This past Sunday was National Multiplication Sunday, and we were blessed with a message from Sarah Fravel, Lead Pastor of “Home Church,” a future plant headed to New York City. (CLICK HERE to learn more). As you can imagine, getting to New York is literally impossible at this time, and even when things open up, there is an overwhelming sense of fear and the unknown permeating everything. My prayer is this blog would serve as a reminder- please be in prayer for Sarah and David Fravel, and for all our planters facing an uncertain future. And this actually leads to the question I want to address today:
Why Church Planting? If multiplication is so difficult right now, and if there are no guarantees in church planting anyway, why is it worth the risk? And what does this even have to do with me? After all, I’m not a Pastor or a Church planter! But did you know we have a program called “Awaken Advocates” that actually gives people the opportunity to support our planters financially and in prayer. (To learn more, visit awakenthechurch.org). These are people giving above and beyond their tithe to support the work of church planting and planter training. And still, the number one question I get asked by those in this group is to explain the eternal value of this investment. Why church planting? What makes is worth the risk?
I totally get it. When you invest in church planting and multiplication, you are committing yourself to playing the long game. The math of church planting works just the same as any other math. In the short term, addition always beats multiplication. But in the long term, multiplication and not addition is what leads to exponential kingdom impact. Let me show you what I mean using basic math:
1+1 = 2 while 1x1=1
2+2 = 4 while 2x2 = 4
3+3 = 6 while 3x3 = 9
After the fourth iteration, it’s not even close. And the same is true with church planting. Every number is a soul and every soul matters to God. Multiplication exponentially increases the souls that can be reached. It’s hard to invest in multiplication, when addition is what every church longs for. We want our church to GROW…and there’s nothing wrong with that! Unfortunately, in order to multiply, it means sometimes in the short term, we don’t grow as fast…or at all…or we might even shrink for a bit as we send people out to multiply. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to send.
Here’s my challenge: Play the long game. The eternal impact isn’t just significant, it’s critical. There is no version of church addition alone that leads to the proliferation of the gospel to the whole world. There is no version of addition mentality that allows us to actually accomplish the great commission, carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. Addition doesn’t get us there. It takes multiplication. It takes people willing to play the long game, to invest in the future and even to experience a bit of loss in the short term…but it’s worth it.
To learn more about how you can get involved in Awaken, visit awakenthechurch.org or contact Pastor Mandi at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out how you can support Sarah and David Fravel, visit homenewyork.org