God’s Desire For Multiplication
God has a beautiful strategy for reaching the world through multiplying churches.
The ultimate goal of all disciple-making and leadership development is planting churches that multiply as a means to reach those who have yet to hear the Gospel in our world.
We can better understand the biblical mandate of planting fellowships of disciples that multiply themselves by exploring the following;
- God’s Design for the Church
- God’s Desire for Discipleship Multiplication
- Overcoming Obstacles to Church Growth
- 7 Practical Steps to Planting Reproducing Churches
As we do our part to fulfill the Great Commission, we need to understand the strategic importance of God’s Church. But, we must also learn to understand God’s motivation for multiplication.
In fact, God has a passionate desire for multiplication both in the natural world and in the spiritual realm.
All living things in the natural world multiply, from the tiniest cell to the largest living being (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:7; Acts 6:7). In the same way, God desires multiplication in the spiritual realm and in the growth of His Church. God wants His Church not only to add new churches but also to multiply.
Why does God desire the multiplication of Christ-like Disciples and Locally Sustainable Churches?
1. Multiplication is the only way to give everyone an opportunity to hear
One-third of our world, more than 2 billion people, have yet to hear the Gospel of Jesus in a way in which they can understand and respond. Many of these people live in places isolated from the Church.
The multiplication of churches is of strategic and vital importance to each of us.
We cannot be content with simply adding a church here and there. We must take the church where there are least-reached people groups so they will get an opportunity to hear the good news in their own language and culture.
How amazing would it be so see at least one fellowship of believers to represent the Kingdom of God among every people group—then, every people group will be represented in heaven.
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” – Revelation 7:9.
If we want to see the fulfillment of this prophecy, we need to multiply churches among every ethnic group in this world.
2. Multiplication is the New Testament model for the Church
The Book of Acts is an outstanding testimony of church planting and multiplication.
The first church in Jerusalem began with 120 disciples (Acts 1:15). On the Day of Pentecost, 3,000 people were added to the church (Acts 2:41-42). Soon the membership of the Jerusalem church was 5,000 (Acts 4:4). Then, “multitudes of men and women were added” (5:14), and “the number of the disciples multiplied greatly” (Acts 6:7).
The expansion continued to Judea and Samaria (Acts 8). Within a very short time, the early Church became a movement of thousands and thousands of disciples of Jesus who impacted the entire world.
From this account detailing the patterns of the Church’s growth, it is clear that the Church should grow by adding new believers to existing fellowships and then expanding geographically by planting new churches in new territories.
This is the power of multiplication.
How did the early Church grow?
1. The Church multiplied through evangelism
The first 11 disciples, who received the Great Commission from Jesus, planted the first church in Jerusalem.
They immediately began to share their faith with those around them, and the Church grew rapidly. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The numbers continue to increase until the record says, “the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly” (Acts 6:7).
In fact, all this took place in a single local church even before they begin to plant other churches. Multiplication is expected in any living organism, including every local church.
Are you seeing multiplication happening in your local church? Why or why not?
2. The Church multiplied through persecution
Jesus had clearly instructed His disciples at the beginning,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”
– Acts 1:8
After the first church was established in Jerusalem, the disciples seemed hesitant to go and plant other churches. They grew larger (120, 3120, 5,000), but they did not seem to have a vision for multiplying churches.
But, all of this changed when persecution broke out after the death of Stephen.
“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria”
– Acts 8:1
Excepting the apostles, Christ’s disciples were scattered, and they planted churches in Judea and Samaria. Churches began multiplying, establishing the New Testament pattern for growth.
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went”
– Acts 8:4
Jesus is the head of the Church, and He can use any circumstances to multiply His own Body, the Church. In this case, He used persecution.
Later in the book of Acts, God even used a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas to produce more multiplication (Acts 15:36-41).
It is clear that God’s desire is to see the church multiplied!
Do we still wait for persecution to fulfill the Great Commission or plan ahead for multiplication?
Have you seen the church multiply through persecution?
3. The Church multiplied by crossing cultures
At the beginning of the Church in Acts, every believer was a Jew.
But God’s plan was much bigger than that. He had already told the disciples that the Gospel was to go to the ends of the earth. The early disciples traveled new locations outside of Jerusalem.
Philip shared the Gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship (Acts 8:26).
However, the most radical step came when Peter took the Gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile. The establishment of a church among the Gentiles was so revolutionary that it required a vision from heaven for Peter to obey.
After the church was established, it required a meeting of all the officials of the Church to decide if this was actually from God! (Read the story in Acts 15.)
The only way for the Gospel to reach every tribe and nation is for someone to cross cultures with it (Acts 16:9-34). None of us would be believers today if someone had not crossed over cultures to share the Gospel with us.
Will we do our part to take it to the next culture?
4. The Church multiplied by design
However, the Jerusalem church didn’t understand God’s intention for multiplication, but we thank God for the Antioch church.
It took some time after the beginning of persecution and the beginning of the Church to spread to the Gentile world, but the Church finally understood what God meant by multiplying churches to the ends of the earth.
In fact, the church in Antioch sent apostles Paul and Barnabas to plant new churches (Acts 13:1-4). This was an intentional act and indicates that they were beginning to understand God’s design for the Church. It is still His design for us today.
So, its only when we begin to realize God’s desire for the multiplication of churches will we be able to accomplish the Great Commission in our lifetime.
Gods Desire For Multiplication
Multiplying churches is part of God’s plan to reach the world. In fact, we are called to go and plant churches that have the capacity to reproduce locally sustainable fellowships in least-reached areas.
We cannot be satisfied with growing our existing churches; churches need to multiply in our own region, then to neighboring regions, then to the whole world.
You’ve got an incredibly vital part to play!
Global Disciples Canada is a Christian mission organization that trains local leaders living near least-reached communities to multiply disciples for Christ. One-third of our world hasn’t heard the Good News of Jesus. Yet. Global Disciples refers to these as “least-reached” people, and fewer than 10% of all missionaries work among these groups. We live in a time where many of these people are within reach of a local church. Through our simple and effective strategy of training and coaching, believers share the Gospel in their own nations and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that. If you are looking for a Christian mission organization to partner with to become a better disciple and help make disciples, connect with us today!
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