Church Multiplication

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Church Multiplication
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A Vision for Multiplication

As our society changes and becomes more multi-cultural we must face the reality that a post-modern, post-Christian paradigm has developed and that the United States must be re-evangelized. The most effective form of evangelism is Church Multiplication / Planting. 

Properly understood this is a missional work and should be handled with the same philosophical approach as every other missiological endeavor. We must know and understand who we are seeking to reach. We must understand their particular needs and formulate a plan to address those needs properly. We must reflect on and prepare for the work of contextualizing the message of the Gospel to the unique situation of those individuals we are seeking to reach, so as to communicate the Truth of Jesus Christ with them. Finally, we must equip them with the tools they need to transform their lives, families, and communities.  

Examining the Apostle Paul as a model for strategic planning, we find that he focused on training those who were already in a community, to minister to their own community, without needing to first uproot themselves; severing ties with friends, family, or employment. In this way, they were able to cultivate a Community of Faith that was unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, unwilling to settle for status quo religion, unable to stand by and watch people be destroyed by Sin. A Community of Faith that is propelled by the Holy Spirit, pursuing God with reckless abandon, turning the world upside down through acts of compassion that are the natural outgrowth of God’s unfailing love permeating their lives… true ministry spontaneously generated in the hearts of God’s people as they choose to embrace the Eternal and catch a glimpse of that which they have just barely dared to hope for.

This is a fundamental distinction from the current Christendom influenced paradigm of how the church works wherein the structure is top-down; the leadership determines what ministry needs to be offered, designs programs, and recruits people to operate the machinery of ministry; where no matter how many programs there are or how far-reaching they go outside of the church’s walls, the church still is centralized by its walls. The Apostolic strategy on the other hand is structured bottom-up; its most basic building block is the household relationships and thus is fundamentally a church without walls. 

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Church Multiplication: Guidelines and Dangers

Although the article was published almost 20 years ago, the principles found therein remain insightful and poignant. The dynamics that missionaries face in cross-cultural church planting which have historically led to success or to failure can and should still inform us today.


•A passion for intercessory prayer.

•A constant and consistent witness of the Gospel.

•The Worship and Body life of the Ekklesia arises out of the context in which it occurs.

•There is an active seeking after the Holy Spirit for power and direction.

•There is a consciousness within the local Ekklesia of the purpose of reproduction.

•Leadership training and empowerment are vital activities.

•The local Ekklesia financially supports local leadership.

•The equipment and methods used are ones that reflect the local culture.

In order to cultivate these characteristics, Patterson and Currah’s article outlines several positive guidelines to embrace and several dangers to avoid:


•Focus on the essentials of the Bible to govern the Community's life, leadership, and practice. A new work cannot root down and grow where non-essentials have been elevated to an unbiblical and unreasonable place.

•Concentrate on family-oriented evangelism.

•Emphasis should be placed on small group worship style.

•Train leaders through mentoring behind the scenes.

•Empower those with apostolic gifting, to go out and start other new works.


•Don’t get weighed down with needless things that are not found in the New Testament pattern such as equipment, methods, or even certain ecclesiastical rules.

•Don’t require too much money or technology to get the new work up and running.

•Don’t rely too heavily on institutional structures.

•Don’t promote excessive individualism – It must be a Community of Faith.

•Don’t allow the new work to be dominated by those outside the local work.

•Don’t create dependence on external funding.

•Don’t use non-contextual methods and worship styles.

Reference: Currah, Galen and George Patterson. “Church Multiplication: Guidelines and Dangers.” Evangelical Missions Quarterly Vol. 39, No. 2. (April 2003): 210-216