Is this a fad? Everyone is talking about multiplication. Multiplying disciples, multiplying churches, and multiplying movements is kind of a buzz among missional Christians nowadays. I’m super excited about that but I’ve found if we don’t have a reason “why” we are doing something, it’s usually a fad we pass through on our way to the next good idea. So what the big deal? Why should we be multiplying? What does the Bible say about multiplication? And if you’re like me and hate math and still don’t even have your times’ table memorized, just stick with me to the end. (And please don’t rat me out with my grandkids)
It all begins with the beginning. One of the purposes God created the living creatures and man himself was to multiply and fill the earth. (Gen 1.22,28) It’s literally a command. “Be fruitful and multiply.” In the Hebrew, the word means; “be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous.” (Strong’s H7235) So the word “multiply” in Hebrew doesn’t necessarily mean multiply in a purely mathematical sense of the word. But one thing is for sure, that “mathematical multiplication” is certainly the fastest way to accomplish the growth God commanded. The Father wants His creation to grow and cover the whole earth.
Here’s a classic story of multiplication. The servant who invented the game of chess brought the new game to his king. The ruler was so impressed he offered to grant any reward the servant desired. The servant is very wise and asked that one grain of wheat be placed on the first square on the chessboard and then two on the next square. He requested that the grains be doubled for each of the squares on the board. If you know the story you know the power of multiplication. By the time the wheat would be placed on the last square, the whole of India would be covered in wheat over 50 ft. deep.
See the video: https://youtu.be/t3d0Y-JpRRg
Now before we run off and start “multiplying” let me give you a warning. Efficiency is not the main reason we approach ministry with a multiplying method. No, the main reason we approach ministry with a multiplication mindset is that God commanded us to multiply. And here’s why this is so important to get a handle on. You’re all hot to trot and you get your first person who wants to make disciples and you’re started. Now one becomes two and two become four and four become eight and etc… Then you notice some of the people you started with aren’t so excited about following Jesus anymore and they drop off. Oh no! That just completely messed up my beautiful pyramid scheme! Yes, this is the cold hard reality of multiplication in the kingdom. It’s messy math, not clean math. So there will be huge holes in our “progress chart” but you know what? The kingdom grows and multiplies despite the mess. So I’m not applying a multiplication method because it works. I’m not primarily aiming at the results. And now instead of deep disillusionment in ministry, because I’m not seeing the numbers I expected, I continue to march because this is what my King commanded me to do. I’m primarily doing this because I’m doing the right thing. I’m obeying God.
I love the end of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower;
And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)
Now there’s some messy math for you! We are all slinging seed (sharing the gospel) but the sowers may experience different results. Thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. I’m am so glad Jesus put that part in His story! I think He knew we all like to play the comparison game and look over the fence at our brother or sister’s fruit. I may start to feel a little down on myself because my brother has sixtyfold and I only have thirty (or maybe three!) and I say to myself, “What a loser I am because I didn’t produce more.” Oh, stop that! You’re not a loser! You’re an obedient servant of the Most High God! Or, on the other hand, maybe someone is saying, “Well I have a hundredfold and my poor pitiful brother only has sixty. What a loser!” Oh, stop that! Because you know what’s coming next, right?
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. (1 Peter 5.5-6)
So be careful with your math. It’s going to be messy math for you and everyone else. The key is that we are doing it! We are making disciples in such a way that the kingdom of God is increasing. We are not getting in the way of His plan by doing anything in any way that would be a bottleneck to growth. We are obeying the King and He is using us to grow His kingdom.
Have you started multiplying by sharing the gospel? Have you taught someone else to share the gospel? Are you making disciples that primarily want to obey God not just see results? Are you playing the comparison game? Are you multiplying in the Biblical sense of the word (doing messy math)?
If you would like to join me in my study of multiplication, click on the link below;