The process used in T4T (Training for Trainers) is perhaps the one thing that distinguishes it from all other discipleship programs. It is also probably the most misunderstood and overlooked. All T4T training sessions must include three basic parts: Looking Back (First Third); Looking Up (Middle Third); and Looking Ahead (Final Third).
Most training sessions last about 90-120 minutes, so the total time should be divided into somewhat equal thirds. Each third consists of key parts that must be included to develop the mindset of “training” rather than just teaching content.
The First Third should include: a time of worship; a time for mutual care for group members; a time of accountability; and a time of casting vision. The Middle Third includes time for the new lesson and the Final Third allows time for practice of the new lesson, goal setting and prayer.
The desired goal of the First Third is to encourage and celebrate what each person has done as well as to coach and help them overcome any difficulties experienced. The Middle Third is the time to seek God’s direction and instruction for the next week by studying a portion of the Bible. The goal of the Final Third is to equip each person through practice and reinforcement and then to set goals for the upcoming week and to pray for each other.
- Worship—A time to praise God and to focus on Him through song, prayer, reading Scripture, etc.
- Pastoral Care—A time for trainers to ask “How are you doing?” and to minister to the needs of the people in the group. People are encouraged to share a personal highlight and a challenge from the previous week.
- Accountability—A time to ask appropriate questions about how our trainees have followed what Jesus taught them and how they did in fishing for men. These questions should be progressive in nature so as to help each person move forward in this area of fishing. A good question for following might be: How did you do in obeying the lesson from last week? Appropriate fishing questions might start with “Who did you witness to last week and who believed? And progress to “When are you training the new believers?” “How are these new believers doing in their witnessing?” “When are they training those new believers?”
- Vision-Casting—A time to share words of encouragement to not give up on the journey. Use stories from the Bible that call us to obedience in living out the Great Commission.
- New Lesson—This is the time to present a new lesson from the Scriptures. The goal here is to give enough biblical content for the trainees to obey and then pass on to others.
- Practice—This is the time to prepare trainees to go back into their world and live out what they have learned. Allow enough practice time for them to feel competent and confident to share the new lesson. It is also helpful to do a talk-through or role-play of what they might experience. Practice not only the lesson content but also the parts of the three-thirds process.
- Set Goals & Pray—A time for each person to set measurable goals for the upcoming week. Remember to have them set goals for both following and fishing and to write them down. Never close the training session without praying for each person in the group.