How do you know if what you are doing as a church leader is actually growing God’s kingdom? Is it enough to simply have a large number of people attending your church or do you also have to go out to far places and thus have a multiplying effect?
The answer is seen in Genesis 1:28 where God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. It is also seen in the great commission where Jesus charged His followers to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 18 –20).
We were created and tasked to be fruitful and to multiply. God wants us to multiply our impact and reach the lost souls in the far-reaching parts of the earth.
He wants us to show His glory by bearing many fruits. It will be difficult to achieve this if as a church leader, your only focus is just to increase the number of people that attend each worship service in your church. That’s being myopic in your assignment, and ungodlike as well.
A church can only multiply by having a healthy local church at its core. It is from this core that it can successfully branch out to evangelize and plant other healthy churches. Churches that multiply have three main characteristics.
First, they are passionate about multiplying; and when we say multiply we mean compounded addition that is exponential. As a result, they create awareness about their intention, create processes and a culture that encourages multiplication and thereafter, works tirelessly towards achieving the goal of multiplication.
These churches recognize the fact that having a bigger church with a large congregation will not on its own greatly affect a large number of lost souls that need to be reached. Thus, they channel their energies and resources towards the act of making disciples that will lead to multiplication.
Secondly, they have a channel that serves as a means to discover, train, equip, and deploy those who will serve as church planting team members. In effect, they see their church members as the resources that will bring about the needed multiplication. These channels take different forms, and a church must be intentional about the channel it intends to make use of.
Third, churches that multiply show an effective pattern of mobilizing church planting teams from within the church, and this pattern actually results in multiplication. Churches that desire to successfully multiply should pay attention to these characteristics. The sending capacity of a local church brings greater benefits to God’s Kingdom than her local church seating capacity.
In order to achieve multiplication, a church needs to move from being an impact church to becoming a reproducing church and finally becoming a movement of reproducing churches.
It is at this last stage that multiplication is achieved. To successfully multiply, there are two vital things that a church should pay attention to. These are the business of disciple-making and the business of planting churches. These two form the foundation of every multiplying church.
A church that intends to multiply should focus on making disciples who leave the church and spread out into various communities to begin their personal movement of stimulating multiplication.
It is for this reason that it is said that pastors of multiplying churches die to self. This is because they become selfless with their ultimate goal being to reach the lost parts of the earth, rather than focusing on amassing a large number of members who continuously attend their church without branching out as reproducers.
The church should be motivated to multiply and resist the urge to remain in addition mode, where the only concern is to keep on adding members.
To do this successfully, the pastor has to place emphasis on the fact that sending people forth into the world is vital to the church’s ministry. When we have selfless kingdom work as the foundation of our ministry, it becomes easier to understand that the acts of disciple-making and sending forth are more important than the acts of growing and gathering.
The second aspect of multiplying is church planting. The church planting movement has been defined by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird. In their book, Viral Churches.
They defined the church-planting movement as, “A rapid multiplication of churches where a movement grows through multiplication by 50 percent in the number of churches in a given year to the third generation.”
This means that if a church multiplies 200 times in a year, it should multiply at least 300 times in the subsequent year. You should ask yourself what it takes to bring about a multiplying church. Think about it, research it, pray about it, define it, and then work it out.
There are various ways that you can bring about a movement of church planting. One way is to have a program where church planters are trained for a certain number of months in the form of apprenticeship.
This is to ensure proper skills acquisition to be obtained before launching out. You should have various means for promoting church planting and also various ways of measuring church planting and multiplication in general.
This is important because when we keep track of the things that bring about multiplication, we create more emphasis and opportunities for creating even more multiplication.
For church planting to be successful, it is important for church planters to understand that it is not safe to wait to plant only when they can afford it. In addition to this, churches also have to find a way to balance the need for money and people in the church with the desire to send and plant.
You should aim to get to a point where your church starts to track and celebrate the number of other churches that the church plants and supports and also includes this in their kingdom scorecard to measure success (you can read our post on the kingdom scorecard here).
Please note that church planting is different from simply having multiple sites. Having multiple sites is not a bad idea. In fact, if done properly, multiple sites can act as stepping stones to achieving multiplication.
However, it is better for a church to shift its focus from developing multiple sites to planting churches.
It is our prayer and great desire that more and more pastors and their congregations will pay more attention to disciple-making and church planting.
This very important. One key to accomplishing the mission of Jesus is through a movement of many multiplying churches. There is no room for competition though because the work is geared towards the same goal.
Apart from the fact that there shouldn’t be competition within the body of Christ, there are far many lost souls in the world than the number of churches available to contain them all.
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Do you think that having multiple sites should be discarded in favour of church planting? Leave a comment below.