Prayer and Mulitplication
One of the things Ralph Moore has been saying is that church multiplication comes from times of extraordinary prayer. He sometimes adds fasting to that, as well.
Very briefly, what we mean by multiplication is that churches do not simply add more worshippers/members. That is a good thing—better to add than to subtract. But what we really want to see is a church plant a new church. The new church plants a new church. The “mother church” plants another new church, and so on. Imagine if a church with 200 people sends 30 or 40 to do the work of launching a new church on this model I just described. Within a few years, there could be 3, maybe 4 new churches, 5 total. If the mother church had instead opted to go for addition growth, and did a phenomenal job, and doubled to 400, it still would not equal the growth of the church multiplication effort. And if that church multiplication effort continued… no mega church’s attendance could ever equal a church multiplication movement’s growth.
Part of why it takes extraordinary prayer is that God needs to change hearts in existing churches. We are addicted to growth… well, since most churches aren’t growing, we are addicted to the idea of growth.
It makes sense. More people in church feels better, looks better.
More people means more money, more volunteer base. Again, all good things.
But how do you keep adding more people?
You need more staff, which means more money. You need 1 full-time program staff person per 80 in attendance.
You need bigger, better, newer facilities. Lots more money.
Biggest hindrance: parking. You get 1.8 people per parking space.
Want to grow to 800? You need 10 full-time staff and 440 parking spaces. 444, if Randy Deitrich is reading this. If you have 2 services, you can get away with 220 spaces, but only if there is no overlap between services and no Sunday school taking up parking spaces. Since Americans perceive 75% occupancy as full, you actually are going to need a sanctuary to seat 1100 and about 600 parking spaces.
Or you re-orient to multiplication. There is not a mega church around that can catch up to Ralph Moore’s Hope Chapel, Neil Cole’s Church Multiplication Associates, and I bet that no one can catch up with Light and Life Free Methodist Church. Maybe a better example that we can see is… The Methodist Church. Not now… we have been in almost double-digit decline every decade since 1960. But you don’t get to be a church with, at one time, almost 40,000 churches in America; with less than 40 counties out of 3200 that do not have a Methodist Church; to have more penetration into the country than any organization besides the USDA—and that’s only because they have to have an agent for every county! You don’t get to that point without a serious multiplication strategy.
We had it. We lost it.
It is going to take extraordinary prayer to break our addiction to the idea of growth and get back to the future, where church multiplication is our heartbeat, where we are more concerned that someone, somewhere else does not have a church, than we are concerned that our church would grow bigger.
Ah, but Trinity Hill is a church of extraordinary prayer.
40 people are praying for every name in the church directory. Every day.
We are one of the pioneering churches in Lexington’s 24-7 prayer movement. We are looking for 30 churches to each take one day a month for 24 hour prayer, to cover the entire city in prayer!
Lord, may extraordinary prayer break through!
About a week ago, I was getting pummeled spiritually. Some of it was my own doing, running too hard. Some of it was just the breaks. Sometimes you have to run more than you want to. And then some of it was the evil one and his immense power to discourage you.
Thankfully, I was led to fast until I could get some answers, or find some uplift that could beat my exhaustion. I got it Friday morning, after a day of fasting, right as I was waking up. I knew in my spirit something that sounds obvious, but if we only know it in the mind, it does not go as deep: I can trust the Lord’s promises. And there it was. I popped up refreshed and also knew that this fast was open-ended… I had my answer and now I was fasting in celebration for the Lord’s goodness. I feasted on His Word that day, reveled in His goodness. And when I knew it was time to stop fasting, I did. I have often found that fasting proves that you can be sustained by prayer and the Word, but I do not recall every fasting in a kind of celebration.
Extraordinary prayer and fasting.