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WHAT IF WE REALLY DID MULTIPLY?

Multiplication

 What if every church had a vision to plant ten churches in ten years?  If two couples were to move to a city with the goal of reproducing themselves and multiplying every three years, it could happen.  Four couples could plant 32 churches in ten years.  As you study the multiplication of the early church you notice that when it was illegal church planting was exponential, when it became acceptable church multiplication slowed down, and when it became advantageous to be a Christian church multiplication came to a screeching halt.

     A church multiplication strategy is committed to developing not a church plant but a network of churches in a city or area.  In Luke 10:6 Jesus sent seventy of His followers out in groups of twos with their mission being to find a person of peace.  When they left that city, who was left in charge of the Lord’s work?  Paul, in his church planting journeys, used this same strategy of finding a potential leader, training them, empowering them, and leaving them in charge.  If 10% of our churches were planting churches, we would double in seven years but it will not happen if we do not change the way we think about church planting.

     First, we must define what success is in church planting. Success has been defined as serving God’s purpose in my generation in order to reach the next.  It is not land and a building, it is not having 200 in morning worship, and it is not having a church that can pay its bills.  It is planting a church with a God sized vision and daily living the Great Commission. That means not doing it ourselves but teaching and releasing others to reproduce others who reproduce others.  We must dedicate ourselves to sending teams where they have the greatest opportunity to succeed.  Success is not planting churches but it is planting churches that plant churches. 

     Second, we must define what a healthy mature church looks like.  Anything healthy reproduces.  Christ commands us in John 15 to be fruitful.  How do you know when a tree is mature?  It bears fruit! Multiplication is not one tree bearing fruit but planting multiple trees to have an orchard full of fruit producing churches.  Maturity is when you can do it yourself but unfortunately, our western culture has built a system where the spiritual professionals do it for us.  A multiplication strategy trains them, empowers them and then releases them to do the work of ministry.  The healthiest churches are churches that have reproduced.

     Third, we need to have a well developed process of discipleship in place. The key is to build people and let God build the church.  Discipleship is having an easily reproducible system that knows how to equip and build an army that is called to advance His kingdom, not protect the castle.  An army is not evaluated by how it performs in the mess hall but, rather, how effective it is on the battlefield.  Jesus chose to reach the world by investing in twelve men and striving to transform their lives.  There is no short cut to being properly prepared for spiritual battle.  We must be willing to slow down and focus on changing one life at a time. 

     Fourth, we must have a passion reach the lost and unchurched.  The average church needs 89 members to win one person to Christ in a year while in a church plant the ratio is 3:1.  We must realize that the focus of a church plant is not to reach Baptists but to find those who are lost and headed on a road to hell.  The goal should not be to find people unhappy with their church but those who are not connected to a church and need Jesus.

     “Most Christian outreach never reaches non-Christians.  Over 90% of all Christian evangelism is aimed at other Christians and does not reach non-Christians.” That statement from World Christian Trends is quite shocking. It also reports that churches in the United States are spending $1,550,000 per baptism.  Planting churches is excellent stewardship because it is the most Biblical and effective method of evangelism.   

     Our goal should not be to be conservative but rather revolutionary.  We need individuals to sell out to the cause of Christ no matter what that may cost them.  The goal is not to be looking for a salary but having a burden to serve the Lord and lead people to Christ. That could be to plant a church, revitalize a church, grow a church, but for all of us it is to live missionally in our zip code.

     Healthy churches intentionally look for ways to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches!