What is “OPERATION MULTIPLICATION?”
“And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses,
New church members require much more than a handshake when they join your church. They need a Christ-centered friendship with someone who will walk by their side and make them feel welcome. This new friend should be prepared to introduce them to other church members, answer their questions, lead them to a small group Bible study, and serve as a role model for their spiritual growth.
Most churches simply hope their new members will find a dedicated Christian friend and learn the basics of spiritual growth. They also hope their new members will attend a small group Bible study and learn how to share their faith. However, instead of hoping many growth minded churches are now establishing an intentional process which will ensure that every new believer and new member receives the personal care and instruction they need. This is the heart of the “Operation Multiplication” strategy!
For years, churches have been overlooking their most valuable resource for evangelism new believers. Why are new believers so special in terms of evangelism? Because they still have natural relationship bridges with non-Christians. When we walk with these new members and show them how to grow spiritually and share their faith, they begin to witness and spiritual multiplication takes place naturally.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in the faith just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
WHY ONE-TO-ONE PERSONAL FOLLOW-UP?
Jesus expressed His deep concern about the spiritual nurturing of new Christians when He asked, “Peter do you love Me?...” When Peter said, “Yes,” the Lord replied, “Feed My lambs.” (John 21:15-17) When you invest your time discipling new Christians, it is an evidence that you love Him!
Increasingly, churches are realizing the importance of one-to-one personal care and new member assimilation. Across the years, various methods have been utilized in an effort to close the church’s “back door,” but the problem still exists. To address this need, many concerned churches have offered excellent new members classes, but experience has demonstrated that this approach, though desirable, is still inadequate when used alone. After extensive field-testing in numerous cultures, we have concluded that the most effective method for new member assimilation is encouraging Christ-centered friendships. We believe there are several reasons why this relational early church model has proven so successful:
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BIBLICAL BASIS FOR “OPERATION MULTIPLICATION”
The Scripture has a great deal to say about disciple-making, once we understand that equipping the saints is primarily a ministry of example. Paul expressed it this way, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) This clear principle echoed Jesus’ earlier words to His disciples when He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) The unmistakable emphasis of both invitations was to learn by observation. This principle, so common to life, was the cornerstone of early Christian education, because spiritual instruction took place in an environment where relationships were the primary means for gaining personal growth.
The classic phrase, “More things are caught than will ever be taught” defines one important aspect of Biblical disciple-making. Although many aspects of spiritual growth can be transmitted through the use of Christian literature personality, enthusiasm, laughter, and the twinkle in one’s eye cannot. These experiential aspects of personal friendship are indispensable components of a successful disciple-making ministry. While the cognitive aspects of discipleship are numerous, there is an intangible quality of spiritual life which only flows through the friendship itself.
For the church, spiritual multiplication is the essential key for fulfilling Christ’s missionary mandate (Matthew 28:19&20). Through just one committed new believer who is growing consistently, sharing his faith naturally, and personally training others to do the same, the entire world can eventually receive the good news of Jesus Christ! This amazing process of spiritual multiplication is so personal, enjoyable, and effective, that worldwide, any church can do it. It simply requires a 2 Timothy 2:2 vision and the commitment to train disciple-makers to personally work with every new member who joins the church. Through Christ-centered friendship, those who are trained in “Operation Multiplication” learn both “why” and “how” to disciple others. This progressive cycle of spiritual growth and lifestyle evangelism is the contemporary expression of New Testament disciple-making.
THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL MULTIPLICATION
Year People reached and trained
Years of field testing have taught us that Christian friendship and disciple-making should start as soon as a new believer makes his or her decision to receive Christ. In one major study, a church learned why 90 percent of its new members successfully completed their several month discipling process. The primary reason for their success was attributed to the fact that every new member was personally assigned to a trained disciple-maker within 72 hours of making their spiritual decision. Speed is important!
Concerned churches are purposefully moving toward protecting their new members because they face a wide range of worldly temptations and distractions that tend to erode spiritual devotion. The Lord’s parable of the seed graphically illustrates this need. “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and chocked it, and it yielded no crop.” (Mark 4:7)
In today’s nomenclature, personal disciple-making is at the very heart of effective new member assimilation. Each Christ-centered friendship functions like a tutor pointing the way to the many other equipping and educational ministries of the church.
As Christianity restores the relational principle of observation (1 Corinthians 11:1) to its early place of prominence, God is raising up a new generation of witnesses equipped for a lifestyle of service. Luke 10:2 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Our challenge as Christians is to live by faith and trust God to accomplish His sovereign objectives as He answers our prayers. May your church members catch this time-honored vision of multiplication and become authentic “salt” and “light” in their spheres of spiritual influence. International Evangelism joins you in that Great Commission vision!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Please click on How to Implement to learn how to implement