by Clare Jewell
Statistics don’t tell the whole story, but they can help us gain a fresh perspective on reality. Many times I had an impression of what seemed to be true, only to discover data that proved me wrong. For that reason, I have a great appreciation for solid research. It provides a foundation for knowledge and decision making, especially when the path is foggy. According to actual data, here are six practices of churches that multiply.
- They embrace a kingdom mind-set. “Kingdom” here is not a reference to the coming reign of Christ, but to leaders who determine to look beyond their own church walls to the greater mission of God. They don’t get caught up in turf wars. They are more interested in reaching people who are disconnected from God than protecting their territory from new churches that might compete for people and resources.
- They prepare church planters. They develop young leaders through books and training. They provide spiritual mentoring to develop the heart of future church planters.
- They engage in intentional evangelism. The strategy is almost irrelevant. What does matter is that they extend their hands, hearts, and resources to reach the lost in their communities. They send out mailers to their communities. They use sports leagues, food banks, children’s activities, Bible studies, and recovery groups to build redemptive relationships. In the process, they refuse to trade evangelism for social activism. In short, they prioritize sharing the gospel.
- They are committed to discipleship. Discipleship is normalized throughout the life of the congregation. The goal is greater than an increase in attendance. The goal is producing disciples. They have classes for new members. They prioritize teaching the Bible. They engage people in one-on-one discipleship relationships. In the process of discipleship, they focus on training people to evangelize.
- They develop leaders. They help people discover God’s call on their lives. They help people utilize their spiritual gifts. They develop the skills of their members. They have a plan for developing leaders.
- They have a multiplication strategy. They are ruthless about consistently communicating a vision for multiplication. They partner with other churches and organizations to multiply. They invest in new planters. They set aside money and resources for future church plants.
Church plants don’t happen by accident. They are the result of leaders who determine to take proactive steps to reproduce. Prayerfully consider which steps you could take to move your church toward a multiplication mind-set that will unleash the potential of your people to fully engage in the Great Commission.
Clare Jewell is national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Ministries.