simply taught and learned, but actually passed on to others who passed it on to others…
This is what Jesus intended when He sent His disciples to make disciples. He expected them to train others who would become trainers. He expected them to pass it on.
Who are you training to become disciplemaking trainers?
If you are the only one training disciplemakers, you become the limiting factor in reproducing disciplemakers. You have a limited capacity. But if you train to train others – you become a multiplication engine. There is no limit to reproduction if everyone you train becomes a trainer of trainers.
As you are discipling someone, train them to start discipling others. Help them to identify everyone they know personally who doesn’t yet follow Jesus. Train them to present their testimony and the gospel. Pray with them for opportunities to present the gospel message. Train them to start doing the same thing with every person who becomes a follower of Jesus. Train your disciples to make disciples who are trained to make disciples.
Often new believers are encouraged to get “involved” in Bible Study and other church activities, rather than being trained as disciplemakers. This is a dangerous practice because it often extracts them from relationship with those who need the gospel! Right when a person starts following Jesus is the right time to train them to share with others the story of God’s grace in their lives and the hope that comes through faith in Christ. Don’t delay their involvement in disciplemaking. Train them immediately to become a disciplemaking trainer.
Delaying the start of this critical training process with new followers of Christ will likely result in a consumer mentality about the church. Church will become a place they go or something they do on Sundays. This will also reinforce the expectation that only those who have been Christ followers for an extended period of time can make disciples.
Ongoing Training Multiplies Churches
Rather than starting church services in order to make disciples, I encourage church planting teams to start churches by training disciplemakers. Be committed to the ongoing process of multiplying trainers. The result will be more and better churches that are multiplying disciplemakers.
The training I developed for church planters includes specific behaviors for the church planter to incorporate in their lives, and also emphasizes the importance of training new believers to adopt these same behaviors.
1. Seize Jesus’ Mission
• Recognize that you’ve been commissioned to make disciples who make disciples.
• Commission every new believer to make disciples who make disciples.
2. Adopt Missionary Thinking and Behaviors
• Embrace missional living.
• Train every new believer to embrace missional living
3. Exegete the Culture
• Discover the people and sub-cultures around you in your Circle of Accountability.
• Train every new believer to discover the people and sub-cultures around you in your Circle of Accountability.
4. Incarnate the Gospel
• Be Jesus to everyone everywhere – embody Christ’s message.
• Train every new believer to Be Jesus to everyone everywhere and to embody Christ’s message.
5. Multiply Disciplemakers
• Follow Jesus and fish for men, training others to follow Jesus and to fish for men.
• Train every new believer to follow Jesus and to fish for men, training others to follow Jesus and to fish for men.
6. Form Communities -> Churches
• Form Missional Communities with followers and potential followers of Jesus, and then start churches as they multiply.
• Train every new believer to form Missional Communities with followers and potential followers of Jesus, and then start churches as they multiply.
7. Mobilize Leaders and Teams
• Mentor leaders and teams to reproduce disciplemaking leaders and teams.
• Train every new believer to mentor leaders and teams to reproduce disciplemaking leaders and teams.
8. Clarify Your Vision
• Clearly communicate God’s vision for making disciples and starting churches in your community.
• Train every new believer to clearly communicate God’s vision for making disciples and starting churches in your community.
Will you train disciplemaking trainers?
What skills and behaviors will you include in your training?
How will you develop them as trainers?
In what ways will you hold them accountable to be training others?