Let’s face it, God is a God of multiplication. He multiplies in His creation – from grass to clouds to bushes to trees. Humans created in His image multiply and have multiplying systems. It should come as no surprise to us, then, that God designed His Church to multiply – to have radical impact in geographic regions and to take the gospel to many regions.
Two biblical examples
Let me cite two biblical examples of this multiplication.
- Acts 16:5 – So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number daily. (NASB)
The short version is “the churches were increasing in number daily.” Luke is careful in his choice of terms. When he talks about individuals, he means individual people. When he refers to churches, he means churches. My point is this: whatever Luke is saying in Acts 16:5, churches are increasing in number daily. This does not mean that one church had 50 people on Sunday and then had 60 people the next time they met. What it means is in this region there were for example 25 churches; by the next week there were 32 churches etc. Churches were multiplying (See Raising Rabbits not Elephants p 95 ff for more observations on this passage). God multiplied His church in this part of Asia Minor.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 – You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. (NASB)
This passage is profound for many reasons but what drew my attention to it a few years ago was that Paul said he did not need to say anything to them about sharing the gospel. As I checked further, the passage clearly says they “trumpeted” the gospel into Macedonia and Achaia, a geographical region of approximately 42,000 square miles. I am not saying that everyone in that region got saved, but the gospel was ‘trumpeted’ into this region by this one church family.
Ohio is a geographic region of approximately 40,000 square miles. Image with me that the DNA or natural make up of any church that preaches the gospel can “trumpet” the gospel in a region the size of Ohio. Pretty cool, huh? (See Raising Rabbits not Elephants p. 195 ff for more).
God does design His church to multiply and impact large geographic regions. One key reason we do not see this today is our impaired vision.
To illustrate: We lived in Columbus, Ohio while our kids were growing up. We went to the Columbus Zoo often. As you entered the zoo and went to the right (the zoo layout has changed some today) you entered “Africa.” The first 1/2 acre exhibit housed gazelles. This African animal can jump ten feet high and cover 30 feet when it wants to. The Columbus Zoo kept this herd of gazelles in place with a three-foot-tall fence.
I later learned that gazelles will not jump where their eyes cannot see. A three-foot fence nicely blocks the eyes of any gazelle thus they do not jump out of their enclosure when they so easily could.
How many three-foot fences has Satan built around the church family, convincing us that we cannot even reach across the street let alone across the state?
What can we do? First, we must understand who we are in Jesus Christ and how He designed His church. We must know that we are made to impact large geographical regions.
Let’s begin to pray for this movement.
We are going to look at next steps in upcoming blogs.
If you find something of interest here, forward to a friend.
If you wish to talk further, let’s talk.