This article was published in 2004 on the ability and challenges for Church Duplication and Growth. In particular, I draw from an incredible event that occurred in the Philippines.
-BroScott H Leonard
Church Duplication and Growth
After traveling throughout the world assisting mission programs I stopped to notice some simple facts.
On our 2002 trip to the Philippines, we (myself and two Preachers) witnessed something incredible. We found ourselves walking where God had already prepared the way and hearts of the people. Continually, we were aw struck with the internal need to suppress ourselves, our flesh, our will, our desires, as we could sense that God had begun a revival in the region and we can only offer ourselves as servants, vessels, nothing more.
From the time out plane touched the ground, the you could sense that even the dust belonged to God, we were only to be instruments as our Father in Heaven is already there working, selecting, and preparing the hearts and lives of the people for the Gospel of Salvation through the finished work of Christ Jesus.
Instantly and continually we asked, why, how… How can this place be so prepared to receive the Gospel in comparison to the USA and other places. What made this land different than others? We didn’t do anything, outside of prayer… Ah! the Power of Prayer!?
No, the atmosphere here was much bigger than the three of us. Most definitely, there is something else…
A Pastor from the region picked us up at the airport around midnight, and we traveled north of Manila about 3 hours to Angelos City and checked into the Marlin Motel. At 7am we were picked up and traveled to a Church were 35 national Pastors had gathered.
We met and greeted each and in the next hour, like a 40′ tower of bricks collapsing on top of us, the answer was more than obvious.
Listen as they sing together, young and old, their testimonies, their desires, their passion… we were present, among 35 men, Pastors, who had been gathering together, in Unity, in One Accord, In Prayer, In Fasting, In Thanksgiving, many months, possibly a year.
We were humbled with the sense of being transported back to the days of Pentecost, fortunate, undeserving witnesses, present to participate as well, in some fashion, offered only to God for direction usage.
..No doubt, I will never be able to express the atmosphere throughout the Philippines on this trip, or of these men gathered in One Accord for One Purpose, to see Souls Saved as God would allow.
In the next two weeks, these men, and even their congregations worked in one another’s communities, sharing the Gospel, hosting evening services, and being witness to the Pure Grace of God being poured without measure upon their own people, as they and we have so undeservingly received.
After returning, I look upon the field here, at home.
There are people, in need…
What are the steps
that would place
at the Threshold
Step 1, Realize your Charge… Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: v.20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Do a little Greek study and you’ll find the Charge was to Disciple All Nations. Going in “Go Ye” is assumptive, because we should already be going. The How To is given as Baptizing and Teaching… Baptizing, bringing them to salvation culminating in being baptized. Teaching, should be understood. Paul often preached for a day, many were saved, then he tarried there for weeks teaching.
Step 2, You must get right in your own hearts… refer to Acts chapters 1-3
Step 3, You must get in one accord to reach an area. If you’re too Independent to get along, and to be in one accord with other Churches, you must go back to step 1….. refer to Acts chapters 1-3 I am not at all talking about ecumenicalism, but if there is an independent, fundamental, bible believing, King James Baptist Church, stop drawing lines as if you own different sides of the town. We’re on the same team! This problem can also be seen within our own Church. One Accord is key. Not in lip-service, but in love, action, desire, intent, passion, … in Christ.
Step 4, You must Go. Tired of looking at the same ugly mugs from the pulpit? Shake a hand in the community and bring them in. Nothing happens in life without commitment. Marriage fails without commitment. Business fails without commitment. Imagine if Christ had come and not been committed to Calvary! Turn the TV off, get off the sofa, replace the remote with your Bible, swing your leg forward, then back really hard and kick yourself out the door!
Step 5, You must Preach the Gospel to Every Creature… Mark 16:15 ? Not a preacher? By definition, to Preach is to Proclaim, a town crier… if You’re saved, the Holy Ghost came upon you and empowered you to reach someone else. Get out there and proclaim the Life, Love, and Salvation of Christ! Lead someone to Christ, teach the congregation to get out there and lead someone to Christ, or at the very least, get people to Church, before a Preacher, that they may be convicted and led to Christ!
Step 6, You must Baptize under water… Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19 Yes, YOU must be Baptized. Also, you, as a Pastor, are instructed to Baptize converts. Baptism does not offer Salvation. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Many people know the name “Jesus”, the Pharisees knew him by name. The key is Lord, probably the most often overlooked two words in the Bible. In Romans 6:23 the Gift if God is eternal life through Jesus Christ OUR LORD. It’s a package deal. Baptism is an excellent example of a believer that has received Salvation. The act of Baptism is shown as proof, by the believer, that he is submitted to Christ, recognizing Jesus as his Lord, and willing to do as his Lord has instructed. And Christ did command it.
So you see, it is not salvation that is gained by Baptism, but a witness that Christ is Lord of the convert’s life, thereby evidence that the individual is truly a brother or sister in Christ, birthed into the Church, the bride of Christ. This public act is generally accepted by the local Church as the testimony of a believer and thus is accepted into membership with the local congregation.
Yes, the mechanics of the beginning middle and end are also a tremendous symbol of the Death Burial and Resurrection of Christ, and thus the Death Burial of the old life of the convert and Resurrection to live a new life.
Step 7, You must Teach them whatsoever Christ has commanded… Matthew 28:20 (The local Church may pick up this task, but if you study Acts, they often came into a city and Preached, many were saved, then they tarried 2 years and taught, or 2 weeks and taught.) You should become a living, walking example, assisting in instructing and teaching, first hand, in Bible Studies, Activities, and Life.
Step 8, Never take any credit yourself. Only be an instrument. To God be all Glory and Honor! ALL OF IT!
** Most common mistakes.
1. Not realizing the true Commission is to Disciple all nations. The commission is not Go, Going is assumed. Study the Greek, or better yet, contact me and I’ll send you a grammatical sentence outline for these verses. The Main Verb is Disciple, the Subject is All Nations. There are 3 accompanying participles, Go, Baptize, and Teach.
2. Being too Independent. Do some study, and you’ll find this to be sin.
3. Assuming that Going is the Commission, or that Going is Half the Commission. Or Assuming that someone else will go.
4. Assuming that Preaching is the second Half of the Commission.
5. Assuming that Preaching includes “..that… Catholic… that…Pentecostal… that… Mormon”. Preach the Gospel, not rhetoric! Preach the Gospel of Salvation though Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will handle the rest. Quit muddying the waters with rhetoric that causes many people to ignore you and leave before they hear the truth of the Gospel. Teach them to observe all things… in instruction, you can teach and reveal in a manner that will enlighten to false doctrines, cults, etc., while reserving yourself to Preaching the Gospel.
Their Blood will be on YOUR Hands!
6. Not Baptizing… Salvation is through Faith in Jesus, BUT… We are Commanded to be Baptized!!! You’re not following the instructions of Jesus, and Mark 16:16 says “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Non-believers are damned, but Believers AND Baptized are saved! Not that Baptism equals salvation, but it is a sign of servant hood, by the believer, and by the Pastor. If they are not Baptized, they are perhaps in rebellion against what Christ has instructed. How can they be in rebellion in Christ is Lord of their life?
Indication would be they are truly not saved. Implications could also be made to the Pastor that does not Baptize.. we are Baptists aren’t we? Yea, quit making excuses, we’re supposed to do as we are told, not make excuses!
In Acts 9:18, Paul met the Lord, he was saved, the scales fell off his eyes, he arose was baptized, then began the journey of serving God. Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Later, in Chapter 22, Paul, in his own testimony recounted how he was saved, in detail, and how the man of God stated… Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Then, he began his journey of serving God. Summation, we are not to tarry, nor to cause others to tarry.
7. Not teaching Christ’s commands and teachings, but Independent Baptist rhetoric… Preach the Gospel, Teach Christ’s precepts, then if anything was not covered by Christ, it was probably not important, but if you must… Teach it after you have fulfilled your prior instructions. Men and Women, boys and girls desperately need instruction on dressing right, living right, the television, the beach, etc. It is needed, but, if you teach Christ’s command’s, all his teachings, he covers a great deal. We should do it his way.
8. Wanting to take the Glory. Wanting the activities to be managed by you. Wanting to gather preachers in your Church to sit on pews rather than kick them out so they can get about the Great Commission. Churches like to play mother hen.