The 4-1-1

Some of the tools that we use as a team can be packaged together into a single training. One of those packages is referred to as the 4-1-1. Within one training of the 4-1-1, you learn many of the basic Gospel conversation tools that we use including the Generation Map, the 15-Second Testimony, and the Three Circles while also learning about why you should be making disciples and how to set some goals for getting started. The post below includes the full video and the scripted text for the video.


Welcome back to the Disciple-Making Training Sessions.  In this session, we will learn a tool called the 4-1-1, to help us take our first steps in obeying the command of Jesus to make disciples.

But before we dive in, it is important to understand our identity in Christ, so let’s get started by reading 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.  It says:

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

There are several points that we could make from this passage, but for our purposes, there are two important things that we want to point out.

The first is that, in verse 18, we see that God reconciled us back to himself and has forgiven our sins.  And what is important about that is that we see that those who are in Christ are made brand new. This means that if you have repented and believed in Jesus and are in Christ, you are brand new.  You are clean because Christ has made you clean!

The second thing that we learn about our identity in verse 20 is that we are now ambassadors of Jesus. An ambassador is someone who speaks on behalf of someone else, so God has given us the job of speaking for Christ.

So these two parts of our identity go together. We have been made new, AND we’re ambassadors. We can’t separate these two. You can’t become new and not be an ambassador of Jesus. And you can’t be an ambassador of Jesus if you have never been made new.

So, this is our identity. It is the identity that God has given to us.  It is who we are and who God made us to be.

To take our first steps in learning to be an ambassador as a new creation, we want to learn the answers to four questions:

The first is that we want to know Why to make disciples.

The second is to know Who to work with to make disciples.

The third is to know What to say to help them understand.

And the fourth is to know When to begin making disciples.

This training is called the 4-1-1 because it is designed to answer four questions, on one sheet of paper, in an hour or less.  We use this tool when training existing believers, or it can be an immediate follow-up tool when we lead someone to Christ.

To get started, take out a full sheet of paper and fold it in half.  On the first page, write Why?

Open to the second page and write, Who?

Then on the third page, write What?

And finally on the last page, write When?

Once that is done, turn back to the first page and let’s get started with the question, “Why do we make disciples?”

To learn the answer to this question, let’s read Matthew 28:18-20.  It says:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus is speaking here to his disciples.  He is commanding them to make disciples, and we believe that he is also commanding us, his disciples, to make disciples.

There are seven things within this passage that we believe are important for us to look at, so let’s write down each of these things on our paper.

First, Jesus says that he has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, so write,  “1. Jesus has all authority.”

Next, he says, Therefore, go.  Write “2. Go.”

Third, he says, Make disciples, so write, “3.  Make disciples”.

Fourth, he says, Make disciples of all nations.  Write “4. All nations”.

Fifth, he says we are to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Write, “5. Baptize them”.

Sixth, he says that we are to teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.  Write, “6. Teach them to obey”.

Seventh, Jesus says he is with us always to the end of the age.  Write, “7. Jesus is with me.”

So now, we want to look at each of these statements more carefully and ask ourselves some questions.  These will be Yes or No questions. If you believe the answer is Yes to a question, then you should write Yes out to the right of each statement.  But if you can’t answer Yes, simply write No.

The first question is based on the first statement.  Do you believe that Jesus has all authority on heaven and on earth?  In other words, do you believe that all people and things are submitted to Jesus?  If so, write Yes. If not, write No.

The next question is, Are you willing to Go as Jesus told his disciples to do?

The third question is, Are you willing to make disciples?

And the next question is related:  Are you willing to make disciples of all nations?  Of all people everywhere?

Fifth, Are you willing to baptize them?

Sixth, Will you teach them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded?

And seventh, do you believe that Jesus is with you as you go to do these things?

If you have answered Yes to all of these questions, then you have a very clear answer to the question for this page about Why you should make disciples.  Not only did Jesus say to do it, but he gave us, his disciples, some specific direction as well about what he expects us to do. And by answering these questions, we have committed ourselves together to doing what Jesus said to do.

On the other hand, if you answered No to any of these questions, then let’s still continue through the 4-1-1, but we want to make sure to return to that question by looking in the scriptures to understand more about what Jesus wants for our lives and how we can more completely follow him.

Let’s move on to the second page, and now we’re going to answer the question, “Who do we reach to make disciples?”  To answer this question, we are going to use a tool called the Generation Map.

Let’s also start this process by looking at what Jesus told a new disciple to do.  In Mark 5:19, Jesus had healed a man who was filled with demons. It makes sense that this man, after being healed, would want to follow Jesus, but Jesus didn’t let him follow him.  Instead, he told the man:

“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Jesus tells him to go home, to go to his own people.  In this map, we are considering, Who are the people in your life who are far from God?  They are the best ones to initially think of as you start to make disciples.

Start by drawing a circle in the middle and put your name there. Then think about who are some people in your life who are far from God. Draw at least five circles around your name and put in five names of people that you know. Think about your family, your friends, or people that you know from the activities in which you participate.

However, let’s not stop there.  At this point, we have an opportunity to think about making disciples as Jesus thought about it.

In John 17, Jesus was praying for his disciples, but he prayed for those that they would reach as well.  In verse 20, he says:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Jesus is praying for generations of disciples. That is why we call this a Generation Map because you are praying for a second, third, and fourth generation of disciples and beyond.  Not only those in direct relationship with you, but those that they know as well. We want to start now and also pray for generations of disciples.

In your map, think about the people that your friends or family know and write their names in circles that are connected to those people. Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and then map out these people in your life who are far from God.

As you can probably already begin to see, this Generation Map can easily become a Prayer Map.  You can begin by praying each day for the people on your map and praying for the generations of disciples on this map.  We want to ask God to work in their lives so that they will be open to hearing and receiving Christ when you share with them, so the first thing to do is to pray for the people on your Generation Map.

Now we’re going to move on to answer the question, What do we say? On this page, we are actually going to learn a couple of different tools, so let’s draw a horizontal line through the middle of the page so we have space for both tools.

The first tool we will learn is the 15-Second Testimony. This is your story with Jesus and there are three parts to telling your story plus a question at the end.

The first part is the Introduction which describes your life before Jesus.

The second part is how you came to Jesus, the circumstances under which you learned what he has done for you.

And the third part is your life in Jesus and how you have changed.

At the end, we also want to ask a question to help the person you are speaking with to think and give them an opportunity to respond to your story.

So, for the introduction, you can start with, “There was a time in my life…” and then fill in a couple of points that describe your life before coming to Jesus. Pick two words that describe your life before coming to Jesus and write them in the blanks.

Now, we want to talk about how we responded to God’s grace. In two points, describe the circumstances of how you came to Jesus and write them in the blanks here.

Third, think of two words that describe your life now that you are following Jesus and write those there.

Finally, you can ask them a simple question at the end.  You can say, “Do you have a story like that?”

Go back and tell your story, putting it all together with the words that you filled in the blanks.  Read your story out loud to yourself, and then grab a partner and tell them your story. Make sure to include all three parts, and don’t forget to include the question at the end to give them an opportunity to respond.

If we use this 15-Second Testimony as an example, we would say, “There was a time in my life that I lied to people, and even stole from them.  But a friend of mine told me about Jesus and I understood God’s forgiveness in my life. Since making a decision to follow Jesus, I have had confidence and a purpose in my life because now I walk with God.  Do you have a story like that?

Once you have practiced your 15-Second Testimony and are able to tell it to someone else, you can then transition to the second tool called the Three Circles to help explain The Gospel to someone who is interested to learn more.  

You can tell the Three Circles this way:

Everywhere we look, it is clear that we live in a broken world where there is death and disease and suffering. But that is not how God made the world originally.  Even now, we can still see traces of beauty, and that is because the world that God made was not broken. In the beginning, there was no death, disease, or suffering.

Starting with the very first people, we chose to leave God’s perfect design and go our own way, and that is called Sin. Sin is what led us to this state of brokenness and sinfulness.  Each one of us sin and leave God’s perfect design, but that leads us to brokenness.

We don’t like to be in brokenness, so we try to get out. For some, we think that, if we can climb the ladder of success or make more money, that will get us out of brokenness. Some try to forget or numb the effects of brokenness with drugs and alcohol, or possibly with relationships or suicide attempts.  Others believe that if I can just be a good person, be religious and go to church, then that will get me out of brokenness. Unfortunately, the truth is that we find all of these efforts to get out of brokenness really just lead us back into even more brokenness and more pain.

God loved us so much that he did not want us to stay in brokenness, so he provided the only way out by doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.  God sent Jesus into our world, but he wasn’t like us. He lived a perfect life, and because he did, he was able to become a sacrifice for us, taking our sin on himself, and three days later he was resurrected and rose from the dead.

Now, Jesus said that we must repent, that we must turn away from our broken way of doing things, and believe, and if we we follow him, we would be forgiven and would be restored back into God’s design for our life.

Which of these two circles would you say you are in today? Are you still in brokenness, or are you back in God’s design because you’ve turned and followed Jesus?  Is there anything that keeps you from turning and believing in Jesus today?

If they say that they are ready, to turn from their sin and believe in Jesus themselves, you can explain to them:

When I chose to make that decision, I prayed a prayer very similar to this picture. I said, ‘God, I’m sorry that I have sinned and left your design.  I want to turn from my way and surrender to you, believing that you came and died on a cross and rose from the grave. I want to surrender to your design.’  Is that a prayer you would like to pray?”

Go ahead and take some time to practice the Three Circles tool with your partner.  Make sure that you can explain it and draw it. Explain it to each other two or three times so that you feel comfortable in explaining it to each other.

Finally, on the last page, we’re going to answer the question of When are we going to start making disciples. Our lives are very busy, so it is important for us to set some goals that we can use to

Here are a few simple, specific goals:

  • First, When will you commit to pray each for the people on your Generation Map? What time in the day will you set to pray for these people who are far from God?

  • For the second goal:  When are you going to share your 15-Second Testimony and the Three Circles with someone from your Generation Map? We want to try to specifically put down a name and a time. To do that, open up your Generation Map and ask the Holy Spirit to give you one or more names. Then, ask yourself, when do you think, in the next two to three days, that you could go and share with that person?

  • The third goal is, when will you train someone else on this 4-1-1 training? Again, you want to consider a name and a time. This could be a believer that you want to train, or possibly a small group. It might even be a non-believer that you just want to practice this with, and it could be a good way to share with them. You want to make sure that pass on what you have learned. If we want to see disciples made across our whole city, we will need to spread this training.

OK, so now you have answered all four questions:

Why to make disciples

Who to start with to make disciples

What to say to start making disciples

When to get started making disciples

It is important for you now to both practice as well as to ask the Holy Spirit how he wants to you to move forward in each of these areas.  God bless you as you get started making disciples with what you have learned with the 4-1-1.