As you're reading the T4T book I wanted to share with you an example of how one church adapted it and is now experiencing rapid multiple generations of growth.
Since people in the West do not become Christians very often when witnessed to (unlike China) one of the key adapations of T4T in Western Nations is the focus on getting the 'open' non Christians to read/study the Bible with you. They call this DBS (Discovery Bible Study). If a non-Christian agrees to do this there is a good probablility that they will soon become a follower of Jesus.
Here is what is happening with Gary Stump's (onward Church) in Fishers, Indiana.
From Oct 4 blog post
We currently have in excess of 120 groups containing more than 600 people.
We have groups to 5 generations. Some of these groups (a few) are forming
into churches–which has been the greatest challenge. But we do have one
3rd generation church! More people are hearing the gospel in our community
each day and we’re seeing many coming to Christ.
And my email to Gary and his Oct 28 email to me
My quick question is it sounded like things were not going well with the 50 new groups going through the Gospel of Mark during the summer of 2012. That it wasn't until the Thru the Bible DBS lessons were developed and the Thru the Bible DBS groups were started in 2013 that you started to see significant multiplication occurring. Is that correct?
And his reply (which contains the two key adaptions they made for T4T to be successful in Fishers, Indiana)
Thanks for your question and for working through using T4T in your church in California. I’m convinced this is what the “Spirit is saying to the churches.” We simply have to find a way to mobilize the church (Christians) to engage the Great Commission.
Our first introduction after the initial round of training launched 50 groups but by the end of summer we had only about 20 groups actually operating. We did two things to try to improve this terrible result:
1. We developed the Thru the Bible to provide our folks with a clear pathway to invite their lost friends and neighbors into Discovery Bible studies using the inductive Bible study methods we had already taught them. This truly engaged where people were in our unsaved culture. The invitation was something like this... After one of our folks had shared the Gospel and the person wasn’t ready to trust Christ, they would say, “It might be helpful if you had more information. What if we met for just 8 times and I could give you a complete overview of the entire Bible? Do you think that would be helpful?” Overwhelmingly, the person said “yes.”
2. We spent time teaching that disciple-making was not something that could be added to your already busy schedule. It will require a sincere sacrifice for you to obey Jesus and engage the Great Commission. I think naively we thought that as soon as people were trained they would run right out and do it. But we found that instead of “persecution” as Ying Kai says must be included in your initial training, for us in the USA we need to teach “the cost of disciple-making” and challenge our folks to count the cost.
The Thru the Bible really caught traction and people are still starting new groups with lost people using it. One of our leaders recently shared, “You have never really studied the Bible until you have seen it through the eyes of a lost person. It’s way more fun than studying with other Christians!”
We now estimate that we have more than 120 groups—maybe crowding 150 with an estimated one half of the participants are unsaved. We’re seeing people come to Christ in number well beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my ministry.
Click here and then click on "Listen to the podcast" button near the bottom to listen to his Story in this July 3rd podcast interview
Click here to view his training documents
Some of his groups are encouraged to become churches but I think (might be wrong) ours might multiply more effectively if they are not encouraged to become churches.
I just got another email from Gary. I'll keep all of his emails at this link.