1. WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?
Field Three is all about what we do with someone after they decide to follow Jesus. It’s about making disciples who know how to make more disciples and do so quickly. It is not about growing believers or followers, but obedient disciples. Making disciples was THE specific command of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). So everything we do in our Christian life should be built around this one command.
But what actually is a disciple?
A disciple is not a church-goer.
A disciple is not someone who has made a decision for Jesus.
A disciple is not someone born into a traditional Christian family or culture.
A disciple is not a Christian who knows a lot of theology.
A disciple is not a Christian who says they love Jesus but then live their own life.
A disciple obeys everything Jesus commanded us (Matthew28:18-20)
A disciple does what Jesus did and even greater things! (John 14:12).
A disciple is obedient to Jesus’ teachings and lifestyle (John 14:21)
A disciple takes on increasing levels of responsibility for the harvest (Luke 9:10,)
A disciple is in the harvest field with his master (Luke 10:1-17)
A disciple is someone who loves people as much as Jesus did (John 13:34-35)
There is a big difference between the two groups!
Plant churches or plant disciples?
The heart of the DMM system is to create disciples who are able to quickly make more disciples because they have a heart of obedience, love and passion for Jesus that has changed their life completely for the better. They “ooze the Good News”!
If you make disciples, particularly in small groups, they will automatically form into healthy reproducing simple New Testament churches as they gather together. However, if you simply seek to plant simple house churches and then try to disciple those who gather, you are not guaranteed to be making healthy disciples.
The Kingdom of God starts growing inside individual human hearts. Then it grows:
In their Oikos; their friends and family
In their village or local neighbourhood
In their workplace
In their wider community
In their culture
In their institutions: education, the arts, law, business
That’s Gods ultimate plan (Revelation 21:23-26)!
So think big and start small.
The first three months of a person’s walk with Jesus is all about getting a person (or preferably a whole family) started in the disciplines and commands of Jesus. The goal is to develop patterns of obedience, responsibility, accountability and evangelism. Matthew 7:17-27 gives us a very clear teaching on this subject.
2. WHAT IS A DISCIPLER?
One of the very important lessons to learn as a Christian is that everything God wants us to do in the spiritual area of discipling has already been modeled in the natural area of marriage and parenting. Just as it is in the natural world, so it is with the spiritual realm. So a discipler is a spiritual parent.
The heart of every parent is one of love. It is crucial that your pure motivation for your spiritual babies is one of love, not obligation. Love is the heart of the Gospel. It is what motivated the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in their different ministries. Let it be ours too. Here are a few examples of what this means:
1. A natural family is formed through the motivation of love and self-sacrifice of mature adults. So is a new Christian formed but at the equivalent spiritual level.
2. Parenting is best done in pairs. So is discipling.
3. Parents who have a baby are naturally committed to seeing that baby reach full maturity. So stay with a new disciple until they grow up in Jesus and begin having their own spiritual babies and grand-babies.
4. Barrenness in a family is not natural. Christians who do not make disciples have corrupt spiritual DNA.
5. The best way for parents to teach and train is to model what they want their children to do. A new disciple will watch your every move and copy it, faults and all.
6. Children are best raised in small groups of siblings, not in institutions with large numbers or on their own. Discipling is also best done one-on-one or in small groups. They will be lost in a large church crowd.
7. Children will take on the values of their parents and become much like them in adulthood. Your spiritual children will become like you, so raise them well!
8. It is normal for children, when mature to form their own families and reproduce. If your new disciples cannot reproduce, you have somehow passed on corrupt spiritual DNA.
9. Every parent looks forward to the day when they are a grandparent. Your greatest joy will be seeing your disciples start to make their own disciples. Then you can step back but still guide.
10. A family looks after its own, financially, socially, and practically. No one goes without. Disciple makers will be there for their spiritual children in all sorts of ways.
Remember: If you are not a disciple yourself then you can never make a disciple out of someone else.
3. WHO ARE FOURTH SOIL DISCIPLES?
Some of the people you disciple will fall away through temptation, social pressure or fear. If it happens, leave it with Jesus. You did your best. A seed was sown in their lives that they may come back to. But Jesus had a master-plan to get around these losses. He specifically said to go to a Person of Peace (Matthew 10:11-13, Luke 10:1-7). Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to as many of them as you can handle as they are ready to open the door of their heart. Always remember that the Holy Spirit has beaten you to the harvest. It is ready for you to get there! Persons of Peace are very likely to become a 4th Soil disciple.
1. There are those who dismiss it.
2. Those who hear it but after a while they walk away because they have no deep spiritual roots.
3. The third group hear it, embrace it but there are idols and other loves in their life that eventually distract them.
4. The fourth group hear it and reproduce it in others up to 100 fold. They are the fourth soil people.
Here are examples of fourth soil people from scripture:
The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26–40)
Cornelius the first non-Jew to become a believer (Acts 10:9–11:1)
Lydia (Acts 16:13–15)
The Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:22–38)
The apostle Paul himself (Acts 9:1-30)
Timothy (Acts 16:1-2)
Pray to find these people. They are few but they are powerful and are catalysts for great change in their communities over many years. They will build a very large network of disciples if trained properly, as Timothy was.
The DMM system helps us not to lose these precious 4th Soil People as easily as the Western models of Christian growth do. If we quickly get new believers deeply rooted in obedience to the word, get the idols and weeds out of their lives, and get them into the harvest field, then we can change could have been just a few 4th soil people into an army of many. It all depends on the discipling process. The Western method sees few 4th soil develop. The DMM method maximises the number of 4th soil people.
1. Ask your spiritual superiors to give you a frank assessment as to whether you are a disciple based on the lists of attributes above.
2. Teach this lesson to someone and decide together to become obedient disciples.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth (John 14:13)