MentorNet #67 – The Fourth Generation
Copyright © 2009 by Galen Currah, Edward Aw and George
This document may be copied, translated, posted or distributed without
“You then, my child, be strengthened
by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the
presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach
others also.” 2
You may have often observed
the four generations in this text: (1) Paul, (2) Timothy, (3) faithful men
and (4) others, also. Let us look for a moment at that fourth generation
which is often absent in multi-tiered training schemes, due to woefully
The common wisdom of
reproductive disciple-making to the fourth
generation can be expressed in a handful of observations, followed by some
- No one is a “master
trainer” (Paul) until his trainees (Timothies)
are training faithful folk (anthropos=humans)
who are training other (faithful folk), in turn. Giving an individual a
title of Master Trainer, and perhaps a salary to boost his prestige,
will not ensure that his trainees train others also. Trained, salaried Pauls and Timothies may
work amazing exploits for the Kingdom, but they seldom reproduce
themselves in others.
- Master trainers rise
through the ranks.
They start as faithful folk who accept the thankless task of starting or
leading a home church, cell group or little
congregation. If they are being coached, mentored
or otherwise trained on the job, and they prove willing to follow
instructions, applying their lessons on the job, then they prove to be
“other” faithful folk. As they pray and seek to help
their flock reproduce and undertake training one or more others, then
they graduate to become “faithful folk” who are able to teach others
also. When their trainees are training others in turn, then they have been promoted to Timothy status by their
faithful service. After another generation comes on, the first in now a
Paul, a master trainer.
- Most explosive
multiplication occurs in the fourth generation and after. The first generation
often comes from outside the local society and lacks both network
relationships and deep cultural understanding, both of which are
necessary to communicate clearly and effectively. Thus, these must
invest their vision and mentoring in a small number local folk who must
learn to believe and to behave as disciples of Jesus in the face of
family opposition. Eventually, these will mature, form and lead a few
flocks and raise up a third generation of
assistant workers. It these who invest in the 100s and
1000s of grass-root church planters, preachers, evangelists, and leaders
of 10s of 1000s of self-multiplying flocks.
- Things break down after
the third generation.
While the first generation remains foreign and marginal to the society,
the second generation typically consists of educated, urban
and urbane individuals who respond to outsiders and learn their concepts
quickly. Once these become disciples and trainees of the outsiders, they
seek to extend their training to others who normally prove to be younger
individuals from their same social background without status or
influence. That is where the chain normally stops, for
the fourth generation does not think like or respond easily to
prodding and coaching of urbane, powerful individuals even though these
may have brought them the Good News.
Those who seek to extend their
vision and training into the fourth generation and beyond may find it
fruitful to respect and apply in an appropriate manner a few guidelines.
- Hold occasional workshops
for current and potential leaders who train others or who are about to
start doing so. Such
workshop will demonstrate from Scripture and in practical ways how to
pray, to envision, to plan, to initiate, to develop and to extend
“training chains” that empower and enable new shepherds of new flocks.
The Train & Multiply “Activity Guide” and menu-driven
pastoral studies can facilitate just such training chains. See under
Resources at the end of this document a link to three tested workshop
manuals for the training of trainers.
- Start your training
chains in the lower classes of the local society or plan with your Timothies to do so. The extra months or year
that it may take to learn a language and make cultural adjustments may
bear much fruit. This may prove better than working with urbane youth
who understand quickly but have no status, opportunities
or interest in lower class populations where explosive growth can
happen. There is little prestige in working with low-class folk, but
there is great potential for eternal glory.
- Work with adult men from
the start. Herein
lies a major obstacle to many outsiders who find that
local men talk too fast, easily counter shallow arguments, act
and sometimes drink like men, and may even threaten outsiders with
violence. Nevertheless, God has prepared some of those gruff, rustic,
masculine specimens for eternal life. Once they understand the Good
News, they will embrace it and you. Many of them will become the first
shepherds of new flocks whom they themselves will draw to Jesus Christ,
looking to you for advice, training and
- Resist recruiting large
numbers of volunteers for your training program. Rather choose faithful
men who prove their giftedness and enjoy a good reputation with others. In
your mentoring of new leaders, help them to identify others like
themselves who can lead, start new cells or churches
and train other in turn. It is a law of life and spirit that we will
reproduce after our kind. So let us resolve to take the time, long or
short, to invest in the kinds of men and women whom others will follow.
Order P. O'Connor, Reproducible
Pastoral Training, from a bookshop or at <www.WCLbooks.com>.
Download free CP training
software, “Come, Let Us Disciple the Nations,” from <www.Paul-Timothy.net/dn/>.
Download free mentoring
tools and materials for new leaders from <www.MentorAndMultiply.com>.
Find the Train &
Multiply® church planting and pastoral training course at <www.TrainAndMultiply.com>.
Order G. Patterson’s Church
Multiplication Guide from a bookshop or at <www.WCLbooks.com>.
To subscribe to MentorNet,
or to download earlier messages, visit <www.MentorNet.ws>.
mentoring studies and children's studies from <www.Paul-Timothy.net>.