A great leader doesn’t try to create great followers. A great leader strives to create other leaders. In this sense, a great leader is always trying to make themself dispensable.
Jesus said to His original disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). The mandate was to lead others to Christ (“baptizing them…”) and then to teach them to know Him and follow Him (“teaching them…”). It was a call to evangelism and discipleship.
This doesn’t just apply to the disciples who were there that day, but to all Jesus followers. Paul said this to his apprentice Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2: “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.” We see 3 generations of discipleship happening in this passage: Paul to Timothy, Timothy to “faithful men”, and “faithful men” to “others”. Every Jesus follower is called to be discipled and called to make disciples who will also make disciples.
This is the philosophy behind the Equipping Men/Women for the Battle disciple-making resources (EMB/EWB). The purpose of the series of books is to help provide structure to the disciple-making relationship. There are many people who have the desire to invest in the lives of other believers, but feel at a loss of how to do so. These books exist to help with that. They can be used one on one, in small group settings, for Sunday schools, etc. There are many M3 groups that meet around the world, and this is the resource that they use in their meetings.
EMB/EWB are broken down into 12 modules. Each module contains 12 lessons. This equals 3 years’ worth of material. The lessons in each module are centered around what are called the 10 “I”s. These are 10 spiritual disciplines that the people of God do to grow in their relationship with Him. The list can be seen HERE. Each of the 12 lessons has a written portion, a Scripture passage to be memorized, meditated upon, and applied, and a life application assignment in which the individual will be instructed to go out and practically do something relevant to the lesson topic. Additionally, each 12 week module begins with a goal setting section. Each participant is encouraged to set a minimum of 1 or maximum of 2 spiritual goals that are to be accomplished by the end of the book at hand. One common goal for the first book is for the participant to spend time in the Word and prayer every day.
The books do the teaching so the leader simply serves as a facilitator. The truth is that anyone who is born again has the Holy Spirit and is thus qualified (and commanded) by His power to make disciples. However, this seems like a daunting task for many, so these resources are meant to remove the perceived burden or roadblock.
Before we send the book out to any one (regardless of their position in the church) we first lead them through the first module of the workbooks ourselves to illustrate how the books are intended to be used. Then, we maintain contact with them as they lead others through it. Those leaders then encourage the people whom they are leading through the books to each start discipling at least one other person with the resource while they continue to meet in their current group. As you can imagine, this has a snowball effect.
One such example can be seen in a church in Kenya called Salvation for All Nations. The pastor’s name is Danson Ashioya and there are 73 people in his congregation. One of the people with whom we meet regularly and lead through EMB discipled Pastor Danson through the first module. Then the 2 of them selected 8 leaders in the church and are leading them through the books. Those 8 then each selected 3 and are discipling them. This totals 32 of the 73. Now, plans are being established so as to ensure that the remaining 41 people in the church is discipled as well! This is a clear example of how it is intended to work.
If all of these people were dependent upon us to disciple them, then there would be an immense bottleneck. But now the mantle of leadership is being taken up by many and we are seeing hundreds upon hundreds being discipled using EMB/EWB.
We just finished the final book of the men’s curriculum (EMB) and soon we will be working on the 4th out of 12 books in the women’s curriculum (EWB). On top of this, we are also gathering resources for what we are calling Intensives. These will be modules solely dedicated to 1 of the 10 “I”s. So, for example, there will be a 12 lesson book focusing entirely on sharing the Gospel or marriage/parenting or prayer.
One incredible opportunity that has come along is to have EMB/EWB translated into Kiswahili! This is a common language spoken in Kenya and Tanzania and it removes a potential language barrier for many people. Many in Kenya can speak and read English well, but others are much more comfortable with Kiswahili. We are working hard to ensure that all of the books are translated, because it has been very helpful for many people there!
The incredible reality is that there are currently literally hundreds upon hundreds of people simultaneously going through these resources! It’s not incredible because it has our name on it. It is incredible because that means that all of them are internalizing Scripture, applying it, and being exposed to solid biblical teachings! It is inspiring to constantly be receiving inquiries from people who are desperate to be discipled and to disciple others. And we know that the snowball will only continue to get bigger and bigger as more people grow in their walks and make disciples themselves, all for God’s glory!