DEV 24FN Multiplication Principles

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Session 24: Church Multiplication Principles

In this session, you will discover key principles that God uses in all church planting movements around the world.

Heart of a Leader (40 min)

  • Worship together in the big group
  • Have participants get into groups of 3-4 people and discuss the following:
    • What are you learning and how are you abiding in Christ through word, prayer, obedience, PCS, relationships and fellowship?
    • What unresolved conflict do you have?
    • What areas of your life is obeying God a challenge?
    • What happened as you trusted God with your goals from our last meeting?

Vision Casting for the Heart

Read Mark 6:30-32. Rest is not an unfortunate need of our weakness but a foundational discipline of Godliness and wisdom. Jesus modelled the importance of rest, withdrawal, solitude, reflection and refreshment. The apostles had just returned from a mission trip which was both exciting and exhausting. They were reporting back all that had happened. The crowds were pressing in, the demands of the people and ministry opportunities were overwhelming. What Jesus did seems unexpected. He He takes his team away with him to a quiet solitary place so they could get rested and refreshed for the next round.

'God established a rhythm in life that includes hard work and regular rest. We read in Genesis 2:2 that “ on the seventh day God rested from all his work”. God doesn’t rest out of necessity because he is weary but because it is in his nature to do so. Planning for and scheduling regular times for rest and refreshment is just as important as working hard if we want to serve Jesus with our lives growing to be more like him. It’s important for our health as well as for our families and disciples. Jesus is as much involved with you in your resting as in your working.

Celebration of Faithfulness (20 min)

[NOTE: Celebrate Faithfulness in the large group so that all can benefit and be encouraged.]

  • Give opportunity for participants to share what has happened since the last meeting. Ask them to relate it to goals from the last meeting.

Iron on Iron: Sharpening Myself and Others (45 min)

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.”

  • Have everyone return to their Iron on Iron small groups, draw their network of missional communities and churches then share and evaluate with their group.
    1. What is going well?
    2. What is not going well? What obstacles are you facing?
    3. What are possible solutions from the other group members?
    4. What do you need to do to add the missing characteristics into each group?
    5. Where will you start a new group or church this month?
    6. Have everyone set goals for improvement from their evaluation and share their goals with their small group. Then have them pray for one another.

New Lesson (45-60 min)

Relevant Topic: Why is it helpful to know the multiplication principles that God is using to raise up movements of multiplying churches?

  • Have participants get into new groups of 4-5 people (or they can continue in their Iron on Iron groups)
  • In the following sections, each group assign verses to each participant. Each participant will then read the passages below and tell what they learned.

Discovery Bible Study – Multiplication Principles

Section 1: Word, Prayer, Gospel

God’s Word: Matthew 7:24-29; 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Prayer: Acts 4:24-31; Colossians 4:2-4; Ephesians 6:18-20

Gospel Sharing: Mark 1:38; Luke 19:10; Acts 1:8

  • After they have shared their assigned verses, have each person in the groups share:
    • What caught your attention? (or What did you like best?) Why?


1. Complete Obedience to God’s Word. Just as Jesus submitted fully to His heavenly Father and taught us to do so, every Church Planting Movement has an emphasis on submitting fully to the absolute authority of God’s Word. Jesus taught His disciples that knowing what the Bible says is not enough. It is those who practiced what they learned that were like houses built on the rock. That is the reason why we practice obedience based bible study/discipleship. We believe that it is more important to do what the Bible says than to accumulate more and more knowledge without obeying. In church multiplication movements, the emphasis is on obeying what the disciples are learning and upholding the bible as the source for our answers to life and ministry. [teach hand gesture: hold hands like an open book]

2. Dependence on Extraordinary (Abundant) Prayer - Depend completely on God through prayer. The early church depended on the power of prayer for the spread of the gospel. Often before anything else is done to begin reaching people for Christ or establish multiplying churches, the first step is to mobilize believers from throughout the target area and even from around the world to pray fervently for God to work. [teach hand gesture: hands in a prayer position]

3. Abundant Evangelism - Urgently take the gospel to everyone in the target area. Since Jesus came “to seek and to save the lost” and instructed us that “that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations,” every Church Planting Movement seeks to make sure everyone has the opportunity to follow Christ. In church multiplication movements, people have a deep burden to reach out to those around them. They love to tell their stories, and to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ. They do not get sidetracked with other activities, because they know the most important mission in life is to seek and to save the lost. They know that not everyone will respond positively to the gospel, but they never stop sharing Christ because they truly believe that people are lost without Him. They want to make sure that everyone in their target area has the opportunity to received Christ, and when they have shared with everyone nearby, they actively seek to share Christ to surrounding areas. [teach hand gesture: throwing seeds from your hand]

Section 2: Intentional Multiplication of Healthy Home Churches

Church planting: Acts 14:23; Acts 15:41; Galatians 1:2

Home churches: Acts 2:46; Acts 5:42; Romans 16:5, 19; Colossians 4:15

Multiplication: Acts 6:7; Acts 9:31; Acts 12:24; Acts 16:5; Acts 19:20; Acts 28:31

Health: Matthew 22:36-39; Matthew 28:18-20

  • After they have shared their assigned verses, have each person in the groups share:
    • What caught your attention? (or What did you like best?) Why?


4. Intentional Church Planting - Every church planting movement grows because of intentionally seeking to form churches. A wise person once said that “you will probably accomplish what you set out to do.” If you want to plant reproducing churches then you must set out to plant reproducing churches. New believers must be intentionally discipled to practice the characteristics of Acts 2:42-47 in a simple transferable way. [teach hand gesture: pushing pointer finger into open palm of other hand]

5. Churches meet in homes – Every church planting movement use homes for new churches to meet in. Just like in the New Testament, homes are natural meeting places for the networks of relationships of new believers. Homes allow biblical, simple and transferrable models of church to meet, learn about Christ and impact the surrounding community. A key element of movement is having intimate communities of believers who are not weighed down by the financial burdens of maintaining a building, are simple to lead and manage, easy to provide loving accountability and that keeps the believers closer to where the lost live. [teach hand gesture: hands make a triangle]

6. Multiplication, Churches planting Churches – It is intentional, everyone aims at developing churches that multiply. There is no uncertainty about the goal and purpose of each leader. Everyone is seeking to start churches that will also start new churches. [teach hand gesture: hands form triangle and then open and close]

7. Healthy Churches – To get this kind of rapid reproduction, the churches must be “healthy” churches. One way to describe a “healthy church” would be one that obeys the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment and the Great Commission really help to summarize the purposes of the church. And in movements of churches, there are a lot of people who are seeking to love the Lord and love others. As they do this and begin to practice the characteristics of church, they grow in their maturity and are healthy. [teach hand gesture: put arms up like showing off muscles]

Section 3: Leaders are Local and Many Are Empowered

Local Leaders: Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5

Lay Leaders: Ephesians 4:11-13

Rapid: Acts 13:48-49; Acts 19:9-10


8. Local Leaders – Leaders are appointed from local new believers. Paul understood the importance of having local leaders who could be present with the new communities of believers. In fact, nowhere do we see Paul appointing leaders from outside the local community. A key principle is that the resources for the movement are in the harvest. In other words, the leaders for the movements are not existing believers right now. They are identified and developed from the harvest of new believers. We should never do anything by ourselves. Always bring someone with you so that you can model and mentor as you go. [teach hand gesture: open palm make a circle with pointer finger to demonstrate leaders coming from inside the group]

9. Eph. 4 Leadership – Develop everyone to lead, not just paid workers. The key leaders of church multiplication movements are ordinary Christians, not full-time paid pastors. There is no distinction in God's eyes between a businessman, a painter, a farmer, a government employee or a graduate from a Bible school. In many churches, leaders act as if their job is to do all the work of the ministry. And their congregations often act as if the pastor is supposed do all of the work, since the congregation is supporting the pastor through tithes and offerings.

But in Eph. 4:11-13 the role of the leaders is to equip the members of the church so they will do the work of service. There is no requirement in the Bible that a pastor should be “full-time”. Believers mature after or while they are serving.

In Church Multiplication Movements:

  • most of the leaders are lay people – people who work at some other vocation and serve God voluntarily from their extra time.
  • every Christ-follower must obey to make disciples. Making disciples is for everyone! (this is what Jesus commanded)

If we desire to see movements of multiplying churches, we must follow these principles. Everyone is to do the work of ministry, not just the especially talented or gifted, and not only paid pastors and workers. Everyone is to make disciples! This is the norm for the members of the church in the New Testament, and it should be our norm as well. [teach hand gesture: push up imaginary sleeves like you are working]

10. Rapid – generations of churches are multiplied in a short period of time. Rapid reproduction must be in the core value of each church being planted. It is common to see new churches being started every 4-6 months. The book of Acts records 6 summary statements of how the Word of God spread, the number of disciples and churches grew rapidly. In only a 10 year period, Paul was able to say that his work was done in half the Roman Empire! Maturity in Christ is enhanced by starting new churches because leadership development and the discipleship of every member are built into the ongoing structures of church life. [teach hand gesture: take fisted hands and roll arm over arm in front of you]

Lesson Summary

These principles are very important to keep in our minds as we are working towards expanding God’s kingdom.

Review the 10 universal elements along with the hand signals:

  1. Founded on the Word of God – hold hands like open book
  2. Abundant Prayer – hands in prayer position (depending on people group)
  3. Abundant Gospel Sowing – throwing seeds from hand
  4. Intentional Church Planting – pushing pointer finger into open palm of other hand like sticking a seed in the ground
  5. Churches Meet in Homes – hands make a triangle like a rooftop
  6. Churches Planting Churches – make the triangle open and close
  7. Healthy Churches (practice five purposes) – put arms up like showing off muscles
  8. Local Leaders (leaders from within) – open palm make circle with pointer finger to demonstrate leaders coming from inside the group
  9. Lay Leadership – push up imaginary sleeves like you are working
  10. Rapid Reproduction – fisted hands rolling arm over arm in front of you

As we try to facilitate movements of multiplying churches there are many things we can do, but remember this is a Holy Spirit controlled process. If we are doing the right things, from time to time we need to evaluate our work to see if there are things that we need to stop doing – either they are not the best things or they are things that would slow or stop a movement.

Here are some common obstacles to church planting movements (this is in Bruce Carlton’s Acts 29 book, pg 243):

  • Extra requirements for being recognized as a “church” are imposed on new believers.
  • Becoming a Christian results in a believer’s loss of valued cultural identity.
  • New churches cannot overcome pre-existing Christian patterns.
  • Not investing in the highest value activities (evangelism and discipleship).
  • Trying to contain a church-planting movement within a single denomination stifles growth.
  • Planting churches that cannot reproduce locally stunts growth.
  • Money leading to subsidies creates dependency.
  • Churches require leaders to have qualifications that go beyond those that the Bible requires for leaders.

Preparing for Mission (20 mins)

  • In small groups, have each participant Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in living out these principles and Make a plan for improvement:
    • Are there good things that you are doing that might keep you from implementing your plan?
    • What things do you need to stop doing so you can do the right things or the best things?
  • Write “I will by when” statements. Include “Who will you teach this lesson to?”
  • Practice any additional skill that the leaders need in leading their groups or starting new ones

Sending the Laborers

  • Reinforce the overall vision: a church or faith community for every 1,000 people
  • Spend time in prayer:
    • committing everyone’s goals to the Lord.
    • for God to raise up a movement of churches.
    • for more laborers to come out of the harvest.