Copyright © 2008 by George Patterson, Galen Currah and Edward
Permission is granted to copy, print, distribute, post, link, translate, plagiarise, even sell.
In developing healthy churches that multiply in a normal way, gospel workers must keep a healthy ratio and relationship between two valid, divergent aspects of each of the vital area of church life depicted below. (The order of these aspects has no importance.)
· Let all who love Jesus strive prayerfully and carefully to maintain a healthy ratio and relationship between the two dynamics that make up each of these action areas, in a movement for Christ.
· In a pioneer field, a proper ratio will sustain a church planting movement. In older churches, it will sustain the multiplication of vital cell groups and daughter churches in neglected communities.
· Churches that fail to multiply in pioneer fields invariably have a lopsided ratio that conforms neither to reason nor Scriptural guidelines. In any field, a church’s greatest weakness is almost invariably its greatest strength taken to excess, revealing a lack of balance.
· Scolding workers for allowing a poor ratio often moves them merely to defend the error. To liberate them from stifling traditions, a wise mentor enables them to calculate for themselves an effective ratio.
· It would be foolish to perpetuate a particular ratio merely because a church has done so for a long time.
What is the authority for what your churches do? The crown reminds us that Jesus is our King. Obeying His commands must be kept in proper relationship with accountability to God-given leaders and their rules. If loving obedience to Jesus’ commands is not taught when a church is born, Satan rushes in to fill the authority vacuum with spiritual sounding programs that dethrone Jesus as the church’s true head. Proper ratios in all other areas stem from this foundation of loving obedience.
How should workers be supported? The tent recalls tent-making, as the apostle Paul did it. To sustain church multiplication, a very high ratio of leaders must be self-supported. Most church planting movements occur among the working class, and count heavily on non-budgeted, volunteer-led projects.
What evangelism methods should your church use?
The network of interconnected dots reminds us to keep new believers in a loving relationship with friends and relatives. In church planting movements it is new believers that win nearly all who come to Christ. Keep them witnessing in a proper ratio with evangelism by electronic media. To initiate a biblical kind of networking, find a ‘child of peace’ as Jesus said, that is, a host who will enable the gospel to start flowing from friend to friend and family to family. Avoid “pushing camels through the eye of a needle”, as Jesus said, by working with receptive people, normally the poorer working class. “Shake the dust,” leave, as Jesus said — if a community fails to respond.
In what ways should new believers’ know Christ? Experiencing the risen, ascended, living Christ (see MentorNet #56), who is present among them, must be balanced with learning truths about Him. In many cultures, it is the experiencing of Christ that proves catalytic in explosive growth of the church, as ordinary folk experience the reality of the biblical Immanuel who walks and talks with them.
How should your churches enable their members to do serious ministry? The group of folk with different characteristics reminds us to keep a proper ratio of interaction between those having different gifts with specialized ministries that segregate individuals who have the same gift.
How large should your congregations be? Keep rabbit churches (house churches or cells) in proper ratio and relationship with large churches. A characteristic of widespread church-planting movements is many tiny churches. In most pioneer fields, movements for Christ thrive much better by multiplying house churches.
How should pastors and other workers receive training? The chain recalls Paul’s mentoring chain whereby he trained Timothy who trained others who trained others also. Keep this explosive form of mentoring in an effective proportion with lecturing, seminars and conferences!
If you want help to think through these church planting dynamics and apply them to your field, contact Paul-Timothy trainers and we will put you in touch with a mentor who has experience in your type of field whether Asian, African, Muslim, tribal, Latin, or European. There are no fees. Contact: MentorAndMultiply@gmail.com
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