Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Dave Miller
The 3/3rds process puts the power of the gospel to work week in and week out. Let me show you how. You have shared the #3Circles, you have a new believer and they want to meet with you to learn to follow Jesus, what do you do? We use the 3/3rds process as the engine of our disciple making practice. It is like the gas pedal to obedience-based discipleship where we teach one another to obey all that Christ commands.
In chapter 4 we learned that salvation is not just the declaration that you are a new creation (justification), but also becoming who Christ has declared you to be (sanctification). Remember, the glory of God in Jesus Christ and disciple making collide in the gospel precisely because God glorifies himself through the salvation of sinners in Jesus Christ and transforming us into the image of Christ.
The same power that saved us also transforms us, the gospel power!
As we share the gospel using the #3Circles we see this truth clearly.
When we repent and believe the gospel we are restored to God’s original design. We become restored image-bearing ambassadors. But we also pursue God’s design by following Jesus because we are restored in Jesus. This gospel truth is the Great Exchange of 2 Corinthians 5:21.
The 3/3rds helps to remind us of this truth from day one. The 3/3rds also keeps us accountable to live in our restored identity. In other words, as we practice the 3/3rds together we refuse to let one another forget our identity. So we look back.
1/3 – Look Back
1. Pastoral Care
3. Accountability & Vision Casting
We encourage one another through pastoral care. Then hold one another accountable for following and fishing. Remember Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Followers will fish. If we are to live in this gospel forged identity then we must be reminded constantly. The author of Hebrews wrote it this way:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries (Heb. 10:24-27).
The day of Jesus return is approaching so we stir one another up to love and good works, we encourage one another, and we refuse to let one another go on sinning deliberately after receiving the truth. This illustration shows the practical way to do just that:
1. Pastoral Care: How are you doing? Struggles/Successes?
2. Worship: Spend time in worship. (Song, Psalm, Thankful for…)
3. Accountability & Vision Casting:
a. Follow - How did you pursue God’s design by following Jesus?
b. Fish - Generation Maps/House of Peace Search, Reading
Notice how we are following the truth of Hebrews. We stir one another to love one another and the Lord through pastoral care and worship. Then we stir one another to good works by emphasizing the commands. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus commands that we follow him. So we hold one another accountable for following. In other words, to did you obey Jesus the way you planned the week before? Jesus says when we follow we will fish, so we hold one another accountable to fishing for men (speaking the gospel) every single week.
We use the Relationship map, like the one you created in the last chapter, to focus our attention on sharing the message (#3Circles) with our ministry (Relationship Map). The Day of Jesus’ return is drawing near, so we cast vision every week to join the mission of God until there is #NoPlaceLeft in my circle of influence.  “Looking Back” is crucial to pursuing God’s Design. We are not allowed to just talk. We must act in obedience.
The pursuit of God’s design will confront us with our sin as the power of the Gospel pushes us to repent and believe God’s truth instead of our attempts to fix our own brokenness. So we drill down ever deeper into the gospel by looking up.
2/3 – Look Up
1. New Lesson
We aren’t just learning a new lesson when we intentionally look up. God wants to teach us through his Holy Spirit. We are actively listening for our Lord’s leadership through his Word so we may obediently follow and become who he has declared us to be in the gospel. We are intentionally practicing a kairos moment to learn the habit of repentance and belief and to practice listening to the Spirit. We train believers in these principles through the second third “Look Up.”
4. New Lesson:
Pray and Study
What we do with this new information has everything to do with making disciples. Let’s walk through the second command in the “10 Ways to Follow Jesus Together” to illustrate what a “New Lesson” looks like:
Identify with the Gospel – Baptism
New Command: Matthew 28:19
“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,”
Tell New Story:
One day an angel came to an evangelist named Philip and told him to go south down to the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. That road was out in the middle of the desert. So Philip went and as he was walking he came across an Ethiopian sitting in a chariot reading from the prophet Isaiah. This man was an official in charge the treasury for Candace the queen of his country and he was on his way back home after worshipping in Jerusalem.
The Spirit told Philip, “Go over and join the chariot.”
So Philip ran to the man and heard him reading a passage from Isaiah. He asked the Ethiopian, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I?” he replied. “Unless someone teaches me?” He invited Philip to join him in the chariot.
He was reading this passage:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.
The Ethiopian man asked Philip, “About whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”
Then Philip, starting with that passage, told the Eunuch the story of Jesus and the good news about his death, burial, and resurrection. Just like we do with the #3Circles. And while they were going down the road they came to some water. The Ethiopian said, “Look, there’s water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Well, of course nothing did, so he commanded his chariot to stop and both of them went down into the water. Philip baptized him right there in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just like Jesus commanded in our command today. When he came up out of the water the Holy Spirit carried Philip away. The Ethiopian no longer saw him but went on his way filled with joy!
Read the Story: Acts 8:26-39
Pray and Study Using #3Circles Bible Study Method:
Father we ask that you would teach us now by your Holy Spirit. From your Word we read today, we want to learn how we should turn from our sin and follow Jesus. Teach us now as we study, Amen.
What did you learn from this passage about God and/or His design? When you give an answer, please tell us the verse where you found it.
(We use a sheet of paper or a white board as briefly illustrated below)
“Look Up” provides the opportunity to make the Word of God central to our disciple making process. As we read and study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will show us where we need to repent and believe, then follow in obedience.
The “Look up” section allows us to weekly embed vital disciple-making DNA such as:
The Word of God is authoritative and required.
How to study God’s word for yourself and teach others.
How to repent and believe in every kairos moment.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
Jesus is the point.
Since the 3/3rds is obedience based we next “Look Forward” to take the information we learn and determine how to obey.
Studying God’s word under the direction of the Holy Spirit will always present a kairos moment. The “Look Forward” or third third trains believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called” (Eph. 4:1). We choose to repent of the sins in our life that are leading us to brokenness and our failing attempts to fix brokenness, believe in the promises of God in Jesus and set realistic goals to follow Jesus in God’s design. The following is how we train to “Look Forward”.
3/3 – Look Forward
6. Obedience Goals
7. Commissioning Prayer
5. Practice: Practice telling the story to share
6. Obedience Goals:
a. Follow - Specifically, how do you need to repent of sin and pursue God’s design by following Jesus? and Read this weeks Bible passage.
b. Fish - Who will you try to share Jesus with/disciple this week?
7. Commissioning Prayer: Pray for one another (Follow) and Generation Maps/HOP search (Fish)
Practice, Practice, Practice.
We practice until we are confident and competent with the tool being trained. In the case of our example the tool would be telling the story of Philip and the Ethiopian. So in the spirit of this book take some time to practice the story, even now if you can. Read it several times, then practice telling the story. Then most importantly, find someone this week to tell the story.
Repetition was my most neglected activity in disciple making.
Practice will not only make you effective with the tools, it will also put the word of God and his Story in your heart. That can never be given a value equal to the impact in your and others lives.
Once we have practiced, everyone in the group will have heard the story at least four times in one meeting. The story was told, read, practiced by someone else, and practiced by you. We have asked the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us. At this moment we ask each person to personally and publicly set obedience goals for the coming week. We then use these goals as accountability next week in our “Look Back” third, so keep a record.
In the case of the “Identify with the Gospel – Baptism” lesson illustrated by the story of Philip and the Ethiopian, the basic “follow” goal is baptism. Should the new believer decide to follow in obedience through baptism, we baptize them immediately, if the possibility is available. Of course the Holy Spirit can lead in other goals as well, but the main focus for this lesson would be baptism for a new believer.
We use the “Fishing” goal to guide them back to the relationship map. We urge them to pick from the map those with whom they will share in the coming week. Then we set a “share by date” and write the date by the specific individuals circle.
It is not unusual for some disciples to have led someone else to Christ by the second discipleship meeting. If so, we train them to disciple those they have led to Jesus with the same tools we are using with them.
We MAWL FAT Poeple:
Model, Assist, Watch, and Launch Faithful Available Teachable People
Of course a weekly meeting for discipleship makes the MAWL process regular and consistent, but if there is anything we have learned. Disciple making is rarely regular and consistent.
The Word of God is vital to a disciple’s growth, as we have already mentioned. Each week we train the new believers to read 20-30 chapters of scripture a week. We start with Matthew and read through the book of Acts by the end of the “10 Ways to Follow Jesus Together.” The normal reaction to such large portions is positive. Honestly, the majority of those who react negatively to the reading are already believers. Don’t be that guy.
Intake of The Word of God is the single most important factor to maturity.
I have yet to see a disciple grow consistently without a regular intake of the scriptures. In fact, I will say there is a monumental difference in the pace of maturity between a new believer who reads large portions regularly and those who neglect reading the Bible.
In a illiterate, semi-literate, or different language situation we simply have them listen to the passages using free Bible apps or online. There are dozens of tools that remove all these obstacles, even when we are working with disciples who speak another language. Consider two apps to get you started: Bible by Life.Church and Bible.is by Faith Comes by Hearing. Between the two there are several hundred languages available in audio for free. Illiterate, semi-illiterate, and different languages is also why telling the stories and learning to tell the stories is crucial to movement. Even in Oklahoma City it took just months before our disciple making reproduced into a semi-literate context and a context with different primary languages.
The seventh and last component of the 3/3rds process in the “Look Forward” third sends all the followers of Jesus out with a commissioning prayer. Jesus said:
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks fora fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:9-13).
We ask the Father to empower us by the Holy Spirit to follow the way we have been taught in the scripture. We ask the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those in our circle of influence when we go fishing. We need the Holy Spirit to move the gospel forward in our lives. Disciple making teaches many things, but I can guarantee it will teach you dependence on the Holy Spirit.
The 3/3rds Process is the engine of disciple making. It is deceptively simple. You will find yourself thinking, there has to be more. Our complex and professionally led experiences have trained us to assume complex is better and a greater level of leadership is required. It is, however, in the simplicity, that everyday reproducing disciples can sustain a gospel movement in everyday moments to make disciple-making disciples and plant church-planting churches until there is #NoPlaceLeft. This simplicity can happen anywhere at anytime.
Up Next: Make Disciples Anywhere
Until there's #NoPlaceLeft...
Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat