The hardest part about being a Multiplying Church is saying goodbye—not necessarily to material comfort or the stability of a Sunday service, but to people.
To become a Multiplying Church—a church that plants another church—requires great sacrifice. While we may think the greatest sacrifice for a planter is the stability of various forms of finance, the greatest sacrifice in multiplying is the stability of relationships.
Bonding as a Church Plant
A beautiful aspect of church planting is that God’s people bond in ways that are different than an established church. Church plants often require more leg work and manpower. From putting out chairs to greeting newcomers to making coffee to preaching God’s Word, it’s all hands are on deck. These moments bond God’s people because there are clear ways to serve together to see the mission of the church accomplished.
This is especially the case if a core team moved to another location to plant a church together. If God’s people are the only people you know, you stick close because you’re all experiencing the newness of life transition with one another. Together you rejoice with one another in the beautiful moments of life and weep together through the tragedies (Romans 12:15).
This community functions as a holy haven as God’s people work hard to live on mission and advance the kingdom. But all throughout history, God gathers his people and then scatters them to the corners of the earth—or in the planter’s case, to another city, state or providence—to have gospel impact somewhere else.
Sending Your Best
It’s a beautiful privilege for a core team to watch their local manifestation of Christ’s bride grow through conversions. They get a small taste of the early church as they lived on mission together and the Lord “added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
While the comforts of the safe haven of God’s people provides of sense of security and comradery, God gathers his people and scatters them to advance his kingdom elsewhere. Jesus told his disciples they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). And they were his witnesses in Jerusalem, but it’s not until Stephen’s martyrdom that they are scattered elsewhere to preach the Word (Acts 8:4). God’s plan was never that they would stay in Jerusalem. His glory is too great to be contained to one location.
Planters train godly men and women to lead God’s people and send them out to live on mission, but the impact of these relationships remains. The hard part of multiplying your church is saying goodbye to those close relationships that feel like family ties. It is in these moments that Dhati Lewis’, vice president of Send Network, words ring true: “The church is not like family. The church is family.
Church planters send their best to multiply somewhere else. It is heartbreaking and necessary. But had God’s people not been willing to expand their efforts by scattering and sacrificing the comfort of their relationships, we would not be here today. God gathered the Christians in the early church, he grew them and he sent them out, and we are here today, in part, because of their willingness to go.
As hard as it is, may we continue to raise up men and women who will multiply their church and their lives in other neighborhoods, cities and across the world.
For more information about what it is like being a Multiplying Church, listen to Dhati Lewis interview Dean Fulks, lead pastor of Lifepoint Church, on We are Send Network.
Published January 23, 2020