Training for Trainers (T4T) proponent Bill Fudge, retired missionary coordinator over east Asia, urged pastors, staff and church planters attending a Feb. 19 One Day Church Growth Conference to adopt a “Kingdom mentality” above a “church mentality.”
Speaking at the “Reaching People Groups with T4T” conference at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, Fudge said, “I am a believer in the local church, but Jesus called on us to expand. There is a difference in a church vision and a Kingdom vision.
“So, I’m calling on you today to step outside your role as a church and think larger than what does it take to fill up my building or what does it take to have a reasonable-sized congregation? I want you to think more in terms of what would it take to reach my entire city? What would it take to reach my entire county for Christ? And what will it take to reach my entire state for Christ?
“So, I’m calling on you, today, to switch from just a church mentality to, instead, having a Kingdom mentality. Read the four Gospels and look at the parables of Jesus, where it says, The Kingdom of God is . . . Or the Kingdom of God is this way.
“Those are what we call Kingdom kernels. Those Kingdom kernels are very instructive for us to gain a vision of what God wants to do in our world—and it’s more than just a local church. God wants everyone, everywhere to come to faith.”
The conference actually was the second phase of a three-phase church planting training effort sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said associational/smaller in attendance church specialist Jim Brunk.
“This is part of a three-phase training effort. In December, we began with a two-day conference on church planting movements—what they are and how they happen,” Brunk said. “We had Bruce Carlton (speak) on storying in January, Dr. Fudge here this month and then we’re having Charles Brock on March 28 from the Philippines to talk about the material he has developed— Reaching People Groups through Bible Study.
“All of this is about making disciples. The Great Commission told us to go and make disciples, and this is what these processes are all about. That’s what missions is all about; when you get down to the core of it, missions is making disciples, and how do you do that?”
Brunk added that the BGCO will hold a special, free event May 3-4 at Falls Creek to continue the church learning education process.
“Three church planters in Oklahoma who are already multiplying will present their strategies, and we will discuss their presentations and do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of each of their strategies to help coach them in each of those areas,” Brunk said.
All of the church growth events have been provided free of charge through gifts to the Cooperative Program.
Fudge has seen explosive church planting movements and he shared how it happened in Asia using the T4T process. In less than a decade, T4T multiplied a small band of disciples into a movement of more than 80,000 new churches with more than 2 million baptisms. Today, T4T training is being adapted in communities around the world, resulting in many new movements to Christ from Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and secular background communities.
T4T was developed by an Asian-American missionary named Ying Kai. Overwhelmed by the millions of lost souls surrounding him in Asia, Ying asked God to show him how he could be more fruitful.
God taught Ying to go beyond his limited vision of planting churches, and showed him how he could train a continually multiplying number of church planter trainers. The result was what Ying called T4T, Training for Trainers. In less than a decade, T4T had multiplied a small band of disciples into a movement of more than 80,000 new churches with more than 2 million baptisms.
Fudge said a church planting movement (CPM) “is not just a church planting another church every four or five years. A movement is where you are seeing the number of churches or the number of believers doubling every 12-18 months.”
And, the key is multiplying leaders.
“We need people who can multiply themselves,” he said. “Leaders who we can train to repeat the process of witnessing and discipling and starting new groups of disciples and trainers.”
But, he reminded those present that they are not alone in this effort.
“The foundation of a CPM is the Holy Spirit,” he professed. “The Holy Spirit is the Convictor. He is convicting all people to draw them to Himself. Our job is to sniff them out.
“God has already prepared a great harvest in the area where you live. If you believe that, you will make plans to join Him in the harvest.”
Once non-believers make a profession of faith, they must be nurtured, Fudge stressed.
Again, the Holy Spirit directs that, he said.
“He is teaching new believers and helping them grow in godliness,” Fudge said, referencing John 14:26. “Also, He is equipping them to repeat the process.”
Thus, good training is a pre-requisite for church growth.
Fudge said believers must not presume that long-time non-believers are not receptive to the Gospel.
“We don’t know how the Holy Spirit is working in someone’s heart,” he cautioned. “They may not have yet believed because someone has not told them the Good News.”
As for T4T, Fudge said it uses “willing workers using a simple pattern” that basically involves accountability, vision casting, practice and goal-setting.”
Although the formula contains only a few lessons, it is designed to continue for several months.