At the end of 1994, I became a missionary to Hong Kong. The first year I spent learning Cantonese. I was born in Taiwan, so my mother tongue is Mandarin, but Cantonese is so different. Though I studied Cantonese and used it in my ministry, my Cantonese was not very good.
At that time in Hong Kong, the mission told all the missionaries that we needed to plant one new church at least every five years. In 1996, I started the first church plant. In the second year, I started a second church plant. In 1998, I started a third church plant. Every year I started one new church. I kept good records all during these years and discovered that every year my wife Grace and I could lead 40-60 people to the Lord and start a new church. I felt like this was pretty good. The mission said, “In five years, start one new church plant,” but we were starting a new one every year.
In 1999 we took a yearlong furlough. When we came back, everything had already changed in our mission organization. We had a new regional leader. He came to Hong Kong and said, “Hong Kong has 147 Baptist churches, and they’re already sending missionaries to other countries. Hong Kong doesn’t need you anymore. In other places in Asia there are much greater needs.” He mentioned to us one nation5 that was very opposed to mission work. But at that time, I didn’t want to work there for many reasons.
So I stayed in Hong Kong. But in 2000, when we came back from the States, the first Sunday we were back, I went to my church. A member of the church asked us to consider going to this same country to share the gospel. He was a businessman who owned a factory there. I responded, “No, I don’t want to.” He said, “Why not?” I said, “I worry about the oppressive government there.” He said, “Today things are different. If you’d like, I’d love to take you and Grace to visit. You can try. If you listen, maybe God will talk to you.”
After getting our visas, this businessman took us to the city where his factory was located. As we rode the train, we passed many factories. The man told us about every factory we passed. He would say, “This factory has 3,000 workers. I know the owner. He hopes that someone will come to share the gospel, but we cannot find anyone who will come.” As we passed another, he would say, “That factory has 10,000 workers.” The biggest factory we passed has 70,000 people. When we saw all of the lost people of these factories, God opened our eyes and our minds. I realized, “These people need the gospel.” So we went back to Hong Kong and prayed. After two weeks, we talked to our regional leader and said, “We’ve been considering transferring to work in that country.” He said, “Okay, good. We’ve been waiting for this a very long time.”
At that time, I didn’t know anything about this country, so people told me, “In one particular area, there are a lot of factories. The factory workers come from many different places across the country. In that area, there are several fast-growing cities all clustered nearby each other.” So we asked to be the Strategy Coordinator (SC) for those three cities. A Strategy Coordinator is a person who oversees a CPM (church-planting movement) strategy to reach a people group or city. At that time, there were only 5.8 million local people in those cities, plus 15 million immigrant factory workers from other parts of the country – a total of 20 million people.
At the beginning of our ministry, we attended a four-week CPM training. In the training room, there was a sign on the wall with this question: “How many of my people will hear the gospel today?”
In our previous ministries Grace and I could lead 40-60 people to become Christians every year. Now, there were 20 million. How were we going to share with everyone? I did not know what to do for my CPM plan. At that time, it was very difficult for us, and our English was very limited, so we were very nervous. We didn’t know what to do, so every night we prayed, and prayed, and prayed. At night, when everyone else went back to the hotel, we stayed to work, pray, and think. We would usually leave at around midnight. We looked at that sign (“How many of my people will hear the gospel today?”) and prayed a lot asking God how we could help the people in our area to hear the gospel.
Then we read Jesus’ Great Commission in the Bible, and saw that Jesus had already given a battle plan for us. We didn’t need another strategy. Jesus had already given the strategy.
What was it?
- Go, not come Jesus said, “Go!” Something stirred in my heart. Before, when I pastored the church, we said to people, “Welcome, our door is open.” We prayed for people to come. But Jesus said, “Go!” It is very difficult to invite people to come. People don’t know what your church is; they don’t know you. They don’t know anything. It’s very difficult to get people to come. But Jesus said, “Go!” I was wrong. Instead of inviting people to come, I needed to go out and find them, to touch them, to talk to them. I think the first key word is GO, not come.
- Everybody, not just some. What does Jesus say next? He says to go to all nations. That means everybody. But before, we always chose people. We would think, “This person is very ugly. Don’t give anything to him. But this other person is very nice.” We tend to choose who we think will respond to the gospel. Jesus said, “Don’t just choose some. Go to everybody.” Jesus gave the example: one farmer went outside to sow the seeds. He is a farmer; he knows which soil is good and which is bad. But this farmer is very strange. He throws the seeds everywhere. Some of the soil is very shallow, some of the soil is very hard and some of the soil is choked with weeds. However, some of the land is good, and God multiplies the fruit 30, 60, and 100 times. Sowing the seed is our responsibility. Only the Holy Spirit can make the seeds grow. So don’t miss any chance. Don’t miss anybody. Even right now, the soil may not be good. But one day, God can change the soil; we never know. We can’t miss any chance. The second word is EVERYBODY, not just some.
- Make trainers, not just church members. Third, what did Jesus invite His followers to become? Disciples. Not simply church members. A disciple must learn everything that his teacher teaches to him. Then he needs to follow and to teach other people. My previous way of doing things was different. As a pastor, I had hoped for my congregation to double in size, but that’s not what Jesus commanded. If you have many church members, you know that you only see some of your church members once a year. A lot of church members will try to find you if they are having a difficult time, but the rest of the year, you have little direct contact with them. But this wasn’t what Jesus had in mind. He wants every person to become His disciple. So go, share the gospel with everybody, and lead them to become disciples. Essentially Jesus said, “What I teach you, you need to teach them, and let them obey.” Jesus teaches us to obey, then to teach the disciples to obey also. They must obey all the commands, including the Great Commission. Then Jesus said, “I will be with you until the end of the world.” This is a promise. If we want God’s promise, then first we need to obey Jesus’ Great Commission. A disciple should be a trainer of others. So the third key word is TRAINER, not just a church member.
This stirred something in my heart, so in my CPM plan, I wrote, “I hope I can train every Christian or new believer to become a trainer.” Even though my wife and I could only lead 40-60 people to faith every year, we could train the people that we led to faith, then they could lead 40-60 people to faith every year, too. Even if only half of them succeeded, it would still be a lot of conversions. So in my three-year CPM plan, I put as my main goal: “We want to see 200 churches start and 18,000 people come to faith.”
The first T4T group – week one
On November 1, 2000, I went back to my assigned area, but I didn’t know anyone there. But a Christian from a neighboring country introduced me to the pastor of a government-registered church in one of the cities in my area who was looking for a pastor to help train his congregation. So I visited the church, and the pastor said, “What do you want to teach us?” At that time, I could not say church-planting movement because it carried a very negative political idea. So I said, “I’ll teach you a fast way to share the gospel.” He said, “Oh, good!” But as I thought about my CPM plan, I asked, “What is the population of your city?” He told me that the population was 618,000. Then I said, “How many districts?” He said, “22 districts, and every district has 100 or 200 villages. Small villages have 30-40 families. Large villages have over 100 families.”
Then I asked them, “Where can you share the gospel?” “Oh, we obey the Great Commission, so we can share the gospel anywhere.” I said, “Okay, how do you share the gospel?” He replied, “The church has many meeting points, and every member can have family Bible study groups in their homes.” I said, “Really?” He exclaimed, “Yes! Why not? We can learn the Bible at home.” I said, “Good.” When I heard that, I was very happy. I said, “We need to make a goal, an end-vision. In three years, I hope that every village will have a family Bible study [i.e. over 3,000 family Bible studies].” He and the other staff members looked at me as if to say, “That’s impossible.” After a lot of arguing and discussing, I said, “If you want to try it, I will show you a fast way to share the gospel.”
But on that day, we were not able to resolve anything, and finally the pastor said, “Okay, you should go back home. I will let people register for your training. If enough people want to learn from you, I will call you so you can come.” I went home, not expecting much. But after two days, he called me. He said, “Right now, almost 30 people want to join your training class. Can you come this weekend?” I said, “Yes, sure, we want to.” So, that Friday night, Grace and I went over there. That was the middle of November. When we arrived, there was one person waiting outside the church. He said, “It’s not in this church building. We will go to another church building,
in the rural countryside. We will ride a motorcycle for one hour.” So Grace and I took one motorcycle with him. Three people on one motorcycle for one hour. It was very tight!
The 57-member church was very small, only half the size of the mother church. When we arrived there, around 6 p.m., there was only one person waiting outside the church. He said, “Not everyone has come back from the field. We need to wait for them. Some of them are riding bikes, some of them are riding motorcycles, and some of them are walking. Maybe it will take 1½ hours, so we need to wait for them.”
Grace and I waited and prayed together until 8 p.m. Finally, 30 people came. They were very excited. They were all farmers. Many of them hadn’t even had dinner, but we hadn’t had dinner, either. Thirty people had come, so I started to share with them. I told them, “Today, not all Christians can share the gospel. Why? There are three reasons.
The first reason is ‘why?’” I began to explain why these existing believers should share the gospel. I cast vision to them using Jesus’ Great Commission. I told them, “Jesus commanded us to share the gospel.” Everybody agreed with me. God was convicting their hearts about being witnesses.
The second reason is that we don’t know whom to share with. There are many people, in our homes and outside, but we don’t know whom we can start to share with.” Therefore I gave everybody a piece of paper and said, “Close your eyes and think of people around you –your family, your neighbors, your relatives, your friends — every person you know who is not a Christian. Write down their names.” I gave them about 15 minutes to write down the names. Most people had 20, 30, 40 names. One person had over 80 names. So, everyone made a name list of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers that didn’t know Jesus or weren’t walking with God. Then I told them, “Look at your name list and pray. God wants you to share with everyone and you need to know how to start. After praying, choose five people that you want to immediately share the gospel with. Put them in the first group. Choose another five people for the second group. Then choose another five for the third group. Now you have a target group. You can pray for them, and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare them and give them a hungry heart so that when you share the gospel, they will listen and accept Jesus Christ.”
The third problem is that we don’t know how to share. I told them, “You may not know how to share, but it’s very easy. It starts with your own story.” I gave everyone another piece of paper, and I gave them my example. I said, “Your story is very easy. There are only three parts. The first part is what your life was like before Christ. Before you were a Christian, what was your life like? Were you very nervous or angry? You can write down what your life was like before Christ. The second part is how you became a Christian. The third part is what has happened in your life since you became a Christian. Do you have a joyful or peaceful life? Write only one page; don’t make it too long. If it’s too long, people won’t have the patience to listen. And be sure to tell your story in an interesting manner.”
I gave them fifteen minutes to write it down. After they were finished, I said, “Everybody stand up and look at your testimony. Don’t listen to other people. Read it out loud five times.” Everybody can write, but not everybody can talk smoothly when they are talking to other people. So I told them, “Speak loud; it is very important. If you say your story out loud five times you’ll have it memorized, so that you don’t have to take your paper with you. You want to have it memorized, not just written down. If you just read it, it cannot move people’s hearts.”
Then the 30 people stood and read their testimonies out loud five times. After this, I said, “Now, split up into groups of two, and tell it to each other. When you listen, you have a responsibility to tell your partner which parts you don’t understand. If there is a part that he can make more interesting, help him revise it. Talk to each other.” When we finished it, they were very excited. By that time it was already 10 p.m. I told them, “Your testimony can move people’s hearts. When people hear your testimony, some will say, ‘Oh, that’s good. I want what you have.’ Still, they may not understand the truth; they may not understand salvation. You must immediately teach them what the gospel is. Only this will give them real assurance of salvation.” I said to them, “I have six lessons that are very easy. After you share your testimony, you need to immediately teach them lesson one. Lesson one is the gospel.”
Since it was already 10 p.m., I asked them, “Do you want to continue, or come back tomorrow morning.”They said, “No, we want to continue! We are very excited. Out here, we never have any outsiders come to teach us.” So we pressed on. I gave everybody lesson one. It was only two pages. The first part is to teach a lost person, very clearly, how to gain eternal life through Jesus. That’s very important. If you only give your testimony, that’s just a story. They need to hear the gospel so that they can make a decision.
So I taught them the first part of the lesson very slowly and said, “Write down every sentence that I teach you. Even if I teach you examples, write down every sentence. Write down everything, and then I want you to teach it to other people this week.” I tried to teach them using a very simple method. After I taught them, I asked them to practice teaching each other the lesson. After they practiced, I made sure that they could all teach it to other people. Then I gave everyone five copies of lesson one. I said, “This week, when you go back home, find the five people from group one on your name list. You can approach them at home, in the field, under a tree, in a restaurant, anywhere. Just share your testimony with them. After you share your testimony, immediately give them a copy of lesson one [the gospel] and teach it to them.” Then I said to them, “One thing is very important. When you want to share your testimony, don’t ask people for permission. Just start telling your story.” Why? I explained my experience to them.
Do not ask, just tell
During my time in America and Hong Kong, I worked in a hospital as a chaplain for over 20 years. Every time I visited the patients, they lay on their beds. When I would visit each patient I would say, “How are you today? Are you feeling better?” I would say, “I am the hospital chaplain. I want to introduce the gospel to you.” Or I would ask, “Do you know Jesus?” I was very gentle. Most of the people that I visited were very nice. But when I mentioned the gospel or Jesus, they would say, “No, I am very tired” or “No, I don’t want to listen” and then I could not continue. Once outside I would stop and update my records. Out of every 15 beds, only one or two persons would listen to my testimony. The other ones just did not want to listen. I did not have a chance. If they did not listen, how would they have a chance to accept the gospel?
One time I went back to visit Taiwan. Normally, when I was there I would buy a bowl of soy milk with a Chinese doughnut for breakfast. They would always ask me “Do you want an egg in it?” But the egg was 10 Taiwan dollars, so I did not want it. I was very careful with my money. One time, I went to a different restaurant. As I placed my order, the owner, who was very busy, asked me, “One egg or two?!” I said, “Just one.” When I brought my bowl of soy milk to the table, Grace asked, “Why did you get an egg today?” I said, “Oh! Today he did not ask me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but just ‘one’ or ‘two.’ “So I said ‘one!’” So I watched this man, and he always asked people “one or two eggs?” Nobody told him ‘no!’ He was very smart! Suddenly God opened my mind and I thought, “Yes, I am sharing the gospel and it is a good thing. Why do I need to ask their permission? I need to just give it to them.” Jesus taught about a shepherd who had 100 sheep and lost one. He left the 99 to look for the lost one. The lost one belonged to him, right? So when he found the lost sheep, what did he say? “Little sheep, do you want to go home? May I introduce myself? I am the shepherd.” No! He thought, “It is my sheep. I will take him back home!” Afterward, he was very happy. There was a celebration. But when we share the gospel, we stand outside the door and ask, “Do you want to hear?” or “May I introduce you to the gospel?” If they do not answer, then the door is closed. No! Just bring them in! God created them, but they are lost. When you talk to a person, just tell them your story. Tell them: “Hey you do not know me, but I used to be a very bad person.” Everybody loves to hear a bad person’s story!
So when I went back to the hospital, I would tell the patients, “Oh, you don’t know what I was like before. I used to fight with my wife every day.” Very few people said, “Oh, no, I don’t want to hear it.” They loved to hear it. They loved hearing gossip and bad stories.
I told them about when Jesus changed my life and about the kind of life I had now. Then I immediately gave them the first lesson about how to have assurance of salvation through believing in Jesus. Hardly anybody turned me down. I began to keep track in my records that for every 15 patients, eight or nine of them listened to my complete testimony and lesson one. So more people became Christians!
I told the 30 farmers, “Don’t ask people. Just give your story. Then give them lesson one. It gives people a chance to hear about Jesus’ love. That’s very important.” When we finished I told them, “Next week, I will come back, and you will report to me and to one another what happened.” Next I asked how many people they had shared their testimony with, and how many had believed in Jesus afterwards. One person said that he had shared with three, and one became a believer. Someone else had shared with five, and none of them became believers. One old farmer shared with a lot of people. I can’t remember how many, but eleven people had become Christians that week through his witness! He gave his testimony. He said, “I became a Christian over 20 years ago, but nobody taught me how to share the gospel. But after last week’s training, I was very excited. So in my village, I knocked on every door. I shared with everybody, and eleven people became Christians.” That was very encouraging to everybody.
From him, I discovered a truth: the Holy Spirit chooses the person, not us. If I chose, I wouldn’t have chosen him – I might not have trained him. He was old and not very handsome. His language was very hard to understand. But God chose him. That was another CPM lesson for me: we must train everyone.
Later on in the movement, this same man gave another testimony. Every morning, he got up at 5 a.m. and read the Bible. He had a devotion time for 2 hours. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., he worked in his field. At 5 p.m. he would go home, take a shower, and cook to take care of his very old mother. From 7 p.m. to midnight, he would lead four different groups in his town on different nights of the week. Later, in 2001, in that one year alone, he started over 110 small groups, and he became the official church minister of this registered church. I was very happy. Eventually, he became one of my big trainers. So, God chooses the person. We never know. Don’t choose. Let God choose.
During the first third of this second training session, after having them give reports in the accountability time, I cast vision to them one more time. I took a few minutes to share with them a vision-casting vignette called “Heavenly Father’s Heart.” I told them, “If you know the Heavenly Father’s heart, you will have more confidence to share the gospel.” Then, in the second third of our meeting, I taught them lesson two on prayer. After I taught them lesson two, I asked them to practice in the final third of our meeting and to teach each other. Then I gave them homework. I said, “If, last week, you led three people to become Christians, go back to teach them lesson two. I am also giving five copies of lesson one for each new believer. You can give them these copies to help them win other people. Ask them to write down their testimony and their name list, and ask them to immediately find five other people to share the gospel with.”
In the beginning, that was my way. But later, I changed it and just let them make their own copies – as many as they needed so there would be no time lag in them training the new believers in lesson one. Later, as I learned more, I just told my trainers, “When you share the gospel by teaching them lesson one, immediately give the new believers several copies of lesson one to teach other people. Don’t wait. The same day that they believe it is very easy for them to learn how to share with others. Take many copies of lesson one so that you will be ready to witness and then train them to witness. Don’t be restrained because you lack materials.” After practicing lesson two, the 30 farmers set goals for people they would witness to and/or train. Then I prayed for them and sent them out.
We started the first group of 30 people, in November 2000, and after three months, they were leading 27 small groups, and over 200 people had come to believe in Jesus! This moved my heart. I thought to myself, “Before, every year, Grace and I led 40-60 people to Jesus. But right now, after three months, through those 30 people we have already led 200 people to faith. 200 new believers!” I thanked God.
In total, in the year 2001, that group of 30 people alone catalyzed the beginning of 906 small groups. They took the gospel to 17 different towns. There were a total of over 10,000 new believers. That was just one initial T4T group. It moved my heart. So I thought, “If you have the Holy Spirit with you, you can see miracles.” This group served as a model for how to begin the training for trainers process.
Each day Grace and I would return to our area looking for two types of people: lost and saved. If they were lost, Grace and I witnessed to them. If they were saved, we offered to train them (including the people we had just led to faith). In the beginning, with my early T4T groups, I would go back every week. For farmers it was okay, but I found that for people who were busy year-round, it might not be okay. Farmers are especially busy two times during the year. For 3-4 months out of the year, they have less to do. It’s very easy for them to go out to share the gospel. But later, in the cities and factories, people did not have enough time to finish their witnessing assignment in just one week. They were too busy. So I began a pattern of coming back every two weeks. That also gave me more time to train more groups. As time went by I trained more and more groups. Every day Grace and I trained three or four; one day we trained seven groups. But in one week, seven days, if I am training five groups in one day, I can only train 20 or 30 groups. But if I train them in two-week intervals, I can double the number of groups I train. Later I found that God had prepared many persons of peace in different towns and villages.
As time went by, we heard a lot of remarkable testimonies. In that year, there was a lady who was 67 years old when she became a Christian. In that year, she led over 46 families to become Christians — families, not individual people! In another town, there was a man who was 26 years old. In two months, he led over 20 families to become Christians. In another district, there was a lady working in a factory. Someone shared the gospel with her, and she received Jesus. On the second day, we went back, but we could not find her. After three weeks, she came back. Grace asked her, “Where have you been?” She said, “The night someone shared with me, I cried the whole night because I had received Jesus. I thought, ‘Who can share the gospel with my family?'” So the next day, she borrowed money, bought a ticket, and flew back to a city in another area of the country that is seen as less receptive. In three weeks, she led 26 people to Christ.
There was a young medical doctor who became a Christian, and her husband was against her. One day, she put a Jesus Film on the table. That day, the husband watched the movie, and it moved his heart. She led her husband to Christ. Also, in three months, her whole family, over 20 people, became Christians.
In another city, there was a factory with over 2,000 workers. There was a Christian in the factory. I trained him, and in one week, he started 19 groups. I did not think he could do that good of a job. But God is much greater than us. It’s not what we’re doing, because the Holy Spirit can work. I thank God.
There are many of those testimonies. I found that Jesus has already put many persons of peace everywhere. But if we hadn’t shared the gospel with everyone, we would have lost them, because we would never have chosen them. You never know who God’s chosen person is.
Each day I wake up and have an extended time on my knees in prayer. Then I enter my area to witness to the lost and train the saved. I use this T4T method, and God has already opened my heart. I am still learning, but I want to share with you what I have learned. I am so thrilled!In their own words, the spiritual secrets and hidden wisdom of Ying and Grace Kai’s Training for Trainers. Learn how this movement that changed the world can change your world, too!
In their own words, the spiritual secrets and hidden wisdom of Ying and Grace Kai’s Training for Trainers. Learn how this movement that changed the world can change your world, too!
Click here to order!