If Exponential’s analysis of the data is correct, only 4% of churches in the United States are reproducing. That is simply not good enough! Every church should be multiplying. It’s in the DNA of the Church Jesus launched 2,000+ years ago. We simply must be in the business of growing through multiplication.
So, why are less than 4% of churches reproducing?
I have a take. The lack of church multiplication isn’t a tactical issue, it a theological one.
In 1994, Andrea and I moved to Cincinnati to launch a new church. We had been married and in occupational ministry for almost three years. We were both twenty-three years old and ready to change the world for Jesus.
Our dream didn’t quite match our level of preparedness. We had a tremendous of amount of support from a small circle of family and friends. We had the financial backing of a couple sponsoring organizations, but in many ways, we were pioneering a new type of ministry philosophy that was just beginning to show up in parts of Southwest Ohio.
There were very few church multiplication networks, Exponential did not exist yet, and the number of written resources were limited back in the 90’s. I am not complaining but simply recalling history.
There was one resource I clung to. It was twelve cassette tapes by Bob Logan called, “The Church Planters Toolkit.” I wore those cassette tapes out working hard to glean the needed insights to launch a church from scratch.
Tools — Finally!
Today, there far more tools and resources for church multiplication. Around the Church, there are a growing number of networks providing the needed support for those brave and courageous souls endeavoring to start a new church, multisite campus, or missional community.
I am thankful for the plethora of resources available on the multiplication front today. All of these resources are making the tactical issues that need to be addressed and overcome to launch a new multiplication venture easier. I also believe these resources should be helping us move the meter faster than we are.
When one begins to press into why we are not moving the meter faster, the answer is clear. Again, the lack of church multiplication isn’t a tactical issue, it a theological one.
God’s heart for multiplication is woven throughout the narrative that unfolds in the Bible. We see it in the book of Genesis and right through the pages of the New Testament. Multiplication is at the core of God’s desire to see the Gospel preached and His Kingdom expand.
What we lack is a deep Holy Spirit conviction to multiply.
Even a quick survey reveals as much.
God blessed Adam and Eve and gave them the initial charge to be fruitful and multiply. His charge for the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:3 was to multiply as well when He said, “Hear, therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”
God Sent Jesus So He Sent His Disciples
This is our calling too. To follow Jesus is to be sent. Some of the final words of Jesus are captured in Acts 1:8, “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.” The only way witnesses of Jesus get to the ends of the earth is through multiplication.
I could go on, but you get the point. The lack of church multiplication today isn’t a tactical issue. We have more than enough resources to train leaders, frameworks they can leverage to multiply, and systems to ensure maximum effectiveness. What we lack is a deep Holy Spirit conviction to multiply. If we get the theology of multiplication right, we get deeply connected to God’s heart and He gets ours. When that happens, we are on firm ground to launch a multiplication movement of disciples who make disciples and churches that start churches.
What About You?
So, what about your church? Is God calling you to multiply? Let me answer for you. The answer to that question is an emphatic YES! From my vantage point, your church has one question to answer and it isn’t should we multiply. It is rather, how will you multiply?!