Disciples who make disciples

Part 2: Helping Others become Disciple-makers

At this point you've started one or more groups of friends sharing their exploration of the adventure of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

If you’ve not seen Part 1: Getting Started in Making Disciples please visit www.murraymoerman.com/2mission/disciple.

A.   Strawberry runners

Many of us have enjoyed gardens in which strawberry runners seem to grow randomly in every direction bearing fruit in all directions. Each new strawberry plant spouts more runners which produce additional plants. The tapestry looks messy but continues to multiply delicious fruit everywhere!

How can we follow the “strawberry runners” of relationships from our disciple-making group to sprout new disciple-making groups? Let me suggest several possibilities.

Two groups from one: Sometimes it’s appropriate to invite someone to into your group if it is small. As a group grows however, each participant tends to have less opportunity to share and the level of personal vulnerability may lessen. For this reason, it is best to form two groups of four when the group exceeds seven persons. This is not difficult to do if everyone has had opportunity to facilitate the group.

Each group can then again invite others and give new participants opportunity to facilitate the group so they in turn are equipped to begin their own groups.

A strawberry runner starts new plant: It may not be best to invite a new person into an existing group, rather to begin another discovery bible study with the new person and their social network. In this way the Bible passages chosen can fit the spiritual needs of the new group. To ensure a healthy disciple-making DNA is transferred to the new strawberry plant, a member of the mother group leaves for a season. During this time the person planting the group would facilitate 2 or 3 times, then watch and coach as other members of the new group have opportunity to learn the facilitation process.

When the member of the mother group leaves the new plant, he or she maintains relationship with the key person in the new group for prayer, coaching and encouragement until the new plant has sent out another strawberry runner to sprout a 3rd generation group.

Parent group meets less often: Sometimes relationships in the parent group are so close members are reluctant to cell-divide to form two groups. One solution has been suggested in which a member of the group leaves temporarily to begin a new group or continues temporarily both in the mother group and the group being birthed into a new social network.

The mother group can also choose to meet less frequently, for example, every other week. In this way the group maintains close supportive bonds and invests the alternate week to nurturing new groups. For example, a group of two couples and 3 single people could partner to begin two groups or each follow their own relationship network to begin as many as five groups.

Sometimes identifying strawberry runners can be a simple as inviting those in the group to speak with friends and come back the next week with names of those who express openness or interest. The group can then decide which way to start new groups makes most sense.

Three is Better! In one Asian nation promotes family planning with the slogan “two is enough.” Small group leaders humorously build on the well-known admonition with “three is better.” What if every disciple-making group sent out three strawberry runners to spout new life in Christ!

B.   Prayer

Jesus called on his disciples to pray that God would send out more disciple-makers into the harvest (Matthew 9:38). Hearts are changed through prayer, both our own and those who Christ is calling.

Prayer List: For this reason, please take a few minutes to make a list of people in and around your life. They may be near to God or far from him, seekers, neighbors, family, co-workers, people who have left Christian community almost anyone. You could start with 30 people and pray for one person each day, asking the Lord to make them aware of their need for Christ and to become disciples of our Lord Jesus. Over time your prayer list could grow to considerably more than 30 people.

Why not begin your list now?

My prayer list has several columns including these:


Date I last prayed for him or her

My most recent point of casual or spiritual connection











It may be you don’t do well with structure. Ask the Lord to bring to mind those he cares about and how he would have you care for them too.

Prayer Walking: You may live in a setting where you can prayer-walk your neighborhood. You may already be walking for exercise, your dog or simply because you enjoy it but had not thought to pray for those you pass. Its easy to add prayer to walking?

As you walk and pray, ask God’s blessing on each home, school and business you pass. As you do so, you may pause to greet those you see regularly. Ask the Lord to give opportunity for conversations which share at deeper levels, open hearts and show needs which Christ can meet.

C.   Purposeful Conversation

We all have casual conversations with friends and strangers. Many of these transition into meaningful conversations as people share personal issues in their lives. When meaningful personal needs are shared, conversations can often move to explore the interest in spiritual resources. From spiritual interest the conversation can move to Biblical truths and the fact that Jesus cares.

Jesus models such a conversation progression in John 4. It may be that Jesus’ conversation with the Samarian woman took place over an hour or more. In our case, it may be that a casual relationship moves to meaningful to spiritual to touching on Biblical truths in the course of several conversations over several weeks.

The most meaningful conversations begin with the genuine desire to know and care about the person, with questions and listening. Often, I will ask if I can pray for the needs the person shares. If the person agrees, I will pray with the person before the end of our conversation. Sometimes the prayer will deepen the conversation further.

Sometimes during a meaningful conversation, the Lord reminds us of a recent DBS passage or an “I will” statement in which God has blessed, encouraged, challenged or deepened us in some way. Sharing what the Lord has been teaching us and how the Lord uses our reflection on the Scriptures may lead to the opportunity to read or invite our friend to read 3 or 4 verses and ask 3 simple questions (what does this say about God, what people are like, and draws your interest in this passage?)

An exchange like this can lead to an invitation to meet again for a further conversation. While it may be tempting to invite this person to a DBS in which you are involved, far better is to begin a new DBS even if there are only two of you in it to start.

While the above envisions a conversation between two people, better yet is to seek conversations with small groups of people in the same family or social network. This could involve a lunchroom conversation at work or between neighbors with previous social connections. In such conversations, family issues or the topic of anxiety, grief, sleeplessness or need for wisdom may arise naturally. When a group of friends are wresting with the same issue a DBS may arise in a pre-existing group.

D. Care of other groups

As you facilitate a disciple-making group which may birth another group, or even two, you may find in time that there are several groups about which you care. It may be that one of those groups births another group with limited involvement on your part. It may look like this:


You start to feel like a parent! What next?

Clearly you can’t be in every group. But you can care for the leader of each group and perhaps connect the leaders of each group for mutual care, prayer and encouragement.

D.   Resources

Want more training on how to engage others in a disciple making movement (DMM)?

This isn’t one resource but a small library from many sources. Engage one a day in the course of a month. Or savor and pray over several months: