And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number
But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.
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:
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.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ around the country,
Recently 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.