- It's not a question of 'either─or' when considering rabbit and elephant churches; you can have both. Also, churches can be hybrids ("rabbiphants"). In some places, large 'registered' churches foster many house churches.
- If folks won't─or can't─come to a large, institutional church, then take the church to them. Start cells in their homes.
- Don't let the elephants trample the rabbits, or the rabbits bite the elephants' toes! A common failure of house churches is that folks keep griping about bad experiences they've had in a larger church. This is not helpful.
- An effective ratio of rabbits (house churches or cells) to elephant churches depends on several factors: folks' expectations and backgrounds, political restraints, available funds, etc. To sustain a widespread movement for Christ, the ratio of rabbits over elephants must be very high.
It costs far less time and money to start the kind of churches that multiply than it does to start a traditional, institutional church. Chose documents below that will help you do so ...
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or cell groups?
How to Keep Cell Groups Multiplying
We must discern three kinds of folks that need special attention, normally in separate groups...
Multiply Healthy Churches and Cells
Resources and Guidelines To Multiply
Churches and Cells
A. Aim for a widespread movement:
- Steps to precipitate a mass movement: Steps.
- Where to start planting churches. Where
- Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches. This article by George Patterson has freed church planters from paralyzing traditions to see churches multiply in the normal way that God intends:
MS Word: Multiply PDF : Multiply
- Rodrick Gilbert & co-workers have seen over 5000 house churches planted in India, and the movement continues to grow. Read Rodrick's guidelines to see why... Rodrick
- Steps to multiply house churches. Dr. Victor Chouderie (whom God has used to multiply thousands of churches in India): Steps.
B. Train church planters to multiply:
- Demonstrations & role-plays to train church planters: Role-plays
- Workshop outline to prepare church planters:
- Do interactive training to multiply churches or cells. - Modify the outline to fit your needs. - Role-plays help trainees take part and help with the teaching. - A temporary training church has "shepherding elders" who help lead training.
C. Partner with coworkers who agree on basic principles:
- Benefits of small, temporary teams, Currah & Patterson: Two x two
- Expose church planting myths. Avoid paralyzing traditions: Myths
- Evaluate different kinds of church growth (graphic), Currah: Diagrams
- When seekers receive Jesus and are baptized, they become a seeder cell and sow the gospel among friends to start more seeker cells. Seeder cells are the ones that multiply.
- Seeder cells are often led by new believers, mentored by older ones. This doesn’t mean that we name new believers as elders, but simply let family heads do as God asks all family heads to do from the start ─ shepherd their family and friends.
- Seeker cells ─ often parties ─ are hosted by seekers like Cornelius, the jailer in Philippi and Lydia. Also, Levi and Zacheus gathered friends for parties to meet Jesus.
- In Luke 20, believers entered the homes of ‘sons of peace’ where they told folks about Jesus and prayed for healin g.
- When believers run out of friends who respond to Jesus, they become a feeder cell that edifies mature believers.
- Keeps traditional folks out of the seeker and seeder cells where they will discourage new leaders.
- Feeder cells do not multiply enough to sustain a movement, but they can produce workers for the other cells.
- On the cutting edge of a movement, the three cell dynamics may occur simultaneously in one cell, but in older churches feeder cells too often become gluttonous and swallow up the other cells.
Quickly start home churches or cells (satellites of a larger church) by mentoring new leaders: Quick Steps