The Great Commission commands Christ-followers to go into the world and make disciples of all the nations. In most instances, this message is interpreted as a directive for the individual. One-on-One discipleship is important. However, just as all Christ-followers are expected to replicate, so is the church. A disciple that doesn’t reproduce is simply not a Biblical disciple, but a church that is failing to reproduce is simply existing until it dies. All churches need to reproduce just as all disciples are expected to reproduce. Yet, many churches do not multiply because they are blinded by a societal standard that says you must be a certain size and then you can multiply. Just as reproduction among organisms is not dependent on how other organisms reproduce (their size); neither is nor should the decision for a church to reproduce be based on the standards of other churches (their size).
“Multiplication has to happen at every size of church. No exceptions.”
Let’s compare the development and reproduction cycles of two mammals: rabbits and white rhinos. From conception to birth the rabbit has a development period of thirty-one days with up to fourteen rabbits being born per litter. And, a rabbit can become pregnant every month. This means over the course of seven years; one rabbit could have as many as 95 billion rabbit in their genealogy line. On the other hand, when you consider the reproduction cycle of the white rhino what you find is a much slower process. The white rhino has a conception to birth period of 16-18 months. Furthermore, they have single births (maybe twins if they are lucky). This means it takes white rhinos much longer to develop and reproduce than rabbits. However, it does not mean the white rhino is better because more time is invested or the young are larger. The white Rhino is simply different.
Similarly, the church plant that stems from a larger parent church will likely start off with enough people to have amazing worship, systems and frameworks in place to support itself. Carrying over the resources and leadership training from the parent church gives the plant a head-start in many areas. However, the timeline for development and reproduction to plant the new church is going to be long, like that of the white Rhino. You will not plant a large church overnight. Multiplication most likely will look different from a smaller body. The standards for location, systems and size of the initial plant are less structured. These plants can exist in homes, local coffee shops or even community parks because fewer resources and a smaller infrastructure are required. Thus, the timeline for development and reproduction is shorter and the rate of reproduction can more closely resemble that of the rabbit. Both are important. Both are meant to influence the world. Both are meant to reproduce themselves. But one doesn’t expect a rabbit to birth a rhino or vice versa.
Likewise, all churches are important. All churches are meant to influence the world. And, all are meant to reproduce themselves according to what they have available. In the parable of the talents, the man gives to his servants according to their ability. Each is to invest and multiply based on what they have. Multiplication does not have to look the same. It’s about honoring God with what he has given you and multiplying based on your own ability. The small house church does not need to produce a mega church to be effective, but the house church does need to multiply. The story of the talents teaches disciples about the stewardship of the multiplication heart of God.
Here’s the truth: if we don’t multiply, we will die. From the very first disciples, Jesus taught multiplication of the body. His challenge to them was to “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. Your church body was created for multiplication.
Pastors, Leaders, Laypeople… Large, Medium, Small… In a Grand Cathedral, a local pub or a park. It doesn’t matter what your church looks like. It doesn’t matter the gifts, resources and talents present in your body. Release People. Use what God has given you and go into the world and make disciples of all the nations.
The Wesleyan Movement was started with a horse, a bible and a whole lot of faith. It’s time for another movement to break forth. Why not us?