Chapter 9: “Leadership and the Discipline of Multiplication”
- What did you like? (What gripped/excited you?)
- What did you dislike? (What do you disagree with? Why?)
- What can you use? (How can you apply this to your situation?)
“When the people of God begin to speak about the acts of God then receptivity to the gospel rises. Might it just be possible that in unreceptive lands, the people of God either don't see the hand of God at work . . . or even when they do see the actions of God, they fail to speak to others about them, fearing either rejection or mockery?” (165) Do you agree or disagree? How does this statement apply to your own home group’s experience?
All Multiplication Processes Begin With Prayer: How does your prayer life compare to what they describe here? How does your home group’s corporate prayer meeting compare to what they describe here? What specific changes could you make to improve on this individually and corporately?
”This kind of praying produces an emphasis on obeying God in everyday lives and witness. By this people are helped to understand a fundamental reality of the Christian life, of moving from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Our lives are the primary conduit that God uses to tell his story of grace to the world! Status is unimportant. God is able to move through any and all of his children, and what they do for a living becomes a context in which he will do it. All of this is the natural way in which God has ordained that his children should live. Personal growth, the growth of marriages, families and Christian relationships, played out before a watching world in the marketplace and the neighborhoods where we live represent that raw material that God uses to show himself to the world. This becomes the reason for living rather than the accumulation of fame, fortune or wealth.” (167,168) What connection are they making between an outreach lifestyle and resistance to materialism? How can we impart this perspective to our people?
Multiplication Is Based On Good Research: Why is abundant sowing a key/necessary part of research? Contrast their emphasis on “wide sowing with no expectation of immediate harvest” (169) with your home group’s perspective on this issue. How does research affect the way you present the gospel to your field? What is your home group’s field? How can you do this kind of research with your field?
Multiplication Demands a Proactive, Consistent, and Broadly Spread Ministry of Evangelism: What do you think about each adjective of this thesis? How is “giving people repeated and personal opportunities to decide for or against the gospel of Jesus” (171) similar to or different from Xenos’ historical focus on friendship evangelism? What is your reaction to the church planting team making 350 contacts with the gospel in the first several months? What point are they making about the content of the gospel—do you agree or disagree?
What is your reaction to this statement: “Our objective cannot be to ‘grow’ the church, but to live and give the grace found in the gospel in such a way that the environment is created for God to do what only he can do (i.e., save people).” (172) Yet notice this clear statement of “harvest theology”—“Since they are compelled by God to fulfill his loving mandate, they are equally compelled to continually assess how they do it.” (173)
Good Multiplication Processes Organize People into some Pattern of Small Group as Soon as Possible: Which of the 4 reasons given for this statement do you see happening in your home group? Which ones are missing? How is this lack affecting your home group’s health? How can you address this lack?
Multiplication Requires that we must Begin Almost Immediately to Spread the Load of Responsibility by Training New Leaders: How are you currently “creating immediate opportunities for new and potential leaders to take responsibility within the life of the church?” (176)
“It is good to have interactive and formalized training in local churches . . . But it should be obvious that doing is the best venue for real training.” (176) How does this statement bear on Xenos’ recent change in emphasis on classes?
Multiplication Structures are Organized around Purpose, Vision and Values:
"The average Western church is organized to survive. A few are organized to become large. But I know of few churches in the Western world that are organized to nurture life in such a way that they multiply. This is the beauty of the small group structure. It can work more closely with and in people to see the fruit of the Spirit and the life of Jesus growing in them. It can work more closely to assist people in living and telling their grace testimony. It can work more closely in identifying and releasing new leadership. And it can work more effectively in releasing vision in a majority of people. Such a structure is not just an add-on to an already overburdened programmatic church. It is the very life of its existence. Nothing that threatens it is allowed to live in its midst. Everything must yield to the priority of mobilization and multiplication!" (178) How closely des Xenos fit this description?
Every Church Must be Impregnated with a vision to Multiply Itself and Its Internal Structures:
"It should be possible for every church in the world to plant at least three other churches in their lifetime. By lifetime, I mean a span of ten to fifteen years. It is at least a place to begin.” (179) Is there any reason why our home groups and spheres shouldn’t be able to do at least this well?