Ask, What Kind Of Group Will Multiply?

Verify the Kind of Church or Cell that Will Multiply Among those God Has Given you to Serve

Yes, new worker, you are free to start a church or cell group without money or restrictive educational requirements. Just do what Jesus and His apostles said to do, in the way they did it.
Yes, Lord, we will worship as you modeled, and speak to one another to strengthen, exhort and console, as Paul instructed.

Envision the kind of church body that can easily multiply by God’s power among the people God has given you to reach.

Picture what might have occurred in Lazarus’ home the day following Pentecost as a group assembled to worship…

Martha asks, “Brother Peter, shall I turn the chairs toward the front as in the synagogue, so everyone focuses only on the rabbi and Torah?”

“There’s been a change, Martha. We will worship as we twelve did at our Last Supper with Jesus; He broke bread and passed the cup so we could participate in His body and blood. We faced each other at the table, and everyone took part in the dialogue. Your little home group is a family now.”

Worship as Jerusalem’s newborn churches did, each small enough so all could discuss freely what the apostles had taught, enjoy family type fellowship in homes and break bread together.

At first believers enjoyed a “love feast” but gluttonous Corinthians gave more attention to the roast lamb and chick pea soup than to the sacramental bread and wine. Paul told them to eat the big meal at home, which set a precedent for churches after that.

Prayerfully decide if you will start churches, cell groups (tiny churches that are satellites of a larger one), or both.

Sometimes conditions favor churches, sometimes cells. Consider prayerfully what the new churches will be like, to avoid laying foundations that will stifle multiplication. Pray for families that need Jesus, and provide a church experience in which they can meet joyfully with close friends.

The irony of our age: many people who avoid the big brick church down the street crave precisely what Scripture requires but most traditional churches deny…

  • Warm, relational atmosphere, serving one another in love (1 Cor. Chapters 12 and 13),
  • Lively music that everybody sings (the last two Psalms),
  • Interactive discussion of God’s Word (the many New Testament “one another” commands such as “teach one another” and “exhort one another”),
  • Experiencing Jesus’ Presence rather than merely learning abstract truths about Him (1 Cor. 14:24-26).

Before all else, resolve to do the activities that Christ and his apostles require,

wherever and whenever possible.

Obey Jesus. Compromise on this and you dethrone Christ as head of the new church; it will be lame, partially apostate, from birth. Churches that obey Jesus before all pass on DNA that reproduces Christ’s Body as His parables show. Churches and cells that cling to popular but non-biblical Evangelical traditions rarely multiply.

Memorize Jesus’ basic commands that include all that He commanded, that the 3,000 new believers obeyed from the start in the first churches in Jerusalem (Acts 2:37-47):

  • Repent, believe, receive the Holy Spirit (conversion)
  • Be baptized (confirm repentance and initiate the new, holy life in the risen Christ)
  • Break bread (Communion)
  • Pray (praise God, intercede, have private and family devotions, do spiritual warfare)
  • Give to the needy
  • Make disciples (proclaim the Gospel, go to neglected people, raise children in the faith)

Deal differently with three distinct kinds of people:

  1. seekers
  2. new believers
  3. mature believers

Churches fail to multiply when a congregation or cell group made up of mature believers swallows up seekers and new believers before they have sown the gospel seed among their friends and started cells among them.It is usually best not to bring a new believer into an existing church, but rather to starta new gathering among the ne w person’s family, friends and co-workers. Multiplication comes almost entirely from new believers’ groups whose leaders encourage sharing Christ with friends in homes.

 Resources For While You …

Decide between apples and oranges. Determine whether you should multiply churches, cell groups, or both. Some field conditions favor multiplying churches, others favor cell groups.

Home churches and big churches compared.

Release the rabbits. Discern the kind of church or cell that can multiply in the normal New Testament way.

Form groups that can easily multiply

Party with pagan pals. This fun skit illustrates how to start a seekers’ group:

Gather a seeker cell

Administer the apostles’ antidote to ailing assemblies. Help a conventional church become a cell church, preparing its people and adding a second track in a painless way.

Help a conventional church become a cell church

Shrink heads. Help urban workers think small:

Multiply rabbit Jesus groups in your city

Impart the “aha!” moment to those who want to multiply cells. Visualize good and bad routes that churches take to grow by multiplying cells:

Good & bad routes churches take to grow

Learn what lets groups multiply:

Let churches multiply – 21 biblical musts

Shift from NO! to YES!. Flocks in the West multiply by making a radical shift in key areas:

Western churches multiply by shifting from NO to YES

Probe beneath the glitz. Replace stereotypes with proven truths. Several popular myths stop rather than start church multiplication:

Church planting myths

Overcome fears of multiplying too fast. This question inevitable arises. Be ready for it.

Can we take church multiplication too far

Dive deep into church multiplication literature. Upgrade multiplication skills with documents for mature leaders eager to do extensive reading:

  • Church Multiplication Guide by Patterson & Scoggins, the original set of guidelines that church planters around the world have used to initiate multiplication:

William Carey Library

Overview, Patterson and Scoggin’s Church Multiplication Guide:

Summary of Church Multiplication Guide

  • Visualize the dynamics of multiplication with colorful, analytical diagrams

Growth by multiplication, Diagrams

  • Analyze strategy that most church planters are unaware of, that enables churches and cells to multiply on their own, unaided by outside funds and control. Case study:

Dynamic factors sustain multiplication


Common Traps To Avoid

Form independent churches or cells.

A group or church small enough to heed the New Testament “one another” commands is too small to have all the gifts needed to do everything that the New Testament requires of it, by itself. A local, functional body of Christ is not an isolated cell group or congregation; it is the closely-knit, interacting cluster of cells or congregations, as seen in the New Testament.

Wait for financial resources, before simply obeying Jesus.

It costs far less time and money to gather flocks that multiply in a widespread movement than it does to plant a conventional church with its heavy, costly, non-biblical traditions. Wealthy church planters rarely start a movement; their methods and equipment are usually too heavy and costly for new believers and small churches to acquire and pass on.

Making one’s own “home” church or cell the only model for new churches or cells.

If a church or cell has not been multiplying, neither will a church or cell patterned after it.

Imitate worship styles of large or famous churches.

This aborts many church planting movements in embryo. Develop a style that fits a small group, with strong emphasis on the New Testament “one another” commands.

Introduce an activity into a church, because you enjoy doing it or you do it well.

Avoid imposing a pet activity or overdoing it. Very often such practices fail to match a young congregation and new leaders cannot, or prefer not, to imitate it and pass it on to their apprentices. Common examples: certain kinds of music, monologue sermon, and arty decor.


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