Beginning the Journey
In 1968, my youth pastor contacted me about a classmate who had recently placed his trust in Christ. He asked if I could spend some time with Jerry to help him get started as a believer. I was a seventeen-year-old senior who had a reputation as a spiritual leader that far outdistanced the reality of my walk with God. I was handed a booklet on “follow up” and encouraged to begin meeting with my classmate. Jerry was excited about his new relationship with Christ and faithfully completed the workbook each week. His enthusiasm was far more significant for me than any insight I could offer him. As we spent time together each week, we both experienced spiritual growth which transformed our lives, cemented an enduring friendship and resulted in fruitful ministry for decades.
My initial engagement in one-on-one discipleship was strengthened by the training and practical experience provided by Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) during college. Opportunities during three years in the Air Force revealed that people from other parts of the country were also interested in this pattern of intentional spiritual investment. Throughout seminary and several years of youth ministry, one-on-one discipleship was a consistent focus.
Then, in the mid 1980s I became the pastor of a large evangelical church. The pressures of that ministry led me to the unfortunate conclusion that I could no longer invest weekly time with individuals. Instead, I focused on preaching on Sunday and leading group studies for men. The fruit of those ministries was substantial. Many people grew spiritually and enjoyed fruitful influence in their relational spheres. However, very few of them gained the confidence needed to initiate the kind of one-on-one discipleship that launches contagious multipliers.
Renewing a Passion
About five years ago, my brother Ron and his wife, Terri, concluded a lengthy ministry as a pastor and joined Campus Crusade for Christ to focus on one-on-one discipleship. Unlike me, he had made this focused ministry a priority throughout his years as a pastor. His enthusiasm for this new opportunity was palpable. Our discussions about discipleship led to my reluctant acknowledgement that small groups can help people grow, but developing disciple-makers is pursued most effectively in a one-on-one context.1 During my last few years as a pastor it was a blessing to renew my focus on launching multipliers. Now Ron, Terri, my wife Kathy, and I have the privilege of investing in the lives of dozens of faithful people each year through Ministry Catalysts.2
Launching Multipliers! integrates decades of theological reflection with the experience of discipling scores of people who are now actively engaged in spiritual multiplication. Our exposure to discipleship resources produced by The Navigators, CRU, and the churches where we served have all contributed to this eighteen-session pathway. These carefully chosen tools are anchored in God’s Word and are useful for spiritual reproduction which maximizes personal ministry. While these sessions may be used in a variety of ways, they are designed for a one-on-one relationship focused on mutual spiritual growth and preparation for a lifetime of spiritual joy as we equip faithful people.
This mentoring relationship requires the kind of intentionality that makes ongoing participation a key priority rooted in Jesus’ command to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20). This approach also emphasizes individuality, encouraging questions and discussion about the personal issues affecting the spiritual growth of the participants. As each lesson is completed, it strengthens a friendship which helps both partners pursue a pattern of Christ-centered spiritual influence. Since believers are challenged to “make the most of the time” (Eph. 5:16), each day is an unrepeatable opportunity for investments which will matter for eternity.
While there are many ways to be involved in the good works for which we were created (Eph. 2:10), certainly one-on-one discipleship is a distinctive opportunity to fully leverage this life for eternal blessings. Imagine enjoying heaven with scores of people discipled by those you personally equipped for this lifetime of fruitfulness! Our hope is that your interaction with these truths will fill you with joyful gratitude for the privilege of participating in the Jesus’ Great Imperative: Make Disciples!
There are eighteen sessions in Launching Multipliers! organized under three core concepts: Established for Growth, Equipped for Ministry, and Empowered for Multiplication.
Each session has four sections:
God Says What?
We begin with What If?, which introduces a real-life situation relating to the biblical truth addressed in the session. This is like a pretest that helps you begin to think about the issue at hand based on your present understanding. Keep this initial perspective in view as you gain new insights from God’s Word. Do not erase your initial thoughts. You will want to share them with those you disciple so that they will sense that you are a fellow learner in this process.
Then we focus on God Says What?. A number of Scriptures will be examined, but we will begin with a biblical passage to be memorized that highlights the core truth of the session. Our goal is not just to remember the passage (often two verses), but to review it so often we cannot forget it. Scripture memorization is not complicated, but it does require effort. Here are some suggestions:
*Read the passage out loud several times and then attempt to write the verse or passage.
*Repeat that process 2-3 times and you will discover that it is beginning to stick in your brain. This will take about five minutes each day. By the third day you will be able to repeat the passage from memory. Once you can say it from memory, use free moments during the day to review the passage. By the end of the week the passage will be close to unforgettable and you will be ready to learn the next passage.
*Review consistently. When you begin memorizing the second passage, review your first one each time you study the second. We have a list of all the memory verses at the end of this discipleship resource to assist your review. After sharing the passage with your partner, you will review your answers to questions regarding biblical passages being considered. While you focus on specific verses, you will often be asked to read paragraphs of Scripture so you can grasp the context. This is critical to clear understanding. There will also be questions about other passages which sharpen your perspective of the key passage for the session.
The third part of each session is So What?. Once the meaning of the Scripture is clarified, the issue becomes how that truth should affect the way we live. While a biblical passage will have only one full meaning (which no single person may completely grasp), each passage will have numerous applications which relate to the distinctive circumstances faced by individuals. Biblical truth touches our thoughts, actions, motivations, relationships and material possessions. One truth may have several applications for a person in different areas of life.
The final part of each session is Now What?. There is a big difference between deciding and doing. This section moves the participants from application to action. It defines what obedience means for your situation and joins prayerful dependence on God with specific accountability to a trusted friend. You can reinforce this by discussing the progress made in implementing the personal application of spiritual truth decided upon the previous week.
Each session should begin and conclude with prayer, letting both partners take leadership in prayer. Sharing a few specific requests at the end or beginning will enrich the relational and spiritual dynamic of this experience.
May God fill you with joy as you experience the privilege of launching faithful followers of Christ toward a lifetime of contagious spiritual multiplication yielding an eternity of grateful celebration!
Ken Horton, Ph.D.
- 1. Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship [Downers Grove, IL; IVP Books, 2003], 140-152) provides excellent insights on discipleship which make this a valuable resource for disciplers. However, the advantages for triads (three people involved with a “keeper of the covenant” guiding the process relationally) which Ogden prefers, must be weighed against the practical challenges of managing adjustments in the schedules of three people (sick children, last minute work requirements, etc.), the likelihood that at least one of the participants may be hesitant to ask all his questions (especially if he is substantially less knowledgeable about the Scripture) and the reality that opportunities to discuss personal issues (problems at home or work) may be diminished by the presence of a third person. Triads are more effective than groups if your goal is launching multipliers, but one-on-one offers a unique environment for people to ask all their questions and unpack their consistent struggles as they prepare to launch spiritual multipliers.
- 2. Ministry Catalysts (www.ministrycatalysts.com) is a nonproﬁt organization which focuses on spiritual multiplication through one-on-one discipleship, pastoral mentoring though encouraging collaboration and coaching, and equipping global leaders in places with limited Christian inﬂuence.