Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lack of Multiplication Leads to Division

If there is one thing I have learned in my limited gardening experience it is this: one seed can multiply itself hundreds and thousands of times over.  Plant one pear seed and it grows into a pear tree that produces more fruit than you can imagine, and each individual pear is filled with even more seeds!  The numbers are staggering.

That’s what discipleship is like.  Disciples make disciples…who make disciples... who make disciples.  It began with the eleven.  Jesus said to them, “make disciples.”  They did.  His eleven disciples made more disciples.  And those disciples repeated the process by making more disciples, who made more disciples.  This multiplication process has been happening for two thousand years.

But we’ve lost sight of this simple strategy today.  My guess is that we are better at addition – you know, counting on people coming through the front doors from other churches.  There's no kingdom advancement here.  No multiplication.  No real fruitfulness.  It's like reshuffling the deck.

It’s easy to settle for addition because it is safe.  Comfortable.  It graphs well on the year-end report.  However, addition is fragile.  It eventually leads to subtraction because “added” people typically move on, being added to another church.  The next thing you know the church is experiencing division.  People get divided over the stupidest stuff.  Paul said they bite and devour one another. 

So we have a choice in our churches:  addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication.

I’m choosing multiplication.

Like gardening, multiplying disciples is hard work.  You start with a person who is far from God.  You plant the seed, water the seed, nurture the plant, weed the garden, fertilize it, and eventually frutfulness.  Then you repeat the same process over again.

Bill Hull says, “If the church fails to make disciples, it fails to multiply.  If it fails to multiply, it fails.”

Everyone knows that division is failure.  But I would suggest so is subtraction and/or addition.  Multiplication is the thing that brings glory to God.  It is what we are commissioned to do.  If PCC is simply adding, subtracting, (or God forbid, dividing), we are falling short on the Great Commission.

I think I’m on to something.  Do you want to be part of this process?  I want the disciples in our church to go and make disciples… who make disciples.  After all, Jesus Himself said that proof of our discipleship is fruitfulness: 

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:8).

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