Available from www.wclbooks.com
Authors George Patterson and Richard Scoggins are field practitioners, experienced in movements where churches and cells have multiplied spontaneously. George Patterson, having planted churches in Central America, coaches church planters in different countries. The authors’ main premise is that churches can multiply in a normal way by their God-given power, not relying on money, academic degrees, institutions or unusually gifted leaders. Ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things when they obey Jesus’ commands in love, empowered by the Spirit of God.
Think simplicity! A thousand things can help you when you are starting churches; however, you can count on your fingers those that make the crucial difference between a normal, multiplying church body and a sterile one. Church Multiplication Guide discloses those universal principles that are common to all movements, even while those principles take on diverse cultural forms.
The simplest way for a church body to multiply is to prepare and send out those who have an apostle’s gifting and carry their sending flock’s DNA. The word apostle means “sent one.” In the Book of Acts, workers like Barnabas, who were not of the original twelve, are also called apostles. God promises to give such gifted people to your church (Eph. 4:11-12). Believers with other spiritual gifts cooperate to prepare their apostles, to send them and to hold them accountable. Be aware that many successful apostles do not fit the popular stereotype of a traditional missionary.
Think Reproduction! It is a common myth that churches multiply only in certain kinds of culture. The two authors challenge that notion by describing examples from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum; your field will probably fall somewhere in between. Patterson saw churches multiply among rural, poor, uneducated Hondurans in a pioneer field; Scoggins saw it among urban, educated, affluent, middle-class Americans in the shadow of the oldest Baptist church in the world and the oldest synagogue in the United States (in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island), as well as among Muslims in North Africa and Asia. By God’s power, multiplication can happen wherever you find “good soil.” Good soil is bad people who repent; “where sin abounds, grace abounds even more” (Rom. 5:20). Church multiplication is more strategic and biblical than growth by addition alone.
You can see growth by addition in Acts 2:41, where 3,000 converts were added by baptism to the new church in Jerusalem. Growth by multiplication appears in Acts 8, 10, 13, 14, and 16, where daughter churches are born. To multiply, a church penetrates other social venues, near and far, reproducing itself inside new believers’ networks of relatives and friends. Thus, multiplying the nuclei around which addition takes place, leads to exponential increase.
Plan with Coworkers to Multiply. Coach your church members and leaders to follow Church Multiplication Guide to develop and multiply healthy churches. Discuss its principles with your coworkers, helping them to plan accordingly.