Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned how Pace Matters because where we all spend our eternity — an existence that outlasts time — is determined in the very short time we call “life.“ And increasing pace has an exponential impact on multiplication.
In this post we will discuss being part of two churches.
Jesus taught us that we are to stay close — to live as a small, spiritual family, to love and give our lives to one another, to celebrate and suffer — together. However, Jesus also taught us to leave our homes and loved ones behind and be willing to go anywhere — and everywhere — to share and start new spiritual families. So how can we do both?
In this post, we’ll learn how followers of Jesus can be a PART OF TWO CHURCHES to accelerate growth and help turn a faithful spiritual family into a growing city-wide body of believers.
In God’s Word - we learn that His perfect plan is for us to live as a spiritual family. The Bible talks about this family as a church in three forms:
• The universal church -- the gathering of all the believers who were, who are and who will be.
• The regional or city church -- the gathering of all the believers in a city or a part of a country.
• The simple church -- the gathering of believers who meet in a small group like in a building or a home.
This smallest group - this elemental or simple church - is the spiritual family that lives life together and it works best when that family can meet and work together for months or years at a time.
At the same time, Jesus instructed His followers that they should be continuously starting new spiritual families, growing them to be more like Jesus, and helping them learn how to start new spiritual families, too. Jesus told us - make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all I have commanded.
so how do these two things come together - how can we be a part of a church and be in the process of starting new churches - all at the same time?
Imagine a basic church - just four families. Each pair of symbols represent a different couple who lead their home. All the couples are a part of one church - this is their ongoing spiritual family. This is who they do life with - the brothers and sisters who encourage them in love and good works.
But these same couples are also each working to start a new spiritual family. They’re not participating in the same way they do with their own small group family, but they are helping to MODEL and ASSIST as a new spiritual family gets started and grows.
Imagine this - just one church starting four new churches at the exact same time. This is how fast God can grow His family. This is how the church can increase its pace.
In an earlier session, we learned about the TRAINING CYCLE - MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE and we know that these first two phases - MODEL and ASSIST are meant to be moved through quickly - to keep new followers healthy and growing in their faith.
So what happens with the original church and the four churches that they’ve started? After helping them launch by Modeling and Assisting, these couples (original church) have already helped these new churches (1 gen) begin Modeling and Assisting, as well (for 2 gen).
For these four new churches (1 gen), our couples (org. church) are now in the WATCH phase - keeping an eye on the progress of these new churches (1 gen) and coaching as they Model and Assist new churches (2 gen) they help start on their own.
Most people will not be able to Model and Assist for more than one other spiritual family at a time. However, they can watch over and coach multiple churches and help them connect with peer mentors as they grow.
That means one single spiritual family - one elemental or simple church - can be part of launching many other small group churches at exactly the same time. That’s a lot of fruit.
So what happens to all these churches as they grow and start new churches that start new churches that start new churches? How do they stay connected? How do they live life as an extended spiritual family?
The answer is that all of these simple churches are just like the cells in a growing body and they connect together and network into a city or regional church. The churches are related. They share the same spiritual DNA. They are all connected out of the same first multiplying family. And now -- with some guidance - they come together as a larger body to do even more.
Can you see some potential advantages of maintaining a consistent spiritual family that gives birth to new ones that grow and multiply instead of continually growing a family and splitting it in order to grow?
Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this post with others.