In the last blog we discovered that God has designed His church to multiply, but Satan has built fences around us to keep us from doing so.
When our kids were young, we took them to the Columbus Zoo. One of the first enclosures held 20 gazelles. Roughly a three-foot fence contained these amazing animals that can jump 10 feet high and traverse 30 feet.
How does a three-foot fence control them? I read that a gazelle will not jump where its eyes cannot see. So, a three-foot fence is all it takes. With their God given design and DNA, they could easily jump that fence, but they do not.
Jump the Fence
How can Jesus’ church “jump the fence” so to speak?
Our first step is to know and understand who we are in Jesus Christ.
Our next step – if we are to claim our God-designed place as a church that multiplies – is to look at the vision and values of church leadership.
In Acts 16:5-10 we read, So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (NASB)
On the heels of the first church-a-day movement (Acts 16:5), Paul began looking for his next field. As you read vs 6-10, what do you observe?
I observe the following:
- Paul intended to reach two places, but the Holy Spirit said no to Asia and the Spirit of Jesus said no to Bithynia.
- What do Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Bithynia, Troas and Macedonia all have in common? They are all geographic regions. Troas is a city, but it is also the name of the region.
What is the implication for church multiplication?
We need to see people and geographic regions as Jesus does. Paul, I believe, was taught by Jesus to envision geographic regions. So often, we pastors and leaders cast vision for our cities, towns, or parts thereof. I know I did. For 18+ years in Grove City, Ohio I envisioned reaching the western half of Grove City until I came to realize what Acts 16 has for us. I then expanded my vision to include all southern Ohio. I began investing my time in prayer walking many places in Southern Ohio.
How do you envision the expansion of His Kingdom? Do you think regionally?