Begin by explaining that you will simply share four everyday words that describe the kinds of people that participate in churches, small groups, and Christian gatherings. 

Write "Four Kinds of Disciples" at the top of the page.  From this point, the rest is taught from the bottom up.


Write the word "Attender" at the bottom of the page and explain that this is a faithful person that shows up at Christian gatherings.  An attender often serves in many ways and may give generously, but they don't share their faith, train disciples, or start new groups. 

Draw a little circle to the right, which depicts a place of gathering where they attend.  Point out that an attender participates for some personal benefit and may grow internally, but there is no Kingdom growth.  Write "no growth" near the little circle.


Above Attender, write the word "Witness" and explain that in addition to attending gatherings, a Witness is obedient to Jesus' command to proclaim the gospel to people who are far from God. 

Draw a little circle to the right to depict where they gather, but then draw a small question mark outside to the right which represents an unbeliever.  The draw a dotted line from the circle to the question mark, which shows that a Witness goes out to reach spiritually lost people.  But since a Witness does not train the people they reach, they simply bring them back to the church or gathering and "hand them off" to the pastor so they can be "fed" spiritually in the church service.  Draw a dotted line back to the circle to show this.  Under the little circle, write "growth by addition" which is of course better than no growth at all.  But the problem is, they make converts, but not disciples.

At this point, if you are speaking to a pastor, ask, "What percentage of the people of your church are Witnesses, and what percentage are Attenders?"  You may hear crickets at this point, as this is a daunting question--but most pastors will reply that the vast majority of their congregation are Attenders. 


Moving upward, write the word "Starter" and explain that some disciples who share their faith don't bring people back and hand them off, but they take responsibility for their "spiritual children."  They start to disciple them as they meet with them personally--and if possible, they start a new group by reaching others connected to that new believer (you may mention Lydia, Cornelius, or the Philippian Jailer as examples). 

Draw another little circle with the question mark to the right, but this time, draw a solid line to a new circle around the question mark.  This shows that the Starter is going out to start a group with this new believer.  Mention that they obey Jesus by teaching these new disciples. You can now draw a few more circles around the Starter circle because he can go and do this is several places, starting many new groups. 

But...the limitation is that the Starter doesn't teach these new disciples to go and make disciples, so there is no movement.  Write, "growth stops at 2nd generation" to remind participants of this. 


Finally, write the word "Trainer" at the top of this upside-down list.  You can mention that this is another way of saying "disciple-maker" or "disciple-multiplier."  A Trainer not only shares his faith, but invests in new disciples and teaches them how to go and make disciples.  They truly fulfill Jesus' command to "make disciples...teaching them to obey all things" (Matt 28.19-20).

Draw the same diagram you did with the Starter...but this time, you can draw additional lines and circles out in all directions.  Trainers train trainers to train!  Write "multiplication" beneath the diagram.  Share 2 Timothy 2.2 and visually show the four generations mentioned in this verse.


This is a good time to let participants re-teach the Four Kinds of Disciples back to you or to each other. 

If you have time, teach three more everyday words to help participants understand the barriers that prevent disciples from moving "upward." 

The Confidence Barrier

The reason most Attenders aren't Witnesses is because they are fearful or don't know what to share or who to share with.  We must help them transcend the Confidence Barrier.

The Confidence Barrier says, "I can't do it."

To help people transcend this barrier, we must help them answers four simple questions:

  • WHY? - The reason we share the gospel.
  • WHO? - With whom to share.  We help them make their People List (Name List or oikos)
  • WHAT? - What to say when you witness.  We help them learn their testimony and a simple gospel presentation.
  • HOW? - We must model for them.  This goes beyond the classroom and into the harvest.  Be sure to go out with them to let them see you do it in real time.



The Permission Barrier

There may be many reasons why a Witness doesn't invest in their new believers, but one big reason is that they don't feel they are allowed to do so.  This is the Permission Barrier.

The Permission Barrier says, "You can't do it."

The Vision Barrier

While there may be several reasons a Starter doesn't work like a Trainer is that it is usually a blind spot--thus, it is a Vision Barrier. 

The Vision Barrier says, "God can't do it."


Take time to prayerfully consider where each participant lies in the Four Kinds of Disciples, and what barrier needs to be broken down in order to move forward.  Or consider the same for those with whom each person is working.