The Genius of Ying Kai

Ying Kai was the missionary who started a Church Planting Movement in a closed Asian country that resulted in 1,738,143 new baptized believers and 158,993 new churches in a 10 year period. The complete story and unique approach to ministry is detailed in T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution by Kai and Smith. Kai’s entire approach to ministry is worthy of study, but I want to just highlight one thing Kai did that probably did more than anything else to propel his movement to success of Biblical proportions (book of Acts).

In all of his discipleship, Kai used what is called the 3/3rds process. That means that when he spent time with the disciple or a small group, the time spent together was divided into thirds. If they have two hours together, it is 40 minutes / 40 minutes / 40 minutes. If they have only 30 minutes together, it is 10 minutes / 10 minutes / 10 minutes. No matter how long or short of a time they have together, they always divide the time into thirds and do different things in each of those thirds. The breakdown of the time looks like this:

Look Back (1/3rd)

1.  Member Care
2. Worship
3. Accountability
4. Vision Casting

Look Up (1/3rd)

5. New Lesson

Look Ahead (1/3rd)

6. Practice the Lesson
7. Goal Setting and Prayer

Kai says that the most important parts are the bold red parts. At the end of the lesson they set goals concerning who they are going to share the gospel with and pray. The following week they discuss how they did with that goal (in a non-judgmental loving accountability). He always casts vision with a story or a scripture passage, and in the final third they practice the lesson or gospel presentation so that they can teach it to others.

Kai says that these red parts are the parts we are most tempted to eliminate when short of time, but they are the most important part. Consistent goal setting, practice, vision casting and loving accountability are the only way to get to multiplication. A typical Bible Study in the American context would include 1 (Member Care), 2 (Worship) and 5 (New Lesson), but leave out the most important parts that lead to multiplication. And of course, that is exactly what we see happening in a typical American Bible Study… no multiplication. Kai says that if you have to cut short some part, trim back anything but the bold red parts. This 3/3rds process was passed down from generation to generation of believers and became part of the DNA of the movement.

The genius of Ying Kai was the 3/3rds process. There is much more to T4T that is worthy of study and I don’t want to oversimplify the process, but the cornerstone of T4T is this 3/3rds process. By strictly adhering to this process, multiplication is kept front and center in a way that can lead to the birth of a movement. T4T has been adopted (with appropriate contextualization) on just about every continent in a variety of languages / religions / people groups with amazing results.