Church Multiplication In Mongolia

The church in Mongolia is growing rapidly, mostly due to church planting. When I arrived in 2000, the pastors were a divided and competitive lot. Each was hoping to build a mega-church.

A pastor's family outside their home in the countryside. This is typical outside the cities.
A pastor’s family outside their home in the countryside. This is typical outside the cities.

My first trip was a tug-of-war for four out of five days. Out of 25 pastors, three were former Soviet Army officers. Two of them loved communism while the other hated it. The real struggle, though, was against level 3 megachurches. Everyone in the room clamored to pastor the largest church in the nation. After four days of arguing, they finally got the message about making disciples and multiplying churches. Every pastor in that group planted multiple churches in the next 12 months (watch a video of one of those pastors describing current conditions in Mongolia).

They got the message that we need more churches if we intend to saturate a nation with the gospel. By 2010, more than two percent of the population accepted Christ. They goal is to reach five percent by 2020.

This can only be done by the multiplication of churches. For this we need a new generation of pastors and for that the country needs to make disciples. This makes the book a useful tool.

History

The history of Christianity in Mongolia began centuries ago. Genghis Khan and his descendants conquered Asia from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea. Several of the Khans also embraced Nestorian Christianity in the 13th century. Christians eventually lost influence when one of Genghis Khan’s descendants embraced Islam. After that, Buddhism rose to prominence.

The church continued to operate in the corners of the country until the arrival of the Soviets in the early part of the 20th century.

The Soviets were equal opportunity persecutors, they killed many Christian leaders along with more than 20,000 Buddhist priests.

By 1989 when Russia abandoned the country it was left in deep poverty and there were just five known Christians.

When I arrived eleven years later American and European missionaries had made inroads, but there was disunity and extreme competition among churches.

The front door of a Soviet Era apartment building. These still house much of the poplulation in the capital city.
The front door of a Soviet Era apartment building. These still house much of the poplulation in the capital city.

Pulling Together

Today, the Mongolian Christians are responsible for their own future as the initial wave of missionaries have now retired or otherwise departed. There is great unity among various denominations and doctrinal positions. It is amazing to watch the transformation from just a few years ago. Meanwhile, the government now actively supports Buddhism and has pushed Christianity to the sidelines through a series of laws impinging on religious freedom. However, this actually backfires, promoting Christian unity and a strong emphasis on evangelism.

The church operates marginally underground. All this while 2 of the 3 million people in the country (two-thirds of the entire population) have moved into the capital city, Ulanbaataar. This mass migration sets the stage for an outbreak of the gospel, for whenever the church has gone underground and focused on making disciples in small groups the growth has been spontaneous and rapid. The conditions are ripe for the church to flourish along the lines of the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts.

Making Disciples And Multiplying Churches

Pastors in Mongolia have embraced level 4 and 5 reproductive and multiplication church planting this is the key to their recent success. The Christian population in that country is now one of the fastest growing in the world (See a video describing church multiplication in Mongolia).

Please pray for these brave, often poor, people as they endeavor to bring a couple of million people to heaven with them. I’ve written more about what I’ve been up to in Mongolia for sixteen years. If this interests you, click to discover how you can help us translate and publish disciplemaking books designed to help Mongolian pastors train more church planters.

Please sound off in the comments box below. We’re all in this Great Commission together. I’ll try to reply when appropriate…

4 thoughts on “Church Multiplication In Mongolia

  • December 13, 2016 at 10:31 am
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    Giving authority to God brings much rain when we ready the fields-
    Great insight P. Ralph, many are drawn to discipleship under your leadership.
    It has well been said, either “leaders use their God given authority to build up themselves or use their authority to build up people”.
    I believe the second view is apropos to the author of this article.

    “So then, you will know them by their fruits”
    Matthew 7:20

    Reply
  • December 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm
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    Praise our Living God for the Gospel going out and those called and obedient to carry it forth to the ends of the earth so that all nations may hear and praise Him. Perhaps a concept of “Centres of Excellence” may accompany church plants so that a practical community benefit appropriate and contextual to local communities might be imparted. This can include micro enterprise and agriculture.

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  • December 15, 2016 at 8:02 pm
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    Hi Ralph,
    A couple things come to mind from your writing. One is you having the joyful experience of seeing the results of intentional investment in these people so quickly. With apostolic involvement things happen. Next is their desire to pastor the biggest church. What have we exported of American church culture? Not the best modeling I think! (I am assuming that American church influence brought this culture?) It is great to know that the struggle to communicate the right stuff paid off in unity and a clarion call to make disciples and plant churches. God bless you big. Your life is an encouragement to press on and keep faithful to the right stuff. Peace, Ron

    Reply
    • December 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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      You are correct in that we’ve exported the wrong part of American church culture–it’s true all over the world. Nothing against big churches, unless it prevents multiplication of churches. The problem usually comes to a choice between filling a big auditorium or filling a culture with the gospel…

      Reply

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