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To influence many people simultaneously is generally considered the method of choice. Personal one-on-one discipleship
appears to be too time-consuming, energy consuming, and inefficient.

The concept we want to demonstrate is that the Biblical method of multiplication is much more productive over the long term. This is very important, because the seeming short-term ineffectiveness of personal discipleship has led many to the illusion that it really is not the best method.

To be honest, many Christian leaders measure success by numbers. We believe this is one of the reasons there is such an emphasis in the Christian community to hold events and activities, which give the impression of short-term success if attendance is the measure.

Church Growth through Spiritual Multiplication (rather than “addition”)

 Number of “CONVERTS”
(1 converted each day)
   Number of “DISCIPLES”
(1 discipled each 6 months)
 1 To start 1
183 1/2 year  2
365 1 year 4
548 1 1/2 years 8
730 2 years 16
913 2 1/2 years 32
1,095 3 years 64
1,278 3 1/2 years 128
1,460 4 years 256
1,643 4 1/2 years 512
1,825 5 years 1,024
2,190 6 years 4,096
2,555 7 years 16,384
2,920 8 years 65,536
3,285 9 years 262,144
3,650 10 years 1,048,576
4,015 11 years 4,194,304
 4,380  12 years  16,777,216

The figures in the left-hand column represent the number of converts that could be attained to if a Christian were able to win one person to Christ each and every day of the year. The figures in the right-hand column represent the number of fruitful disciples that could be attained to if each Christian would be faithful during each 6 month period to disciple just one other new convert to a level of spiritual maturity whereby the newer Christian could be used by the Lord to in turn disciple another convert. The figures in the right-hand column are less impressive at the beginning, but as can be seen, have a much greater long-term benefit.

And what you (Timothy) have heard from me (Paul) in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2)

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A by-product of the common misconception of how to define Biblical discipleship discussed yesterday, is a tendency to focus special attention on believers who seem to have a “gift” for teaching.

Since teaching is a gift of the Spirit*, we must conclude that most believers will not have the gift of teaching. But “discipling” is not a gift.

Spiritual GiftsTherefore, while we should only expect a few believers to become teachers, almost all believers should be seen as potential disciplers.

If asked, very few believers would say their gift is teaching. Let’s be generous and say that 10% of believers are gifted in teaching. Then how are the other 90% supposed to minister? Many believers if asked would respond by saying their gift is “to serve”, which can mean anything from serving meals at a homeless shelter to painting a widow’s house to innumerable other means of “serving”. By no means do we want to imply that these “services” are not good things.

As we discuss in this article we believe we need to redefine “discipleship”. God designed a system of multiplication whereby humans have populated the earth. We think it is sad and unusual if a married couple is incapable of having children, yet there is little surprise in most churches when typical believers are not parenting spiritual children (making disciples).

Romans 12:4-8 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Cor 12:28-29 And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles?

James 3:1 Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment,...

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For the next 10 days we'll provide a list of reasons why we believe Personal Mentoring is needed in addition to the Corporate Discipleship Model practiced in most Western hemisphere Churches. By doing so we are trying to identify areas of spiritual need, in order to prayerfully seek God’s solutions.

Reason #1) The Generally Accepted Definition Of “Discipleship" is Distorted.

Generally speaking, in the Christian community the term “discipleship” has become synonymous with “teaching”. Thus anyone who “teaches” is thought by many to be fulfilling the mandate to “make disciples”.

Biblical discipleship however, carries the thought of a deeper interaction between the discipler (mentor / Spiritual Parent) and the believer being discipled than that of simply teaching.

While teaching is a crucial component of the discipleship process, discipleship needs to be understood to comprise other essential components as well. The typical practice of group teaching requires little or no interaction, since many times one person spends an entire session speaking, while others spend the entire session listening.

A goal of the discipler should be to help the disciple (apprentice learner) to mature, function, be fruitful, and to spiritually reproduce. The benefits to the discipler are secondary.

We would not want to imply that there always has to be a dialog between the speaker and listeners. However, for a believer to mature as a disciple (apprentice learner), he/she must be given opportunities to express and discuss unique needs and understanding.

Spiritual Mentoring

In other words, discipleship needs to be redefined to include the idea of “spiritual parenting”, “spiritual tutoring” or “spiritual mentoring”.

The apostle Paul’s example of Biblical discipleship, as described in 1 Thessalonians 2:3-13, should be compared with the current typical pattern of church practice.

A Biblical Model for “Spiritual Parenting”

1 Thessalonians 2:3-13 includes all the components of spiritual parenting.

 (from Paul, with Silas and Timothy)


    :3-6  … so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts.  For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives—God is our witness—and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.  Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, …


    :7-8  … instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing MOTHER nurtures her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.


    :9-10  For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers.  Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers.


    :11-12  As you know, like a FATHER with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored EACH ONE of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.


    :13  This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers.

Friday, 07 August 2015 14:26

A Partial Truth

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There is a perception in the Christian community that discipleship equates to presenting biblical information. 

Unfortunately this is a common understanding among most Christians. We believe that the American church has adopted this secular model for what we would call Christian education.

For example, a student at the University is there to learn what the teacher knows. They don’t have to like the teacher nor know very much about the teacher (like their name).

Likewise the teacher doesn't have to know the name of the students. The teacher is simply presenting his/her knowledge of the subject matter he/she is teaching.

A Student Wants To Know What the Teacher Knows, A Disciple Wants To Become Like the Teacher

Luke 6:40 (Jesus said) “A disciple (apprentice learner) is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Matthew 10:24-25 (Jesus said) “A disciple is not above his teacher, or a slave above his master. It is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master....”

Contrast that model to what Jesus demonstrated. Jesus was saying the disciple wants to be like his teacher. That requires a whole different perspective - a personal relationship between the discipler and the disciple.

Unfortunately this secular model has crept into the Western Church. Often, Christian “teachers” are presenting biblical knowledge in the same way a professor presents knowledge. The result is a parallel between the Christian church and the secular world.

A Partial Truth

A preacher or a Bible teacher can speak to a congregation without knowing the name of anybody and can just pour out his/her Biblical understanding. To many Christians and Christian leaders this equates to biblical discipleship.

The problem is that this is a partial truth. The presenting of biblical truth is a component of discipleship but it is not the totality of discipleship.

Many times partial truths are more dangerous than a lie. One of the biggest problems in the Western Hemisphere Church is the idea that simply presenting biblical knowledge is discipleship. One of the tenants of that idea is that the accumulation or the acquisition of biblical knowledge equates to spirituality. Therefore, the thinking goes, the more biblical knowledge you have the more spiritual you are.

That is a partial truth. If this were true then why don't we send every new believer to the Christian bookstore and have them read books about the Christian life? Following this partial truth logic, this is going to make the new believers spiritual.

If that were true - if biblical knowledge equated to spirituality - we should have the most spiritual church body of believers in history because we have so much biblical knowledge available.

One has to ask, "Are we satisfied with the spirituality of the typical Christian?” 

To know the Bible is good, but to intimately know and understand the One who the Bible reveals is better !

(Jer. 9:23-24; John 17:3)

 Click here for more information on this topic.



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Discipler Training International is excited to announce that we have completed a two-year long process transitioning all of the Scripture verses in the DTI manual from the NASB version to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) version.

Why did we do this?

Most people find the resources available from DTI on our webpage and many are from countries where English is not the primary language, therefore, having a translated Scripture version that is easier to read benefits the majority of people using our materials.

However, having a version that is easier to read is not our only concern. The literalness of the translation was taken into consideration, and when we look at the HCSB version we concluded that we were comfortable on the scale of versions that are literal to the original text, compared to less literal versions or paraphrases. See the accompanying chart (link is below).

scripture translation chartLooking at the charts you can see the HCSB is on the high side of being literal as was the NASB version that we had previously used, however the reading "grade level" of the HCSB was lower making it easier for the majority of our users.

We constantly strive to maintain accuracy.

We also want you to know that we love to hear your testimonies on how lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit through the DTI materials. If you have a story to share please use the Contact Us link in the upper right hand section of our web page and let us know how we can join in praising the Lord for transformed lives.

Click here to visit a web page that evaluates English Scripture translations. (Information on the Holman is towards the bottom of the page)


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If a new believer is not instructed otherwise, he will typically appropriate the values and convictions of the Christians that he associates with during the formative first period of his new spiritual life, just as a child will tend to adopt the values and convictions of his family and peers.

Let's say that a new Christian is brought into association with a group of Navigators (, who we would rightly expect to immediately begin to challenge the believer's former values and convictions. That believer is either going to adopt the Navigator's values and convictions, or he will become so uncomfortable that he will seek a more "friendly" and less intrusive environment.

But what happens if there is not such a group of relatively mature mentors who will take the new believer under wing? Typically the newer believer will be introduced into a congregation, where it is often assumed that "sitting under the preaching of the Word" will be sufficient to lead that new believer into a spiritually mature walk. It is hoped that the negative traits observed in the congregation do not distort the new believer's understanding. Is that realistic?

We believe it is safe to say that most new believers will be impacted more by what they "see" other believers do, than what they "hear" them say. If it can be said that a particular congregation is more spiritually mature, then it would be realistic to reason that the combination of "hearing" Biblical truth from a pastor/teacher, together with "seeing" Biblical spirituality modeled from the congregation, would be a tremendous help in the healthy spiritual growth of a new believer. Leaders need to realistically evaluate the spiritual health of the congregation, asking themselves, "Do we want a new believer to become like the 'typical' member of this congregation?" If the answer is no, then arrangements need to be put in place to impart Biblical values to new believers.


For more discussion on this topic click here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 14:01

Inward Transformation NOT Behavior Modification

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We believe that it's a true statement to say that "a believer's level of maturity is the degree to which the Holy Spirit has been able to change their inward value system in His direction."

If the believer allows the Holy Spirit to transform their convictions and values what happens to the behavior? It is going to follow. It cannot not follow. Behavior is a result of inward values. All of us act according to our value system.

Our outward behavior is a reflection of what's important to us. God wants to change our inward thinking - our inward value system - our inward convictions because the behavior is naturally going to follow.

The video below, reveals that many parents think discipline (of their children) is all about shaping proper behavior by manipulating reward and punishment. That's not discipline that's behavior modification.

The same can be said of many believers in the Church today. Many believers are very good at manipulating their behavior to "appear" to behave correctly, but NOT allowing God to transform their thinking which will produce the behavior that is pleasing to Him.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 10:15


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A personal letter to a discipler (spiritual mentor) from her disciple.

I began reading in 1Timothy this morning and got stuck on the second verse, "To Timothy, a true son in the faith." You immediately came to mind, as I recognized that you are a mother to me in the faith. Tears filled my eyes because there is nothing more touching than the knowledge of someone who leads you to the love of God.

It's been a few years now, and I don't honestly think of it much - how I was so lost and without hope or faith in God. I was so focused on my own lack, fears, and hurt, that I couldn't see or hear God. I haven't forgotten how you met with me, prayed with and for me, believed in my faith that God had given me, and were always available for a phone call or visit and encouraged me continually that God loved me. His love became believable and acceptable because you were loving me. You weren't just saying it; you were living it.

And I know both you and your husband prayed for me and my son in the journey of bringing me back to spiritual life.

Truths in the DTI discipleship material fed me along the way and helped to ease my burden. I know the truth worked hand in hand with your commitment to love me.

So I thank you. To God be the glory, great things He has done and will continue to do.

I love you.

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Have you ever wondered if you are the only person visiting a particular website? Or how many people actually visit a website in a month? We keep track of the number of "sessions", or times, someone uses our site. 

top 10

For the month of March 2015 we had over 1,500 individual sessions. According to our analytics software, here are the top 10 worldwide locations from which our website has been visited. 

#1 United States

#2 Philippines

#3 Venezuela

#4 Canada

#5 Mexico

#6 South Africa

#7 India

#8 United Kingdom

#9 Australia

Of the total number of individual sessions, 58% were "new" visitors, meaning that 42% of people were coming back to the DTI website to gain more information or to download our discipleship lessons that we make available for free for download and printing.

Thank you for using our DTI website. We would love to hear from you. Use the Contact link and let us know if the free discipleship Bible study lessons are impacting your personal life and those of the church congregation you are involved with.

Blessings, the DTI Team

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"I never thought of myself as a missionary, but over the last four years our Lord is allowing me to participate in the training of churches catching the importance and vision of "The Great Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20)

"After my arrival in Dayton, NV in 2011; I began contacting and encouraging local churches to implement the DTI model of personal discipleship. Currently three of the initial four churches are discipling their flocks and at my church, Dayton Valley Community Church of the Nazarene, we have over 70% of our congregation discipled.

"While the DTI manual, "A Tool for Personal Discipleship" is a critical component of my disciple-making curriculum, I also have other tools that I use, which have had a profound impact on me as a disciple of Christ and my quest for bringing others onto spiritual maturity." (Colossians 1:28-29)

• Porter Barrington's (Christian Life New Testament with Master Outlines & Study Notes)
• Henry & Richard Blackaby & Claude King's (Experiencing God)
• William Gothard's (Understanding Spiritual Gifts)
• John Wesley's (A Plain Account of Christian Perfection)

To date, I have participated in discipleship training missions in:

• Reno, NV
• Ensenada, Mexico – both churches and a local seminary, which has adopted the DTI tool for their students
• Five Baptist churches hosted by County Line Baptist in Crystal Springs, MS
• DTI will be returning to Mississippi to train more Baptist churches in May and September.

"My life has forever been changed and I give all the credit to our Lord and His work through DTI. Halleluiah and praise the Lord!"

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