The history of AIM and the AIM Trainers material goes back many years, where God was laying a foundation of understanding and practice over a long period of time. The timeline below gives a brief overview of the key events and "aha moments" that led to the place where we are now.
1981 - In my second year as a student at Messiah College (Grantham, PA), I changed my major to Christian Education. This became my core focus of studies and the major with which I would graduate in 1984. I felt that God was prompting me to make this change, although at the time I didn't understand the reasons for the change or where it would take me.
1983 - I took a church growth course under the leadership of professor Frank Kipe. We were introduced to the church growth movement and the work of Donald McGavran. I became deeply interested in church growth, and as a class project I elected to do a study of my childhood church, Grace United Methodist, to analyze the growth patterns over the previous 10-year period.
1989 - During my seminary years in New Orleans, I came into contact with Kenneth Rhodes, the director of missions in Pearl River County. Working alongside him, I was introduced to the concept of church planting and developed a passion to become a church planter.
1993 - While I was a church planter in Vermont, I wanted to express the core values and practices of the church in a simple, easy-to-grasp format that people could remember. I came up with four E's: the words "Evangelize," "Edify," and "Equip" at the points of a triangle, and "Exalt" in the middle. I realized that this was a closed system, so I later added "Extend" as an offshoot at the "Evangelize" point of the triangle to represent the planting of new churches. This worked well for us in helping people understand the functions of the church in a simple way.
1995, June - In preparation for overseas service, I attended Saddleback's Purpose-Driven Church Conference. Discovering Rick Warren's application of the five purposes of the church, I abandoned my 5-E diagram and adopted the Baseball Diamond model as we had planned to use Saddleback principles in our new work.
1996, February - Arriving in Tasmania, we began teaching Saddleback principles including the Baseball Diamond (in spite of the fact that baseball is not a popular sport in Australia). We started a new church and operated on these principles for the next three years.
1997, September 30 - As the newly-appointed leader of Tasmania's Baptist Union evangelism team, I produced a document outlining the idea of a zero-budget strategy for starting churches using small groups. I also proposed the name "Advance21" to capture the essence of forward movement into the new century. The team readily embraced the new name, but they were reluctant to embrace a strategy which did not follow contemporary church planting methodology. While this strategy was not actively employed, writing this proposal helped me to clarify a new way of thinking about how new churches could be formed in simple, reproducible ways.
1999, June 27 - Influenced by Ed Dobson's book, Starting a Seeker-Sensitive Service, we held the first of three such services at our church. The results of this approach infused our people with a fresh excitement and actually brought more people to us. In fact, at the third such event later this year, our attendance tripled.
1999, December - We traveled back to the US for our first stateside assignment of 8 months. I had become increasingly interested in leadership and learned much from personal reading by many authors. I also learned as much as I could about the phenomenon known as church planting movements and started to wonder if such a movement could occur in a Western context. During this time I became increasingly became dissatisfied with the traditional five purposes of the church, partly because of the ambiguity of the terms worship, fellowship, and mission, but partly because people struggled to remember all five elements. I began to wonder how much people could effectively apply what they could not remember readily.
2002, May 5 - Building on the success of the services that we had modeled on Ed Dobson's "Saturday Night" ministry, we launched a weekly cafe-style gathering for seekers in Glenorchy. This initiative, called "Time Out," would be our primary ministry for the next 18 months.
2003, August - As part of my ongoing involvement in Advance21, I produced another paper called The Submerging Church. This was a more mature document as it addressed the phenomenon of church planting movements and how they are reaching vast numbers of lost people in many countries. I wanted to transfer these principles across to our current context in order to facilitate similar movements in the West. The document included a step-by-step plan for a zero-budget church planting strategy based on CPM principles. However, this was "postponed" by the Baptist Union leader because he considered it to be too controversial.
At this stage I wanted to create a mnemonic that accurately captured the essence of Scriptural mandates but also reflected values central to the movements where God is multiplying believers and churches in many parts of the world. Around this time, I discovered the strategy statement of North Point Community Church which was "to create environments where people are encouraged and equipped to pursue intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders." I recognized that these three points directly point to the core teachings of Jesus in the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). While I liked North Point's statement, I felt the word "community" was too frequently confused with the generic term for a local neighborhood, and the word "influence" was not specific enough to address the priority of evangelism. My search continued.
2004-2005 - This is a period that I would characterize as a time of wandering in the wilderness. As a result of the many ideologies and paradigms of church, we began to feel confused, overwhelmed, and broken. Although this was a painful and lonely time, God used it to speak to me and to help me make sense of His expectations and priorities.
2006, May - After months of thinking and considering many options, I developed the acronym AIM. At the time, this stood for Authentic Relationships, Intimacy with God, and Multiplying Influence. "Authentic Relationships" reflected love for one another, "Intimacy with God" was obviously the greatest commandment, and "Multiplying Influence" captured the essence of reproducing mission.
2006, June 3 - Having just created the concept of AIM, I shared it with a couples group that we were leading at the time. Three days later, volunteer worker Matt Williams helped me to present the AIM challenge to our youth group which was meeting at our home. I found that it was not only received very well, but that people were able to repeat it back to me with understanding.
2006, September 10 to October 5 - Judy (my wife) and I attended Strategy Coordinator Training in a city in southeast Asia. We studied with about 30 other workers from various parts of Asia and Europe to discuss Scriptural mandates, disciple-making methods, and the specific methodology of the phenomenon of church planting movements. We studied T4T, a disciple training method which was extremely effective in East Asia; the presenter was the man who created this method. From one training group in 2000, T4T had produced streams in one country which resulted in 30,000 new believers and 2,800 new churches every month. I spoke to the developer of T4T and asked whether it had been used in a Western context before, and he said to his knowledge it had not, with the exception of Saddleback Church, where he had trained their small group leaders in 2004 using T4T. I saw the amazing results of this method and wanted to know if it would possibly work in a place like Australia.
The T4T framework is based on the "three-thirds" principle where the first third of the session is devoted to reporting, problem-solving, and worship; the second third introduces the new lesson; and the last third is a time for practicing the lesson and rehearsing the gospel message. I quickly came to the realization that this framework fits perfectly with the AIM pattern that I had developed several months earlier. There was no doubt in my mind that this was a God-inspired idea whose time had come. AIM would become the foundational framework for everything we do, including disciple training groups as well as churches.
Hearing much about the importance of obedience to Jesus and accountability in church planting movements, I revisited the AIM acronym. I felt that the phrase "Authentic Relationships" was too weak, so I changed it to "Accountability to One Another." I also changed "Multiplying Influence" to "Multiplication of the Kingdom" to reflect the centrality of the Kingdom of God.
2006, October 9 - Having just returned from SC Training, I felt that T4T held much promise for the future of Australia. I reasoned that while it may not work in a Western context, no one would know unless we tried it! So I printed out the original T4T materials and started marking it up with ideas for an Australian version. I wanted to add elements specific to the secular context of Australia (for example, the influence of consumerism). I also wanted to write a segment on the Kingdom of God as T4T didn't address this at all. I was very excited and optimistic about this method and I wanted to start teaching it immediately! One the keys to a movement is a genuine and undying passion to make it happen -- and I would not rest until I could put it into action and make it happen.
2006, October 10 - I studied the T4T principles sheet and use it as a reference in developing this method. I also worked on the lessons, completing one variation on Lesson 1 which goes through the Four Spiritual Laws as a review. In spite of being away from home to attend a Strategy Forum, I spent much time throughout this month developing a new implementation of T4T. Eventually, I came up with a new outline of the lessons which focused on six expressions of God, and I realized at that point that I would be rewriting all the material. To differentiate it from T4T, I called it Training Faithful Trainers (TFT).
2006, October 30 - I went to visit Steve, a local pastor and one of my closest friends, to share with him and his wife, Marg, a vision for training trainers. In early November I approached him again to make concrete plans for starting a disciple training group using TFT. He seemed enthusiastic about this method as it touched on many themes he had been addressing in his church, so we made a plan to start a small training group right away.
A few days later at an Advance21 forum, I had a chance to share a vision for training disciples, sharing our faith openly, and holding one another accountable to obeying Jesus. Over the following weeks I cast vision with several people: Matthew, Erik & Natalie, Rob, Ed & Diane, Vicki, John, Mark & Karen, Jillian.
2006, November 1 - Judy and I completed the re-writing of the Creation to Christ story so it flows better in a western context.
2006, November 20 - Judy and I went to Steve & Marg's home to hold our first TFT training session. We began with just the four of us with the idea that we could train many others if we start with a few trainers. I presented the introduction and it went well, but Margaret was visibly uncomfortable with the idea of sharing the gospel with lost people. This surprised me because I thought personal evangelism was a part of her lifestyle.
2006, December 4 - Judy and I visited Steve & Marg again to teach TFT Lesson 1. Marg, who expressed nervousness last time about going out to share the gospel, had shared with her friend Kate and with 2 other people. She reported with great enthusiasm, saying that she wanted to share the gospel with many more of her unbelieving friends. With the Christmas season fast approaching and much on their schedules, Steve & Marg decided to postpone training until after the holidays.
2007, January - Having begun TFT training, Judy and I began to realize that Australians--whether believers or not--have many preconceived notions about Christian faith which may not be accurate. Judy suggested that we should develop a short training method to help people "unlearn" certain things that could be barriers to them becoming effective disciples. At this point I began by making a list of what I considered to be the primary misconceptions of Christianity in the Western context, and I came up with about 18 items under several headings. Then I began to search the Scriptures to find what the Bible says about each of these items, and while I found answers throughout the Bible, every misconception was addressed in the book of Acts! At that point I realized that I needed to teach the book of Acts as part of this "unlearning and relearning" process for established Australian believers.
Despite starting TFT just 2 months earlier, we were unable to get the original group restarted because of Steve & Marg's heavy involvement in their local church. This was deeply discouraging to me, and at this stage I began to really count the cost. I knew this was going to be a big project for me. While I had a glimpse of the positive effects of this method in Marg's life, I also anticipated the possibility of people not being committed to the journey. On top of that, many people could be resistant to this new method. I knew there would be setbacks and that I would be tempted to give up. I made a commitment to myself and to God that I would work on this wholeheartedly for the next 12 months and that I would not give up under any circumstances, no matter how difficult it became or how badly I wanted to quit. I had reached a point of no return.
2007, February - I began to set aside TFT development so I could concentrate on the new method which would use the book of Acts as the primary text. Because this method involved "unlearning" and starting over with principles from Acts, I chose to call it Reboot. At this time I also began to develop an initial outline for training national Strategy Coordinators. Unfortunately, I would not complete TFT for another six months.
2007, March 27 - I completed the outline for Reboot and began writing the material. The problem was not coming up with material, but reducing the vast number of ideas and concepts down to a manageable amount. I felt there was so much to teach people, but I realized that I needed to keep it succinct.
2007, April 12 - I talked with Anne, a lady with missionary training with whom I had worked many years ago, figuring that she may wish to be the first to use the Reboot method. I shared the vision of Reboot with her and she was quite enthusiastic. However, because of schedule conflicts, we had to wait until the end of May to start a group. Two days later, I shared about disciple training with Andrew, a man I had led the the Lord several months earlier, but he made no commitment to participate.
2007, May 9 - While Anne was unable to start right away, Jillian was ready to go with it. A long-time co-worker and family friend, Jillian opened her home for the first-ever Reboot session and invited her friend Brenda to participate. They were enthusiastic and optimistic about what God could do through people committed to multiplying disciples!
2007, May 29 - We had our first Reboot session with Anne at her home on Hobart's eastern shore. She had invited Christin and Cherelle, local ladies that she had met recently, to participate in the training. A few weeks later, Anne used what I had been teaching her and started a new group in Richmond, Tasmania with two ladies. This was an exciting development as it was the first instance of a second-generation training group.
2007, July - I started a Reboot training group in Longford, Tasmania, two hours north of Hobart. This was the first training group outside the capital city area and consisted of 2 couples who were part of a house church in that small town.
2007, August 2 - Having trained our first people in Reboot (and often completing the writing of the next lesson just before teaching it), I completed the final formatting of Reboot. This brought many hours of work to completion, and I was glad to have it finalized. Ironically, this was the day our strategy leader, Tom Whaley, contacted me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation on Reboot for our upcoming best practices session in Japan. I agreed.
2007, August 3 - I met with Steve, the local pastor with whom we had held our first TFT training last year. Steve envisioned starting a "church within a church" by having a special gathering on Sunday evenings and incorporating either Reboot or TFT (and probably both) as the primary training material in the new church. He had hoped to start in October, but unfortunately this never happened as some people in his church were not supportive of the new initiative.
2007, August 4 - After a six-month hiatus in developing TFT due to concentrating on Reboot development and training, I resumed work on TFT. At this stage, I had brought only Lesson 2 to completion. I taught this lesson to a new believer, Phil, and his two young sons.
2007, August 7 - I presented a best practices presentation of Reboot in Narita, Japan. As a result, several other missionaries expressed interest in this method and offered to translate it into Japanese so it could be used in their context. The translation was later completed and posted on the jesus-follower.org website.
2007, September 26 - Judy and I started a Reboot training group with Loraine and four other ladies, all of which were from the same Baptist church in our local area. One participant was the pastor's wife, and we met in her home.
2007, September 27 - This evening we held the first TFT group with 8 people, three of which were new believers. The 17-year-old son of one of the believers was saved that evening as a result of our gathering, and it was exciting to see God at work right there in our midst!
2007, October 9 - Jillian and Brenda, the first two people trained in Reboot, began a TFT group incorporating Jayne, a new believer from the local area.
2007, November 11 - I started a Reboot group with Matthew and Nathan, two single men from opposite ends of the greater Hobart area. This was our first all-male Reboot group. I wondered if this would work because they were both quiet-natured guys, but the interaction was much better than I had expected. The three of us developed a strong sense of partnership during this journey.
2007, December - During my visit to the US, I was asked to speak at a men's breakfast at Manchester Baptist Church (MD), to share what we are doing in Tasmania. I decided to train them using the entire Reboot Introduction session, hoping to garner their interest in continuing this process. On December 30 I met with Roger, a member of that church, to teach him about the Reboot method and prepare him to continue training the men. Unfortunately the training never occurred.
2008, February 29 - During my trip to South Australia, I shared an overview of the Reboot disciple training process with Andrew, a pastor in Adelaide.
2008, March 3 - I started using TFT to train a group of people at Lisa's house. One week later, while we were practicing our personal testimonies, Kerrie expressed that she had no story -- so we led her to Jesus right there!
2008, March 20 - I made arrangements with a furloughing missionary to start a new Reboot training group in Kingston, but this group never got off the ground.
2008, April 19 - On this day, we held our first training group with Congolese participants. We taught the session in primarily in Swahili due to their limited grasp of English.
2008, May 13 - During my one-week trip to my home state of Maryland, I organized a new Reboot group at my parents' church, Grace United Methodist, in Hampstead. Eight people attended including their new pastor, and I taught the introduction session. I handed the reins to one of the participants who was committed to continue the training, but the pastor insisted on taking the lead. Unfortunately, he ditched the material and taught Acts without modeling the "three-thirds" principle. The group disbanded after a few weeks.
2008, July - We hosted a mission team of seven young men from the University of Mobile, Alabama, and I trained them in Reboot--one session per evening! The purpose was to familiarize these young students with the approach we are taking to train people in Australia. This was the first fast-track training, and while it was successful in terms of the presentation, it did not provide enough time for "unlearning" and "relearning" to take place.
2008, September 11 - I began a Reboot training group with 6 participants in Penguin, 3 hours drive north of Hobart.
2008, September 29 - The aimtrainers.org website was created to host AIM training materials.
2008, October - Christin, one of the first people I trained last year, initiated a Reboot training group with several ladies in her circles of influence.
2008, December - Several Chinese people in Sandy Bay expressed interest in Reboot training, wishing to start as soon as possible. Because of my planned travel to the US during January, I decided to wait until February to begin. Upon my return, they had lost interest and the group never formed.
2009, January - During my three-week stay in Maryland, I organized another Reboot group in Upperco with five participants. We were able to cover only three sessions, but the participants were enthusiastic about this experience together.
2009, February 25 - Jim, a student and staff member at Worldview Centre in Launceston, Tasmania, helped to organize a new Reboot group at the school.
2009, April to August - After working to develop a method for training national partners in strategic principles and CPM methodology, I trained nine participants (seven from Tasmania and two from Sydney) over four full weekends of study and practice. During this time I taught them about the history of T4T in Asia and the adapted methods of TFT and Reboot which we are using in Australia. Each participant prepared a Strategy Plan for engaging a population segment and began to execute their plan. I fully documented this project in my D.Min. project report entitled, Raising Up Strategy Partners for Australia.
2009, July 17 - I started a Reboot training group with Julie and two students from the University of Tasmania.
2009, July 27 - I began TFT training with Josh. This was the first time I trained any person one-on-one from start to finish.
2009, September 20 - I commenced a Reboot training group with Lewis and two other men. Lewis was a 77-year-old man living in Sandy Bay who expressed interest in evangelism and making disciples, and he quickly became very active in sharing the gospel and training trainers.
2009, October 15 - On this day, I started Reboot training with Tim & Anna and two other couples. Due to my time constraints, we ran the training on a weekly basis.
2010, February 3 - During our nine-month stateside assignment in the US, I used Reboot to train a group of 8 people at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Rohrersville, MD starting on this day. At least six people are saved through the witness of trainers in this small rural church--impressive, considering they had not baptized anyone in about a year.
2010, September 2 - Just before leaving the US, I taught the introduction session of Reboot to some members of our home church, Northwest Baptist, in Reisterstown, MD. Chris, one of the participants, continued training others while I mentored him via the telephone each week.
2010, November - With the partnership of Phil, a relatively new believer, I began training our first all-teenage Reboot group. This was an experiment to see if a group of 4 young boys aged 13-16 could handle the challenge, and I was very pleasantly surprised at their ability to handle the material--especially the book of Acts. In Sydney, I led a Reboot training workshop.
2011, January - I completed a revision of Reboot with a complete rewrite of the Introduction session. I formatted versions of Reboot and TFT for use in the USA. This month we also started the largest Reboot group to date with 16 people, in Lauderdale, Tasmania.
2011, February - We hosted a mission trip to western Sydney with four people trained as Strategy Partners, to assist in reaching people and starting new work.
2011, March - Two of our Strategy Partners, Erik and Jillian, helped to create a revised AIM Pattern for Field 2 outreach groups. This has become an essential part of our strategy with persons of peace in the "house of peace" strategy. This month we also began our second cycle of Strategy Partner Training, held in Hobart.
2011, July - I traveled to New South Wales to visit with a young pastor that I am coaching. In a small suburb we walked around sharing the gospel message and shared the gospel with one very keen seeker, who came to Christ a week later. She opened her home to an outreach group.
2011, August - We held a strategy retreat in Brighton, near Hobart, with 25 in attendance.
2011, September - We hosted a team of 2 from Northwest Baptist Church in Maryland and used the team to engage several communities in the Hobart area. I led an evangelism training event at Taroona Baptist Church and taught them how to use the evangecube. This month we began training Carlos, a new believer, and his wife Josephine, using TFT.
2011, October - The TFT group in the home of Carlos & Josephine quickly swelled to 8 participants.
2011, November - Fred, our refugee from Congo, returned to Africa for the first time and trained 5 leaders, helping them to form new groups from a pool of 73 contacts in Kigali (Rwanda). Around the same time, Carlos & Josephine started a TFT group in Tacloban (Philippines) and trained them via Skype. We also held a strategy retreat in Hobart. It was at this time that I felt that we moved from "the left side of the graph," as we began to see the beginnings of generational growth.
2011, December - We sent another team to Sydney to share the gospel and train disciples. Marc Hooks and Josue Rodriguez came from the IMB to conduct a media project, and in Sydney and Hobart we interviewed about 30 people and taped footage of several of our groups. On Dec. 23, Carlos & Josephine's group became a church.
2012, January - I changed the name of our primary training from the "strategic overview" to Church Planting Unleashed (CPU) and began to produce this training in the form of a series of lessons disciple training lessons.
2012, February - In training one of our new believers, Elissa, we found that she had trouble remembering the basic points of the gospel message. She kept getting things out of sequence and felt frustrated that she couldn't share the gospel clearly. This prompted me to develop the method that would later be called "Left Hand Witness," which uses the five fingers of the left hand to remember the key concepts of the gospel message. Not only did this help Elissa share her faith, but it caught on in that group and began spreading rapidly to other groups and beyond.
2012, March - I conducted another training session in Sydney. We also started a TFT group at Taroona Baptist Church.
2012, April - Andy Arnette and I traveled to New Zealand to conduct training at Kerikeri Baptist Church. We also trained Tony, a man in Auckland. On April 30, Tony "sat in" on one of our TFT training groups in Hobart via Skype to learn by observing and participating remotely.
2012, May 5 - With the feeling that 'Church Planting Unleashed' was going to be too daunting to everyday believers, I coined the name 'Kernel' instead. A kernel is a single grain with the essential DNA to multiply, and this word also refers to the central core of a computer operating system which directs its functions. Later this month I conducted a training day in Melbourne, and Tony started a Reboot group in Auckland (New Zealand).
2012, June - I prepared a summary report of our first 5 years of AIM Training. It was at this time that God laid a fresh vision on my heart: Spirit-empowered streams of churches planting churches, resulting in a church within 5 minutes' walk from every person in every town and city.
2012, July - Judy & I traveled to Sydney to lead a camp near Fitzroy Falls. During that weekend, 10 people were saved, 4 of which came to Christ as a result of teaching the Left Hand Witness method. We traveled to Athens (Greece) where I led a training session entitled "Reproducing Disciples." Later, Jared and Gideon started training TFT to with dozen high school students at Seabrook Christian School.
2012, July 16 - The newly-designed AIM Trainers website was launched by Johann Dyck.
2012, August - Two teenagers in a house of peace in Warrane came to Christ. A few weeks later, their mother gave her life to Christ.
2012, September 8-20 - Another mission team came from Maryland to Tasmania, partnering with our believers to impact several communities with the gospel.
2012, September 29-30 - A team of 5 people traveled north to Launceston to visit several Nepalese families. We shared the gospel with 31 people in 8 families, and 3 people came to Christ.
2012, October - The IMB European Affinity adopted AIM as the discipleship training method for the apprentice program.
2012, October - Paul Rai performed his first baptism, baptizing Jit, one of his fellow Nepalese people who lives in Launceston. Three new TFT groups were established among the Nepalese this month. Carlos & Josephine started a TFT disciple training group in Manila (Philippines) via Skype, training 9 people.
2012, October 14-18 - Stephen James and I led a 5-day training workshop in Prague (Czech Republic) for 13 IMB missionaries, using AIM training as the basis.
2012, November - Church With No Walls in Hobart hosted 4 weekends of Kernel training. Brian and Paul started a new youth group in Pontville consisting of a total of 20 teenagers, and we used the AIM format to expose them to stories of Jesus; four of them gave their lives to Christ this month. Randy, one of the men I trained in Prague, led a woman to Christ in Vladivostok (Russia) and began training her with TFT. Earl, who participated in my "Reproducing Disciples" seminar in July, started a new TFT group in Malta.
2012, November 30 - Jean-Pierre Candelone completed the French translation of Reboot, as there is a demand for this material in French-speaking Congo.
2012, December - Carlos reported that the TFT group in Manila had started 12 new groups in the past 2 months. Randy Stoda reported that he started a Reboot disciple training group in Vladivostok, and he was beginning to translate this and TFT into the Russian language.
2013, January - Carlos & Josephine Cruz reported that 36 groups were meeting in Manila as a result of the training they started via Skype in October. On January 20, Vher Palang coordinated a TFT Summit in Manila with a total of 78 participants. I shared a message with them via Skype.
2013, January - I developed a simple document called Strategy Snapshot, a two-page tool for strategic planning. This is an alternative to the longer and more detailed documents which we have traditionally crafted, as in my experience we spend a lot of time writing these strategy plans but rarely use them as operational guides. Strategy Snapshot allows a worker to define his critical path, but in a simple and straightforward way that can be easily remembered and rapidly communicated to others.
2013, February - AIM Training was adopted by the IMB European Affinity training team as the model for training Team Strategy Leaders (TSLs) and church planters.
2013, February 18-21 - Ying Kai and I led a 4-day T4T training Altenkirchen, Germany with about 65 participants. This was translated into the German language. I patterned this training on the Kernel training which I had led in October.
2013, February 23 - Ying Kai and I led a 1-day "T4T Vision Day" in Hamburg, Germany with about 55 participants. This was organized by Cevin Sweeney and others in the Hamburg team.
2013, February 25 to March 7 - Ying Kai and I led a 10-day T4T training Altenkirchen, Germany. Mark Wagner and several others played a major role in organizing and leading these two events in this small town near Cologne. This was primarily for IMB and GEM missionaries, each of which brought a national partner, for a total of 42 participants. I patterned this training on the 8-day Strategy Partner Training that I led in Tasmania in 2009.
2013, April 10 - Taroona Baptist reported that three new TFT groups were operating, and that the method was becoming well-known among the people of the church.
2013, May - Chris Carr and other workers in Ufa, Russia completed the translation of many of our materials into the Russian language.
2013, May 24 - One of our key trainers, Fred Buhendwa, left for a six-week trip to Africa where he intended to meet with the groups he started in November 2011, and to start new groups. This would be the last time for me to see him before my move to London, so it was a bittersweet time.
2013, May 28-31 - In France, I led the first-ever DMT2 (Disciple Multiplication Training, Part 2) for Greater Europe Mission, held at the Parole de Vie center in Ecouen, France.
2013, June 19 - I held the last session with the Clarence Baptist group which I had started on May 20. This would be my final training session in Australia.
2013, June 21 - We left Tasmania on June 21, marking the completion of a tenure of over 17 years in Australia. I gave an impromptu vision-casting message to the Nepalese TFT group gathered in Moonah before heading for the airport.
2013, July 2 - We arrived in London to begin our new assignment.
2013, July 16 - Fred Buhendwa gave me a report of his 6-week excursion in Africa. During that time he led several people to the Lord. In Burundi he started 3 new disciple training groups; in Bukavu, DRC (his hometown) he led 2 training conferences in two local churches with a total of 380 participants; and in Rwanda he met with Pastor Kamanzi and leaders of the groups which he had started in Kigali in 2011. Fred also reported that Pastor Désiré, one of the pastors he trained, had already started 36 new groups in Burundi by this time.
2013, July 17 - I started the first AIM disciple training group, as we commenced Reboot at Kahaila Cafe in Tower Hamlets. This group consisted of several missionary personnel, a GEM volunteer, and a local Bible college student.
2013, August - Carlos & Josephine Cruz moved from Tasmania to the Philippines to begin their new ministry in Tacloban, Visayas. During this month, I wrote a paper entitled "Four Kinds of Disciples" to provide an in-depth explanation of the FKOD model which I had been using for over a year.
2013, August 21 - Workers in Germany reported that they will begin translation of Reboot into the German language. They will call it Neustart.
2013, September 1 - Carlos & Josephine started a new TFT group in Tacloban. I had the privilege of kicking this group off with a vision-casting vignette via a Facetime video call.
2013, September 17 - Johann Dyck completed a full graphic revision of TFT and posted it on the AIM Trainers website. Around this time I also received a request for permission to translate our materials into the Czech language.
2013, November 3 - After a brief discussion with the Pastor Antonio of Harlington Baptist Church, I was invited to begin using TFT to equip their leaders to share the gospel and make disciples. Seventeen participants came to that first group. This small church, near Heathrow Airport, has a vision to start groups in many places throughout west London.
2013, November 7 - Typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines, leaving horrific destruction in its wake. Tacloban, the new home of Carlos & Josephine, was virtually wiped out. Carlos wrote to us explaining that they nearly drowned, but that God spared them, their children, and all the people they were training (their story posted in the blog section on this site). However, this brought their work to a grinding halt as they had to be evacuated to a city in northern Philippines.
2013, November 17 - I began a TFT group connected with Northolt Grange Baptist Church, with 7 participants.
2013, November 19-22 - In Timişoara, Romania, I was the lead trainer for Greater Europe Mission's 4-day DMT1. Forrest Hendrix, Dwight Poggemiller, and Gordon Saunders shared in the presentation. We had around 47 participants, many of them pastors and missionaries from Eastern Europe.
2013, December 2013 - Fred reported a breakthrough at his place of employment in the Cadbury factory in Tasmania. Two people have become believers, and others are inquiring about how to follow Jesus as well. This is significant, as workers had been resistant to Fred and had treated him harshly about his faith. Fred's ambition is to start a church in that place.
2013, December 3-6 - Sean Blacksten organized and led the London Lab, a workshop pioneered by Stephen & Barbara James. I presented much of the material which is largely AIM-based.
2013, December - I began training in Pakistan via Skype to equip believers in a local church in Lahore. I also began training a Nepalese worker in Victoria, Australia who has a vision to start a church planting movement in his area. The group reported in March that 35 people became believers as a direct result of their training. One girl, a 15-year-old, led four people to Christ one week.
2014, February - I published a Christian fiction novel called Bridge to the Beautiful City, designed to communicate the gospel message to secular unbelievers in allegory form.
2014, March 3-7 - Jason Bishop and I trained 37 people in Lisbon, Portugal. Participants included Greater Europe Mission, IMB, Christian & Missionary Alliance, and several pastors and leaders from local churches.
2014, March 17-29 - Ying & Grace Kai came to work with us. We held a 3-day T4T/AIM training at Haven Green Baptist Church in Ealing, as well as one-day events at Kings Cross Baptist, Oikos Church in Birmingham, and Blenheim Baptist in Leeds.
2014, April - Sean Blacksten organized and led a London Lab followed by an EMBRACE Lab, both at Haven Green Baptist.
2014, April 20 - Erik & Natalie McKitrick reported that they flew to South Australia (from Tasmania) to meet with the man he has been discipling by distance. While they were there they baptised Glen, his wife, and their son.
2014, April 25 - I met with a dozen members of Life Building Centre in West London to begin several weeks of AIM training.
2014, May 14 - Alex Garcia launched The Archippus Project, a disciple training method based on Reboot, and began training 13 people in several countries.
2014, May 16-18 - I traveled to Seville, Spain to lead a one-day AIM training event in preparation for our 4-day training this coming September. We had about 30 people attending this event, many more than expected.
2014, May 27-30 - Judy co-led the Ladies Lab near Basel, Switzerland and introduced several new topics to AIM training including the power of modeling, and comparing disciple-making to raising children.
2014, June 22 - I trained about 28 people at Cross Street Baptist Church in London in a brief afternoon session. This opened doors for an ongoing partnership with additional training and coaching.
2014, July 8-11 - Mike Domke and I led a 4-day AIM training event in Budapest, Hungary. During this training time, I met Rob T, a worker from Russia who shared that the work which was begun by Randy S. (who attended AIM training in 2012) had blossomed to 30 groups in 6 cities in the far east.
2014, September 19-21 - I returned to Seville, Spain to lead an AIM training event. Sean Blacksten, and my wife Judy Armacost, were co-presenters.
2014, October - I traveled to Porto União, Brazil, to lead a 4-day AIM training event with 16 people.
2014, November - We held two days of training in Hatfield (Hertfordshire) for the Hope UK network, and another two days in Exmouth (Devon) with the Baptist church there. In Moscow, I led a 4-day training event with 41 participants, and in St Petersburg, about 25 people gathered for a two days of training. Jez and Kenny, two men who attended the training in Altenkirchen, Germany in 2013, completed T4T-based lessons for the UK context. Gary Miller completed the translation of TFT, as well as the AIM bookmark, into the Hungarian language. Sean Blacksten and Jason Bishop led an AIM training event in Western Hungary.
2014, December - Sean Blacksten launched a LAB training event in Birmingham, England; I co-presented with him. Judy and I held two days of training in Hatfield with the Hope UK network once again, then traveled to Sunderland (Tyne and Wear) to lead three days of training with a dozen university students who are part of the Hope UK network.
2015, January - Judy and I trained a group of Eritreans in London over the course of four weeks. I led an afternoon training session at Cross Street Baptist Church. We also traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, to equip the team there.
2015, February - Tom Hearon announced the completed translation of Reboot into the Italian language.
2015, March - The AIM trainers newsletter Compass was launched.
2016, January - Erik M. developed a prototype mobile phone app to assist leaders and groups and churches--providing basically the same function as the bookmarks.
2016, April - The aimtrainers.org website was taken down due to a security threat, and due to a series of complications, was not restored for several weeks. During that downtime it was discovered that our credentials for the domain had been lost. The site remained down for a full six months.
2016, May 4-14 - Ying & Grace Kai visited the UK for the second time to train people in T4T principles. Our visits included a large gathering of pastors in Liverpool.
2016, May 27-30 - We experimented with a new way to equip trainers. A team of three people came from FBC Alexandria, Virginia and lived with us for four days so we could train them and walk alongside them. They participated in everything we normally do, including attending groups and meeting our local partners. This "24/7" style of training much more closely matches the way Jesus trained His disciples, and we will seek to equip others in this way whenever we can.
2016, October - The aimtrainers.org domain was finally recovered, and the website restored to its original state as of April.
Also in October, Australian partners Erik and Natalie launched their newly-built site, meetgodathome.com to communicate and share AIM resources.
2017, April 6-16 - Ben traveled to Russia to conduct AIM Training in Moscow at Shelapicha Church, and to coach leaders and national partners. I also presented a training session with the Moscow strategy team and a brief training at a Young Life gathering.
2017, April 18-22 - We hosted a LAB in London with a dozen workers from various parts of Europe.
2017, May 8-14 - Ben traveled to Debrecen, Hungary to coach several leaders. We traveled to Cluj and Oradia (both in Romania) to cast vision for training.
2017, May 19-25 - Ben & Judy were invited to the European Leadership Forum by Robert & Valerie Rowe. These meetings opened doors for greater partnership in Europe, and in particular, coaching relationships with two men (from Poland and Russia) with whom we developed long-term partnerships.
2017, July 6-13 - Four members of Lifespring Church in Nebraska came to work with us in London. In addition to some training, we did a lot of street work, preaching in two churches, and partnering with some of our key people. We also held a 3-day basketball clinic in one of the local estates in south London. Seven people gave their lives to Christ.
2017, August 15 - St. Luke's Church of England offered us use of a 3-bedroom house at below market cost so that we could use it for ministry. After a brief discussion with our London team leader, we secured the keys to the house and began transforming it into the London Global Training Centre. This is a residential training facility designed to equip workers in London, as well as from other countries, for disciple multiplication movements. By the end of the month, it was fully cleaned, repaired, and furnished for use. We affectionately call this "The Twelve House" not only because it is on 12 Chestnut Road, but to remind us that we are training disciples the way Jesus trained the Twelve.
2017, September 6-9 - We held our first ever "Five Smooth Stones" training, primarily with members of the London Team. This was our our first major training event at the Twelve House.
2017, October 9-14 - Judy hosted a Ladies Lab at the Twelve House to train several women from around Europe.
2017, October 24 - Ben & Judy traveled to Belgrade and led a one-day training event.
2017, October 26-28 - We conducted a two-day AIM Training event in Skopje, Macedonia with 18 participants.
2017, November 9-11 - We led the second round of "Five Smooth Stones" training for London Team members. Donald Davis and Judy co-presented.
2017, November 13-15 - Co-led an Iron-on-Iron leadership event with 10 participants in Kiev, Ukraine.
2018, March 10-16 - We hosted a team from FBC Georgetown. Donald, Judy and I trained them and we sent them into the streets to engage people in our area.
2018, June 4-14 - Hosted Ying & Grace Kai in London for the third time. They led two 2-day training events, one at Kings Cross Baptist Church and the other at St. Luke's Church West Norwood. They also led a Mid-Level Retreat at the Twelve House.
2018, June 21-23 - We held our first AIM Training in Poland. Ben took John & Grace Wyman to participate in the event which was held in Gdansk, with about twelve participants.
2018, August 24-30 - Freshwater Church (Jefferson City, MO) brought a team to South London for training and local engagement.
2018, November - Ben traveled to North London to preach three consecutive Sundays at Chalk Farm Baptist Church. These times were used primarily for training and mobilizing the church.
In November, Ben also trained 6 members of Hunter Street Baptist Church who came to West Norwood.
2018, November 4 - Donald Davis and Ben trained a gathering of pastors at Chiswick Baptist Church.
2018, November 5-10 - LAB training at the Twelve House.
2018, November 30 - In an exercise of stewardship and preserving Kingdom funding, Ben & Judy decided to move into the Twelve House as their permanent residence. The house was maintained as a residential training center.
2018, December 10-15 - LAB training at the Twelve House.
2019, February 16 - Training with about 18 leaders from Kings Cross Baptist Church. The primary tool was the Four Kinds of Disciples diagram.
2019, March 2-9 - We hosted a team from FBC Jefferson, LA to train them and engage the streets of South London.
2019, March 29 - Ben trained a gathering of 20 church members and leaders at UP Church in West Norwood.
2019, April 4-9 - We hosted another team from Freshwater Church to train and deploy them. Judy did the bulk of the training as Ben was away.
2019, April 8 - Ben led two breakout sessions at the Twenty20 Mission Conference at Hunter Street Baptist Church, on transitioning from everyday conversation to spiritual conversation. A total of 128 people attended the sessions.
2019, April 16-19 - Ben & Judy traveled to the island of Lesvos, Greece to conduct AIM Training. This was a cooperative effort with Greater Europe Mission and was co-presented by Josh S.
2019, May 10-15 - We held a Ladies LAB at the Twelve House. Judy was the primary presenter for strategy.
2019, May 16 - Led a training session at East Hill Bible College on Four Kinds of Disciples.
2019, June - Ben began work on a project called "Progress" designed to track and present a "scoreboard" of progress in London. I also began to compile a database of all our training materials which will eventually be made available publicly.
2019, June 12 - Ben trained 10 professionals at the News Building in London Bridge, using Paul's Discipleship Model as the topic.
2019, June 20 - Led a training session at East Hill Bible College on the Four Stages diagram.
2019, June 25-20 - Another team from Freshwater Church came for training and to share in the streets of the Crystal Palace area. We extended our reach into Anerley and Penge, with eventually rewarded us with a new church partnership with Christ Church Anerley.
2019, July 9-15 - We hosted 10 people from FBC Brandon, MS (two leaders and 8 youth) for training and local engagement. The entire team stayed at the Twelve House with us, proving that we can indeed still host large groups!
2019, July 18-26 - Lifespring church, who have visited us the past 2 years, opted to host some of us at their church in Omaha this year. I went with 4 local people from St. Luke's Church to Nebraska, and we did door-to-door and street work in Bellevue, mid-town Omaha, North Omaha, and Lincoln. We had nearly 300 spiritual conversations, about 90 of which were gospel presentations, and 24 people trusted Christ for salvation. We also trained around 85 people in total, several of whom were pastors.
2019, August 15-18 - We hosted Kevin Greeson to co-lead an Iron-on-Iron Leadership Retreat in St. Albans, just outside of London. We had 35 participants, most of whom were national partners from our city.