I just finished reading a doctoral dissertation on T4T written by Steve Smith, who was the co-author of the T4T book with Ying Kai. Smith has been involved with T4T since the early days of CPM research, and has implemented T4T successfully with a rural tribal group in Asia and has taught T4T to missionaries and consulted on various CPM initiatives for many years. He is probably one of the 10 most knowledgeable people on the subject of Church Planting Movements / Disciple Making Movements. This dissertation is book length and includes far more in-depth information about T4T than the book mentioned above. You can download a copy here for free.
However, I am also aware that most won’t take the time to read through a 350+ page doctoral dissertation, so I’m going to just highlight here in the blog some things that caught my attention as I read it.
In the last post I surveyed the 3/3rds process that is the genius of Ying Kai. I mentioned the 4 essential elements that are necessary for multiplication. I want to just quote a few comments from Steve Smith on this subject.
“It has been observed in T4T training around the world that a general lack of awareness prevails about the three-thirds process in general and the four essential reproduction components in particular. In the International Mission Board where T4T was developed, a general lack of awareness prevails in many contexts despite (and sometimes because of) the T4T training received.
I personally find in my T4T training of missionaries, church planters and pastors globally, that these four components are the greatest surprise of the discipling process of T4T. In general, it seems that would-be T4T implementers typically drop many or all of these four components from their training time for two main reasons: lack of awareness of them (i.e. they do not realize they are essential elements of the T4T process) or the pressure of time. In regards to the latter, when trainers are pressed for time, (e.g. the meeting starts late, so they have less time for their T4T meeting), the elements of the seven most commonly dropped to save time are these reproduction essentials. The typical order of what is left out is:
• Practice (most common; the meeting is out of time)
• Accountability (second most common; the trainer is uncomfortable with this)
• Vision casting (third most common; the trainer forgets its importance)
• Setting Goals with Prayer (fourth most common; the meeting runs out of time)”
As one would expect in a doctoral dissertation, Smith did research via surveys of CPM practitioners and drew conclusions from the statistical analysis of the responses and the relative success of those practitioners. Without boring you with the details, I’ll just quote his summary of those results:
“The top performers emphasize all the components except new lesson more than the bottom performers. This indicates an attempt to create a well-rounded meeting, even sacrificing / shortening a new Bible Study at times in order to help the trainers [disciples] work through problems or get to reproduction. In contrast, bottom performers emphasize the Bible study (new lesson) element much more than the top performers… It is important to note, that while the top performers struck a healthy balance of all seven components, the four reproduction components were among the most frequently practiced. This regimen appears to indicate purposefulness by these practitioners to get to reproduction – to implement a new way of discipling that enables their members to become disciple makers.”
In the next post I will describe some things I learned and that surprised me about Vision Casting.