Mega vs. Multiplying
If disciple making doesn’t multiply disciples, we’re doing something wrong. If we are making disciples in the church, we should expect discipleship groups to multiply, church ministries to multiply, servant-leaders within the church to multiply, and our churches themselves to multiply. This type of disciple making and multiplication should impact a church’s vision for growth. While this is true, don’t assume that just because you begin making disciples, they will multiply. In our consumerist culture, people have been conditioned to receive, not to give.
Multiplication requires that disciples are willing to give of themselves for the benefit of others, and this giving is often sacrificial. Unfortunately, the consumerist “receiving” mentality of our culture is often a great hindrance to disciple making in the church. It can also affect a church’s vision for growth.
The goal of many churches is to simply get bigger and attract more and more people to attend a Sunday-morning church service. Getting bigger and going to church is good; things should grow. In fact, we’re told that the Lord grew the early church very quickly as he “added to their numbers daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). It’s a joy when this happens in local churches today, but what will your church do with more people when they come?
This is an excerpt from The Discipleship Gospel (available in eBook and paperback). Get a discount by using code ‘TBP’ at checkout when you order here.
What’s the plan for training them to obey Jesus? What is your vision for growth? Do you have a mega-mindset, a multiplying mindset, or is it something else entirely? These are important questions for everyone in the church to grapple with, especially those on a church’s leadership team.
Generally, when a local church begins to grow, the church’s leadership team begins spending more time, energy, and money on creating more physical space and adding more programs to attract even more people. We’re talking bigger buildings, larger parking lots, and more polished worship services, which is a mega-mindset of church growth. That is, if more people come, then the vision is to get bigger until the church is a “megachurch.” Just like a poor man can still be a materialist or addicted to seeking more money, even small churches can have a mega-mindset, set on becoming a larger church.
Contrasting the mega-mindset is the multiplying mindset. Church leaders who have a multiplying mindset hold a vision to grow to a certain size, then multiply, which means sending out disciple-making teams from the church to plant other churches in places the gospel has not yet reached. This requires the new church to immediately and constantly disciple new followers and train members to be servant-leaders. This mindset carries with it a strong expectation for engagement, so get ready to rally your church and add more seats! When a church with this multiplying mindset begins to grow, they cannot simply default to hiring more paid staff members. They will necessarily call equipped and enthusiastic members to step-up.