Jim Leffel

Multiplication: Effective strategy or Biblical Principle?

Growing through organic reproduction

  • God’s first blessing to humanity was to be fruitful and multiply
  • Through organic reproduction
    • Multiplying disciples- what does this mean?
    • Developing new leaders
    • Indigenous churches planting sister churches

These are the three main areas discussion will revolve around. And how we will do this with integrity.

Is multiplication a tool, means to a goal, or God’s design His intent?

  • Orthodoxy and orthopraxy- standards for beliefs that are important and norms in the area of the churches practice
  • Implications
    • Experiment: Let’s try it and see if it works (potential thought process)
    • Conviction “lets be the church God meant us to be
      • What else is there at the core of who God is calling us to be as a church? At the core is the belief that God has brought us together to grow, raise up leaders, and plant churches organically
  • What is at stake?
    • Warning: lampstands at risk- Rev 2&3- our witness to the world.
    • Reflection: the thought that the reason evangelical church is in decline may say more about the church than society. Comfortable with a way of doing church that is irrelevant. It is the consequence of our own light dimming.
    • Opportunity: for the church and an effective witness to the lost- united in spirit and intent and as a result lives changed and healed and an effective witness to the lost.
    • The church as steward of resources and the gospel message which changes lives
    • Learning from the World Christian movement
    • How the church is growing
    • Rapid multiplication of organic communities (C.P.M.)
      • Sustainable- don’t have to hire a paid pastor or build a big building
      • Reproducible- doesn’t require a seminary education and other requirements of “church”
      • Transformational

Question is this the recovery of biblical missiology or a strategically useful approach?

Answer: Yes! It is both…it is strategically useful because it captures the heart of the church.

Our inherently relational commission Matthew 28:18-20- 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Disciple making is by nature the work of multiplication. 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

God’s method is men, life-to-life. A special kind of relationship: hands on training.

Discipleship learning is like learning a trade, we share our lives together, we do life together. In the context of interacting and sharing our lives, relationship where we are praying together, and faith gets transferred in a practical and tangible way.

  • Intimate, personal relating- it has to be a relational thing because we are learning to follow a person not a blueprint
  • Fighting for the soul of friends- “going house to house day and night with tears”- requires real sacrifice- being in there and taking initiative with people- everyone can pass things on to others, you have the resources and power to do this (somebody has to be more messed up than you that you can disciple)
  • Mathetes 269x
  • Training for a life of ministry
  • Growing in the word- John 8:31
  • Becoming a servant- John 13:34
  • Bearing fruit- John 15:4-8
  • Sharing the gospel- John 17:20
  • What is at stake?
  • Quality of personal and family life- truth transforms and learning to love other people changes us.- we are losing our kids in this culture- teens leaving the church in scary numbers because they do not see what difference it makes in the lives of their parents-
  • Sustainable church growth- not a revolving door- “knit together in love”

Multiplication and the dynamics of new testament church life

Oikos- household centrality of the household

Home church

Acts 2;46; 5:42

Romans 16:5

1 Cor. 16:19

Philemon 2; Coll. 4:15

2 John 1:10

household as an organic network

familia- extended family, servants

clientele – freed slaves

amici- friends and colleagues

Evangelistic appeal of koinonia- common life- life together

“The love of the Christians and moral qualities attracted the ordinary man to Christianity. The universal applicability of the message, a message to be understood, a relationship to be cultivated”- Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church

  • Organic growth and multiplication is absolutely necessary
  • It was a unity composed of a multitude of little churches any one of which could propagate itself. – Roland Allen The Spontaneous multiplication of the church
  • Multiplying leaders
  • In refreshing others we are refreshed.
  • Church members will grow stronger when they lead others, the pathway to maturity if to lead others. Some will even plant new churches. Leaders are not developed and released by sitting in church. In a cell a person can develop into a leader. Pastoring, caring, counseling, coaching, evangelizing. It’ a perfect microcosm of the early church.

Organic home church planting: description or design?

  • Dynamics of koinonia make church planting an imperative
  • Confess your sins to one another commands presume intimate relating within a group, love one another from the heart, etc. “One another” defining principles of orthopraxy
  • This will necessitate the planting of more groups.
  • Cultivating and expressing spiritual gifts requires new opportunities to serve

Mobility and incarnational ministry

To be mobile means we have the ability to infiltrate neighborhoods, apartment buildings. Jesus went out- He went to the villages, He had compassion on them, He was involved in their lives on their turf on their terms by moving toward them!

  • Go and make disciples
  • Consumer or mission focus?- in the American church context people are Christian consumers- so churches bend over backwards to provide the best programs and competition forms which recycles believers and not growing them
  • The biblical principle is a missional focus