First, I want to acknowledge my spiritual dad, Bob Roberts, who taught me all this stuff I’m about to share. We will learn from the bible and from Bob and from church history in practice this morning.
We are planted from Northwood Church (NW). NW has planted 200 + churches in their 30 years.
We are one of 9 churches that NW continues to invest in and asks to come together for partnership, for fellowship and for production. We are, by DNA, part of GlocalNet, a network of NW church plants that continues to train and mentor it’s sons (NW church plants) and brothers (fellow NW church plants).
Bob has written about us in “Glocalization”. I tell you often that you are well known, and you really are.
We’ve been talking about multiplying to two campuses for a while now, and we want to make sure you understand the why.
We also want to produce spiritual sons that get the DNA and go plant a church without any further assistance other than our training and mentoring. That’s church multiplication.
Not a distinction: Multiplying campuses is simply our way to acknowledge Father’s growth unique to us, be faithful with the kind of men and gifting Father has given and expand TRCC’s reach into Rome and Floyd County. It takes a pastoral and prophetic gift set to multiply campuses.
Multiplying churches is the way the kingdom expands. It’s in the Manual. It is also our way to acknowledge Father’s growth of apostolic / prophetic gifted men from the body who will take the DNA and pioneer growth into new places and even familiar places where we may not be able to go with other campuses. It takes an apostolic gift set to multiply churches.
It’s a difference in the gifting and abilities of the men whose desire is to lead the work.
Evangelism/Missions/Biblical Languages were my love before grad school and thus concentrations in my master’s degree. So, it makes sense that in my personal story (crazy and multi-faceted and a few detours) Father would take me into church planting and great commission work.
TRCC is here because of NW’s church multiplication work.
I’m going to be using some stuff I learned from Bob this morning, so I’ll give you a bibliographical reference and simply cite page numbers as I use Bob’s work. We’ll also be studying the bible this morning (we’d better).
Bob Roberts, Jr. The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.
- Use the correct language when talking about kingdom growth: church multiplication
KDSC – Order is vital…Kingdom makes disciples in domains of society and that is where the church comes from. The church does not bring the kingdom. The kingdom produces the church.
Jesus said that he would build his church. How? Jesus came preaching the good news of his kingdom (Mark 1:14-15; Luke 10:9-11) and through the powerful message of his kingdom he builds his church (Matthew 16:18). Kingdom comes before the church does. The church comes into existence because of the good news of Jesus’ kingdom rule.
Kingdom growth naturally flows out to church multiplication. That’s biblical. And it’s also how the church has grown since Pentecost.
FYI: Church multiplication is the work. The persons who engage in the work are church planters. It’s also ok to call them church multipliers.
We don’t divide resources.
Matthew 13:8-23 Gospel seed sown on “good soil” produces 30, 60 even 100 fold. That’s multiplication.
The gospel of the kingdom is good news of Jesus reign and restoration of all things under his kingship through is death and victorious resurrection securing all his sons and daughters who will fill and take back all domains of society and by his power restore all things back to himself.
That seed, when sown in good soil, multiplies. That gospel does not divide. The gospel does not add. The agricultural illustration is key. A kernel of corn turns into many kernels of corn. That is multiplication not addition and it’s certainly not division.
Division takes two and gives one to each.
Multiplication takes 2 and makes 4.
The gospel multiplies it does not divide. So, lets use the language that describes what Father is doing in his kingdom, multiplication.
- Why don’t churches multiply?
– Distraction – Having other events, activities, lack of spiritual health, etc. Church multiplication takes dedicated work to discovering apostolic leadership, training that leadership, mentoring that leadership and then releasing that leadership with a plan. (p. 61-62)
– Ignorance – Some folks have never studied Acts with the right framework. Some people have never studied church history and church practice. Some people have never been part of a new church. They just have not experienced it. (p. 61-62)
– Delay – Some pastors believe they can’t start churches until they are some magical size that will make it easier. (p. 61-62) Kevin Cox and Vista church are 4 years old and less in number than us and they have launched 15 new church plants all over Texas. They have not multiplied campuses. They have trained and released apostolic leaders who are going to start new work.
– Competition – Some fear that if they start churches that those churches will steal their people. They don’t believe Jesus that the gospel multiplies not divides! (p. 61-62) Jesus’ parables teach us that only through giving do we get and only through dying do we live. Growth happens as we give away not as we hoard.
– It’s hard – It requires apostolic leadership not pastoral care (pastoral care is the function of Spirit gifted shepherds in the RL groups protecting, guarding and nurturing those they are in covenant with not a function of a paid professional, that’s protestant baptized Catholicism).
Knowing the blue print to extend the kingdom, pushing for movement, leveraging other people’s talents, expecting all to work and pull their load by walking in Spirit gifting (by what every joint supplies) is apostolic leadership, and that is tough sledding. (p. 61-62)
One series of questions that gets asked in our “church planter profile” is regarding what people have started from nothing. If you are not a starter of things you probably don’t have the apostolic bent of starting churches from nothing.
– Laziness – Some people are satisfied with providing a produce that attracts consumers and they are too lazy to push for more and better. (p. 61-62)
– No Plan – Some people take “Spirit leadership” to absurd places by refusing to go through the hard work of writing a plan (prospectus). The Spirit is taking his commands from the Son, the Son from the Father, who has a plan. If we don’t see the Father’s plan, we are not walking by the Spirit. If you won’t plan you won’t plant a church. (p. 61-62)
– Lack of Health – Sometimes multiplication does not happen because of a lack of spiritual health in all, some or one of its leaders. Spiritual health, holiness and repentance are vital to health and thus multiplication. A refusal to recognize sin, be quick to repent and be in right relationship with God and man will kill church multiplication.
- Multiplication is the way of the Kingdom…It’s in the Manual
Acts 11:19-26 (Acts 8:1)/13:1-3 (Antioch founded and in one year 11:26 they sent their first global engagement team off to plant churches)
8:1-4 (Apostles stayed at Jerusalem)
Titus 1:5 (pastoral leadership should be what naturally grows from the Spirit gifting of men in the fellowship after it is planted)
Observations from global leaders:
In movements (see Stephen Neil) (China, Russia, Indonesia, West Africa / we are not familiar with movements because we’ve never experienced one. We know of the great awakenings in American history that resulted in the mass multiplication of churches. We have had 2. Historically, nations have 1. We may never see another movement like that again.)…disciples plant churches and apostolic leaders appoint pastors/elders/overseers from within each new church.
In pre-movement or post-movement work (this is where we are)…apostolic leaders plant churches to make disciples in hopes of disciples planting churches so that they can help them along in training and appointing pastors/elders/overseers.
- How did Rome’s churches get to Rome? Titus 1:5
“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—…” – Titus 1:5
Churches were planted and then pastoral/elder/overseers were appointed in each from within each.
Illustration: I once had to do a project in a Baptist History class and I studied the church records of a local Baptist church. You know how that church was planted in the 1800’s? Local farmers saw the need, came together and started meeting. They took turns teaching. They made disciples. They began using music. Then they constituted as a church.
Illustration: Spring Place Baptist Church/Spring Place Mission was started by Anna Kleist Gambold as the first successful mission work among the Cherokee. She was a woman who started a church and pastors / elders / overseers were added from the number as the church constituted among the Cherokee.
Church planting has been the way the kingdom of God has manifested itself since Pentecost!
Do Rome and Northwest Georgia and the west need more churches? Lets look at some numbers?
Rome: As of 2010:
Evangelical Protestant – 45,987
Mainline Protestant – 7,335
Catholic – 5,282
Black Protestant – 1,437
Other – 865
Total – 60,906
None – 35,411
Total – 96,317
Let’s assume that the 60,906 are all saved, Spirit-filled, hearing and obeying followers of Jesus. That leaves us with 35,411 who are outside the kingdom.
The average church size in Floyd County is somewhere between 85-100. There are far more very small churches than large churches. At this point, I’m unaware of a local church that has over 1,000 in attendance. There are NO mega churches in Rome/Floyd County.
If all 60,906 were actively engaged, then each church (140) would have 435 people in them. That’s just not the case. Meaning, all of that 60,906 are simply not engaged in the local church.
With an average of 85-100 per church that is 354.11 additional churches that are needed to reach the remaining 35,411. We’d say additional because they are not being reached by the one’s currently in operation?
Does Jesus care about the 35,411 (he leaves the 99 to go after the one lost)? Should we? Are they actively being reached? How do you propose they be reached?
What if there are more than 35,411 because not all those who filled out their information accurately understand the gospel?
Does Rome/Floyd County need more churches?
We must learn to stop asking, “do we need more churches?” We must learn to staop asking, “how is your church?” We need to be asking, “how is your city?”
We must think in terms of churching our city not growing our church.
How might we get to a movement level work of church multiplication?
The next two points will steer us in the right direction.
The first of these two is a statement combined with a question…
- Every disciple a church planter/multiplier in his or her domain…how did we loose this kingdom strategy?
If we were in the “east”, you would be expected to start churches in your home and launch them to the locations of the people that made them up.
We are in the “west”, and we think in terms of “Christendom”. This is not all good. The reformation helped rescue us from this, but vestiges of “Christendom” can still be found in our thoughts and practices.
Rome and the Roman Church – With the Edict of Milan (AD 313) Constantine bonded the church to the state. (The following list is adapted from Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways)
- Christianity adopted as the official religion of the city, state and Empire
- Church went from the margins of society to the center (power structures, non-Christian leadership flow charts are adopted)
- Creation of a “Christian” civilization…“Christendom”
- Assumption that all citizens (except for Jews) were Christian by birth
- Infant baptism as the symbol of obligatory incorporation into this new Christian civilization
- Imposition of a supposed Christian morality on the entire society (although normally OT standards were applied)
- Hierarchical system of church government based on the Roman diocesan and parish arrangement like the government was set up and therefore garnered state support
- Inheritance of pagan temples to be used as church buildings and the construction of massive and ornate buildings and the forming of huge congregations or what we’d call “mega-churches” (when it used to be small, multiplying units called house church cells)
- Distinction between laity and clergy with the laity taking on a passive role (due to the adoption of a Roman government system)
- Division of the world into “Christendom” and “heathendom” and waging war in the name of Jesus and the church
The results of the Edict of Milan still haunt the church today.
The uniqueness of the “east” is that they have none of that baggage. All they have is the Bible and the Holy Spirit.
What we want to capture is the simple and faith filled actions of the church in the “east” or the church prior to Constantine.
We want to capture the church on the fringes of society that was transforming society rather than the church at the center due to becoming an agent of man’s government.
In the “west” we think that ordained seminary graduates who have all the right leadership qualities found in the superstar CEO’s and politicians and all the counseling skill of an LPC is what makes a good leader “pastor” or “church planter”.
In the “east” they think about character and submission to Christ.
In the “west” we think large gatherings and large buildings are success.
In the “east” they think repentance and faith is success.
In the “west” we think getting more is success.
In the “east” they think hearing and obeying by all in the fellowship is success in life.
In the “west” we pay well performing “clergy” so that the “laity” can receive a product and the more product he produces the more successful their “church” is.
In the “east” every disciple is a priest of God and therefore, a church planter and gifted by the Spirit in a working body to grow each other up into Christ.
How do we recapture this dynamic? Can we recapture this dynamic?
The “church” in the west is moving somewhere. It’s going in some direction. I’d argue any direction is possible. The question is whether or not it’s the correct direction.
I believe we can recapture this dynamic, but it’s going to take some radical re-thinking and re-tooling in our understanding of the church.
- Let’s Start By Working Ourselves Into This: Every Disciple a Radical Life Group Catalyst
What do you need?
– Be a follower of Jesus
– Be repentant and have biblical character
– Be available
What do you do?
– Gather with a group of people in the fellowship (can’t experience the gifts when your group is not in covenant and agreement about the gifts and the intention of the gifts)
– Discuss the sermon and the texts used in the sermon (what did you hear? what do we do with that together? What did we hear and how do we obey Jesus?)
– Listen for the Lord to speak to you
– Encourage each other with any words you hear from the Lord
– Go home (does not have to be long / you don’t need food (you can eat together))
– Repeat next week or as often as you desire
– Make disciples
– Multiply when folks don’t fit in your house anymore
If we listen, obey and imitate the Lord’s ways in the text of Scripture, not what we know from our “Christendom” experience, we may become a multiplying machine.
Greear, J.D. Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.
Hirsch, Allan. The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006.
Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.
Cox, Kevin. Small Church, Big Impact. Exponential Resources. Accessed 2014.
Neill, Stephen, and Owen Chadwick. A History of Christian Missions. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1986.
 2014 ACP Reports, Floyd County Baptist Association
I was looking for “Preach the Gospel” in your post, but didn’t find it. I went to glocal.net and couldn’t find the Gospel either. You say that Bob Roberts is your “spiritual Dad”. Well, I read about your “Dad” and wasn’t to impressed. Very ecumenical and not centered on the Gospel. I live in Rome and have a child at Unity, but I won’t be trying Three Rivers.
You have read how many blogs? Do you know Bob? I’ve spent my life in places where there are no Christians preaching the gospel that they may believe. People read this who you may never reach out to. You obviously don’t know me or Bob. Listen to the podcast. Listen to the series on 1 & 2 Timothy. It’s a poor and rash critique to judge the whole by one post and one sermon you never heard.