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T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution: The Story Behind the World's Fastest Growing Church Planting Movement and How it Can Happen in Your Community! Paperback – January 1, 2011
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However, T4T is much more than just a discipleship method. T4T integrates all the basics of a church planting movement (CPM) into one comprehensive solution that accomplishes the elements of a CPM, namely evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and leadership development. CPM practitioners no longer have to resort to an assortment of methods but have what the authors claim is a "Swiss Army knife" amongst all CPM approaches. Built into the T4T method is a repeating process that trains believers, enabling them to practice and eventually progress to become trainers themselves of other disciples.
At the heart of T4T is an understanding that discipleship can be reduced to a dual responsibility of following Jesus and fishing for men. Disciples are not only positioned to receive teaching but also to reciprocate by giving of themseves to the expansion of the kingdom. In that regard, T4T uses the term "trainers" for disciples and builds on the goal of multiplying generations of trainers. The T4T process elevates the primacy of the Great Commision and empowers a new believer to witness and share the gospel from the get-go. This approach stands in stark contrast to many discipleship programs which are usually knowledge driven and focused on the spiritual formation of a new believer. For the T4T method, a new believer's being, belonging, and behaving are all occurring simultaneously.
But what is radical about T4T is that not only is a new believer encouraged and is held accountable to witness for the gospel, but they are also given the mandate to start new T4T groups and train others that they bring to faith. The infancy of a believer is not a gating factor for him (or her) to begin to train others. The authors point out that many CPMs are stalled because leadership have control issues and fall short on trusting the control of the Holy Spirit in empowering new believers. While I am in full support of the idea of empowering the priesthood of believers, the T4T approach does beg the question of sustainability in spiritual growth. Even though there is a continuing training-on-the-job in the T4T process, the question remains whether a new believer can carry out his leadership and pastoral role in his new groups with divine distinction. In matters of pastoral care and vision-casting, can a person whose own heart has yet to have been sufficiently exposed and trained by a reasonable body of divine content be able to teach others (Mt 10:24, Lk 6:40)?
Along the same veins, I also find the lack of discussion on spiritual gifting and calling somewhat troubling. The underlying tone of the book seems to point fruitfulness as a direct result of hard work and resolve. Performance orientation is emphasized as the authors suggest investing in those who are fruitful (identified as "Trainer of Trainers"). The authors also seem to be saying "size matters" when they remarked that the character requirements of a leader is dependent on the congregration size.
In conclusion, T4T raises some stirring questions about our paradigms in discipleship that deserve due reflection. However, the theological and pastoral concerns I have of the approach makes me wonder if in God's economy, does the end justify the means?
I felt that the book was a bit longer than necessary, I felt that it repeated itself often from chapter to chapter. But the bottom line is this, don't over think or over stress on how Discipleship is done. Instead, just start training others and encourage them to go out soon and start sharing the Gospel with those they come in contact with.
The biggest problem for the Western Church is that the people are afraid to share the Gospel then afraid to work in Discipleship, they think it is going to be too difficult. But T4T will crush that myth of the difficulty and help you gain some tools for getting to work, helping others and finding success and thus renewed hope for the task of discipling the world.
Smith’s T4T process is in contrast to David Watson’s methodology, with emphasis to begin small. Watson had six (himself included) for his first group. “You and your team must sow the gospel broadly to win the first believers to train.” Smith said, “The CPM that has emerged in Ying’s ministry has challenged common discipleship and church-planting expectations of today. It harks back to the original discipleship revolution.”
The value of this work is that it provides a strategy to work on for the process of church multiplication. Since, according to the book, it works well in an Asian context. But one may find it difficult to grasp the content for the "training for trainers," making it strong in context but poor in content.
It also suggested a useful format for small group meetings, which comprises of 3 thirds: First Third: 1. Pastoral Care 2. Worship 3. Loving Accountability 4. Vision Casting; Second Third: 5. New Lesson; Final Third: 6. Practice the Lesson 7. Set Goals and Pray for each other. This could serve as a useful alternative to the commonly used 4 "W"s (Welcome, Worship, Word, Work) in many cell group meetings, which some may find boring and lacking (e.g. accountability and lesson practice).
The book is a product of two globally acclaimed practitioners in the field of church planting movement strategy. The strategic focus of the book is aimed at Vision Casting, Gospel Bridges, Gospel Presentation, Discipleship, Baptism, Church Formation and Reproducing Leadership.
The substance of the book is well supported by a series of biblical precedents and promises offering Life-on-Life fluidity.
A unique feature is that T4T lays it bare in plain language what to do and what not to do when implementing church planting movement and discipleship multiplication objectives.
It is supplemented by a comprehensive Scripture reference index and a very helpful quick connect topical page idex.
I have personally heard the presentations made by the authors at a conference and have found the strategies discussed in the book validated with many real life experience in the application of the strategy worldwide.
T4T Discipleship ReRevolution can be highly effective in leadership training in the rural communities where the delivery method is based on oral communication.
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