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Editorial: The Path to Multiplication

“Be fruitful and multiply” was God’s first command to humankind in the Bible, and it has taken on a deeper dimension with the coming of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Church is now empowered to bear fruit and multiply globally in unprecedented ways for the glory of God. 

What is the path of multiplication that God is calling us to take? 

I was recently visiting with my friend who leads our Khmu ministry in Southeast Asia. He told me a story about a fifty-six-year-old man named Chong who was formerly a witchdoctor, or shaman. One day, Chong attended a Christian funeral in his village and heard the Gospel for the first time. He listened carefully to the story of Christ’s death and resurrection and the offer of hope for all who would believe. Chong asked how he too could experience this hope and go to heaven. He was told that he needed to accept Christ as the sacrifice for his sin, then give his entire life to God’s mission. Finally, baptism would be his public testimony that Christ was now his life. Chong, the former shaman, eagerly put his faith in Christ and returned home a transformed man. 

In the months since Chong’s conversion, people have continued to come to him daily for healing. Every day, he explains that he is no longer a shaman, but has become a follower of Jesus. He shares the simple message of the Gospel and declares that Jesus alone can save and heal. In the past six months, Chong has led 280 people to Christ. 

Recently, the local police in Chong’s village arrested him. The new church family had built a meeting place and the police were doing all they could to resist the growth of this movement. Finally, they put Chong in prison, but this only led to the Gospel spreading throughout the prison and Chong leading many of his fellow prisoners to Jesus. Chong is a multiplier, and Christ’s ministry through him is just getting started!

When God created Adam and Eve, his intention was threefold: that they live in relationship with him, that they be fruitful and multiply, and that they exercise God’s delegated authority in stewardship over creation. All three purposes were impacted by sin, and yet Christ’s Gospel redeems all three. Regarding authority and multiplication, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). Regarding relationship, Jesus says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (v. 20). 

I was recently attending a vision night at a local church where the leadership team was casting their new ten-year vision for church multiplication (which they were calling, Multiply). The vision included 250 local and global church plants through collaborative strategies and partnerships, and the raising of 30 million dollars! The pastor shared how the Lord had spoken to him at our recent Multiply Conference about the purpose of the Church, and then he had repented for not investing the resources and gifts of the church in the mission of God. “The Lord gave us a Ferrari,” the pastor said, “and we have been driving it like a golf cart!” As a ten-talent church, they would no longer be burying their gifts. Wow, was I inspired that night!

The Gospels give us a window on what a multiplication story looked like for the early disciples. In the aftermath of Christ’s death, they struggled in their faith and yet the resurrected Christ came to them and nurtured their passion to follow him. Before the Holy Spirit came in power at Pentecost, the disciples were on their knees together in united, concerted, earnest prayer. 

Is God stirring our hearts to pray? In prayer, we are led to lay down our agendas, ambition and sin and fully surrender to God and his mission. There is one way to the resurrection life of multiplication, and Jesus describes it clearly in John 12:24: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” If we do not embrace death as the heart of Christ’s Gospel, we will remain only as single seeds. Only death to self leads to the power of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit!

Just as the Early Church waited in Jerusalem for power from on high, so we too must wait before we go. Today, the Church around the world is praying like never before. Will we in North America also cry out to God and believe him for an awakening in our day? 

God is still calling us to be fruitful and multiply. We must be ready to return to our first love, seek his face, die to self and receive his power for proclamation, miracles and fruitfulness. At Multiply, that’s our passion and our prayer. Will you join us?

Witness Magazine
(to receive our quarterly magazine, subscribe here)

During 2019 in Witness, we want to share what we are learning and experiencing in the Multiply story. We hope that these stories will inspire you to follow God’s path of multiplication and help you understand the heart of a multiplier. 

Let’s Plant Churches Together

Multiply exists to inspire, equip and encourage the body of Christ to multiply healthy disciples and churches. We praise God for over 150 years of global mission engagement and a vast network of fruitful partnerships in over forty countries. Last year, we partnered with over 100 denominations around the globe. As we make disciples, our strategy is church planting, and we are passionate about helping everyone get involved.

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