Why Are Multiplying Churches Necessary?
If you look around, you can see multiple reasons in the earth to be discouraged. It seems no matter how many good stories happen in the news, there is a larger number of bad ones. This is especially true when you look at the church. It’s easier and grabs more headlines to believe that the best days of the church are behind us.
However, if you study Scripture or have your ears tuned to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, then you have a great cause for hope. The Word and the Spirit tell us that we are on the verge of one of the greatest harvests of lost souls in human history. Events (and the God behind them) are conspiring together to bring forth this harvest in a short period of time.
It’s with this context in mind that I want to present to you the need for multiplying churches. When we talk about multiplying churches, usually I sense a collective yawn in the room from people who haven’t really considered the implications of the world we live in. But we live in a unique time of history where the need for mutliplying churches is greater than ever before.
At this point it would be good for me to define what is a multiplying church. A church that I would consider a multiplying church has taken seriously Paul’s admonition to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 and applied it at every level. Paul says, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul was concerned about what Christ has done in him being reproduced in another three generations of believers. This wasn’t just a selfish concern, it was a concern for the dynamic elements that made him apostolic be reproduced in everyone that was touched by Timothy and those he mentored.
This plays out in a number of different ways, but one of the most concrete ways we see this play out is in church planting. If every member of the body is reproducing itself, the inevitable result is more churches come into existence. When we plant churches, that’s good. When those churches that we’ve planted plant churches that’s better. It’s even exciting when those second generation churches plant more churches. But we’re dealing with multiplying churches when the third generation of churches start planting churches themselves. If you’re lost, it may be because by this time, like a virus, its hard to know which church was the first church at all.
This is what we need for this hour: a church that carries the Gospel and spreads like a virus across the face of the planet. Over the next few weeks, I’ll look at the “Why’s” of multiplying churches, because before we can make them happen, we need to understand why we need them. I’ll leave the “How’s” of multiplying churches to those who are actually seeing this accomplished. Before I close, I want to quote Wolfgang Simson’s Starfish Vision. He shares an equation that I believe is important for us to understand because it stresses the importance of multiplying churches. The equation is this: J=MC2.
“Jesus lives on in an apostolic Mission that advances by Church multiplication.”