Tag Archive | Church Multiplication

On The Road to Multiplying Movements

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And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number

-Acts 5:14

But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.

-Acts 12:24

There was a season of early church history where believers were added to the church. Adding speaks of taking people who didn’t know Christ and attaching them to the church.

There came another season in the church, however, where the word of the Lord was being multiplied. This described people not just joining the church, but becoming workers like the ones who led them to the Lord and bringing other people to Christ as well. It wasn’t just one more lost person joining the church (as glorious as that is!) but it was one person leading three people to Jesus who each led three to five more to Christ.  One person was in some way responsible then for fifteen or more people coming to Christ.

We’ll always take addition. We want people coming to Christ no matter how they come. But we strive for multiplication, where disciples are made who can make more disciples  and the math of multiplication takes over. Eventually, when the body learns how to multiply in a healthy way, we can see movements of people coming to Christ.

Here’s the path to multiplying movements1:

Multiply Disciples

Multiply Leaders

Multiply Churches

Multiply Movements

We continue to work towards multiplying disciples. When multiplication of disciples begins, those responsible for the multiplication are functional servant leaders.  When the functional, servant-leadership is multiplied among multiplying disciples, we start to see churches birthed. As churches are multiplied, we begin to see movements. As these movements grow, we even seek to multiply them where they are happening for the glory of Christ.

All of this starts with beginning to make disciples. You can’t get to movements without churches being birthed and you can’t get to churches being birthed without servant-focused leaders being formed. And servant-formed leaders are birthed through multiplying disciples.

So if you want to get to movements, begin discipling people.Begin asking yourself how do I multiply disciples. Discipleship is where movements start.

Prayer Request:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ around the country,

Lumbard-Ric-16Recently a brother in Christ who is dear to many of us hear in Iowa suffered a massive heart attack. Rick Lumbard is the Director of Wind and Fire Ministries, a man of prayer, and a servant of the Lord that has been used in a number of peoples’ lives throughout our city and the state.  He currently is unconscious and in a hospital in Des Moines. Would you join us in prayer for Rick as we believe for healing for him? He has a wife and several children that would be thankful for the prayer support.

Sincerely,
Travis

Discipleship Should Be Passed On

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Yesteday I had a follower on Twitter ask me a question in response to a quote I posted by John Wesley. (This is a great time to mention, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you should.)

This was followed up by the following comments:

First, let me say that these type of questions are fairly common within the body of Christ. The sister from above was talking about a split between what average believers can/should share and the type of teaching that can/should happen in a church building. Even within the house church movement, I’ve met brothers and sisters who don’t believe they can make disciples or start house churches.

Much of this thinking comes from an over-complication of roles within the body of Christ. Somewhere along the way, each body seems to decide that there are certain people who could/should “lead” others and deal with difficult truth, while the rest should leave that job to those who can/should.  This type of thinking keeps us from reaching the God-given potential, not just that we as individuals have, but that the body of Christ as a whole has.

Let’s start with some facts: Jesus tells the apostles that they are to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded them. Most of us think that involves things like loving our neighbor, forgiving, etc.  And while all of that is true, we often forget that one of the commands of Jesus that we are supposed to teach is the one where He commands us to teach others to obey everything He commanded.  The task hasn’t been completed until we’ve taught others to teach still more people to obey Christ in every way.

If you think about it, this has been happening, to some degree, for hundreds, nearly thousands, of years.  Obeying Jesus is being passed from one person to another so that to this day there are still millions, if not billions, following Christ.  Paul described this same process in 2 Timothy 2:2 where he told Timothy “[t]he things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul wanted the Gospel to get passed down to multiple generations of believers because he had learned from someone else that his job was to disciple the nations the way Jesus commanded.

Brothers and sisters, that command hasn’t changed.  There isn’t a lack of need for that kind of obedience just because there are many churches in our cities or because we have books, podcasts, and seminaries.  The whole body of Christ should be walking out the Great Commission in some way in their lives. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you should be able to fully disciple others to the place where they can disciple still more people. This is a function of maturity, not special gifting and we should all want to grow up in Christ to the place where we are discipling others.

So while I’m hugely encouraged by churches that empower believers to share the gospel and teach the basics of the faith, I long for the church to empower believers to fully disciple and raise up believers wherever they are. Its only when we do this will we reach people who would never darken the door of the church. When we live out this reality we become the movement Jesus started and intended, doing the things he commanded.

*For the record, I actually love the passion in our sister’s question, because she is taking sharing the gospel and simple discipleship seriously.

Food For Thought: Getting Back In The Swing Edition

Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny.  These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site.  Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.

This week marks the return of me to blogging after letting that part of my life slide for a few weeks.  I’ve had a chance to hang out with some of the coolest people who aren’t part of our house church recently.  However that time spent has taken me away from writing, so I’m going to try and get back in the swing of things.  This post represents the best posts from the last few weeks. Enjoy!

Community Elements: Jesus

I think that Jesus is most frequently the part of community that we leave out when we begin to discect a Christian community.  Alan writes about Jesus’ centrality in a way that makes his whole discussions on the elements of a church more palatable than most similar discussions.

Two Vital Needs of Every Disciple

One of the things that gets left out of most discussions about discipleship is the necessity of being able to make other disciples.  Here Ray writes about the paradox of following Jesus and leading others into following Him.

Change the Atmosphere, Change the Culture

One of the shifts that I’ve seen help people move from a static church mindset into a movement mindset is discovering the spirit of multiplication that the apostles walked in.  Here J.D. talks about how that happens with a  group people who currently have no vision for reproducing churches.

Misunderstanding Persecution

One of the common misconceptions in the body of Christ is that house churches in the third world are effective because persecution happening around them fuels evangelism and discipleship.  Actually persecution causes the church to return to her organic roots and when she does that, she spreads quickly and naturally.

A Grove of Aspen Trees

With the house church movement in the United States as new as it is, little has been written about what mature house church networks look like.  This post has an incredible visual that says volumes about how a network of house churches can function interdependently.

Photo Credit: Design Probes – Food for Thought by centralasian.

Food For Thought: Behind The Eight Ball Edition

Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny.  These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site.  Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy.  We’ve had a close friend get married along with a host of other priorities.  This has kept us busy and me from blogging.  I’m trying to get in the swing of things and hopefully I have enough posts to keep the blog rolling for a couple of weeks.  And now for your links:

Church Planting Module at Northwood at Jewish Synagogue Bob Roberts blogs @ Glocalnet about a church planting course he’s hosting @ a Jewish Synagogue.  Half way through, Bob describes the training he gives these guys & everyone involved in church planting should take his advice seriously.

Going Deeper The question everyone asks about true church planting movements is “Are the converts truly being discipled?” Steve argues in this post @ Movements that we must redefine what discipleship means.

4,000 Churches Planted In Ethiopia in 3 Years Roger Thoman @ Simple Church Journal distills a paper by Dave Hunt on church planting movements in Africa. The movement planted 4,000 churches in Ethiopia in 3 years.

A Cautionary Tale: Stay In One Place Felicity @ Simply Church continues discussing Luke 10 principles.  So much of Luke 10 ministry revolves around a person of peace, and here Felicity warns about moving to other places besides their sphere.

Photo Credit: Design Probes – Food for Thought by centralasian.

You Were Made To Reproduce (Why Are Multiplying Churches Necessary? Part 2)

You can check out Part 1 of “Why Are Multiplying Churches Necessary?” here.

“Jesus lives on in an apostolic Mission that advances by Church multiplication.” – Wolfgang Simson

While there a lot of reasons that multiplying churches are necessary, the fact that it’s necessary because it’s in your DNA isn’t probably the first thing you think of.  But if you stop for a moment and consider it, one of the most horrible things that can happen to a couple is that they are unable to have children.  A couple can be healthy, popular, wealthy and successful, and yet miserable because they are unable to have children.  They show us a fact the Bible already tells us: We were born to reproduce.

This reality goes all the way back to the very beginning of creation: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28).

There are two powerful concepts that are at play here, I’ll start with the most obvious one and then move the more subtle one.  First, when God created a man and a woman in the Garden, He did not put them there just to enjoy Paradise. His commission to Adam and Eve was to carry the very life of the Garden to the furthest reaches of the planet. This wasn’t to be done by them living forever and trekking across the entire planet (though they did live for almost a thousand years).  God’s plan for Adam and Eve to subdue the Earth was really quite simple: be fruitful and multiply. It was that easy.

The second principle is just as powerful.  These two humans were to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the Earth, not because it was just the easiest way.  In reality, this reproduction that God called Adam and Eve to was a facet of God’s nature. It is like God to reproduce Himself.  And because it is like God to reproduce and He has put His likeness in us, we must reproduce because we are patterned after Him.

This is why Paul, the church multiplying king could write about the nature of Christ and say things like, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all,” (Ephesians 1:22-23) Notice that it’s the nature of Christ to fill all things with Himself and He manifests that nature through us, His church.

How does this apply to us?  Multiplying isn’t something foreign to us as a church.  It’s part of our natural and spiritual DNA.  Just like the barren couple we started talking about, we will be frustrated in our lives and callings until we see successive generations of believers walk in the things Jesus called us to.  But if we multiply ourselves, if we multiply leaders, and if we multiply churches, we become true to the very DNA Jesus sowed into us from the very beginning.

Photo Credit: Mountain view with sheep by Julie_Berlin.