16. Vision and responsibility for the completion of the Great Commission was taught at every level in the churches. It was also “caught” since every trainer and leader was consumed with that task, and mentoring and on-the-job training are the heart of the training methodology. This vision ensured the common direction and purpose of every new congregation.
17. Accountability was practiced at every level. Even the “senior” leaders of each congregation were accountable to the leaders of other congregations. This created a sense of solidarity and camaraderie, which is essential in an environment that is hostile, and in which Christians are such a tiny minority.
18. There was a conscious awareness among church planters and trainers that their identity, methods, patterns, and attitudes would be emulated by the new believers and congregations. They were the models or patterns on which new work would be based. This resulted in great intentionality in these key areas.
19. When work had to be done in Mandarin, every possible effort was made to ensure that it would be passed on in XYZese at the first generation. They XYZese churches then imitated this pattern in planting cross-cultural congregations.
20. Ethnic Chinese people exclusively were used as trainers and church planters, helping to avoid impressions of Christianity as a Western religion. This resulted in churches which were very “at home” in the culture.
21. Low education levels were catered to in terms of indirect and informal teaching styles and forms. Scriptures, hymns, training materials, evangelistic materials, and Bible teaching were all distributed on cassette. Video materials were used where appropriate. Training was based on personal interaction (modeling, mentoring, and on-the-job training) rather than written materials.
22. There was a tremendous amount of specific prayer focused on the XYZese people and their evangelization. This was done by groups of people on several continents who were committed to pray regularly for the XYZese using specific and timely prayer requests provided by newsletters, phone, and e-mail. God moved because His people asked.
23. It was God’s time for the XYZese. He had clearly been preparing them and preparing His people for the task. He was working for His glory in such a way that no one else could possibly take credit for it. It was clearly a sovereign work of grace.
In reflecting on these 23 Reasons for Rapid Church Growth, my colleague Bob Rasmussen makes the following observations:
The factors seem to fall into two general categories: those that we can affect and those we cannot. In the first category are things like every believer expected to share the gospel, early baptism, leadership from the beginning, etc. In the second category are factors that are beyond our ability to affect but are left to God and society at large. In this category would be persecution, lack of wherewithal to have church buildings, etc.
It is interesting to me that the obstacles for replicating factors within our control are of our own making. Our traditions. This would suggest that in seeking rapid church multiplication, one key area leaders should re-examine is traditions that inhibit.
New wine demands new wineskins.
What insights does reading these 23 Reasons spark in you?
What traditions do you need to re-examine?
How can you remove inhibitors to rapid multiplication?