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November 20, 2019

Discipleship as a Church Planting Model

By New Churches Team

The Timothy Initiative

The Timothy Initiative (TTI) is a disciple-making, church planting organization that focuses primarily on unreached people groups. They are currently planting churches among about 800 unreached people groups (UPGs) in 32 countries. They use a modified discipleship and church planting system. They believe that ministry is done best in, by, and through the local church.

Discipleship Training in Action

TTI’s methodology involves obedience with accountability. Their process includes the following three phases:

  1. DMD or Disciples Making Disciples – This is a 16-week course based on pure disciple-making movement principles. In week 1 they study how to be filled with the spirit, in week 2 they study how to share your story, in week 3 they study how to share God’s story, and so on. Each member is expected to introduce two people to the Lord during this 16-week course and then bring in those people through the DMD process. If in a 4-month period they introduce two people to the Lord and disciple them weekly, then they can enter the next phase: TTI proper.
  2. TTI proper – This phase involves studying 10 books and takes about 18 months to complete.
  3. Mentoring process – In this phrase, the Paul (the pastor) is on the field with the Timothys (disciples).

Making It Happen in the United States

The Bible is the only cross-cultural book ever written, and it can work anywhere. The Holy Spirit is intimidated by our culture. But David believes that we are not following the basic principles that make it work:

  1. Our church culture. A whole lot of what we do works against our ability to produce disciple makers.
  2. Our definitions. What is a church? Not a building. What is the Great Commission? What is success? So many pastors are discouraged because their churches aren’t big. What is a disciple? It’s not all knowledge based. You have to also put it into practice.
  3. We don’t really believe the Bible. If we believe there is a real hell and people are going there, we would share with them. There is very little evangelism happening.

What Is a Church?

TTI describes a church as a group of believers who gather together regularly. When they gather they worship the Father, study the Scriptures, pray, and fellowship together. From time to time as they understand how they observe the ordinances and are sent out to make disciples. And it’s all done under the authority of the head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and under the authority of biblically qualified leaders.

There’s nothing about a building, a salary, a degree, a day of the week, or a time of the day. You can have a church in a cathedral, you can have a church under the tree, and you can do it any day of the week.

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New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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