A friend is trying to move his congregation to multiplying microchurches.
Excuse me, I should have said that he’s trying how to keep up with the Holy Spirit who is breathing on his efforts in ways that might scare many of us.
We spent time together in a private coaching service via my website for several weeks during the autumn and early winter. The big problems were space and opportunity—addition and multiplication. The church must build to accommodate (pre-COVID) crowds, but the opportunities are micro.
Here’s the Setup
The congregation numbered around 500 in multiple weekend meetings, hence the space issue. They’ve resigned themselves to the agonies of a fund-raising campaign. But it is life in the microchurches that got exciting.
After the end of the coaching series the went to work. Moving from near-zero to 55 microchurches in just a few months. The idea is to gather people who see themselves as missionaries, training them to lead microchurches among their not-yet-believing friends.
Most groups will attach themselves to the launching congregation (addition growth). But, some will not, which is where the opportunity to multiply comes into play. These microchurches outside the circle of the launching congregation are the bleeding edge of evangelism much like what we might observe in John 4 at that famous well.
Good Stories Abound
First, several microchurches have reproduced as excited new believers round up a bunch of friends to start another. Church reproduction and multiplication is moving very quickly. A person is invited to a microchurch to talk about spirituality, bringing whatever opinion they hold, including atheism and agnostic tendencies. The group, however, is resolute that they discuss a specific scripture, asking what do you think God might be saying to us through this ancient document. In several cases a six or seven week old believer has launched another microchurch (without needing permission to do so).
But, the real kicker is the story of a young man who attended a microchurch for several weeks before growing excited enough to round up his friends (affinity group) and plant a new one. Then, about four weeks into leading the new microchurch he invited Christ to be his Lord and savior.
So, how would you handle that one? Would it violate your conscience about quality or even possible heresy? BTW, if there is heresy in the microchurches it is probably something you’ve instigated over a pulpit. Good stuff breeds good stuff. Would this violate church polity or denominational bylaws? If so the church or denomination may need to rethink who is the actual leader of this phenomenon we call, or sometimes mislabel, church.
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