Francis Chan fears the American church has become increasingly internal rather than missional. And he believes he's not alone. Chan says he's witnessed "a growing movement of discontent in the church." Many Christians, Chan contends, desire to break free from church as usual and make a dramatic impact on the world around them.
While speaking at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Chan crossed paths with another leader passionate about disciple-making, David Platt. Platt had already begun developing a discipleship program, similar to what Chan had envisioned. By the end of their conversation, the two agreed that it was time for their visions to intersect.
Chan and Platt began working together, combining their visions to create a discipleship training program. The work resulted in Multiply, "a simple, practical, biblical, helpful, and personal tool for disciples of Jesus who want to make disciples of Jesus."
Multiply is a book and a series of weekly sessions. The weekly sessions include study guides and videos. The material is designed for two people to work through, a leader and a disciple. The study guides teach overarching themes of the Bible (creation, the Fall, God's covenant with Abraham, the life and death of Jesus Christ, etc.) and then encourage reflection on how these truths apply to the Christian life. The videos (approximately five minutes each) are for the leaders and provide instruction on how to guide another person through the material. Upon completion of the course, the disciple becomes the leader, quickly finding another person to lead through the sessions.
Platt intends to implement Multiply within his church, while Chan plans to bring Multiply to the Tenderloin District of San Francisco—an area known for prostitution, drugs, crime, and strip clubs. He admits the impoverished area to be "kind of a crazy place," but feels a specific calling there. Soon, he and his ministry team will start knocking on apartment doors, praying for those who are open to their ministry efforts, and working towards planting house churches within each of these apartments and neighborhoods. Chan's dream is that someday the people inside those apartment buildings will be the ones discipling others.
Find the materials at multiplymovement.com
The Love Is an Orientation DVD and Participant's Guide (Zondervan, 2011) is a thoughtful and loving introduction to engaging the LGBT community. This companion to the book includes six DVD sessions and accompanying study chapters. Andrew Marin, who has lived in an LGBT community for more than a decade, faithfully weds Christian theology to practical strategies for loving LGBT neighbors. The sessions alternate between Marin's exposition and the stories of six members of the gay community who are struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality.
Marin focuses on building bridges across the traditional gay/Christian divide. He shares strategies that are both biblical and tactful, educating viewers unfamiliar with gay culture on how best to overcome barriers. His expertise is the result of experience. After several of his closest friends came out, Marin (a straight Christian) moved in with two of them in Chicago's well known Boystown neighborhood to maintain his friendships in the LGBT community. His personal dedication to the subject shows, both in his approach to his subject and choice of setting. Sessions are recorded around Chicago, including locations that many Christians would consider "gay" turf, such as colorful off-hour gay bars.
The study is well balanced. Conservatives will nod in assent (and squirm at times) as the tension of cultivating personal relationships between friends of diverging beliefs is explored. Marin doesn't focus on theoretical stands. Instead he asks that we change our relationships, and shows us a path to doing it. Most of all he encourages participants to engage LGBT neighbors and fellow Christians with integrity, sensitivity, and love.
The six-session study is intended for small groups. Adequate time should be planned by study leaders for discussion and debriefing of the material, including time for people to cover the questions posed by the participant's guide.—Paul Pastor
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