To Add or Multiply?
Over recent years my ministry mindset has shifted from addition to multiplication – has yours? There is a lot to talk about in the Wesleyan Church concerning this shift we must be making now. Let’s start the conversation now, not in 10 years.
Our new Heartbeat ‘vision’ statement is highlighting this priority focus. It says we celebrate when ‘disciples make disciples’ and ‘churches multiply themselves’. That’s a nice statement isn’t it? I’m sure we all believe it, but it’s now time to translate that into actionable steps. It begins with a conversation around multiplication.
As I’ve spent time learning more about multiplication, I’m now convinced it’s the only way we can achieve the Great Commission and reach our goal of experiencing the ‘transforming presence of Jesus Christ throughout our nation’. If we embrace multiplication as a new measure of success in our lives and ministries we will begin to spark a movement, and we will leave a legacy for generations to follow in our footsteps. The opposite is true too, if we continue on the path of ‘addition’ focused results as our measure of success, we may grow a few bigger churches in the short term (maybe), but we will miss out on the movement that we could have been a part of (what a shame that would be).
When it comes to church planting movements, Ralph Moore is someone we can learn a great deal from. Ralph is the founding pastor of the Hope Chapel movement, now numbering more than 2,300 churches worldwide. He currently serves on the Exponential team as their multiplication catalyst and specialist in resource development for multiplication.
Ralph says, “The church landscape is changing. Increasing numbers of leaders are awakening to the reality that we are losing ground in our addition- and growth-focused approaches. Many are beginning to wrestle with their personal measures of success and legacy.”
We all know the main focus of our ministry should be making disciples. I want to introduce a change in thinking for us to consider. Let’s shift our focus from making disciples to making ‘disciple makers’. To just make a disciple is about adding one person to the kingdom. However, to make a disciple who makes disciples creates a larger kingdom impact through multiplication.
My focus in my ministry is now all about changing the mindset from addition to multiplication, and not through growing bigger churches, or mass media, or larger platforms. I believe we need to shift to disciples who make disciples who make disciples, and we need to plant churches that multiply themselves. In other words, in the DNA of every church is this purpose and passion to multiply. Multiplication is not just a part of who we are or what we do, its actually ‘why’ we exist – to make disciple makers and churches that multiply.
With a multiplication mindset the limitations of the old ‘hold onto what I have and add to it’, the old ‘church growth’ mindset are lifted, and the possibilities become endless as the results can become exponential, and God focused.
Recently, I have had another in-depth look at our national church’s annual statistics. I have looked at our 20-year history, but also narrowed down to our 5-year history to look for any trends emerging. Without going into the details of that research here, I’m convinced that we need to make a full shift into a multiplication model of ministry, and I believe that this would honour God, spark a movement, and leave a legacy for generations. This shift begins with your mindset – to add or multiply?
Our national leadership is making that mind-shift. This is why over the past 12 months our national leadership have taken some big steps toward becoming a multiplication focused movement:
- We released our new vision statement that is multiplication focused: “We celebrate every time a disciple makes a disciple, and a church multiplies itself, until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia.” I hope this vision statement becomes part of the DNA of every Wesleyan Church. If it does, it should translate into some big changes that need to be made.
- We have developed a multiplication model for church planting called, “POD Church”. Check out www.podchurch.org.auThis is a simple strategy that enables every church, big and small, to be part of multiplying. Who will be the first to plant a POD church?
- We began training at National Pastor’s Conference on the importance of discipleship pathways that focus on disciples making disciple makers. These video sessions are now available when you login to the National Impulse website, and click on module #2. Check out www.nationalimpulse.org.au
We must shift our focus from making disciples to making disciple makers. And, as Paul points out to his young apprentice Timothy, we have to make disciples that multiply churches that multiply churches to the fourth generation. In 2 Timothy, Paul writes: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2) .
THREE STEPS TOWARD MULTIPLICATION
- Start reading about it. God is moving around the world right now and its in this area of multiplication. Learn about it, change your ministry mindset, and join what the Holy Spirit is doing. Check out these FREE e-books on discipleship and multiplication, available for free via https://exponential.org/resource-ebooks/
- Start Talking about it. Pastors and leadership teams need to ask these questions: “What’s our plan to multiply? How are we making disciple makers? When will our church multiply itself?” Put these questions on your LBA agenda. Ask these questions in strategic leadership meetings. If you don’t talk about it, nothing will happen. You don’t need to wait until you grow ‘bigger’ to begin talking about multiplication, if you do that you’ve missed the point. I pray that as pastors and leaders we begin talking about this together as our main priority, our focus, and measure of success.
- Start taking steps toward it. Don’t just talk about it, implement your disciplship pathway to start making disciple makers. Take some radical steps of faith toward your church multiplying itself. Dream together and set a plan in place. Learn about the POD church model and contact us to talk about it.
In finishing up, ask yourself, “have I focused too much on addition instead of multiplication?” This addition mindset is the mindset that says ‘bigger is better’ or ‘hold onto what I have’. Our goal tends to be to add more to what we have, to see more bums on seats and bigger buildings to sit them in, and that can be how we gauge our success. But if we’re honest, this approach doesn’t work and is impossible to fulfil the Great Commission. We need to change our mindset. Simply adding more to what we already have is not the answer and never was. God didn’t call us to add and hold on, he called us to disciple and send out, take the limits off and multiply.
Rev. Troy Beer