3. Discipling In The First Few Months



1. First priority: Obedience to Jesus

The entire goal of discipleship is obedience to the commands of Jesus from a heart of love (Matthew 28:19-20). Keep this in the front of your mind every time you meet and whatever you do. This emphasis speeds both maturity and spiritual reproduction (Luke 6:40).

Initially the new disciple (or disciples if a family or group have come to know Jesus) will be

Taken through the 9 commands of Jesus which emphasise obedience to their new Lord and master (Matthew 7:24-27). Then go on to other Gospel stories.

They should also be tagging along whenever you are out and about sowing Gospel seeds of any type. You will be training them in all the techniques you know in building the kingdom (Luke 8:1).

You will also be speaking into their life and helping them iron out the spiritual and social issues that have plagued them all their lives (Romans 12:2).

They will be growing in God through the regular DBS studies. Growing together as an oikos, asking questions and discovering answers together from scripture (2 Timothy 2:15).

When these patterns have been set up properly they will simply continue on as they grow in the Holy Spirit.

2. Patterns of prayer and soul winning

Always practice passionate prayer yourself as they will copy your standards. Encourage them to pray for their unsaved loved ones all the time. Victor John says prayer is the heartbeat of the Bhojpuri movement and in the DNA of every believer.

Many West African DMM group clusters also  practice individual weekly fasting and prayer, half night weekly group prayer and monthly all-night prayer for the lost in their DMM church groups. These guys are really serious about spreading the Good News to their fellow Muslims. They know the battle is in the spirit, not in the natural realm (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Answered prayer is the most powerful confirmation the new disciples are on the right track. Once they see the supernatural they will very rarely turn back. So always encourage them to expect and pray for miracles in the lives of others as well as all the other signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

3. Step back even more but coach from the sidelines

After a month or so, and if there are at least two new disciples gathering for a DBS and maturing in obedience to Jesus, you will now be operating in the role of a mentor who comes and goes rather than being present for the meetings.

This is for two reasons:

1. First, you could also have other meetings you are setting up or be out busy sowing Gospel seeds. So you will be busy yourself.

2. Second, the longer you stick around in the meetings the slower they will mature in Jesus. We don’t want that. We want them to take ownership as soon as possible.

Paul stayed with his new young churches for a few weeks teaching and training intensely. Then he left them and trusted them to the Holy Spirit while coaching from the sidelines through letters. We are not to be smothering spiritual parents using the now familiar pattern:

I do, you watch.

I do, you help.

You do, I help.

You do, I watch

4. Continuing a DBS with them from a distance

For further DBS topics after the 9 commands of Jesus, move on to other Gospel passages so they can more fully understand the life and ministry of Jesus, and their authority as a believer. Their own questions and queries will also provide you with more than enough ideas for studies.

Then there are individual studies and training in leadership for those who are showing signs of really taking off.

Above all, in whatever you do, use simple tools that the new disciple can reproduce with others. This sets the DNA of their future Christian walk. Don’t hold them back either if they start to become passionate about the harvest. That’s how we learn best.

5. Expect Transformation and multiplication

These first few months are a very precious time where their Oikos and friends start to see changes in their life and want to know more, where God is moving mightily to heal and deliver their bodies and souls, and where others could be coming to Jesus as well. Exciting times!


Ideally, many new disciples will come in to faith in small groups because the Person of Peace has opened the door to their oikos. There are a few differences when discipling a group compared to an individual, but generally it is better and growth is faster. This is why Jesus specifically asked us to look for these Persons of Peace (Matthew 10:11-13). It’s his secret formula for DMM multiplication.

Discipleship groups:

  1. Discipleship groups:
  2. Remember more
  3. Learn quicker
  4. Back each other up
  5. Hold each other more accountable
  6. Replicate faster and more often
  7. Self-correct

With discipling a group, as always, start with the vision of multiplication. Who else needs to hear this message?

1. Always start a the group at their venue. The reason is that they own the group. It’s on their territory so they feel more comfortable and in charge.

2. Before long you will see a leader emerge. These people can then receive extra mentoring from you in leadership.

3. Use the principle of two-by-two training as Jesus did (Luke 10:1).

4. If families come to Jesus, encourage the head to lead regular DMS and prayer for the lost with his family. This is the job of every believing dad!

5. Get ready to transition them into a fully-fledged DMM simple church!


We will look at the longer term more fully in the lessons on the Fourth Field: Harvest. However, here are a few snippets of what should be happening over the longer term. You should, on average, be seeing your disciples:

  1. Transition to self-feeding on scripture and obedience to a holy life.
  2. Fully trained in being led by the spirit of the Lord in service to others.
  3. Have completely renewal their minds of their worldly lifestyle world and superstitions.
  4. Have undertaken deeper but practical theological training with you as their spiritual parent.
  5. Launch their own ministries, and leading others to Jesus.
  6. Forming and mentoring new simple churches.
  7. Coaching multiple church leaders if they are a 4th Soil person.

Every growth pattern will be different because every circumstance and every heart and gift set is different. These are guidelines only. The general pattern for most DMM’s is that things move slowly at first because God is doing a deep transformational work in human hearts. Then they go much faster later as exponential growth kicks in.


Find an existing DMM church planter and interview them as to how they grow simple churches. Learn from their wisdom so you know what to do later in your ministry.