23 Reasons for Rapid Church Growth

6. When works were started in a new area, local believers were placed in leadership positions from the start. This helped to ensure that the new church was locally relevant and served to minimize dependence on outsiders. It also meant there were no problems with leader distribution since local leaders were always raised up from within local churches. There was never a question of leaders not wanting to return home after leaving for advanced training since training was done on the job.

7. Whenever a new church was started, multiple leaders were always established. This prepared new leaders to lead church plants. This helped protect the church against a leadership vacuum if a leader was imprisoned. It also trained members for outreach.

8. Unpaid lay leadership was used in the churches. This helped prevent any artificial bifurcation between “clergy” and “laity.” This supported the practice of every adult member being part of the evangelistic outreach of the church and undergoing continuing training for ministry and being accountable for practicing what he or she had learned. Another advantage of this type of leadership is that since leaders do not require advanced theological degrees, the preparation of leaders does not form a bottleneck in the church planting process. They also require minimal financial support if any, enabling new churches to be started with little or no money.

9. Growth and fruitfulness was expected from new believers. This growth was in terms of knowing the Lord’s commands and obeying them. Such growth results in fruitful Christian lives.

10. Spiritual reproduction was expected. This reproduction was in terms of leading others to Christ, teaching others what one had learned, and planting new churches. Since this was seen as the normal outgrowth of Christian experience, then any exception was quickly noticed and steps were taken to make the situation right. The gospel carries a responsibility to share words of life with those who have not heard. This responsibility is most clearly seen in areas where the gospel has not penetrated.

11. Security concerns resulted in the inability of individual churches to grow beyond a certain point (which varies by location), necessitating church multiplication, rather than merely increasing the size of a single congregation. This in turn resulted in a larger, more diverse, and more geographically available interface with the non-Christian community. It also helped to preserve the higher level of intimacy and accountability that typify smaller groups.

12. Another factor that was enforced by the hostile environment is the fact that the vast majority of churches did not have the option of using a dedicated church building. They instead used homes or shops in most cases. This means there was no facility expense to tie up the resources of the congregation and consume their energy and attention. It also assisted believers in maintaining an outward focus in ministry rather than an inward focus.

13. Quite often, the new churches wrote their own original hymnody, which expressed their personal faith and Christian experience. This music became a strong encouragement and influence toward solidarity and a rallying point in difficult circumstances.

14. In teaching and training as well as in evangelistic methods, reproducibility was emphasized. The teaching was kept simple in both format and content. Application with accountability was a constant emphasis. This helped increase the likelihood of continuous reproduction.

15. Believers at every level were held responsible to apply or put into practice what they had learned. They were also expected to teach others who were newer in the faith what they had learned. This resulted in mature and stable believers even when they had not been in the faith for a long period of time.

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davedevries@churchleaders.com'
Dave is a MISSIONALIST! He is focused on equipping and empowering pastors and church planters to embrace missional practices, and partnering together with leaders to strategically multiply churches to reach our nation and the nations among us. His wife, Deanne, and he were led by God to plant Lake Hills Church in Castaic, CA in 1990 and he pastored there for 16 years before joining OC International's U.S. Team.