Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Secret to Church Multiplication Movements, Part 2

My friend Alan Hirsch likes to use the following example to make the point. If all the Christians in the world were suddenly killed off or abducted by aliens, and only one little Christian girl was left behind, all that is necessary to repopulate the planet with the Kingdom of God is found in her. The power of the kingdom of God is in Christ present within us. It is that simple and yet that profound. We mess things up by making it all complex. I am not discounting that certain people have gifts that are valuable in starting movements; in fact I am working on a book on that very subject. But in every case, it is Christ who builds His church and if He is in each of us, then the seed of a massive and spontaneous expansion of His Kingdom is within us all. It is Christ who gives those very gifts to His church (Eph 4:9-11). We must never lose sight of this.

Inherent in the kingdom of God itself is the impulse of a movement. It does not need to be manipulated or added to for a movement to happen, but simply released to be what it was made to be. We must get our confidence back in the Kingdom itself rather than in our strategies and mechanisms. How many times did Jesus shake His head and comment with a sigh of disappointment, “Oh ye of little strategy?” It is not more strategy, but more faith in the King and His reign that we need.

If that is true, then there is a simple idea that I think we need to grasp if we want to turn things around. If the movement of Christ’s Kingdom is already present in each of us, then it is not so much that we need to figure out how to make it happen as it is stop doing whatever is preventing it from happening. In other words it isn’t that we lack models, funding, strategy, leadership or doctrine. It is that we are investing too much in the things that are choking the movement rather than simply releasing what Christ has already put in us. Could it be that we are actually holding back a real movement while all the time searching for one? I have come to believe this is true, and it is killing us slowly. In fact, it will sound strange when you read this, but, I believe stopping the mission of expanding God’s kingdom with multiplication movements is actually harder work than the mission is itself. I also believe that the mission is much less expensive than all our efforts that end up preventing it from happening in the first place. We could save money and effort and see much more effective results if we made a shift to a new way of seeing the mission accomplished.


Anonymous said...

So so true....this should be required reading for all denominational bible colleges and all other independent ministry training...whatever "ministry " means....ha.... because we are all in collar or not!

Tagbo {grimtraveller} said...

When I heard a pastor declare that the kingdom could not expand without money, I knew we were in trouble !
I am blissfully naive at 46 because I am daft enough to believe that everything the body of Christ needs is contained within us, not external to us. I'm daft enough to believe that in the same way that our Father, our Lord Yeshua and the Holy Spirit turned the world upside down through their starting and sustaining activity in 12 broke blokes and about 108 others, the same can happen now among we spiritually fat, bloated, ineffective, content followers. Does that sound harsh ?
Maybe it is. I think the Lord sometimes laments and rips out whatever hair he may have at our unwillingness to just be as simple as He is ! But he continues to love us just the same and bit by bit chips away and in increasing numbers, there are those of us that are waking up to our failures, not so we can have a pity party and beat ourselves up and feel sorry for ourselves, but rather, so we can actually get on the road to seeing what God so obviously died for us to see and be.
It's a powerful challenge. Having recently opted out of what I regard as stiff, programmed, institutionalized christianity that has lovely people -my sisters and brothers- but can only go so far, I'm not just looking to be "part of a thriving body". I'm definitely thinking in terms of how to keep learning to see the Lord's ways of multiplying and sustaining through the generations. So your piece Neil, is more than timely.
God help us !!