New Song Church is one of more than 320 PAOC[i] churches in Western Ontario. One of the ongoing themes for us as a movement is multiplication. In each of our churches we want to ask these questions:
1. What is your church doing to multiply its ministry in your community?
2. What are you as an individual believer doing to multiply the work of God in your own life?
Multiplication is a Kingdom of God word. Our District Pastor Lorrie Gibbons said this:
The motive for multiplication is crucial. The reason to plant, satellite or reach out in a community must, without exception be, to see lives changed by Jesus.
In Galatians 4:19 Paul states, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you …”
Paul talks of the commitment he made to builds this church and even likened it to childbirth. Church multiplication is all about birthing people into the kingdom of God, about providing opportunities for them to find Christ as their savior.[ii]
How many people attend the church you are part of? Can you imagine if every one in your church took the gospel call seriously and determined to lead one person to Jesus this next year? How would you lead another person to live a full-life commitment as a disciple? How is your church thinking and planning in ways that allow it to keep growing? That kind of thinking leads to multiplication.
At my church multiplication takes several forms. In 2010, we began a 2nd service on Sunday morning to reach more people. This month we are launching a 2nd campus on Saturday nights in another location to reach even more people.
We have several community service projects that exist to meet the needs of non-believers in our community. We run a breakfast program, a weekly community meal, a series of concerts called Hardcore Church for local kids who like heavy metal music, community gardening, etc.
As a church we have an identity as ‘the house of God’. We live that out by gathering for worship, teaching, education and all the usual aspects of church life. But in reaching our community, we have built porches around the ‘house of God’.
In older style homes and neighborhoods, you would know your neighbours and visit one another on one another’s porch. Everyone knew plenty about their neighbors because they had a welcome station on the front of the house where you could exchange greetings and beverages. If you got to know someone you liked and trusted, you could enter the home upon invitation.
Too often our churches do not multiply because we have no way to interface with the community God calls us to reach. We want to invite people into our house but we do not have an effective means of first becoming their neighbor.
Our mission in the world is all about multiplication, not division. We are about addition, not subtraction. Jesus said it this way:
Do you know that God’s potential in your life is like this? You are called to enter a Kingdom that keeps on expanding. From a tiny seed to a large tree, this is how God works in us. Isn’t it interesting that this Kingdom picture includes an eco-system where other parts of creation benefit? The birds would have eaten the seed, but instead they find shelter in its growth. What a picture of how God wants our lives to be.
If the scientists are right, the universe is constantly expanding. Why is that? It is because the Creator is a multiplier. So, what keeps us from experiencing more godly growth in our life?
I have a 120 gallon aquarium at home in my basement. With a mix of different fish I know approximately how large they will grow. An interesting fact about fish is their ability to only grow proportionate to the limitations of their environment. For example you can catch an infant shark and put it into a saltwater aquarium where it will only grow to a few inches in length. The same shark turned loose in the ocean can grow to its normal 8-foot length.
Charles Simpson said, “That also happens to some Christians. I've seen some of the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle. But if you put them into a larger arena--into the whole creation--only then can they become great.” [iii]