8: An Example- The Ying Kai Story

Ying Kai invented the T4T method of discipling that is now being used all around the world.

You can find lots of information about T4T at this link.

So what is T4T?

In the year 2000, Ying, A Chinese-American missionary, was pastoring a church in Asia when God began to burden his heart to see the countless millions of Chinese outside his church come to faith in Christ. In addition to pastoring, Ying had already been starting a new church every year for several years, but his restless heart knew that this was simply not enough to reach the millions of lost people living and dying all around him every day.

One day, as Ying was praying, the Holy Spirit seemed to say to him, “Ying, what is better than planting a church?” Ying could not imagine, until the Spirit seemed to whisper, “Training others to plant churches.” Ying was immediately encouraged, he knew he could train 10-20 new church planters each year, and each of them could start a new church. Before he finished his prayer, though, the Holy Spirit seemed to pose a second question, “Ying, what is better than training others to plant churches?” Ying was at a loss. What could be better? Then the Spirit replied, “Training others to train others to plant churches!” Ying left this time of prayer filled with a desire to obey the Spirit’s leading, and to begin what he called “Training for Trainers,” or T4T.

Ying began with about 30 men and women, laypersons in his local church, sharing with them what he thought was an ambitious vision to see 200 simple churches planted over the next 3 years.

As Ying attempted to teach them how to win lost persons to Christ and plant new churches, he kept hearing the same pattern of objections. Ying realized that these typical Christian men and women had four questions or challenges that kept them from being effective partners in winning the lost to Christ and planting new, reproducing churches.

The questions were:

  1. Who do I talk to?
  2. What do I say?
  3. What if they say yes?
  4. How do I disciple them?

As Ying began addressing these four questions, he watched as God began transforming these average Christian men and women into confident and competent partners in multiplying new believers and churches across the province.

Within a few short weeks, Ying’s trainees had started 20 small groups that were already becoming new churches. Seven months later, Ying could count 327 small groups formed with 4,000 newly baptized believers. In only 7 months, God had already surpassed Ying’s vision of 200 churches in 3 years!

By the end of the first year, the movement counted 908 house churches with more than 12,000 newly baptized members. The following year saw 3,535 new churches formed with more than 50,000 baptisms.

You can imagine the skepticism that accompanied numbers like these. So, the next year a research assessment team investigated what was rapidly becoming the fastest growing Church Planting Movement in the world. They discovered that, rather than exaggerating, Ying had actually been under-reporting his numbers by as much as 40%. Some churches reproduced 17 times in one and a half years!

By the end of that year, the movement had added another 104,000 baptisms and more than 9,000 new churches.

Despite persecution, disease epidemics, and many spiritual attacks, the movement has continued its remarkable growth. By 2008, researchers report nearly 2 million baptisms have taken place in less than a decade, and more than 80,000 new churches have been started.

This movement has not taken place in a vacuum. It is happening in a part of the world that has had more than a century of missionary activity, and yet this region of Asia has been more characterized by its unresponsiveness and hard soil than by its openness to the Gospel.

What changed? How did God turn this challenging field into one of the most fruitful on earth?

To understand how the Gospel spread so rapidly through this movement, we need to look more closely at the four questions.