What does it take to see a person reproduce the character of Christ in a new apprentice of Jesus? If you’re like me you’ve seen a number of approaches, perhaps, too many to count. Some have been super fruitful, while others not so much.
Assuming the approach includes the key qualities of disciplemaking like the power of the Holy Spirit, application of Scripture, fellowship, prayer and coaching – the soil is ripe for multiplication. In the expediency of time I find many of us are troubled with the lack of reproduction even into the second, not to mention the third and fourth generation. This impatience can and will result in growth by addition – looks amazing in the short-term but malnourished in the long-term.
What can you do to move from expediency to significance?
You have probably heard about the practice of prioritizing activities into Quadrant II – Important and Not Urgent (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey). Multiplication is a Quadrant II activity. Over a three year period, one pastor I have been coaching has changed the expectations of their small groups, which his church calls Life Groups:
- Participation: 79% of the congregation are in Life Groups
- Growth: the number of Life Groups has more than tripled
- Multiplication: 22% of the Life Groups have reproduced into the second generation
Here’s five lessons for your reflection, to keep your eyes on the long-term fruit of a multiplication movement and not get distracted with instant gratification.
Five Lessons to keep your attention on Multiplication
- Lesson #1: Be willing to fail – Multiplication requires an element of to risk – which requires faith.
- Lesson #2: Be open to learn – The best teacher is experience.
- Lesson #3: Be clear with your vision – If you’re unclear where you’re headed, good chance you will get there!
- Lesson #4: Be ALL about the process – The joy is in the journey.
- Lesson #5: Be realistic with your expectations – Go slow at first so that you can go fast later.
Hey, just a bit confused about the example of the Life Groups. Are you saying that these three year results are a reflection of the pastor taking the slow, plodding approach of multiplication? Or that he is just starting and can look forward to better results? Or that he is in addition mode (short term gain, doubtful long term results)?
These 5 lessons are all related to time, in the sense that these are all things that take time away from moving too quick? (i.e., take time to fail; take time to learn; take time in developing your vision; take time for the process; have long term expectations)
Yes Steve, this is an illustration of a leader with a vision for multiplcation. I suggest that over the period of three years the focus on multiplication of Life Groups have significantly increased the growth (evangelistically) and participation in (assimilation) disciplemaking groups. Three years for many of us might feel like an eternity but the DNA of multiplcation will ultimately accelerate the growth and participation of disciplemaking relationships.
The 5 lesson are reflections on multiplcation vs. addition in relationship to our concept of time. The point is, addition is easier in the short-term vs. multiplication which requires a different way of leading nad coaching. Most of our training in the West is for addition NOT multiplication.
Leaders who want to shift to a multiplication paradigm will need to:
Lesson #1: Be willing to fail
Lesson #2: Be open to learn
Lesson #3: Be clear with your vision
Lesson #4: Be ALL about the process
Lesson #5: Be realistic with your expectations