T4T (Training For Trainers)

[For a review of how T4T and other forms of Reproducing Discipleship are impacting the U.S., see the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Mission Frontiers.]

Effective, Multiplying Evangelism and Discipleship



Imagine teaching someone piano theory but never putting them in front of a keyboard.

Would this train them to play, and enable them to teach others who could teach others?

As unthinkable as this is, this is how we often approach the world’s most important teaching assignment—Jesus’ command to disciple all nations by going, baptizing and training them to obey all He commanded.

Now, mission field breakthroughs are rediscovering the multiplication principles revealed in the book of Acts.

The Greatest Breakthrough since Pentecost?

Many mission fields still experience slow growth, but an increasing number are seeing dramatic multiplication, of both believers and churches, in a pattern which has come to be known as “Church Planting Movements” or “CPMs.”

As defined by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, a Church Planting Movement is

a rapid and multiplicative increase of indigenous churches planting churches within a given people group or population segment.

Two decades ago, as missionaries sought to discover how to prepare for and participate in such moves of the Holy Spirit, they developed a notebook containing 100 ideas to try toward launching CPMs in difficult places.

ONE of these CPMs has proven so successful that the notebook has since been discarded in favor of the “best practices” revealed in T4T—a CPM which has been adapted and implemented in a wide variety of contexts around the world, among Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and even Postmodernists here in the U.S.

Ying Kai’s Story

A decade ago in Asia, this successful church planter faced a new challenge.

Up to that point Ying and his wife Grace had been planting one church a year—winning 40 to 60 people to Christ, organizing them, then moving to a new city to start over. As you can imagine, his ministry was considered very successful.

Then he was taught the principles of “Church Planting Movements” and asked to seek God for a movement that would reach a three-city area enfolding 20 million people, among whom there were almost no believers.

Ying sensed the Holy Spirit ask him, “Ying, what is better than planting churches?”

Ying couldn’t think of anything, so the Holy Spirit gave him the answer:
“Training others to plant churches.”

Ying became excited about training others to do what he was doing, but before he finished praying he sensed the Holy Spirit asking him a second question:

“Ying, what is better than training others to plant churches?”

Again, Ying was at a loss. What could be better?

Then he sensed the Holy Spirit tell him:
“Training others to train others to plant churches!”

The Fruit

Ying met a pastor who invited his members to receive training from Ying in evangelism, and 30 people came. Ying presented what he thought was an ambitious plan, to plant 200 new gatherings of believers over the next three years. But as Ying taught these believers Ying kept hearing the same questions, representing four basic obstacles which kept them from winning the lost to Christ and planting new, reproducing gatherings of believers:

  • What do I say?
  • Who do I talk to?
  • What will keep me going when I’m discouraged?
  • What do I do if someone says “Yes” to following Jesus?

As Ying answered these four questions, He saw God change these average believers into confident and competent partners in the Spirit’s work of winning the lost, multiplying new believers and starting gatherings of believers.

Within a few weeks the believers Ying was training had started 20 new groups!

Seven months later, Ying could count 320 new groups that had formed, with 4,000 newly baptized believers. Already Ying had exceeded his ambitious three-year goals, and the work kept growing at an exponential rate.


Such naturally reports provoked a great deal of skepticism, so an outside assessment team visited the work.

They found that, rather than exaggerating, Ying had been consistently under-reporting—by as much as 40%.

Some gatherings had reproduced 17 times in just a year and a half!

In its first decade, this movement started 170,000 new gatherings with two million newly baptized believers who had learned to mine God’s word together and continue multiplying under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

And adaptation and application of T4T principles continues accelerating other CPMs around the world!

So What is T4T?

“T4T” is short for “Training for Trainers.”

This movement is based on a few simple concepts:

  1. Spend hours each day in prayer, and work only in conscious reliance on the Holy Spirit.
  2. Implement Jesus’ commands in Mt 28:18-20:
    • GO to the lost rather than asking them to come (to our church, etc.),
    • TRAIN everyone to obey, rather than just teaching them what to think, and
    • train them to obey “everything Jesus commanded.”
  3. Teach in just a few broad categories, all of which can be obeyed immediately:
    • Repent, Be Baptized, and Be Filled with the Holy Spirit,
    • Go, Baptize, and Disciple others to Obey these Same Commands,
    • Pray in Jesus’ Name,
    • Love God, Neighbors, Believers and Enemies,
    • Celebrate the Lord’s Supper,
    • Give Generously, and
    • Abide in Jesus and His Word.
  4. Obey and reproduce one command before teaching the next. Don’t allow more learning to delay obedience.
  5. Practice together and teach each other what you intend to obey in applying and training others. Training others is the fastest way to grow ourselves, and the same is true for our disciples.

Resources for Adapting T4T to Other Contexts

buy it hereDavid Garrison is the world’s top expert on Church Planting Movements. He wrote the book Church Planting Movements: How God is Redeeming a Lost World.

MF Issue on Church Planting Movements

David was also the guest editor for the Mar/Apr 2011 issue of Mission Frontiers on Church Planting Movements.

David has described the core principles of T4T in this series of short, free, on-line videos, starting with this one:



T4T-online These videos complement Steve Smith’s book—T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution, and were designed to accompany the on-line materials at T4Tonline.org, which supplement this book.

T4T: A Discipleship Re-RevolutionBrowse the book or purchase the Kindle version on Amazon, get the best hard copy price from WIGtake Resources, and or get copies for your team through the bulk discount I’ve arranged.

T4T is also available in Spanish.


9 Responses to T4T (Training For Trainers)

  1. Obil Natael Orozco Velasquez says:

    Translated as: Recently I received the book T4T: A revolution of discipleship and found that it is a tool that I was needing. As pastor of the church I feel the responsibility to disciple people and I have done so, but with little fruit. In this book, I discovered a practical approach from the book of Acts which can help me. Now as I write I am having my first meeting with the first group for my first training session. I am happy for that, but this is also a great responsibility, because I can not fail God or people; we have to succeed in training our disciples to win and train others. I hope for your prayer. I’m in San Marcos Guatemala C.A.

    Original: Recientemente tuve en mis manos el libro EPE Una re revolución del discipulado, y descubrí que es una herramienta que yo estaba necesitando. Porque como pastor de la iglesia siento la responsabilidad de discipular personas y lo he hecho, pero con pocos resultados. En este libro, he descubierto una manera práctica y apegada al libro de Hechos, que me puede ayudar. Hoy que escribo esto, es mi primera reunión con un primer grupo para dar la primera sesión de entrenamiento. Estoy contento por eso, pero también con una gran responsabilidad, porque no puedo fallar a Dios, ni a las personas, esto tiene que funcionar. Espero su apoyo y su respaldo. Estoy en San Marcos Guatemala C.A.

  2. Medardo M. Abenis Jr. says:

    Looking and praying for the right tool we can use in our church to impact our community bringing the Kingdom of God thy will be done in our place. I thank God for the T4T tool now just starting for a week last Sunday we trained our young people, then adult. I’m very excited for this tool, thank you, you are really an answer to our prayer. Glory to God


  3. Marvey says:

    When and where will t4t training take place this year?

  4. ephraim sebio says:

    I am desperate of having a revival in my ministry ad pastor… for so many years, i felt empty..and as i saw your website my heart feel hope..pls help me to grow….i need this kind of training..

  5. Royal Lepcha says:

    I would like to know more about T4T CP movement and of course like to take training.

Comments are closed.