The Ralph Moore Podcast


Six Rapid Multiplication Drivers

Season 1, Ep. 5009

Rapid Multiplication Drivers

Let’s look at six primary fuel sources that could potentially make the unsatisfied Great Commission a reality during the next hundred years. Think of these as forces which drive any church multiplication movement.

1. A Visionary Sponsor

Management guru Peter Drucker once observed, “Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.” Be it Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, McDonald’s Ray Kroc or inventor Thomas Edison, “narrow-minded” people lead the rest of us into a better future. To turn the flow of American culture back toward Christ, we need extremely focused individuals who can see that adding to the size of their churches has more value if addition results in multiplication. These are people who will build capacity to multiply rather than settling for geocentric addition. Addition should result in a greater capacity for multiplication. My question to you is, “Could you become such a monomaniac?”

2. The Backing of a Healthy Church

Most growing churches give substantial amounts of money to overseas missions. Many sponsor annual mission trips for church members while some liberally fund missionaries on other continents. However, most of the tangible resources in American churches go toward maintaining status quo. Status quo may include addition growth, but it’s still an exercise in more of the same. A church that achieves Level 5 multiplication will reallocate resources to mission rather than maintenance. If you don’t already know, the Great Commission is the mission.

3. Microchurch as a Startup Tool

The idea of microchurch is not an end in itself. It is a tool for rapid multiplication of disciples and churches. The ideal would be for a freelance microchurch pastor to reproduce themselves multiple times with each new pastor doing the same. However, some will grow to macro status and may never reproduce. The power in this concept is that it offers a low-risk opportunity for the pastor of an existing church to launch a few disciples into a church planting experiment.

Because a freelance pastor maintains their career there is limited financial risk to both the sending church and the new pastor.

A microchurch is more than a Bible study. Bible studies come and go. As soon as you identify a group as a church, things change—some abandon you; the rest get serious. Simply using the word, “church” changes the nature of the thing from something temporary to an enduring relationship. Add in the concept of tithing, and people either climb onboard or they get out.

I believe microchurches represent the next (and absolutely necessary) step in churches’ influence on American culture.

4. An Army of Freelance Pastors

We need to take a closer look at the concept of freelance, pastors. Currently, the bivocational paradigm is somewhat distasteful. After all, we invest time, money and life itself in educating ourselves toward what we hope is full-time vocational ministry. As time passes, we discover that they can’t lead a congregation large enough to sustain their family (many Level 1 churches and pastors fall into this category). The choices are simple: 1. Resign from the church to take a better job. 2. Take a second job to supplement your income.

We often think of Paul as a tentmaker or bivocational leader. That source of income appears to have been a fallback when he lacked funds. Scripture paints a different picture of Aquila and Priscilla and their ministry. They were tentmakers who planted ministry in Corinth before Paul arrived (Acts 18:1-3). They did more of the same in Ephesus (Acts 18:18-26) and Rome (Romans 16:3).

Aquila and Priscilla seemed to have embraced tent making as their primary funding source, even after engaging in ministry. They planted from their career. Aquila was a career entrepreneur doing ministry on a freelance basis. Paul was a ministry guy serving bivocationally, in our current understanding of the concept. There is a difference in the motivation and the need for funding. Aquila lived with liberated finances. Paul did not.

5. Persons of Peace

Evangelism is often a family affair. Wherever we go with the gospel, Jesus tells us we’re supposed to connect with a “person of peace” (Luke 10:6). Through this person, we’ll reach their tribe. As we bond to this single individual, we find our way into their tribe. This reflects the New Testament idea represented in Peter touching the “oikos,” or, household, of Cornelius (Acts 10:1- 48). Cornelius was the person of peace as was Lydia in Philippi (Acts 16:14, 40) or Crispus in Corinth (Acts 18:8).

6. Perseverance

If there is any “secret sauce” in the multiplication process it is perseverance. Whatever success I have known in church multiplication is simply the result of relentless pursuit of the Great Commission via disciplemaking that leads to equipping church planters from within the local church.

More Episodes


Small Place Church Planting Opportunities

Season 2, Ep. 5020
Small Place Church Planting Opportunities Church planting in small places is a new concept for me. I’ve done it for years, but somehow missed the grand opportunity and huge need that it represents.Think of urban neighborhoods and towns of fewer than 15,000 people as small places. Add the 5 million, or so, people who live an entirely rural lifestyle and the numbers are huge. Thankfully, there is a renewed focus on urban areas in the U.S. Lets talk about the 60 to 90 million people living in small towns and rural areas. The numbers vary depending on who is measuring. It’s 60 million if you look at towns smaller than 15,000 and 90 million if you think a community becomes large if it boasts more than 25,000 people. This represents a wonderful opportunity for the gospel. Everyone knows that the United States is currently the third largest mission field in the world. North America is the only continent where the church is shrinking while it grows everywhere else. Not everyone knows that 90 million people would represent the 13th largest country in the world if they were their own nation, or that these people are seriously underserved by the church. We need to think missionally toward rural and small-town America. They constitute nearly 25 percent of our entire population.Rural/Small-Town America is Growing And the opportunities are growing. Rural America lost population in the 1980s, only to reverse the process beginning in the 1990s and continuing to the present. Millions of people flee mostly the suburban commuter lifestyle to live in smaller places each year. This is different from the nasty “white flight” of a generation ago. People of all socio-economic backgrounds now make the trek. They bring with them their high-tech industrial parks, brew pubs and upscale coffee shops. What’s lacking are new churches to go with the migration. And its not just the new arrivals who need new churches. Churches across America are closing their doors. Older churches are dying faster than newer ones and the mainline denominations shrink the fastest. The unique combination of older mainline congregations that were once foundational to small communities is going away and going that way faster than churches in the suburbs. We need to replace the dying churches by planting new congregations. But replacement alone won’t touch the opportunity or the need. The 13th largest mission field in the world awaits us. The same logic holds for most urban neighborhoods.This is SignificantIn the 1970s more than 90 percent of Americans called themselves Christian of one stripe or another. Today, according to Pew Research, that number has fallen to just 71 percent. In the early 70s, 53 percent said they attend church at least once each month. In the early 2010s that number has fallen to 43 percent. Of those who say they attend on a regular basis, the 1970s tally was 38 percent. Today it has fallen to 28 percent. We are losing ground.When you consider that these numbers are magnified in smaller communities you realize there is a massive mission field that is white unto harvest and awaiting our attention.Seeing the Culture Through A Different LensI spent most of my years pastoring suburban churches. The last congregation was on the edge of an urban area of Honolulu. Things were different there. We had to plant “homegroups” in food courts and coffee shops because of unavailable parking near urban apartments. I came to realize that I unintentionally saw the world through an “us-them” paradigm. We in the suburbs got things right while urban dwellers didn’t quite get it. I simply didn’t understand the differences in needs and opportunities. Now I understand that the same is true of my understanding of rural/small-town America. This has been a good wakeup for me. Question: “Are you thinking about ‘us’ or thinking about getting the gospel to ‘them?’” Do you think “Come to my church?” or “How can we get the gospel into every corner of our land?”A Question for YouI recently discovered something which Jesus said that I had overlooked, “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38, NIV). In referencing villages, he said, “That is why I have come.” I get it that he’s not only interested in the villages, but I have not been interested in them at all. Question: “Do you believe small towns are central to God’s plan for the church?”