Why celebration is a tool for multiplication

By Clint Clifton

You’ve heard it said that you are what you celebrate and there is nowhere that is truer than in the local church. Here’s what I mean…

  • The church that celebrates the gospel becomes a people marked by and know for the gospel.
  • The church that celebrates their facility becomes a people marked by and know for their facility.
  • The church that celebrates the pastor becomes a people marked by and known for the pastor.
  • The church that celebrates a program becomes a people marked by and know for a program.

Think of any church you consider to be fruitful and ask yourself: What does the church talk about most often? What does the church try to get the members to do? What does the church produce? Your answers to those questions will tell you what the church celebrates and eventually what the church will be known for.

As a church planter you have a very unique opportunity build celebration into your new church’s DNA from the very earliest stages. The things you prioritize and celebrate will become passions and priorities of the congregation into the future. Virtually every directional choices you make in your church will reinforce that priority or confuse it in your congregation.

As a church planter you have the privilege of deciding and and influencing your congregation to care for something so, what will it be?

In the congregations that I serve, I have decided to celebrate church multiplication. I have made it my aim to not only to help people become dedicated followers of Christ but also to make them kingdom leaders and to send them to establish and renew churches. Here are seven of the most significant ways that I have found to celebrate church multiplication in my church.

Celebrate risk

Churches do risk all the time, unfortunately they usually risk for the wrong things. We all know churches that have gone into tremendous debt and challenged their congregations to give sacrificially to build a new facility or start a new program. Instead, consider making the same types of sacrifices to send out a church planting team.

Share in the success and struggles of other churches

The way you speak about other churches publically and privately will communicate a lot to your congregation. If another gospel-preaching church in your town holds has a baptism service, consider showing a picture of the baptism and thank God that he is reaching people in your community. If a church in your community is without a pastor, pray publicly that God would provide one so that the gospel can continue to advance there.

Pray for planters publicly

Make church planters, missionaries and their team members the hero’s in your church. Take a minute or two in every worship service to pray for a church planter. Share up to date prayer requests from the pulpit and pray earnestly for their success.

Prioritize training over competence

Many churches are in the unfortunate pattern of only allowing the best of the best to take a swing at preaching and leadership within the church. Train your congregation to be willing to endure subpar preaching and leadership from time-to-time in exchange for giving others opportunities to grow in ministry.

Run with significant financial margin

Most church planters I know have very little cash and a lot of ideas and dreams. Let me encourage you to focus a significant portion of your financial resources for church planting and leadership development. Start that number high while the church is small and the ministry is developing and as the church grows you will see that number too will grow.

Track progress

Don’t just celebrate the number of baptism and members in your congregation but also those in the congregations you have planted.

CS Lewis famously said, “Men spontaneously praise whatever they value.”

Let me encourage you as a church planter and pastor to spontaneously praise the multiplication of churches for the growth of the kingdom of God.

Published May 19, 2017

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Clint Clifton

Clint and his wife Jennifer have been married since 2000 and have six children. Clint holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida, and a Master of Arts from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Clint is the founding pastor of Pillar Church in Dumfries, Virginia. Pillar Church was founded in 2005 just one mile north of Quantico. Clint served as a church planter and associate pastor at several churches in the Southeast before planting Pillar Church. Since its inception, Pillar Church has started at least one new church each year, including churches in Reykjavik, Iceland, Bali, Indonesia, Norfolk, Virginia, and Fredericksburg, Virginia, among others.

In 2011 Pillar Church launched its most ambitious effort, the Praetorian Project, an effort to plant a network of new churches at military installations around the world. Clint is the author of several books, articles and courses including Church Planting Thresholds: A Gospel Centered Guide.

Clint serves as the Send City Missionary for Washington, D.C. with the North American Mission Board.