My friend, Stephen Gray, has recently made a comment on Twitter that has really hit home with Angie and I…
Church multiplication is a spiritual decision of a church to put the needs of a desperate world before self-preservation.
And that reminds me of another thought offered by my mentor, Grady Higgs…
Churches should be born pregnant.
The book of Acts traces the amazing work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and it records the numerical growth of the church in its earliest ages. What is interesting to read is that in the first few chapters, God was adding people to the church. Then in Acts 6, there is a division and the leadership gets spread around to seven newly ordained leaders. Suddenly, the church multiplied.
The same is true on a broader scale in Acts 8 when persecution came under Saul and people were scattered around everywhere preaching the Word. The early church was willing (or rather forced by persecution) to lay down its instinct toward self-preservation and begin the work of multiplying.
Multiplying (planting other church-planting churches so that a local church has children and grandchildren) is a scary thing. Why? Because it costs money, takes time, consumes resources, and causes us to devote a little less time to maintaining what we have. But it’s God’s way of aggressively growing His kingdom.
One of the values we’re building into the core of Grace Hills Church is multiplication. We’ll immediately be bringing interns and residents alongside us to learn and grow, whom we will then send out to lead church planting teams elsewhere. We want to be involved in the planning phases of our church’s first baby before our first year of worship services is over. In this way, we’ll be a kingdom-focused “teaching hospital” that has a global understanding of what God is doing in our world.
I’ve already received the question plenty of times, “why plant a church around other churches?” If you’re asking that, you’re thinking too much about geography, buildings, and all the things a church is not. The fact is, there are very few if any places in America where large and overlapping circles of people haven’t yet been reached and changed by the gospel’s influence. And I think we can agree that the number of church buildings physically present in a community is absolutely no gauge of the level of genuine life-transformation that has or has not taken place.
If your church hasn’t been intentional about investing in planting another new church within the last three years, repent and make a change today. Abandon any scrambles for self-preservation and unselfishly invest your resources for the growth of the kingdom of God. I’d hate to be a church sitting on piles of uninvested resources the moment Jesus comes back.
What would we say? “But Jesus… at least we kept our doors open!”
Photo Credit: Raymond Shobe