Building Multiplying Disciples from a Distance

Week by Week Strategy for Coaching and Training Campus Leaders

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

 

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
-Matthew 28:18-20

Matthew 28, also known as the Great Commission, describes the command by Jesus to go and make disciples. In Easton’s Bible Dictionary, a “disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes His doctrine, (2) rests on His sacrifice, (3) is filled with His Spirit, and (4) imitates His example.” Verse 20 also says to teach them to observe all that they were commanded. In 2 Timothy 2:2, the Apostle Paul gives a clear command to his young disciple, Timothy. Paul, similarly to the Great Commission, instructs Timothy to entrust to faithful men what they have heard from him. Who will in turn, be able to teach others also. Who will teach others, who will teach others…

My question is: are we building disciples by setting a pattern that is easy to follow and imitate? Can people observe our life and/or our training with clarity and simplicity?

Teaching and training needs to become fully internalized into someone’s life so that they become true disciples. There is a sense that our training needs to produce “muscle memory” so that it is practiced and applied for life. I believe three things need to be in place. Repeat, Review, and Remind – that is what will help teaching to stick. When you look at the “15 weekly training and coaching schedule”, you will see an abundance of repeating, reviewing and reminding. Be aware that there is an art to repetition reviewing and reminding – you can say or ask the same things in many different ways. You can also use creative techniques. For example, there are numerous ways and angles you can use when asking someone if they’re living a pure life.  

I would add two more important concepts to underscore in your mind – keep everything you do simple and transferable so that it builds lasting habits.

Over complication and too much information will work against you. Keep the main things the main things in discipleship. I have narrowed our distance training down to 5 main areas that all our disciples should master.

  1. Be sure your disciples are having consistent devotionals with at least 5-10 minutes in the Word.

  2. Be sure they are filled with the Spirit and living pure lives.

  3. Be sure they are praying, not just for themselves, but targeted prayers for their specific location in ministry.

  4. Be sure they know the message of the gospel well and are sharing it regularly.

  5. Finally, train your disciples to ask great questions for each Bible study they conduct. Have only 7-9 excellent questions that encourages participation, engagement, and application.

Some of the greatest challenges our disciples will face is Discouragement, Distraction, and being Disparaged by others. Build strong disciples who are fully proficient in the 5 areas above. This “15-weekly training and coaching schedule” (I would like to increase this to 30), is designed to counteract those challenges. Caution - you will see lots of overlap. That is all by design to build “muscle memory” and make things stick (notice in this document I’m already repeating things).

Don’t feel rushed in your training, if you don’t get to everything one week, put it on the agenda for next week. In truth, this training below is very aggressive. It is possible to just touch on some of the topics that will be covered in more detail later in the term or even left for the following school term or year. If I were coaching a campus from day 1 of a 15-week semester without interruption, I would try to touch on all the issues in the Training and Coaching Guide below.

In a real world, no doubt, there will be interruptions and factors of many kinds. You don’t want to force it. What you do cover, be thorough, be clear, don’t take any shortcuts, and be consistent. Hopefully we’ll have at least 1 full year with students, and ideally 2-4 years to train them.

Remember, you will be doing Re-training, Reminders, Repetition, and Reviews every school term/year on all the items in this 15-week coaching guide. Your training never ends on the foundational 5 concepts above. There is also a host of training tools you’ll want to add as time goes on, but always keep the main things the main things (another repeated phrase, you’re on to me). New people will be added to your movement; they all need to be trained by those who are now experts in what you’ve taught and trained them in. That sounds like multiplying discipleship.

You will also have discussions on other new training tools as mentioned above, items that are not mentioned directly in the schedule. I call those “side-bar” issues. They are important in that they help to complete and strengthen your training. At times, a side-bar issue could take up most of one week’s training time allotment. Again, you must be flexible.

Some of the Side Bar items could be setting up the weekly meetings, recruiting to conferences, retreats, and summer missions, advertising, gathering new contacts, big evangelistic events, parties/socials, finances and more. Sometimes answering certain questions could supplant your training for the week and that’s okay. There is also the potential for unforeseen circumstances of interpersonal conflicts or theological/denominational differences.

In the training schedule below, you will notice that generally, the first three items of each conversation are the same. You can use some flexibility on how brief or extensive you will want these Reminders, Reviews, and Repetitions to be. Maybe every other week you will share what you’re learning in your personal devotional or just have one student share on different weeks. This can be a great time to help you bring a Biblical perspective and motivation to all your training. Stay flexible and sensitive to the Spirit in your use of each weekly strategic appointment. Cover as much in as you can but be willing to scale back as needed when other issues press in on any given week.

The training schedule below is not for self-study but for hands on training using Google Hangouts, Skype or any livestream. I attempted to take my personal best articles, teaching, training, and wisdom from many staff, and organize them for live use (of course feel free to add you own). This came out of the frustration of not finding what you’re looking for (have you experienced that?)

Again, feel free to totally customize and cover the material in the time that you need as the Spirit leads. Have fun and let’s see what God does in your ministry situation. Ultimately He must do the work, not us. Keep praying regularly for your ministry and disciples – it begins and ends in prayer. Our goal is building multiplying disciples who will establish a movement to saturate the campus with the gospel message to all who will listen. Then we send our disciples out to reach the campus, the market place, and the mission field everywhere.