Multiplication, anyone?

Mike Breen, Navigators Chicago Metro Mision /

Jesus gave us a picture of a tree and said that good trees are supposed to bear good fruit. It’s a simple picture, really. One tree can give you quite a lot of fruit. But it’s more. In each piece of fruit is the seed of multiplication. Each piece of fruit has dozens of seeds that could produce more trees. And there wasn’t just one piece of fruit on each tree, but lots of fruit.
So let’s run this out:
* One tree
* One tree, hypothetically, has 100 pieces of fruit
* Each piece of fruit has, hypothetically, 20 seeds in it that can multiply into 20 more trees
* One tree = 2,000 potential treesMultiplication is what Jesus is talking about in the Parable of the Sower. In another, you expect a return of 30, 60, 100 times what you invest with the one seed. It’s multiplication.

Let’s understand the context of what Jesus was going after. When Jesus talked about trees and fruit, he was referring to something very specific: people. He was saying that each person is a tree, and a disciple is someone who produces good fruit. If we take Jesus’ metaphor seriously, he seems to be suggesting that a disciple will produce thousands of disciples.If you’re at all like me, that can seem incredibly daunting.

Then you realize where we started and do the simple math. You can’t get there by addition, but you can by multiplication. We take what we’ve been given, invest it, and let it multiply.
Multiplication has been the way of the church for thousands of years because it was the way of Jesus.

The early church had two things going for it:
1. They had the Holy Spirit.
2. They knew how to multiply missional leaders.

That was it. No budgets, buildings, or any real cash on hand. All around there was moral relativism, polytheism, hedonism run amok, persecution, and an Empire that seemed to hate the church with a growing intensity.

And they blew the roof off!

At the end of the day, you could launch a missional movement with those same two things—the Holy Spirit and a way to multiply missional leaders. The problem is that many of us don’t actually believe that.

If we are great at making the disciples, church growth will never be a problem, because being a disciple means you’re a missionary….  Making disciples was in the DNA from the very beginning, and it has carried through into the movement of which it is the heart.

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