Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Readiness to Respond to the Unexpected – Church Multiplication
We recently invited in local church leaders and planters to share their church planting stories, and Jonathan Bell (Church Central Birmingham) shared their church's story of multiplication. The edited video story from our conference is above, and here are some of things he highlighted, that helped them to respond to unexpected opportunities that came their way.
Most of their church planting has been in response to spontaneous opportunities that have opened up – whether it is a growing group of people in a specific community; or someone with a strong vision to plant that we’ve partnered with; or a call for help from somewhere; or simply a venue that becomes unexpectedly available. He says, “Although it hasn’t all been strategically thought through, what we have found is that in order to be responsive in the moment, does require a degree of pre-planning. Here are four things that have helped”.
1. Reducing busy-ness
There are probably way more opportunities if we take the time to look up and look around us.
2. Thinking collaboratively
We have come to learn that working with others (even those, or maybe particularly those, outside of our stream or denomination) can lead to us doing way more than we could ever do by ourselves.
3. Raising leaders
When we started encouraging multiplication at a grass roots level, with lay leaders seeking to reproduce themselves, we started seeing new leaders emerging. Coupled with that, the more you plant, the more space you create for new leaders to come through and to carry real responsibility.
4. Raising money (or not...)
Multiplication can be costly – both in terms of set up costs and also the loss of giving of those you send. But if we always waited until we could afford to do it, we would probably never have done anything. Most of the time we have been pretty ‘hand to mouth’. Nonetheless we have found that where we have stretched ourselves in faith, God has always come through, albeit often at the 11th hour.
As they look forwards, they want to continue to be responsive to unexpected or spontaneous opportunities that God opens up, and also think more strategically about the unreached and the harder to reach. "There are whole communities that are unlikely to be reached just by doing the things we have done up until now".
To that end we are looking to multiply simpler, smaller and swifter, and develop models that are more easily reproducible and way more contextualised”.