In Genesis 1, humans receive a commission, a mandate to multiply and to fill the earth. In Matthew 28, this is mirrored by the Great commission, a mandate to make disciples or in other words to spiritually multiply. It is worth noting that in Matthew 9 the problem identified is not that the harvest is insufficient but that the workers are few.
I believe that this should find its way into our approach to evangelism, discipleship and church planting. We want to see Gospel work multiplying. At Bearwood over the past ten years, we aimed to encourage that through multiplying opportunities to hear the Gospel and gather around God’s Word and by multiplying workers. Here are some of the ways I believe we saw that happening.
- We multiplied small groups from 3 midweek groups to 8.
- We went from on weekly Sunday congregation to 3 plus one that was running monthly.
- We planted one new church and helped start another replant.
The aim was that wherever and whenever people were ready to meet to hear God’s Word, they could. We also sought to train and equip Gospel workers. As a result, there 3 men service as pastors elsewhere who spent time as part of the church. However that doesn’t include the half dozen who joined the Union course and the many who spent time with us as part of OM and other mission teams for anything between one week and one year. As well as helping us, those people were learning to make disciples, to be multipliers and I’m excited to think that we’ve seen people go to every continent who have been through Bearwood. Some are missionaries, some full tiemn pastors and there are others working for the Gospel in other ways. One person I know went back to Paris, got married and with her husband joined a team from the large AOG church as it planted out to multi-sites and then when we visited them in Paris a couple of years ago, they said “We think God is moving us on to be part of a new church multiplication movement.” They joined the New Frontiers church plant in their area which has an aim to keep replicating so that Paris is full of lots of little house churches. Then there’s the work that a few people were involved in heading out to Egypt regularly to support Gospel work around the middle east. Again, we know of people who have gone on to serve God in some of the hardest to reach countries.
I’m sharing these things not to big up Bearwood Chapel but because I want to give you a feel of how one small church can be part of something bigger. We tend to ether be too grand in our ideas, too trusting in our own efforts or we believe that the vision of multiplication is impossible. I believe that it is something realistic, not in a mechanistic way but simply trusting in God.
Here’s a talk on the subject I did on Faithroots Live