What Is Discipleship Multiplication In GEM?

Europe is teeming with opportunity. Stories of God working through his people are many, yet they still only scratch the surface of the great need.

In fact, European Christians are dying faster than they are being born.* Although many nations in Europe have a Christian background, the number of Jesus followers is declining at a rapid rate.

Filled with families who have lived in these lands for hundreds of years, alongside new Europeans of first and second generations, Europe has revealed itself as a place where opportunities for spiritual growth seem almost endless.

No matter where they were born, we know God loves each individual person in Europe and wants them all to live in a deeper relationship with him.

For this to happen, God must move.

In many ways, God already is moving. Evidence of his work and grace are rampant, as told through stories of Kingdom workers who are joining in. And we praise him for each soul who has joined the family through Christ!

The evidence of God’s work is personal, powerful and widespread:

  • An atheist asks what she must do to be baptized and included in the family of God.
  • Believers hosting a pop-up stand in the subway serve hot drinks to commuters and start conversations about God, reaching a large number of immigrants.
  • After attending a Discovery Bible Study, a not-yet-Christian tries to convince his friends to read the Bible with him and obey what it says.
  • A teenager learns that a neighbour is studying the Bible with his family, so she gets her family to study the Bible together too.
  • To reach the Roma people (known as gipsies), who are often discriminated against, nationals start Bible studies that eventually turn into churches.

We thrill when we hear such stories of God moving! Yet, we long for more.

More evidence of God’s movement. More lives changed for eternity. More people coming to know him and growing together to become active participants in the Body of Christ.

More disciple-making.

What is “Making Disciples”?

As most mission-minded believers do, we take seriously the siren call Jesus issued before his return to the Father. Those nearby were told to “Go and Make Disciples”. And we believe that baton has been passed down through generations to us today.

Understanding that the definition of a disciple is simply a “follower”, this command is two-fold. To bring new, unbelieving people to a place where they accept the saving power of Jesus Christ. AND to challenge believing people to deepen their faith by following Jesus more closely.

As these two things develop, as more people are accepting Christ and walking closer with the Triune God, the result is obedience to the original command to “Go and Make Disciples”. The basic mathematical principle is that one follower can turn into a multitude if they are willing to share and God sees fit to bless their work. Making disciples who make disciples.

We long to be part of God’s movement in Europe and throughout the world. We know that to reach each person, household and city for Christ, we need more than just addition. We need a miracle from the God who multiplies.

What Do We Mean By “Multiply”?

When we look at the dire state of the world today, particularly the numbers that indicate so few Jesus-followers in Europe, hopelessness can easily creep in. The task is much greater than we could accomplish by simply adding a few believers into the fold.

Because it would take many lifetimes to reach the entire geographical area of Europe (much less the entire world!) we recognize the need to go beyond leading individual people to Christ. We aspire for households and families and groups to make disciples who make disciples.

As we are incredibly grateful for each sister and brother who has come into the Kingdom in whatever way God sees fit, we long for more! We aim to equip Jesus followers to make disciples so that the fruit of God’s work will continue to reproduce. We long to see many generations of reproduction in the Kingdom. We long for more.

In striving toward that “more” we long for, we seek to apply and adapt various methods that have been effective in telling others of the hope of Christ and multiplying disciples.

One example comes from some of GEM’s partners in Eastern Europe. God provided opportunities for at least 60 discipleship multiplication training in 2020, where more than 1500 believers were trained on how to share their faith as a lifestyle. Now, these equipped disciple-makers have been released into their own communities to spread the message.

How Do We Work Toward Multiplying?

What does it look like, practically, to strive toward “more”? We seek to learn, evaluate and move forward with disciple-making models that are inspired by the spirit and tailored to location, culture and need.

We apply adaptive models and methods that may help us gain traction for the Kingdom in this battle for souls. Our actions steps include Prayer, Training/Equipping and Adapting:


Compelled by the love of Christ, we recognize that the first step toward bearing fruit requires remaining in the Vine. Getting on our knees. We humbly understand that it is only through a holy intervention that people can come to Christ and spiritual growth can occur. Therefore, we seek God’s face first.

We expectantly ask God to move. To breathe on the people of Europe and bring them to life. To create a longing for Jesus within the multitudes. We need a miracle to do this—so we regularly and repeatedly ask for that miracle!

We serve a God of abundance and we are expectant that everything needed will be abundantly supplied.

This devotion to prayer not only prompts us to petition God for movement, but it allows us to listen. As we place our ears on the ground, we can sense the vibrations that will point us in the right direction. As God moves, the Spirit leads discerning people to participate through action.

  • Daily, GEM is committed to asking for “more workers for the harvest” and we seek to work in places where God is moving.
  • Twice a year, GEM hosts a 24-hour online prayer vigil. Early in 2021, the GEM-wide Day of Prayer gathered participants from more than 30 countries across the globe to pray for God’s intervention and movement in Europe.
  • Other specific and concentrated efforts happen regularly throughout various countries and cities, where prayer-walking (or prayer-driving!), 24-7 prayer vigils, prayer rooms, and many other praying activities are coordinated.

Training and Equipping

With spiritual zeal and coordinated passions, we consider the places where God is moving, seek to build partnerships in those places, and then expectantly commit to working synergistically for the cause of Christ.

Within GEM, we continue to develop our own discipleship training modules, Invite, Engage, Multiply. But our reach for multiplication training goes far beyond our own organization.

GEM is passionate about building Kingdom relationships wherever we find them. We tap into different parts of Christ’s Body by working with partners to tell people of Christ, train them to be disciples, raise up leaders, and support Kingdom-building work in a variety of ways.

For example, GEM workers, along with other national and ex-pat partners, have been praying for and investing in pastors and mission leaders in Romania. One couple has been foundational in mobilizing facilitation teams to share a discipleship course with many local fellowships. Out of these efforts, at least two indigenous Romanian sending agencies have formed, and hundreds of people have been sent beyond their borders into cross-cultural Gospel service.

A different type of effort with similar goals, CityReach is an organization that was spawned through GEM initiatives. This group now connects movement leaders from 25 different organizations in at least 20 countries throughout Europe. A network of networks, the purpose is to train and develop leaders and practitioners by holding discipleship multiplication training seminars, deepening growth relationships, and providing support to multipliers and their teams.


In many ways, we are learning as we go. Just like the early apostles did, we try new things and dig deep with people. We apply what we have learned in one place and see how God might use it in another. Sometimes, an approach that may have been effective in one location may fall flat elsewhere. So we regroup, adapt, and try things a bit differently.

Because Europe contains more than 45 different nations and some 160 culturally distinct people groups, the spiritual temperature can change radically from place to place. We aim to learn from previous knowledge and experience, with the understanding that adjustments and changes may be the exact place where God does his most unexpected work.

In the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Hungary and some other countries, several organizations (including GEM) are investing in efforts to use media in multiplication. This is an effort that has adapted the principles of Discipleship Multiplication to reach out in new ways. Instead of traditional face-to-face evangelism, this format uses online opportunities to connect with spiritual seekers who might otherwise not be reached with the Gospel. This is a particularly applicable adaptation in light of the changes the pandemic has made to our world.

No matter what format or methods are used, with great faith we seek to steward transformation in relationships that are contagious and reproducible. Shapes and structures are flexible as each nation, people group, and individual holds unique needs that God is fully equipped to meet.

The methods may differ, but the purpose is the same: to honour God and reach Europe by multiplying disciples and growing Christ’s Church.

What’s Next?

We understand that the harvest is plentiful. So we ask the Lord of the Harvest to reveal to us the many ways in which we can prepare for, facilitate and foster this work.

As Steve Addison puts it in his book, Movements that Change the World: “Missionary movements begin with men and women who encounter the living God and surrender in loving obedience to his call.”

GEM aims to be filled with people who are encountering the living God and surrendering in loving obedience to his call. We expect that the fruit of this will reveal itself in ways that we cannot yet imagine!

Inquiries to join GEM increased significantly over the time of the pandemic and we continue to facilitate the sending of God’s workers into the fields of Europe.

How can you participate in the movement of God that is already unfolding in Europe and beyond? Visit https://gemission.org.uk/serving-opportunities/.

Sharing Hope with European Neighbors

A sudden knock at her bedroom door startled *Harper. She opened it to find one of her housemates, a Ukrainian, eager to have a conversation with her. His face was pinched with worry as he expressed fears for his family amidst Russia’s aggressive threats of invasion. Harper was not surprised. For months, her housemates had been coming to her with their concerns, disappointments and questions about life’s ultimate meaning.  

When Harper, a GEM worker, first moved to this large, bustling European city, she learned that she would have to share a home with total strangers because of a housing crunch. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. This extremely secular city was known for an “anything goes” ethos. Harper already felt vulnerable as a foreigner. She would have preferred to be surrounded by like-minded people in the beginning stages of her adjustment to a new environment. 

The city teemed with thousands of young adults seeking education and career advancement. Most of them spoke English as a second language. As their numbers outpaced the housing options, they searched online for shared living spaces. In Harper’s house, each person had their own bedroom while sharing a common kitchen, living and dining area. Half of Harper’s nine housemates were international, while half came from her host country. 

Harper had no choice but to accept the arrangement. She gathered her courage, settled in and focused on learning the local language. She went about living her life as the only Christian among unbelievers. As with any relationship, it took some time to build up trust between herself and those with whom she lived.  

It soon became apparent that Harper’s lifestyle contrasted sharply with that of her housemates. The city had a renowned club scene and a “do whatever makes you happy” philosophy. Young, single adults worked hard during the day and partied hard at night. They entered into fleeting relationships fueled by alcohol and casual sex.  

As Harper’s housemates noticed her conservative lifestyle, they seemed confused. “Why are you here?” they asked her. “You don’t seem to fit with the vibe of this city! How is it you live here and still maintain a sense of purity?” Jaded by their experiences in a cutthroat work environment and a hook-up culture, they probed, “How is it you live here and stay so kind and generous?” 

These questions led to gospel conversations. No one could have been more surprised by that than Harper! As an introvert, out of her comfort zone, she would never have made this type of shared housing her first choice. Yet now her roommates were coming to her with their deepest thoughts and questions. Their fleeting romantic relationships left them feeling used and empty. “I want something more, something authentic and lasting,” they confided to Harper. “But how do I find something like that?” 

When Harper moved into the house, she’d assumed those she lived with would be reserved and closed off. Instead, they sensed her kindness and compassion which invited them to open up and share deeply. Where Harper thought she would merely be biding her time until “real” ministry started, a flourishing ministry sprang up

Eventually, a couple of Harper’s housemates approached her and said, “We’d really like to come to church with you and see what all this is about.”  

“This is a huge testimony to the movement of the Holy Spirit,” says Harper. “I’ve been really blown away! The past few months have shown me that just living out our lives as believers attracts people to the gospel. I would never have imagined that my greatest ministry opportunity would be in my own house, but God has continually shown that my presence here is purposeful and that he is trying to reveal himself to my roommates through me. For that, I am truly grateful.”  

Harper’s housemates continue to come to her to talk about issues within their families, dating relationships, and questions regarding faith. Most of them have only a nominal exposure to Christianity. They feel comfortable confiding in Harper. She strives to create a safe environment in which they can speak honestly. 

“Before this,” she says, “I was on a church staff, and our ministry revolved around events. Now, my ministry—a ministry I didn’t even think I would have while still in the process of language learning—revolves around relationships. My whole perception of ministry has changed since I moved into shared housing. I now see it as a way of life rather than a series of events and services. Ministry is relational; it should be an ongoing, natural part of our lives as we live out our faith.”  

* Name changed for privacy purposes  

Food Truck Ministry in France

Having fled their countries to save their lives, refugees experience the best of people and the worst of people as they wander in search of a new place to call home. Many people are kind and caring, helping them buy food or giving them a coat. Some are indifferent and won’t make eye contact as they hurry past, ignoring them completely. Others are hateful, saying mean things or even causing them harm.  

Surviving cold nights, aching feet, and hunger pains, these struggling humans move forward, carrying the hurt of their past lives but trying to focus on being grateful to be alive.  

In Caen, France, an organization whose heart for refugees has led them to think outside of the box about how they can meet some of the practical needs. SOS Chai uses an old ambulance as a make-shift food truck to serve hot dinners to refugees who live in the area. The food is cooked beforehand and then a team drives to a location, where they set up tables and chairs to welcome everyone.  

The former ambulance converted to a food truck.

Refugees congregate around the truck, enjoying a meal and each other’s company. After dinner, many stick around to sip coffee and play card games. On warm summer evenings, when the sunlight lasts longer, games of cricket have been played in the street beside the truck. 

Fed and surrounded by new friends, one might be able to, at least for a short moment, relax from the stress and pain of life and just enjoy a sliver of peace. 

‘The refugee crisis in Europe is a complicated and terrible reality.  SOS Chai offers the chance to move beyond the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to help, by simply making a space in which we can get to know people. It isn’t always easy, but I’m increasingly aware of how much God loves each of these refugee friends,‘ GEM worker Tom Appel says of the mission of the team. 

GEM worker Tom Appel helping two immigrant friends with language learning.

While many have benefitted from the services, one man, Hamza*, having received from the SOS Chai team, embraced the vision and has become part of the team. As he waited to be able to secure a job, he said that serving with SOS Chai gave him purpose and allowed him to give back some of what he had been given.  

Hamza serving food to a fellow immigrant.

As a business owner in Afghanistan, Hamza was used to working hard to run his clothing store and care for his family. When the Taliban came, they believed Hamza to be an American spy because his store had never discriminated against selling to American soldiers. Leaving his family behind in the care of his father-in-law, Hamza had to flee for his life and the safety of his family.  

Since finding a job in France, Hamza is now working and saving to be able to bring his family to be reunited in safety. Even still, he spends his free time volunteering with SOS Chai. 

Serving in every capacity, Hamza does everything from helping cook, to cleaning up, to handing out food. And because of his experience with his clothing store, the task that allows him to utilize his skills and experience is clothing distribution.  

Two volunteers preparing food to serve refugees.

The organization accepts donations to buy clothing, coats, and shoes to hand out as needed, which is accomplished out of the back of the ambulance after dinner has been served. Hamza has an eye for sizes and has revolutionized the way this whole ministry is performed. He serves every task with an authentic smile and his inner joy can be easily seen as he fits someone with a coat that will keep them warm or shoes to replace their worn-out flip-flops.

Like many refugees, Hamza focuses on being happy to be alive, being grateful to those who have helped him, and being hopeful for the future. 

Volunteers pack up the truck after each session of serving food and clothing.

As the hands and feet of Jesus, many of the SOS Chai team share with the refugees that the hope they seek can be found in Christ. They pray that through sharing and showing the beauty of the Gospel, many will find the hope and joy that comes in salvation through our Savior.  

Interested in partnering or serving with GEM’s work in France? Click here to inquire.

*Name changed for privacy purposes. 

Art in Missions: Performing Arts Ministry in Scotland  

What comes to mind when you think of being a missionary?  

 Is it church planting? Street evangelism? Bible translation in a faraway country?  

 Whatever comes to mind, being an actor, writer, or artist is probably not near the top of your list.   

This was the case for Jerry Averill. Jerry knew from an early age God was calling him to serve in ministry. But ministry wasn’t the only call he felt in his life. ’I wanted to be an actor,’ he recalled, ‘but my pastor and pastor’s wife told me, ”You can’t be a Christian and be involved in that.”‘ 

So, thinking his only option was to become a pastor, Jerry enrolled in Bible college to fulfil his calling to serve God.  

But even as he took this step seeking to obey God, he knew something was missing.  

God had given Jerry a love for theatre, a passion for the arts, and a desire to perform… Where did these fit in with being a pastor?  

In Jerry’s years at Bible college, God showed up again dramatically. ‘He confronted me with a theatre company and told me, “Jerry, this is why I’ve given you the gift. This is why I want you to be who I’ve called you to be—an actor—in theatre, for Me.”‘

Jerry joined this Christian theatre company and spent the next 23 years travelling across America, directing plays, and acting in front of thousands of people.   

In this season, Jerry met Elizabeth, an actor who joined the company in 1975. They worked on stage and toured for eleven years before the Lord brought them together as a couple.  

During this time, the theatre company received an invitation to tour Europe and do a series of shows across the continent.   

Jerry and Elizabeth jumped at the opportunity to use their love for theatre on an international stage. 

 Upon returning from Europe, Jerry again felt a strong leading from the Lord. ‘God gave me a dream,’ he recalled with a glimmer in his eye. ‘He told me He wanted to reclaim Europe and its artists for Him.’

 This dream sparked a vision in Jerry that wasn’t realized for twenty-five years. It wasn’t until 2012 when God opened the door for Jerry and Elizabeth to join Greater Europe Mission and move to Scotland to serve the artists of Europe through theatre. 

Today, Jerry and Elizabeth live in Dundee, Scotland’s second-largest city, where the Lord partnered them with New Scottish Arts, a Christian music organization. Through this partnership, Jerry and Elizabeth have access to a performing arts space for just a £1 lease. 

Platform Arts, hovering over the rumbling tracks of the city train station, houses a performance space, café, and an art gallery.  

‘It’s truly a miracle how the Lord opened the door for us to join GEM and how he provided this venue,’ Jerry shared.  

Jerry and Elizabeth use the performing arts space to host shows where they produce and present plays based on Biblical stories or principles. Through every show, they weave messages of the hope and love of Jesus.   

After each show, they open the café for coffee, tea, and chats about the performance. ‘It is here that we have the most significant conversations about the meaning behind our shows,’ recounts Elizabeth joyfully.  

Jerry quietly and fervently radiates warmth, and Elizabeth vibrantly shimmers with life. Together they tend to Platform Arts, their fellow artists, and all those who darken its doorstep to encounter beauty and story.  

‘The thing that is amazing to me,’ explained Elizabeth, ’is that God created the arts. They were His idea, just like laughter and joy and beauty were His idea.’

‘God created us in His image as creators and being creative is part of who we are and can be part of our ministry,’ continued Jerry.  

The wonder of God is that before He revealed Himself as Father, He revealed Himself as Creator. And as we are made in the image of God, we are called to be makers in the image of God. As artist and author Makoto Fujimura says, ‘Whether we are plumbers, garbage collectors, taxi drivers, or CEOs, we are called by the Great Artist to co-create. The Artist calls us little-“a” artists to co-create, to share in the ‘heavenly breaking in’ to the broken earth.’

The arts are so important in Europe today because across the continent, people are intellectually fatigued by Christians’ arguments and propositions. They refuse to be argued into belief.   

But beauty.   

Beauty beckons to us. Beauty calls out things long forgotten.   

Even faith.   

The beauty of God is seen through a show, a performance, a story, and a dance. The beauty of Christ compels emotions and stirs hearts. Only God can know the depth of impact these creative forms of sharing the gospel can have.  

‘We want to be people who carry the passion of Jesus into every field with excellence and authenticity,’ said Elizabeth. ’If ever we needed artists who are passionate about Jesus to come forth and to use their talents unto His glory, it is now. Because it is the passion of the believer who is committed to the Lord that is going to transform, not only their lives, their art, but society.’ 

 So what does it mean to be a missionary? 

Being a missionary means being exactly who God has called you to be and being willing to use those gifts for His glory wherever He may call you. 

For Jerry and Elizabeth, being a missionary means embracing how God made them and using these gifts to serve God and those around them—as artists, creatives, teachers, and writers – as people filled with the passion of Jesus’ life who overflow it in every sphere of their life.  

Whatever your gifting — cooking, writing, dancing, acting — there is a place for you in the church and in missions. God wants to use you, as He has wired you, to serve Him and draw others into a relationship with Him.

Is God calling? 

To learn more about how you could use your love for arts to serve God in Europe, visit https://gemission.org/serving_opportunity/arts-ministry/   

To find out more about Jerry and Elizabeth, watch this story of them and their ministry.  

About the author:

Grant Klinefelter is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves in Birmingham, England. Visit grantandnaomi.com to learn more.

The Dundee Nativity—Celebrating a Covid Christmas

Jerry and Elizabeth Averill serve in Scotland as missionaries engaged in writing and drama with artists and audiences in Dundee and beyond. Here Jerry reflects on how God was at work in their Christmas productions in 2020.

As pressure to write the nativity script grew last summer, I watched the news each day with everyone else in our profession and asked, “But when will the theatres reopen?” Then I heard the voice I have come to cherish. “Do a film,” He whispered. Without much more than that, I went to the nativity committee and explained that this year would be a film. Then came the questions—the whens, and hows and whats. I’m sure the Father had a good chuckle during our Zoom committee meetings. My initial response was to say I didn’t have answers, but that God had told me to do this and so that’s what I’ll be doing. Then I turned to the Father in prayer to ask how I was going to do this and to ask Him to walk with me. Fortunately, the committee came on board and the process began.

In our work as playwrights and directors, we mix non-believer artists with believer artists. Our ministry is also to the artist—not just the audience—and we trust that God’s Word is faithful:

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

I have to trust that something sticks when I see any non-believer handling, memorising, and digging into the Scriptures and truth in our scripts.

Jesus said, “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded” (Matt. 10:42). Our prayer is that a scene, a phrase, a song or even a moment in the film was a cold drink to one of the thirsty souls of 2020. It’s the same prayer we raise for the actors, dancers, singers, musicians, technicians, and producers—both those who know Him and those still on that journey. There are so many one-on-one miracles and little blessings that happened in the process of making the film.

We actually produced two separate films last year: one with a group of community artists in Dundee and one with a private boarding school in Perth. Both productions included a slew of cast and crew members as well as dancers, choirs, orchestras and performing artists. The Perth film began with two “drive-in movies” for the students’ family and friends and there have been over 1,300 views on YouTube since.

The Dundee film has had a similar number of views online, but we also made 1,000 DVDs to distribute in hospitals, care homes, prisons, churches, and the Salvation Army. Most of the DVDs went in the first week! We also produced an audio description version for churches’ telephone ministries as well as for the visually impaired. Many churches went on to post our video directly on their websites, including a post on the Church of Scotland website. Another independent church shared our nativity in their Facebook Christmas Watchnight Service and had around 2,000 views, and we’ve shared it far and wide within Greater Europe Mission here in the UK and in Europe.

In 2020 our Father invited us to move outside the norm and to trust Him with the results. Last year’s nativity has been seen by more people this Christmas than all the previous nativities together in its 10-year history. To see and hear little glimpses of “His Kingdom come” in the lives of our crews and audiences, both believers and non-believers, are wonderful treasures.  That I still cry when I watch it is the greatest thrill of all. It tells me I did not walk this journey alone, and you all were part of this through your prayers and your support.  Thank you.

If you’d like a copy of the Dundee Nativity, please contact us here and include “Dundee Nativity” in the subject line. Below we’ve included a link to the production on YouTube.