Fours years ago, Anthony Delaney and his leadership team had a bold building plan in place. However, they had a prayerful wrestle and decided a different path was in order – a journey of multiplication. Four years later, Delaney’s church has four campuses across Greater Manchester. This congregation has grown numerically in the process, but, more significantly, has seen increased numbers of people come to Jesus.
Multiplication isn’t a buzzword to be overlooked: it is at the heart of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches:
“We exist to multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Multiplication is biblical
“When the church is truly alive, spontaneous multiplication takes place and spontaneous expansion of the church involves not merely the multiplication of Christians but the multiplication of churches.” This is as true today as when British missionary Roland Allen wrote it in 1927.
The early church in the Book of Acts experienced spontaneous multiplication. It shook cities and disrupted the sociopolitical and spiritual landscape (Acts 17:6).
Yet the infant Jesus movement nearly splintered over racial and cultural differences. Discontentment, complaints and accusations arose over a food distribution project in the midst of exponential growth. Once the disciples resolved the issue, “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7, ESV).
The gospel continued to advance: “Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, [the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria] multiplied” (Acts 9:31, ESV).
Multiplication of disciples and of churches is a biblical concept that must be pursued with passion and perseverance.
Multiplication is the key to Kingdom advancement
Jeff Christopherson, strategist for the North American Mission Board, makes the startling claim: “A straightforward reading of the New Testament can lead to no other conclusion than the normal state of a Kingdom-spirited congregation is to seek to provide opportunities for every person to come face-to-face with the good news of Christ.”
Bob Roberts Jr., founder of Glocal.net, uses biology to illustrate this point. Elephants have a 22-month gestation period, rhinos 16 months; however, rabbits reproduce in 31 days! “The future of the faith…is not tied to planting more churches, but in the raising up of mother congregations of every tribe, tongue, denomination and network that are reproducing like rabbits,” he says.
If we want to see Canada saturated with the gospel in our day, we need to see all churches giving birth to many new churches. Roberts said a planter can plant a single church but a mother church could plant 10 or more.
There are some 11,000 established evangelical congregations from coast to coast. What if every church became a mother to a new campus or a new congregation? What if each one of our 248 MB churches across the country multiplied? This would be an eternal game changer!
Multiply to saturate Canada with the gospel
Canada is a mission field – a parched country that desperately needs to be saturated with the gospel. If established churches multiplied by planting daughter churches, campuses or satellite ministries, this could soak the parched land with “rivers of living water” (John 7:38). If church plants launched pregnant and reproduced other church plants, this would create the possibility of rabbit-like gospel propagation.
What can you do?
Pray for a heart for the harvest. Ask Jesus to deploy more workers into the harvest and ask him to give you his eyes for the need.
Jesus travelled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:35–38 NLT).
Prayerfully explore with your congregation what multiplication might look like in your context. Engage resources like the Multiply conference.
If we are going to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ, we must intentionally pursue multiplying Christ-centred churches from sea to sea.
—Bill Hogg is national missiologist with the Mennonite Brethren church planting arm, the C2C Network.
Westside Church, Vancouver
Feb. 8–9, 2017
stirring worship, inspiring plenaries, opportunity to connect
1) discipleship and evangelism
2) church planting/campus planting
3) renewal and revitalization