The Secret to Learning to Make Disciples and Multiply

Margaret —  December 15, 2012 — 71 Comments



I recently had the opportunity to get the insider scoop on Mark Beuving and Francis Chan's book Multiply: Disciples Making DisciplesFrancis Chan.

Q. Tell us a little bit about Multiply and what you hope to accomplish with it?

A. In Matthew 28:19, Christ told his disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples,” and they did it. The result? The Christian faith flourished, and the world changed. In fact, it wasn’t long before these 12 simple and uneducated men stood in front of earthly kings who accused them of turning the world upside down! In Multiply, we help modern believers understand that, like the early disciples, they are responsible to obey Christ’s command to make disciples and that the Holy Spirit empowers them. We also provide simple, practical, helpful and personal materials to embolden their disciple-making efforts.

The format — 24 sessions of reading, reflection and weekly meetings — helps disciples make new disciples, new disciples who possess critical understanding, like basic knowledge of the Bible, and lives that reflect God’s teachings. Since sharing the journey is critical to discipleship, Multiply also helps readers/participants to develop real relationships with each other. Additionally, David Platt, author of New York Times best-seller Radical, and I also made 24 coaching videos, viewable at, to help those who are new to disciple-making. In the end, my goal for all of this material is that it makes disciples who make disciples, until the whole world knows that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Q. What might get in the way of Christians making disciples of Jesus, and how does Multiply help them to overcome the barriers?

A. There are many reasons why Christians don’t become disciple-makers; for example, they may not understand that Jesus’ command to the early disciples also applies to them. Through Multiply, we offer them truth and clarity: Jesus’ command to make disciples is as relevant to them as it was to the original 12. Christians may also feel inadequate, believing they simply aren’t equipped.

We help them to overcome this challenge in two ways. First, we remind them that their responsibility is obedience, not outcome. The Holy Spirit in them will bring about transformation in others. In fact, this is one of the ways that God brings glory to himself! Second, the book is broken into 24 straightforward sessions for disciple-makers to teach to others, which should reduce their anxiety. We also let readers know that they needn’t have all the answers.

Q. What part does relationship play in Multiply specifically and disciple-making generally?

A. Discipleship is about really living and sharing daily life together, but time gets way from all of us. As such, we recommend that readers/participants meet at least once per week to discuss the session’s material. During their time together, we ask them to focus on the questions and practical application of the learning.

We want those who utilize Multiply to really get down in the weeds and determine how they’ll move forward differently in the light of what they learned. We also ask and expect everyone who is discipled with this material to teach it to others, soon and often. In this way, each disciple multiplies the faith and adds to their own joy because while disciple-making can be a challenging it is also one of the most meaningful and fulfilling ways to express Christ’s love to others.

Q. What is covered in the book, and why is it important?

A. The sessions help readers/participants to understand some of the basic ideas and practices of discipleship. For example, they learn about ways to study the Bible, so each person can understand how they can know more about God. We also teach about motivation; for example, we write about the heart of the disciple-maker. Additionally, we work through some of the primary narratives of the Old and New Testaments; these sessions, help readers understand what was, what is and what will be. All of the material that you will find in Multiply helps disciples to rightly live and replicate their faith.


71 responses to The Secret to Learning to Make Disciples and Multiply

  1. My Sunday School class has discussed many times how this is the mission we should work toward at all times. Perhaps a study would help us accomplish what we seek. 🙂

  2. O good topic! Sadly, I think we don’t become disciplemakers for many reasons. Here are a few:
    1) Focus is on ourselves instead of God: Our own brokenness scares us and we are unwilling to be vulnerable.
    2) Anxiety: We fear rejection, especially within family or work environments
    3) Elevator speech aversion: We don’t know what to say without it sounding like a sales pitch
    4) Someone else’s responsibility: We think the task belongs to the pastors and evangelists among us and it’s not our “gift”
    5) No obligation: We not held accountable to do so…and we like it that way.
    6) Live in a Christian bubble: We don’t know any people who are non Christian.
    7) Definition: We really don’t know what it means to be a disciple, much less make disciples.

    Can’t wait to pursue this topic with you all in this next year. Excellent to face this challenge within the subculture!

  3. We have become far too silent in sharing our God. I’m glad there is a book to help us break out of that.

    • Maureen, “We have become far too silent in sharing our God.” –let us share God then with not just our words, but our very lives!

  4. After evangelism, discipleship is one of the priorities of my parenting. If feel that many do not recognize that responsibility. Often discipleship is delegated to someone else such as school or church.

    • Sandy, You’re right, I don’t think many do make discipleship a written-down priority in parenting. What do you do to impart it to your children?

      • That is a question that would take a long time to answer. Discipleship involves all of life. I am a homeschool mom so that often allows additional time for conversations with my kids. I was blessed to lead each of my kids to the Lord, and now I am excited to watch them grow.

  5. In my experience many feel the need or have the desire to but don’t believe they are equipped, many because they were never discipled themselves.

  6. Discipleship has become a hot topic at my church. I’ve read & been in small group studies with both Chan & Platt’s books. Would love to win a copy of this!

  7. I think we have overemphasized the professional nature of vocational pastors and lack of emphasis on the priesthood of all believers. Evangelism has been reduced to invite your friends to church and discipleship has become a class where lectures happen and very little dialogue.

  8. If we are going to get disciples, we have to act like disciples first, and the worst among us help cement Christianity’s reputation in the court of public opinion. When Pat Robertson prays for a hurricane to shift away from his home (and hit somebody else), or when the Westboro Baptist church protests another funeral, people are turned away from Jesus. But if more and more Christians counter that with the life of peace that Jesus called for, Christianity becomes attractive.

    Also, I think we have to be more selective of who we approach. In The Rise of Christianity, sociologist Rodney Stark makes a compelling argument that the early spread of Christianity occurred in existing social circles. In other words, people are much more likely to inspire conversion and discipleship among their family and friends than they are going door-to-door. Jesus’ first disciples did not follow him blindly; they were followers of John the Baptist and knew of him (John 1:35-41).

    On top of that, I think you have to be IN the world to spread the Good News around the world. In my opinion, one of the key flaws of the methods of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they go door-to-door when they are in ministry mode, but they stay away from the society around them all other times. How many people want to follow a total stranger who is also anti-social? Religious enclaves like the Catholic town of Ave Maria in Florida give people a place to be around fellow Catholics, but since they live miles away from the nearest town, it’s like they are keeping the Gospel to themselves.

  9. So excited about Francis Chan’s new book. Can’t wait to read it.

  10. Love… I think we forget to love others. We get caught up in the theology and forget Jesus saying: Love God and love your neighbour. We judge; we criticize; we gossip … we do lots of things wrong. But if we love – and forgive, we become great disciple makers.
    I would love this book.

  11. Two things that come to my mind right away are fear of rejection and feeling ill equipped.

    I would love to get a copy of this book to discover new was to make disciples who make disciples and share that insight with our students!

  12. This is actually a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m not good at making disciples. I’ve been through the church classes that were supposed to teach me about sharing my faith. None of them sounded like, “me.” And then there’s the fact of my life. Not that I do anything “really” wrong, but I am often guilty of having a bad attitude. Then the Lord grabs ahold of me and gives me a good shake and I’m fine again. I have no credibility to share a better way. I think the reason I’m not better at it (and probably a lot of others too) is that I am doing my best. The early believers lived very close to the Spirit and did His best. I don’t know how to quit doing my best and start doing His.

  13. This sounds like a great book! I think a lot of times we don’t know what to say. We don’t want to be “intolerant” and we don’t want to resort to Christianese. I wonder if we just don’t know how to be real in a culture calling us “fakes.”

  14. As a college student at a state school and having watch the latest simulcast from David Platt and Francis Chan, I have been so passionate to try and spread God’s word around campus. But from the simulcast, I realized how much more important it is to teach others not only who Christ is in their life, but also how they can share as well. If I was given this copy: not only would I read it but I’d be able to use it to explain to others the importance and the how of discipleship. It’s definitely not the hardest battlefield in the world, but impacting one college campus can, in time, change the world!! 🙂

  15. I’d love to win this book to give to my husband. He just finished Crazy Love & would be excited to have Multiply

  16. Ditto about what a great program to reach my church community with not only the challenge but also equipping so that getting outside their box is something they can see doing!

  17. Sounds like a great book!

  18. This is our theme for 2013 at our church and I would love to read this book and use it in our small group!

  19. I am always challenged by Francis Chan’s writing. While my heart longs to share the love of Jesus, and I’ve been following Him since I was a child, I feel so inadequate in terms of “making disciples”. I am determined to bridge the (perceived) gap between the secular and spiritual. Every day I pray that He would give me grace and favor and wisdom to sow seeds of truth into those around me. But time constraints hinder real relationship with others. I’m trying to find the way to overcome that and make room and time for those He is calling who are in my sphere of influence. Looking forward to reading this book!

  20. Chan has a gift to cut through all the side stuff and get to the heart of the matter. Looking forward to reading his latest.

  21. A not-exhaustive list of possibilities:
    1. Individualism
    2. Fear/s
    3. Pluralism
    4. Ignorance

    Often times people may have an “institutionalized” understanding of “discipleship,” while discipleship ought to happen in a more organic way, amidst the everyday life and interactions of believers.

  22. Win or lose…. I will own this book before the year is out. Francis Chan always challenges me when I read his books. He has a unique way of pushing me outside of my comfort zone. It’s an unfortunate thing that I ever find a “comfort zone.” I want to rekindle the fire and share it with others to be disciple-makers! Thanks for posting information on this book!

    • Sorry but I hit post comment before I answered your question. I think most shy away from being disciple makers for a couple of reasons. One is the time it takes to invest in someone else’s life. The another thing is fear of not being able to answer questions. We don’t have to know it all… we just need to be faithful to the call to follow.

  23. Thanks Margaret…if it’s by Francis Chan it has to be great!

  24. Jesus Himself gives the two primary reasons Christian’s fall short in making disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24); “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsake to not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27, 33).

    Many seem to miss that surrender and investment are vital to fulfilling the great commandment and the great commission. We become constricted by our personal limitations instead of allowing the work of the Holy Spirit through our obedience.

    I look forward to exploring and ingesting ‘Multiply’ as I engage its contents with my small group community leaders in 2013 (along with the 168-day reading plan).

    Thank you Margaret.

  25. I think one of the reasons is people don’t feel equipped to share. Tools like Multiply will go a long way in helping people be more confident when it comes to sharing the Word and walking in community with others.

  26. I am so excited for this book!
    I’ve been given a few new opportunities to mentor young men and this would be a great resource to have!

  27. Fear. I think the spirit of fear ruins a lot of God’s plans for today’s Christians.

  28. For starters:

    1. Our self–we like to live in our own comfort zone.
    2. Busyness, no time for anything.
    3. Church leaders and Pastors. Most, they don’t believe in producing disciples, control is the nub of the problem.
    4. there are more…but for now these three.

  29. Time is a big obstacle, or maybe it’s commitment, or both. Also, when you live in community and accountability with people, you have to become open and vulnerable. You can’t keep the pretty face on all the time. People are going to see your failings and mistakes and maybe they’re going to reject us. Disciplemaking is risky business, but it’s worth the risk!

  30. In this passage, Jesus spoke directly to the eleven. We today are still included for several reasons: We are “all the nations” they were to make disciples of, and since we are to glorify God (Isaian 43:7) and become like Jesus (Romans 8:29), then we are also to train disciples as a way of glorifying God, and imitating Jesus. We HONOR Him when we OBEY in this way.

  31. I think an attitude of, “someone else can do it,” has crept into the minds of christians today which make it almost impossible to move them from the couch to the mission field.

  32. I am really glad to see a book like this. Sometimes we, as evangelicals, can easily lose sight of the fact that the Great Commission is to go and make Disciples, not converts, or salvation decisions.

  33. A simple message but one that we need a constant reminder of. This book will help serve the church in a mighty way. Hope to read it soon!

  34. I think we have become so “politically correct” that it’s socially unacceptable to live out our faith. We fear the penalties of sharing faith and the societal stigma of the Christian label.

  35. We look to ourselves too often instead of to God. The battle of winning souls and growing them up in the faith is HIS! We just have the privilege of being used by Him to accomplish His purposes in the world. In a culture that constantly bombards us with noise and advertising and sound bites, it’s hard to “be still,” “cease striving,” and “know that He is God.” Quieting our hearts and minds and spirits is key to hearing from God; followers who listen for His voice and obey His promptings will turn the world upside down for Him….and He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth!

  36. I think lots of Christians feel they dont live good enough lives which inhibits them from believing they have been called to make disciples. Too many times people think thats a Pastors job or someone who in their opinion is a great Christian. They fail to grab the concept that God is not requiring them to live “good enough” lives in order to represent his love, truth, and freedom to others. I’m excited about reading this book and hope I can use it within small groupos at my local church.

  37. i believe anxiety is the biggest obstacle in discipleship. you never know how you will be received among friends, family and coworkers. opening up to people i have learned there are more people out there that believe than i thought. i am a fan of francis chan and look forward to the book

  38. I have come face to face with the reality that if we are not about the father’s business of making disciples, a commission that he gave his closest followers before he left earth, then we are wasting our time. My wife and I planted a church in 2009 and there are so many wonderful things about it, even though it is the toughest work of my life. But the best thing is to watch someone who was lost, get saved, and then watch them grow into a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ. To be there for that, reminds me every time why i believe He is so great! If we have evangelism, but no discipleship, we are selling the change in people short from their great God potential. If we have discipleship with no evangelism, we lose our freshness and edge to reach the lost. I am afraid we have traded evangelism for marketing, and discipleship for coercion. God helps us to run back to the great commission.


  39. I know I would enjoy and benefit greatly from this book. Chan is one of my favorite author’s for insight and spiritual growth. He challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones and do what God is calling us to do!!
    I recently heard him speak in person and was blessed. Thank you for offering a book by him as a giveaway!

  40. I think the greatest thing that held me back from sharing Jesus was fear. Just on Tuesday, my church family got up and each shared fears so we could pray over them. My greatest fear for the longest time was not seeing my family know the love of God. Yet, I had been afraid to speak because I have done so much wrong in the past. So on Tuesday, I took ownership of the grace that God gave me. He traded my rags for a beautiful ball gown! I am putting the past in the past, and I am so excited to boldly tell them about the best news I have ever received this weekend! It’s time to put my mouth where my money is. 😉

  41. I think its mix of fear and not knowing how to put it across effectively.

  42. Can’t wait to read Wonderstruck AND Multiply!

  43. On the most recent Virtuosi tour, the performers went sightseeing in New York,
    visited the beach in Naples, Florida and sampled barbecue in Kansas City.
    Mutter has embraced what she thinks of as a ‘very noble role’ of passing
    along what she has learned in a lifetime on the stages of concert halls and festivals around the world.

    they were given a private tour in the Library
    of Congress, where they viewed manuscripts of Mozart, Mendelssohn and

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>