Making Radical Disciples - Leader Guide - Mandarin Edition: A complete training system for mission trips, house churches, disciple groups, and believers wanting to fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. Developed and field-tested in Southeast Asia over a seven-year period, learners experience hands-on training in how to imitate Christ in their daily lives.
From the Author:
Making Radical Disciples is based on Jesus' five point strategy to reach the world: grow strong in God, share the gospel, make disciples, start groups that become churches, and train leaders. These materials give practical and reproducible aids in joining Jesus where He is working today and are the result of over a decade of research and testing in both North America and Southeast Asia. This system is not theory, but practice. Use it to make a real difference in the world as you are on your mission with God. We have and you can too.
After starting a rural church and a suburban church in America, our family sensed God's call to Southeast Asia to train and develop new leaders. I had been a church planter in America for over ten years and had coached other church planters as well. How hard could it be to move overseas and do the same thing there? Our family left for the mission field with hubris and high hopes.
During language learning, I began to train others with a national partner. We started by offering a one-week training course on basic discipleship and church planting. Typically, thirty to forty students would come to the training. They often commented on how much they enjoyed the lessons and appreciated our teaching. Nevertheless, one thing began to bother me: it was evident that they were not teaching others what they had learned - they were not making disciples themselves. In fact, it seemed like we were attracting "professional seminar goers."
Now in America you can "get away" with them not teaching others because there is (or has been) a biblical understanding at the center of our culture, even among lost people. In Southeast Asia, however, no biblical understanding exists among the lost. In America, you might count on the fact that this person will probably encounter another Christian who will influence them; on the mission field, no such guarantee exists.
After one of our training events, I sat down in a teashop with my interpreter and asked him a simple question:
"John. How much of the training we did this week do you think the folks will actually do and train others to do?"
What happened next surprised and humbled me. John thought about my question for a while and I could tell he did not want to give me an answer. In his culture, a student should never critique a teacher and he felt like that was what I was asking him to do. After more conversation and assurances from me, he gave a response that changed everything:
"Dr. Dan, I think they will do about ten percent of what you taught them this past week."
I was stunned, but I tried not to show it. Instead, I asked John another question that started a practice we would follow for the next two and a half years:
"John, can you show me the ten percent you think they will do or are doing? My plan is to keep that ten percent, throw out the rest, and rewrite the training until they do everything we train them to do."
John showed me the ten percent he believed they would actually do. We discarded the rest and rewrote the training for the next meeting. One month later, we offered another weeklong training and I asked John the same question afterwards: What percent will they do?
John said, "Dr. Dan, I am pretty sure they will do fifteen percent of what you taught this time."
I was speechless. What John didn't know is that I had rewritten the training from the previous month, putting in the "best of the best" of everything I had learned as a pastor in America and while coaching other church planters. That seminar had the best I had to give and the learners were only going to do fifteen percent of it!
Thus began the process of refining and developing the Follow Jesus Training system. Each month, we taught a one-week seminar and had a feedback session after the seminar's completion. The same question continued to guide our efforts: What percent of what we taught them will they do because of the training?
By the third month, our percentage rose to twenty percent; the next month, it went to twenty-five. Some months we made no progress at all. Other months, we leaped ahead. Throughout the development phase, however, one clear principle emerged. The more we trained others to follow Jesus' example, the more likely they were to train others to do the same.
I still remember the day John and other nationals shared with me that the people we had trained were doing ninety percent of what we had taught them to do. We had long since left our western methods, our Asian methods, our PhD training, and our experiences behind; we learned to trust in nothing but the example Jesus left us to follow.
May God bless you and the ones you train abundantly as you imitate Jesus and teach others to do the same.
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