Mainline Church Consultant Bill Easum is concerned about the future of the church. In his new book “Dinosaurs to Rabbits” he uses an animal comparison to illustrate where the church is headed (a dinosaur) compared to where it should be headed (a rabbit). For example, some of the differences:
Dinosaurs: reproduce a smaller but still credible amount of eggs laid, which unfortunately take a long time to hatch. They get destroyed by predators, which lead to an annual mortality rate of usually only one surviving dinosaur from the entire birth process. And because of the long period of time, and lack of a multiplying process, they fail to multiply.
Rabbits: have many bunnies in their kits, with a short gestation period, leading to about 70 surviving rabbits per year, who within 31 days can start reproducing again. Because they have an immediate turnaround in reproduction, the average doe can count about 700 bunnies per year through her family tree.
The result dinosaurs are extinct; rabbits are everywhere and still multiplying!
Now can you see any parallels with the American church? Would these phrases help? “Not multiplying”; “slow to reproduce”; “has possibilities but gets rejected,” “not designed to multiply,” “lost their purpose.,” “heading towards extinction.” etc.
Hopefully you’ve heard by now that a major part of the new Strategic plan of the ERC is multiplication! It’s easy to see why multiplication is one of our 4 strategic pillars:
- It’s biblical! God commands us to do it (Genesis 1)!
- It’s missional! God uses it to depopulate Hell and welcome more people to Heaven (Acts 1)!
- It’s supernatural! It can’t be done without the Spirit-led and Vision-led direction and provision of God (Ephesians 3)!
- It produces disciples! In the ERC, it’s we have made a Great commitment to the Great Commandment to live out the Great Commission and to Multiple disciples, leaders, ministries, and churches! As Easum says: “Go and serve is their mantra. Radical discipleship replaces nominal membership…Serving is more important than the congregation becoming big and kingdom is more important than their congregation. If a new church moves into their community, they celebrate because it will benefit Kingdom.” (Acts 6)
- It’s happening now! From mainline denominations, to independent churches, and Jesus-hungry faith communities like the ERC, more and more Jesus followers are seeing God’s Great Commission (Matthew 28) “to go and make” disciples as a fulfillment of the Great Commandment (Matt. 22) to “love God with all thine might.” In other words, disciples are to be sent to serve, not to sit and soak.
David Nelms of the 1 Timothy Initiative is one of our strategic planning coaches. David is training us in disciple-making and church multiplication. He has planted more than 50,000 churches internationally with even more becoming disciple makers!
What about you and your church? Is being a disciple of Jesus based on how much you know? How many Scriptures you can memorize? How many Holy Huddles you attend?
While learning, attending, and memorization of Scriptures are important to our growth as Christ-followers, they still don’t make us a disciple (Matt. 28). What would a multiplying church and Jesus follower look like?
Let me close with several questions from “Dinosaurs to Rabbits” that I hope you’ll pray and meditate on. Hopefully they will help you and your church to start on the quest to “Just Multiply!”
Am I willing to follow every command of my Lord and Savior?
Am I willing to go wherever God asks me to go?
What does it mean for me to give my life according to the demands of the Gospel?
What are the daily implications of loving my enemy?
What temptations have I had today and what did I do about them?
How can my life be molded into the pattern of Jesus’ servanthood?
What is God doing in your life this week?
-Chuck Frank, ERC Director of Multiplication