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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Secret to Church Multiplication Movements, Part 6

The Seduction of Addition

Multiplication may slower than addition in the initial stages, but in the long run, it is the only way to fulfill the Great Commission in our generation. The population of the world is rapidly multiplying. If all we do is add disciples and churches we will not even scratch the surface of what we have been commanded to do. Nor can we simply add multiplication to our current addition strategies, because each one has completely different requirements. We must stop adding if we want to start multiplying. Could it be that our commitment to strategies that cannot multiply is in fact what is keeping us from seeing a movement here in the West?

Because addition is faster in the beginning and multiplication takes time, often we are content with growth through addition. We are easily seduced by the more immediate success and instant gratification of addition instead of waiting for the momentum that can build with multiplying. As I said in my book, Search & Rescue, “Don’t be content with addition! Stop applauding the pathetic success we see in addition and start longing again for the incredible power of multiplication.”

In our current context, however, the success promised by addition is hard to turn down. It is so rare to have a church ministry grow at all that one that grows fast with addition is very desirable. The glamor of potentially being labeled “the fastest growing church” is hard to turn a way from. It is difficult for leaders to turn away from the crowds and invest in the few, but that is exactly what Jesus did Himself.

Jesus knew the power of multiplication, and He was willing to wait for it. He rejected the pressure of the crowds and chose instead to spend His life with the few that would multiply. We need leaders who are willing to do the same.

9 comments:

jamesbrett said...

It seems to me that, in many cases, it's not so much the seduction of addition that leads us to implement these methods -- but the fact that multiplication would require all of us to be active in sharing our faith. It's so much easier inviting someone to an event so that another individual can do the sharing.

When I was planting churches in China, I introduced this idea of multiplication to a group of disciples studying in my apartment. It came up because, for safety reasons, we couldn't add people to that particular study group, and they were asking if we could start a group on another night in order for their friends to come. We did. But I explained that I only have a limited number of nights in my week. And that adding students to the studies I was teaching was not the best method for sharing the good news they were hearing with others.

After that night we began to be more intentional about getting them comfortable sharing their faith and teaching, on their own -- and the principles of multiplication.

Our "professional religionist" mindset will have to go, before we ever truly implement multiplication ministries...

nathan82 said...

I love that quote about not applauding pathetic success. I think any change from non-growth to growth should be encouraged but as you argue, our vision should be set so much higher.

To be applauded for a minor success leads one to simply rest on ones laurels and not keep pushing to the future.

Steven said...

"Using this simple method, in conjunction with LTGs we have yet to get through all seven miracles without seeing several conversions, a baptism service and birthing a second house church. We will probably experience that soon, but since we began we haven't."
Life Transformation Group Questions- An Email Dialogue with Neil Cole
Posted on November 12th, 2009

What does this mean? Having read your books, I was under the impression you were having multiplication to a very great success. Now reading this six part article I am perplexed. Are you implying your current methods are not aimed at multiplication?
I am all for following Christ in His leading me to expand His Kingdom as He leads but I am not hearing anything from Him on this "rapid expansion" idea or "multiplication”. It seems there in a bit too much concentration on numbers in the resent years. Yes the church has made some blunders in its concentration on building the Kingdom by using the business model but I would hope it "we" the current church does not get off track using the mathematics model! It is this counting and search for measured results that show our lack of faith. I hear most clearly from Him that I personally need to always look forward where He is moving, not back at results, to see who He has prepared to hear His message next. These are just my thoughts at this moment. Thanks for listening.

Neil Cole said...

Steven,

I am not sure where this quote came from. It is describing a simple method we use to share the Gospel from the book of John, so this quotation is ripped from a specific context which you do not have. The last line, is probably not my words, but if they are, it is about a specific usage of the Seven Signs of John in a specific group. To be honest, I'm not sure where this quote came from.

I will say this. God is very concerned with multiplication. It is the very first words he spoke to mankind. Jesus is also concerned with it as the Great Commission as recorded in Matt 28:18-20 is virtually impossible to obey without multiplying. Fruitfulness also implies multiplication because that is he purpose of fruit--to bear seeds for the next generation. Jesus says, that without fruit it is impossible to please God.

Steven said...

This quote is from you in your responce on your library/articles page, forth from the top.
Here is the link
http://www.cmaresources.org/article/ltg-email-dialogue
The question I raised is concerning the statement "but since we began we haven't." As I reread it several times I could see it might refer to getting through all seven miracles, right?
As far as my comment on "rapid expansion" idea or "multiplication”, I do not intend to be argumenative here I am simply stressing the point that if we continue to follow His lead, He will bring the increase even if we are not looking at it or measuring it. Our faith rest in Him, right?

Steven said...

This quote is from you in your responce on your library/articles page, forth from the top.
Here is the link
http://www.cmaresources.org/article/ltg-email-dialogue
The question I raised is concerning the statement "but since we began we haven't." As I reread it several times I could see it might refer to getting through all seven miracles, right?
As far as my comment on "rapid expansion" idea or "multiplication”, I do not intend to be argumenative here I am simply stressing the point that if we continue to follow His lead, He will bring the increase even if we are not looking at it or measuring it. Our faith rest in Him, right?

John Pearson said...

Amen. How about a new category and new headline for church growth articles, "The fastest multiplying churches."

oikos said...

Neil, Im Jose Nunez, from Argentina, S.America. I'm reading your book "Organic Church". I'm a traditional baptist pastor trying to begin a house church from the scratch. I`d like to talk to you.
My e-mail is josedomingonunez@arnet.com.ar

thank you!!!

oikos said...

Neil, Im Jose Nunez, from Argentina, S.America. I'm reading your book "Organic Church". I'm a traditional baptist pastor trying to begin a house church from the scratch. I`d like to talk to you.
My e-mail is josedomingonunez@arnet.com.ar

thank you!!!