In this chapter, we take a look at the principles that will turn a flagging mainline church into a multiplication movement. To be fair, this isn’t a specific recommendation list (“Start three small groups of twelve people each and study thus-and-thus in session one, this-and-that in session two” etc.). You will actually have to contextualize it yourself … but you can do this. (And if you need help, there are plenty of articles/blog posts and resources on this site to give you more ideas.)
The fact is, to launch a multiplication movement in your church, as a church leader you’ve got one main job … to change the church’s culture from a consumer-driven, member focused organization to a Spirit-driven, disciple-making organism. The first thing that’s going to have to change is the notion that Jesus is a way and a truth and a life and that there are many paths to the Father. If your members don’t get that Jesus is the only hope for the salvation of the world then nothing else in the book is going to help you. When the church is just another civic club that does charity, the heart and soul of the gospel has been gutted from the Body of Christ and there’s nothing you can do to revive it.
That’s the first culture change you’ll need to make and it won’t happen overnight, but with good preaching, good teaching, good mentoring, and excellent modeling (yes, you will have to be the prime example of a sold-out-to-sharing-Jesus kind of leader) then you can get this done. It used to be called revival, but that’s a pretty dated word. Let’s just call it a rebirth of the heart.
As you make that culture change, there are a number of other cultural shifts you’ll need to make. Your church members are going to have to redouble their faith-sharing and inviting and mentoring and modeling faith to their everyday networks.
But like the Ginzu Knives, “Wait! Wait! There’s More!” Your members also need to shift their thinking from being a church member who relies on the church to do evangelism to becoming a Backyard Missionary. Every Christian man, woman, and child must take responsibility for the heart and souls of their neighbors and their neighborhoods. Whether they do that through intimate dinner parties with one neighbor at a time, or through multiple block parties, or some other creative idea is irrelevant – the fact is, each member must make a commitment to being the face of the church, the voice of Christ, and the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone on their street.
The culture change, though, doesn’t affect just the members. Church leadership has some cultural shifting to make as well. For one, each church leader must champion the work of the Kingdom over the success of any individual church … including his or her own. When the mega church across town succeeds, there is reason to celebrate, not to berate. We’ve got to back down from our turf wars and remember we’re ALL in this together. If the church across the street struggles, it makes your church’s job harder. It means they’re not reaching the ones the Holy Spirit has been preparing for them. And when your church struggles, you make it more difficult for every other church in the community. We’ve got to find ways to win the lost, the missing, the misplaced, the disappointed, and the apathetic back for Jesus and nothing but a Kingdom mindset will do that.
Yes, there are other principles, but if we just nailed these down, we’d be well on our way to turning your church to multiplication machine.