To keep believers, churches and cells multiplying, pass on to them only what God requires of their new leaders, especially among those who have recently received Christ.
Why a “light baton”?
To keep the baton lightweight enough to sustain multiplication, use the New Testament as a filter to remove all man-made procedures and rules. Require only what Jesus and His apostles explicitly required of any group of believers. The baton can carry a checklist of tasks that new churches or cells will do. (Cells are satellite groups of a larger church.) These tasks are to:
1) obey basic commands of Jesus,
2) perform vital ministries required by the New Testament,
3) write a brief statement of your core beliefs.
Jesus’ basic commands
The many things Jesus ordered can be summarized in seven basic commands that the 3,000 new disciples began at once to obey, in the first New Testament church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:37-47; the word “love” is not used but is evident in their fellowship and giving). The baton passes easily from friend to friend and from cell to cell, by Bible stories that convey these commands. These are commands that the first church obeyed, setting the precedent:
Believe in Jesus, repent and be born again by God’s Spirit. These three go together. Relate accounts of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. Stories illustrating repentance include the prodigal son (Luke 15) and Zacheus (Luke 19). A story dealing with rebirth is Nicodemus (John 3).
Baptize to initiate the new, holy life, and bring one into a covenant relationship with God. Stories might include Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3) and Philip with the Ethiopian (Acts 8).
Break bread (Communion). Participate in Jesus’ body and blood, and in the corporate life of His body, the Church. Stories might include Passover (Exo. 12) and the Upper Room (Matt. 26).
Love God and neighbor. This includes forgiving, caring for the needy and being good citizens ? rendering unto ‘Caesar’ what is due to the state and society. Stories might include Ruth’s love for Naomi (Ruth 1) and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10).
Pray. This includes personal and family devotions, spiritual warfare, petitions, signs and wonders. Stories might include Abraham’s intercession for Lot (Gen. 18-19) and Jesus’ ordeal in Gethsemani (Matt. 26:31-50).
Give. Be stewards of the treasure, time and talent that God has given you. Stories might include Jesus’ parable of the three stewards (Matt. 25).
Teach and heed the Word. Witness, make obedient disciples, shepherd God’s people, train leaders and go to ripe fields. Stories might include Jesus’ parable of the two builders (Matt. 6) and the disciples’ visits to Jewish villages (Luke 10).
Vital church ministries
A light baton helps new leaders develop the activities that the New Testament requires of every church. Register a new flock’s progress in developing them.
POY! Checklist of VITAL CHURCH MINISTRIES
Consider a church or cell to be fully planted when it is doing the activities that the New Testament requires.
- Pray. Intercede, have daily personal & family devotions, do spiritual warfare and pray for healing
- Evangelize. Witness for Jesus and baptize.
- Make disciples. Train believers to obey Jesus.
- Give. Be stewards of time, talent and treasure.
- Teach God’s Word. Equip believers to serve.
- Strengthen family life and marriage. Coach privately persons or families with problems.
- Show mercy. Serve the hurting and needy.
- Cultivate loving fellowship. Provide time free from scheduled activity, for spontaneous interaction.
- Organize. Serve one another and other congregations, using spiritual gifts in harmony.
- Correct and restore. Watch for wolves and weak lambs.
- Worship. Let all believers participate actively and celebrate Communion regularly.
- Start churches and cell groups. Keep congregations multiplying.
- Extend Christ’s kingdom. Prepare and send workers to neglected peoples, nearby and afar.
- Train leaders. Model shepherding skills for apprentices.
Role-Play: RUN A RELAY RACE
Depict to trainees or churches how to become a fruitful leader of leaders by passing on a light baton, mentoring workers who mentor others. Read 2 Timothy 2:2 and point out:
- This mentoring chain had four links: Paul, Timothy to whom he wrote, “faithful men” and “others also.” It grew out of Ephesus where Timothy worked, and brought about hundreds of churches in Asia Minor, as each church became a mother church and birthed several daughter churches.
- God sustained exponential multiplication by means of mentoring new leaders as Paul modeled it.
To have fun with this, run a relay race, if there is room to run in:
- Appoint two young team leaders and let them each choose two runners, to form two teams of three.
- Make two batons (You can roll paper and tape it to form a cylinder).
- Have both teams stand behind a line. On GO, the first runner on each team is to run and touch the far wall or some other target and run back to hand the baton to the next runner.
- Tell the winning team you will reward them with a bonus, so they will do even better. Give them the “latest equipment that churches need to prosper.” Replace their baton with their “bonus”: several objects that will make it impossible to run fast, such as bottles, chairs, music stand, etc.
Announce that these aids represent the latest technology, ample funding, highest standards of excellence in education, superlative entertainment and multi-level organization. Run the race again and ask participants what they learned.
Good answer: a church fails to multiply daughter churches or cells when it tries to pass on too much good stuff along with its God-given DNA.