Moving the Church from Survival to Multiplication

As a handyman, I am always looking for good tools that will help me be more productive and better prepared to get the job done right and in a timely manner.   Some people would probably say I have too many tools, but a while ago, as my wife and I were completing a project, she said, “I now see why you have all the tools you do.  It makes the project go so much easier.”  Many times we as leaders and pastors are looking for the ‘silver bullet’ that will solve a specific problem.  The truth of the matter is that there is no such ‘bullet’ or ‘magical’ tool that is the cure-all.  But I found a tool that I believe will be helpful for every church: Becoming a Level Five Multiplying Church  by Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson.

Becoming a movement of multiplying churches to reach the world for Jesus Christ is the main theme, but the ideas shared for the advancement of our churches are basic and useful for every church.  I would like to focus on just two of the ideas: Biblical disciple-making and Kingdom capacity for multiplication.

Biblical disciple-making must be at the core of our measure of success (pg. 28.)  Biblical disciples are followers of Jesus who GO as an expression of their maturity (pg. 27.)  They are individuals who, in response to Jesus’ call on their lives, are not only following Jesus but are willing to die for Jesus, especially in giving up their personal goals and expectations to follow Jesus.  The authors contend that many times the church is making cultural Christians who, in response to Jesus’ call to follow him, become consumers of all the church has to offer. The church can then easily get caught up in caring for them at the expense of making biblical disciples who will GO.  Biblical disciple-making takes time and effort at the relational level and focuses on character, surrender, calling, and obedience (pg. 96.)  Biblical disciples will make disciples who make disciples.  It is the authors’ and my contention that every church and pastor needs to be about biblical disciple-making.  Sure, it will be time consuming and will be messy, but it is Jesus’ last command for his followers and is very necessary to reach our world for Jesus Christ.

Wilson and Ferguson discuss two aspects of a church’s capacity for making biblical disciples that affect outreach and multiplication (pg. 46-55.)   Local capacity is what a church does locally to increase the opportunities for biblical disciples to make disciples.  Kingdom capacity creates new environments and contexts in which to make biblical disciples.  These are not an either/or choice, but work together as a necessary, intentional focus so that a church is continually developing opportunities for biblical disciple-making.  I know this goes against the grain of how we do American church, but I am very convinced that if we want to reach our world for Jesus, we need to seriously evaluate what we call disciple-making and make sure we are raising up biblical disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

Take Action

  • If you would like to read this book, use this link to electronically download it free.
  • Take a free inventory of your church.
  • There are several pastors in our district who are interested in getting together to discuss application of these principles to their ministries. If you are interested as well, contact me.