The Phases that lead to Multiplication

(the first of three conversation starters outlining the key features in the process of beginning new faith communities that lead to multiplication).

 The phases of church planting have been discussed before and I am not introducing anything new to you in these articles. But for the past few years I’ve been reading and researching church planting in Australia and I have spent time with the leaders of these new works.

As a result of this learning I’ve begun to see some key features that are worth highlighting. In particular I want to draw attention to the features that give a church plant the momentum it needs to multiply.

In phase one the key is converts.

From my observation I wonder whether this is really the case in practical terms. I have observed a lot of planters and many place a high value on the vision/mission statement, the culture of the new work and the meeting of that group on Sundays. Of course, I am not arguing that these things are not important. These things are good and they contribute a great deal to the health of the new work.

But it is my conviction that the key feature of the first phase is converts.

This means that evangelism and disciple-making are absolutely the prime task. Every energy should be put into these things and if ANYTHING distracts, that activity must be stopped and all energy re-directed back to evangelism and disciple-making.

The obvious proof text is Mark 16 and Matthew 28. But it isn’t my point to simply quote a text. We all accept these are critical factors given to us by the Lord Himself. But a lot of planting does not have evangelism and disciple-making as their first priority.

How do I know this? Well, I confess I don’t have any data to quote – yet!

But tell me, when you look at the state of the church in Australia can you say we are all focussed on these tasks? Indeed, if you go to the places where these things are the focus what is occurring? Well, they have a significant conversion rate and it is providing them with significant momentum and influence in the community around them.

When I use the term “conversion-rate” I am actually talking about the percentage of growth in a church over a year that is by conversion. For example, let’s say a new faith community has 20 people in its core group and at the end of their first year they have grown to 40. That’s a growth of 100%. On the surface that is significant growth and makes for a great story but it doesn’t (in the long term) give the new work the momentum it needs.

What percentage of this was from converts?

Say of the new people there were 2 converts – then the conversion rate would be 10%. Again, this looks good especially when you consider that I don’t think many churches in Australia are doing this well. But the problem as I see it is that the conversion needs to be as close to 100% of those who come into the faith community in any period to give momentum to the new work.

Momentum in the first phase of establishing a new faith community requires an energetic commitment to evangelism and disciple-making.

This HAS to be the number one commitment and every other legitimate activity in establishing the new work must be submitted to this activity.

This is especially true if your aim is to multiply and not just add.

I’m not saying these other works aren’t important and neither am I saying that you should not do them at all. All I am saying is that what gives momentum (the momentum that is evidence of the supernatural in the new work) is converts and converts are the result of a total commitment to evangelism and disciple-making.

Take a look at the faith community you are a part of right now. Can you say that evangelism and disciple-making is the number one priority of the work? Can you say the true focus of the team involved is to pray for the lost and thoughtful ministry to them with the goal of making them followers of the Lord Jesus?

Many plants fail to multiply. Most, in fact, don’t. The features of those that do multiply are simple and Biblical.

In the case of the first phase of the task to establish a new faith community, the key feature that gives momentum to multiplication is converts. The more the better!

In part 2 I will deal with the key feature that produces momentum for a phase two faith community.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email