“This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” (Matt. 19:30, The Message).
Much of how Jesus viewed the world seemed to be diametrically opposed to our view of the world today. The verse quoted above was Jesus’ response to the disciples after He had told them that it is not always easy to predict those who are part of God’s kingdom. Jesus also said that, if we want to truly find life, we must be willing to lose it for His sake (Matt. 16:25). Acts 20:35 tells us that Jesus taught that receiving is not as good as giving.
So, what does all of this have to do with church growth? Could it be that this upside-down perspective also applies to church growth? Is it possible to grow the church by shrinking it? I believe that is the implicit philosophy behind multiplication as we are applying that concept to The Foursquare Church.
Multiplication reminds us that growth comes from God as people implement His plans and principles. Sending out our best leaders and most generous givers to start another church doesn’t seem like a wise strategy for growing “our” church. Then we remember that it isn’t “our” church, but God’s. He will cause His church to grow as leaders implement His methods. In God’s kingdom, this way of multiplying makes perfect sense.
Multiplication reminds us that church growth is really about growing people. We cannot give away leaders if we have failed to raise them up. Raising them up does not mean that we make them look like us. It means that we help them look exactly as God intended them to look, and then we release them to preach the gospel creatively in the unique settings where He places them.
Finally, multiplication reminds us that our identity or notion of success lies not in what we possess but in what we are willing to give away. Jesus had no possessions. He built no grand buildings and worked with no large budgets. None of those things signified success in His perspective. What Jesus did was give His life away.
I think it is great if we fill all the chairs in our buildings. But what I am really interested in is that the chairs are filled with men and women who are willing to give their lives away. And may we have the courage to deploy them strategically after we have trained and discipled them.
By: Matt Temple, senior pastor of Connection (Bettendorf Foursquare Church) in Bettendorf, Iowa