There are four ingredients to the ministry philosophy of home groups, including Biblical Foundation, Relational Environment, Intentional Discipleship and Reproducible Process. If home group leaders focus on the Reproducible Process, they will actually assimilate the first three. The reason is that while programs and gimmicks can be developed to reproduce disciples, the process will break down very quickly without the first three. Why? The process breaks down because the disciples will not be transformed to the image of Jesus. Note the following reasons why home groups must multiply.
Multiplication is All about Others
Multiplication in, and of, home groups is all about others, rather than self. Individuals can learn God’s Word and relate with others in order to get their needs met. However, in order to grow the body, individuals must be more concerned about others than themselves. Jesus responded to a lawyer’s (student of Biblical Law) question,
37 Jesus said to him, “`You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment. 39 “And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 22:37-39 NKJ)
We already love ourselves; God wants us to love others in a similar way. That is the only way we will be able to multiply. We have to put others before our own needs. It is one of the ways we demonstrate our love for the Lord.
Multiplication Fulfills the Great Commission
Multiplication was Jesus’ intention when He gave the Great Commission. He gave three additional commands around the main verb of “make disciples.” He said,
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20 NKJ)
The first command is “Go!” It is a verb that means “as you are going about life, this is what I want you to do.” Then He gives the main verb, “make disciples,” which rolls up all the opportunities in life to make disciples into one “ball of wax” as a life principle! “Go make disciples in your life.” Then Jesus describes how we make disciples. First, identify them (baptize) into the body of Christ. Home groups are a great way to assimilate people into the local church. Secondly, teach them to observe all that that you have learned. Home groups are a great way to ensure that people are learning what is being taught.
If one person discipled just two people in one year and those two people discipled two more each in a year’s time, then by the 32nd year, the world would be reached. In contrast if you kept adding 1000 people every year to the Body as God might use a really great speaker, it would take seven million years. There is no one gifted enough to take on that challenge. Multiplication is a much more effective, powerful and practical way to reach the world. Besides, it puts the emphasis on each individual, rather than just a few.
Multiplication is Oriented to Oneness
In Jesus’ prayer, His purpose was oneness with Himself and the Father. He desires that all be saved (2 Pet. 3:9) and brought into oneness with the Father. That would bring the greatest glory to the Father. Individuality is merely that, all about individuals. Jesus’ multiplication is all about drawing people into oneness with the Father,
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will1 believe in Me through their word; 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23 NKJ)
Jesus did not command us to make disciples without also intentionally desiring that we be brought into oneness with Him. That is why He was willing to endure the shame of the cross (Heb. 12:2). He wanted all men to be joined to Him in oneness.
Multiplication must be done in the Power of the Holy Spirit
While the mathematics, as mentioned above, works best in multiplication, it cannot be done in human power, but only in the power of the Holy Spirit. The devil will fight the multiplication process and distract disciples at any chance he can. That is why Christ-followers must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Act 1:8 NKJ) Dependence upon the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for spiritual witness and multiplication.
Multiplication was Paul’s Design for Church Growth
Paul’s mandate to Timothy was to disciple faithful men. Not every man is faithful or wants to be committed. There are hundreds of men who only desire to go to church, but not join the process of making disciples. Paul wrote, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2 NKJ) Paul’s mandate follows the Great Commission to teach what has been learned. Paul directed Timothy to commit or entrust the Truth to faithful men who would pick up the banner and train others also. The challenge is to find faithful men, and it is overcome by helping people through the spiritual stages of growth.
The Reproducible Process is essential or all we will do is add. Every organization needs a multiplication process whereby new people can understand how they can begin reproducing within six months to a year. Some will take longer, but all can be brought along if they are humble and are willing to disciple others. God never commands without giving the resources needed to accomplish that command and the opportunities to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven. Emphasize multiplication and God will move through intentional discipleship in a relational environment with His Word.