That’s one of the questions our team considered during our week at ReachGlobal’s Church Planting Institute in Slovenia last month. To give a more specific illustration: Can there be a clear line of sight from serving people with terminal illnesses to our ultimate vision of multiplying transformational churches among all peoples? We left the conference knowing that the answer is “yes.” It is true that we can serve the needy in a way that has no impact on church planting, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit any act of service can lead down a path that not only builds up but also multiplies the church.
This truth was confirmed the following week as we hosted a gathering of missionaries from 11 countries here in Bucharest. Most work among Muslims. Our subject was “Disciple-Making Movements.” Over the course of the week we learned a simple approach to discipleship which turns our daily interactions and relationships into great opportunities to plant seeds for multiplying disciples and even churches.
One key to multiplying churches is having a simple definition of church that eliminates all the aspects we’ve added on over the centuries, stripping it down the meaning Jesus intended when He said, “I will build My church.” At the heart of the Biblical definition is worship, prayer, Scripture, obedience and evangelism all focused on Jesus through the work of the Spirit. We practiced a Bible study method that plants the seed of all these elements right from the first meeting. The cool thing is that this type of study requires very little advanced preparation and can be led (and passed on!) by a team member who is working with a group of disabled people, abandoned children, a survivor of trafficking or just the neighbor next door. Praise God that we can all be part of His amazing work in growing His church!