White Paper

If you prefer a powerpoint overview click here. Use "page down" to advance slides at your own pace.

 

"The Training Network for Disciplemaking Churches"

Returning the Church to Its Disciplemaking Roots Worldwide

"The White Paper"

A Comprehensive Guide to T-NET

T-NET International
PO Box 460579
  Aurora, CO 80046-0579

E-Mail: tnetoffice@aol.com

Phone: 800-995-5362
Phone: 720-886-0737
FAX: 720-886-0739

Table of Contents

Introduction
T-NET Purpose and Vision
What T-NET's Impact Sounds Like
What Educators Have Said
The Process
The Definition of Disciplemaking
Important Disciplemaking and Theological Principles
Fundamental T-NET Training Principles
Most Frequently Asked Questions
T-NET Doctrinal Statement
 

The White Paper -- Introduction 

(Table of Contents)

WHAT IS T-NET INTERNATIONAL?

"T-NET" stands for the "Training Network" for Disciplemaking Churches.  T-NET is an international Christian training organization whose mission is "To return the church to its disciplemaking roots, worldwide".  T-NET was developed by the President and national staff of the Evangelical Free Church of America in 1991 under the leadership of Bill Hull.  In 1996, T-NET was spun out of the EFCA as a "Daughter ministry" so that it could minister more effectively to many other denominations in America and around the world. To accomplish these goals T-NET has developed the "Pathway to Enhanced Disciplemaking" - a training and coaching process for pastors and church leaders.

WHY IS T-NET NEEDED?

While most churches "believe" in making disciples, very few are effectively making them.  Consider the following statistics:

  1. The average "evangelical" church in America wins 1.67 persons (less than 2) to Christ and their church each year for every 100 persons who attend that church.
     

  2. Only 2/3 of the persons in the average evangelical church say they "feel" they are growing spiritually. Fewer still (just 1/3) say they have changed even one behavior to be more Christ-like in the last three years.
     

  3. One-third of church members state their greatest individual needs are not being met by their church.
     

  4. Less than 50% of church members pray for 5 minutes more than once a week.
     

  5. Only 11% of church members have shared the gospel even once in the last year and 33% have never shared the gospel with anyone.
     

  6. Most church leaders, when asked, cannot even define "Disciple", and hardly any have been trained to "Make disciples".

 DOES T-NET WORK?

In contrast to other churches, the average church completing the T-NET process:

  1. Wins 80% more persons to Christ and their church per year than before the process.
     

  2. Has five times as many persons involved in intentional discipleship than before they started.
     

  3. Has a written definition of a disciple and has trained their leaders to make disciples.
     

  4. Increases general fund giving by 10% and attendance by 14%,
     

  5. Has an intentional strategy for using every program in their church to make disciples.
     

  6. Declares that the T-NET training was worth every penny and every minute they invested in it.

If this happened in your church, wouldn't you be satisfied?

HOW DOES T-NET WORK?

  1. T-NET is a "coaching process" for teams of church leaders. 
     

  2. In this process, 3 to 30 churches each bring teams of 3 to 50 leaders to a T-NET center to be coached.  These T-NET centers usually meet in a local church or in a seminary.
     

  3. The church teams come to eight meetings at the center.  These meetings are held approximately every four months, so the entire process is about 28 months long. Meeting one lasts 3 days (Thursday night -Saturday). Meetings 2-8 are held on Saturdays from 9:00-5:30. 
     

  4. In each meeting, the T-NET trainer, (usually a pastor who has successfully implemented the process in his church, or a T-NET staff member) teaches the leaders principles which they can uniquely tailor and apply in their church to become more effective and intentional in disciplemaking.  Then the trainer coaches these leaders to overcome barriers to applying the principles from past meetings as well as coaching them to make effective plans to carry out the new principles they have just learned.  In addition, the trainer coaches the pastors at least twice between meetings.
     

  5. This proven process, which trains a team over time with accountability, has resulted in leading over 1000 churches to be more intentional and effective in disciplemaking.

 HOW DOES T-NET DIFFER FROM OTHER TRAINING APPROACHES?

 In contrast to most other training approaches, T-NET:

 

  1. Trains in a process over time rather than simply offering two or three one-time seminars.
     

  2. Teaches principles which can be uniquely tailored to each church rather than teaching a method or model that was used by one pastor or church and usually isn't transferable.
     

  3. Trains leaders to lead their churches through change, instead of just telling them what changes they need to make.
     

  4. Trains leaders to use their whole church to make disciples, instead of how just one or more individuals can make disciples.
     

  5. Trains leaders to first define the disciple, and then create programming to make that kind of disciple.
     

  6. Coaches leaders to accomplish results, not just learn information.

 WHAT DO OTHERS SAY ABOUT T-NET?

 "Bill (Hull, founder of T-NET Int'l) understands that the way to grow healthy, balanced churches is through a people-building process, rather than church building programs.  Listen and learn from him!"
     Rick Warren, Saddleback Community Church, Mission Viejo, CA

"I don't know of anyone who has written more, worked more, and created more tools for helping churches make disciples than Bill Hull.  His life's mission is to help return the church to its disciple making roots.  Go with him on a journey that could transform your ministry."
     Dr. John Maxwell,  President INJOY Ministries

"Leadership is passed on from one leader to others. It is modeled . . . T-NET uses an approach which trains a team of leaders in your church over a long period of time.  It is not just a seminar, but a training process to equip and coach leaders until your church has an ever expanding team of disciplemakers."
     Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary

(Table of Contents)

 T-NET's Purpose  

 

 

bullet

T-NET International exists to return the church to its disciplemaking roots, worldwide.

 

T-NET's Vision

 

 

bullet

T-NET International's leadership team is committed to multiplying this passion for impact wherever God is at work, people are receptive, and technology permits.

 

T-NET's Impact

 

 

bullet

Over 1000 churches and 8,000 leaders have been or are now involved in T-NET's church transformation process, affecting more than 167,000 disciples.
 

 

bullet

Tangible progress will be made in key areas including sharpened church focus, numeric increase in small-group participation, decisions for Christ, and increased worship attendance.

 

What T-NET's Impact Sounds Like 

 

(Verbatim Comments of Participants)

 

 (Table of Contents)

"I heartily recommend T-NET to pastors and leaders who want to get serious about working with Christ to fulfill the Great Commission in their congregations."
      Bill Himmel, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Pearland, TX

"T-NET got me growing where I wasn't growing before.  It helped me be dependent on God and His Word."
     Tom Latterell, Senior Pastor, Kerkhoven Evangelical Free Church, Kerkhoven, MN

"A number of years ago, during a personal struggle with pastoral expectations, I picked up Bill Hull's book,The Disciplemaking Pastor.  His analogy of the pastor as the player/coach of the church both liberated and energized me.!"
     Bruce Eberline, Senior Pastor, South Park Church, Park Ridge, IL

"T-NET has helped us make needed changes that have resulted in growth in numbers and commitment."
     Steve Montgomery, Household of Faith, Garland, TX

"I don't know where I would be in ministry if God hadn't given me this opportunity.  I know we wouldn't have been on the way to the quality ministry God is leading us to."
     Monte Vigh, Senior Pastor, Merritt Fellowship Baptist Church, Merritt, B.C. Canada

"I have seen more change with unity in the past two years than in the six years preceding."
     Mike Fisher, Senior Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Dallas, TX

"T-NET has been helpful.... providing the strategy and structure in which a disciplemaking church can develop."
     Dan Heringer, Philippe Sterling, Co-Pastors, North Lake Church, Coppell, TX

"God has used you and the ministry of T-NET in a very significant way in our church... The principles we have learned in T-NET have been tremendous and are making an impact."
     Kurt Edwards, Senior Pastor, Lake Murry Evangelical Free Church, LaMesa, CA

"It has helped our church to refocus on what Christ and the New Testament church were all about, making disciples of our Lord."
     Dave Blackmore, Pastor, Faith Evangelical Free Church, Round Rock, TX

 

What Educators Have Said About T-NET  

(Table of Contents)

"Leadership is passed on from one leader to others. It is modeled . . . T-NET uses an approach which trains a team of leaders in your church over a long period of time.  It is not just a seminar, but a training process to equip and coach leaders until your church has an ever expanding team of disciplemakers."
     Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary

"T-NET is the most church-friendly, lay-involved, disciplemaking spiritual growth program that I have encountered.  This is more than a program – it gets lay leaders involved in the purpose of the church.  Examine T-NET; it works because it makes sense."
     Dr. Kenneth Meyer, Chancellor, Trinity International University

"I am convinced from close observation and through the many testimonials from churches that T-NET is in the forefront of disciplemaking ministries.  Many such programs make large claims, but fail to deliver.  T-NET is organized in such a way that it continues to evaluate itself and thereby regularly improves it effectiveness.  It is user friendly, hands on program that is changing the nature of churches."

"I had opportunity to personally witness the effectiveness of T-NET.  I was present for all of the sessions during the initial two year training program here in Dallas, Texas.  There were more than twenty churches involved.  In my years of ministry as a senior pastor and a teacher of pastors, I have seen many people start with enthusiasm and then quickly lose interest.  I was amazed to see the same people returning for the sessions during the entire two-year process.  Their zeal was contagious and the result of the program in these churches was excellent.  I am pleased that T-NET is an international organization.  I believe that the program is transferable to a world-wide ministry helping churches fulfill the Great Commission."
     Dr. John W. Reed, Director of D. Min Program, Dallas Theological Seminary and Senior Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Emeritus

 

The Process   

(Table of Contents)

bullet

A network of training centers has been organized and equipped throughout North America, under the guidance of T-NET personnel. Parallel training is in process world-wide.

bullet

Interest is often generated by direct mail and personal invitation to a LEADERSHIP BRIEFING (breakfast or lunch meeting) and the INTENTIONAL DISCIPLEMAKING WORKSHOP (one day meeting presenting overview of the process).

bullet

The result is interdenominational participation (more than 45 different denominations to date) with 3-30 churches per site. Each church brings a team of people who will be prepared to lead a church-centered disciplemaking initiative.

bullet

The focus is on the eight meeting training process and the coaching relationship with an experienced T-NET trainer. The result is a dynamic increase in overall church effectiveness with a renewed vision to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
 

bullet

Total investment in the process and supporting materials during the last seven years exceeds 3 million dollars.

 

The Definition of Disciplemaking   

(Table of Contents)

 

Its Scope

 

bullet

Deliverance or Evangelizing

bullet

Development or Training

bullet

Deployment or Laboring

 

This represents a full-bodied philosophy that teaches that we all become disciples at the point of conversion and that we engage in discipleship and are disciples all of our lives, even after we are deployed into mission.  The scope is as broad as "teaching them to obey everything I commanded you" (Matthew 28:20).

 

Its Process

 

bullet

Accountability is added to the intentional training of a disciple, balancing love and Biblical mandate.

 

Important Disciplemaking and Theological Principles  

(Table of Contents)

  1. We are committed to the Great Commandment and believe the way we can best love God with all our being is to obey Him with all that we are; heart, soul, and mind (Mt. 22:36-38).  The best application is to fully obey the Great Commission, first by being a disciple, and then by making disciples.  Among leaders, this calls for leading the church to be a Great Commandment, Great Commission church (Mt. 28:18-20).
     

  2. The mission must come first (Luke 9:23-25). By placing the mission first, there is impact in the community harvest field and the member's spiritual needs are met.  The church is to multiply through its leaders and members.  They are to actively seek to plant other churches as a means of evangelism.
     

  3. You cannot make disciples without accountability, and you cannot develop a helpful accountability system without structure. This is the role of church leaders (Mt. 28:20,I Thess. 5:14).
     

  4. There are eleven principles of disciplemaking which are taught in the process.
     

    1. A disciplemaking church employs an intentional strategy based on their theology of mission.  A theology of mission answers both the why and how questions.  Why are we here and how are we going to fulfill our mission?
       

    2. Making disciples is the primary work and purpose of a church because it creates healthy Christians and through reproduction and multiplication, the world is evangelized God's way.  Thus it meets the requirement of glorifying God to the fullest through obedience and bearing of fruit.
       

    3. A church must properly and clearly identify the role of the pastor, the people, and the disciplemaking process.
       

    4. The priesthood of every believer. Each person is a called minister of the Gospel and is empowered and gifted to fulfill God's will for their life and their church.
       

    5. Multiplication is both a principle and a method for increasing the impact and outreach of a congregation.
       

    6. Apprenticeship is critical to leadership development.  The church creates a system that chooses potential leaders, trains them, tests them and then deploys them.
       

    7. Leaders should be selected by character and by gifts, in that order.
       

    8. Philosophical purity must be maintained at the leadership level.
       

    9. Accountability serves as a catalyst to obedience.
       

    10. Decentralization of ministry is possible by utilizing small groups.
       

    11. Evangelism is a catalyst for practicing spiritual disciplines.
       

  5. We believe that change is vital to any congregation's ability to be renewed and reformed. But before change can occur, values must be adjusted or clarified so that people see the need for change.
     

  6. We believe high commitment is for the normal Christian life and that it can be built and managed. A high commitment environment is possible within the contemporary evangelical church.
     

  7. We believe the pastor's primary role is to prepare people for the work of ministry by being an instructor in the Christian life, teaching people to obey.  This is much more than simply dispensing great truths, no matter how eloquent one might be.  Preaching is the first and most important step in making disciples in the local church, but only the first step.
     

  8. We believe that the training phases modeled by Christ are a helpful paradigm for understanding how to assist people on their spiritual journeys.  While we don't see the phases as the purpose of the Gospels or a true Systematic Theology, we do see them as an insightful truth modeled by Jesus.  Those phases are "Come and See," "Come and Follow Me," "Come and Be with Me," and "Remain in Me."   These are outlined in the bookNew Century Disciplemaking by Bill Hull.

 Fundamental T-NET International Training

Principles  

 (Table of Contents)

 

bullet

Leaders need "hands on" help to experience transformational change. This means practical tools and advice with coaching over a long period of time.
 

bullet

Leaders need ongoing coaching because developing people is a process, and you cannot teach a process with an event—you teach a process through a process. This is why the full training to produce lasting change takes about two and a half years. Follow-up surveys show 50 percent of churches have finished the process by the end of that period. Adding an additional 12 months elevates the impact and completion rate for all but a few churches. About 80 percent of churches experience significant transformation, 20 percent experience impact to a lesser degree.
 

bullet

Leaders need to work together in teams to break through barriers that normally impede real transformational progress. It is the "you had to be there to get it" syndrome. Many pastors struggle with convincing their leaders that the investment of time, money, and effort to truly focus on making committed disciples is worth it. Training in teams allows change previously not possible through repeated pastoral effort alone.
 

bullet

Accountability is essential for success. This is not heavy handed or abusive accountability. T-NET leaders call it "helping people keep their commitments to God." There is "built in" accountability in the process in that the team has taken the time—and the church has spent the money—so there is an expectation of tangible results. There is positive peer pressure between churches as they regularly report to others what they have accomplished. The T-NET trainer helps the team members complete their projects. Finally, all team members sign a covenant that they will give it their best. It is hard to imagine anything more positive than helping people keep their commitments to God.
 

bullet

The training should combine inspiration and skill development. For that reason, there are general sessions that address a theology of mission as well as interactive sessions designed to coach participants through "hands-on" application of principles appropriate to their own church.
 

bullet

T-NET is committed to biblical principles before any method; training is principle-driven. Churches need to write their own scripts by customizing these principles to their congregation and culture. This is one of the real distinctives of T-NET International.
 

bullet

T-NET International does not write curriculum per se, but communicates principles rather than generating Bible studies. Leaders are instructed on how best to use the many supplementary study materials available today.
 

bullet

We are committed to multiplication of our training through other like-minded church leaders around the world called apprentices. After appropriate training, they become the T-NET trainers and members of our virtual family.
 

bullet

We are committed to multiplication of our training through partnerships with denominations, networks, and mission organizations around the globe. We realize others carry the same vision, and we know there are kindred Spirit-filled fellow leaders who care as deeply as we do about the renewal and rescue of the church.

 Most Frequently Asked Questions.   

(Table of Contents)

 

  1. Why does the process take so long? 

    Our philosophy is based on the belief that hands on, on-going help is required, with accountability and coaching, in order to bring about real transformation and change.  This is based on Matthew 28:20 andFirst Thessalonians 5:14 and many other passages in the New Testament that teach the concepts of mentoring, coaching, and accountability.
     

  2. Who wrote the T-NET training material? 

    Bob Gilliam, President of T-NET International, turned Bill Hull's vision for "whole church disciplemaking" into a transferable training process.  Bob is a ministry strategist and a systems expert when it comes to local church ministry. He is one of the five most experienced and sought after church consultants in America and has personally conducted over 1000 church consultations. He is also an ordained minister who was formerly on staff at Denver Seminary and also with the Evangelical Free Church of America working in his area of specialty.
     

  3. What are T-NET's roots?  Is it flexible enough to fit a wide variety of Christian traditions and organizations? 

    T-NET was birthed and sponsored by the Evangelical Free Church movement.  It grew out of the vision, writings, and life of Bill Hull.  Bob Gilliam, current president, then played a major role in crafting that vision, creating a training process, and bringing T-NET to the mature ministry it is today.

    T-NET became an independent organization in 1996 in order to reach more churches and denominations in the United States and around the world.   Our process is principle driven.  It is not methodologically driven.  While we see value in methodologies and models, T-NET intentionally teaches concepts and principles which may be contextualized to any religious tradition and society.  It will bridge language and cultural differences.  It has already been used in over 45 different denominations on six continents and 13 countries.
     

  4. Isn't T-NET just another program?  How is it different from other forms of training in existence and available to the church today?

    What sets T-NET apart from other training ministries is its "church centered" focus -- disciplemaking not just in the church, but through the ministries of thewhole church working together toward a common goal.  Other distinguishing factors include:
     

    bullet

    A balanced approach of centralized training and on site application.  Churches "write their own script" by customizing disciplemaking principles to their own congregation and culture.
     

    bullet

    Process rather than event oriented training.
     

    bullet

    Training of leadership teams, not just pastors.
     

  5. If we are a meta church or a cell based church, can T-NET help us?

    The answer is YES.  Again, we are conceptual and we have cell based churches and meta churches in T-NET.  These are issues of principle and concept, each church writes their own script and adapts it to their ministry and to their needs.  So, again, there is not a pre-packaged plan for each church. That is something each church develops on their own.  As a result, any type of church can be helped through the T-NET process.
     

  6. What proof do you have that T-NET works?

    We conduct follow-up surveys of churches completing the training process.  We also monitor and receive ongoing feedback from T-NET participants. (See "What T-NET's Impact Sounds Like") 
     

  7. How many churches drop out and why?

    Approximately ten percent of the churches that enter the T-NET process drop out at some time during the process.  The reasons that a church leaves may vary: philosophical differences, financial problems, key team members not being able to continue due to personal reasons, improper team selection, or other issues not related to T-NET.
     

  8. Why is it important for a church to bring a team of people?

    The team approach greatly enhances a church's ability to maximize spiritual impact.  It provides a support base of key people in the church, an interactve team for helping determine direction, and ready-made facilitators to implement strategy.
     

  9. What is your doctrinal position?  Where do you stand on ...?

    T-NET's focus is on the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Our non-negotiable beliefs are that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that salvation is by faith alone and totally independent of man's good works, and that the Great Commandment and the Great Commission are central to the purpose of the church.  As long as your group agrees with these basic tenets, we can work together. We believe that it is the responsibility of the denominations and churches that come to us to deal with issues and traditions beyond these basic areas of the faith.

 T-NET Doctrinal Statement

(Table of Contents)

The doctrinal position of T-NET International is summarized in our seven-article Statement of Faith.

We Believe:

 

  1. The scriptures, both Old and New Testament, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation of men and women and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and practice.
     

  2. In one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
     

  3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the scriptures.  Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.
     

  4. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age, to convict men and women, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living and service.
     

  5. That mankind was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
     

  6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus, become children of God.
     

  7. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.