T4T: A Discipleship ReRevolution

Ying Kai and his wife led the largest church planting movement in history to this point. This is the story and the
principles behind it. Written with Steve Smith, who also has led a church planting movement in East Asia. Widely influential book.

This  book  chronicles  the  extraordinary  tale  of  a  Church  Plant  Movement  (CPM)  in  Southeast  Asia  that saw  over  150,000  churches  planted and  1.7  million  baptisms  in  the  10-­‐year  period  between 2000  and 2010.  Ying Kai and his wife Grace realized the challenge of reaching 20 million people in their area with the  gospel.    This  challenge  drove  them  to  their  knees  and  to  God’s  Word.    Simultaneous  to  this movement, Steve and Laura Smith were using these principles among the Ina people, who are also in Southeast Asia.  This book is full of exciting vignettes and biblical principles.

They focused on three foundational commands that come from the great commission.  They are:

  1. Go, not come
  2. Share with everyone, not some
  3. Make disciples, not church members, or decisions

They saw everyone  as either saved or lost.   If they were lost, then they would share their faith with them.  If they were saved, then they would train them to witness to others.  They realized that the DNA they instilled in the new believers was the same DNA that would be passed on to other generations of believers.    This  prompted  them  to  adopt  principles  such  as  baptize  new  believers  right  away,  start witnessing right after you come to Christ, learn to study the Bible and obey the Bible for yourself.

Everything that Ying and Grace Kai did with new believers, they in turn expected them to do with others.  So they were reaching not just converts, but disciples, multiplying disciples.  He prefers the term trainers because it implies action and not just knowledge.   The key concept laced through all of CPM including the T4T approach to CPM is obedience based discipleship as opposed to knowledge based discipleship.

Both Steve Smith and Ying Kai found that as a result of all the ministry about 20% of new converts would actually start groups and then train people in their groups to start other groups. This statistic is reflective of the parable of the four soils.  A typical group meeting or church meeting includes three parts:

  1. Look back, which included pastoral care, worship, accountability and vision casting
  2. Look up, which includes a new study in the Bible
  3. Look ahead, which includes practicing the lesson, setting goals for outreach and praying for the lost

Smith and Kai underscore that you cannot omit any of the seven elements of these three parts, because we invariably will omit the elements involved with outreach and the group simply degenerates  into a typical inwardly focused home group.   

T4T should not be considered a recipe.   Rather, it is the lifestyle of the fully-­‐devoted follower of Jesus Christ.   It is infused with biblical principles from God’s Word.   It has had incredible results around the world.  It is based on extraordinary prayer.  And its potential for kingdom impact is unlimited.