Our focus for many years has been in trying to get churches to reproduce themselves. The whole CPM thing of 'churches planting churches that plant churches' simply hasn't happened in our context.
What we are learning from the Lord is that we need to get back to 'making disciples that make disciples'. The church plants will follow if new disciples are being taught to make disciples themselves.
I have been reminded over and over the past few months that Christ didn't charge us with going out and starting churches. Our assigned task is to 'make disciples'. He has stated, "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18)--not, 'WE will build his church'.
God is on mission. He invites us to partner with him in bringing about the Kingdom. In this partnership each "party" is responsible for certain things. If we will do our part and 'make disciples', He will certainly do his part and 'build his church'!
There is nothing new about any of this. But for some reason, we busy ourselves with all kinds of activities other than the clear cut commands and instructions of Christ to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach the new believers to be Christ followers who reproduce themselves into other new disciples.
One of the more helpful and practical books out there on discipleship and church planting is Neil Cole's Organic Church. I quote from page 98...
Trying to multiply churches is starting at the wrong place...We must go further down microscopically, to the smallest unit of Kingdom life if we want to start the multiplication process...The way to see a true church multiplication movement is to multiply healthy disciples, then leaders, then churches, and finally movements--in that order.
As passionate as I am about church planting, I found it perplexing that the Bible never instructs us to start churches...we are not to start churches, but instead to make disciples who make disciples. that is actually the way churches are started...Jesus gave us instruction that is one the molecular level of Kingdom life, for a very good reason: it works. Trying to multiply large, highly complex organisms without multiplying on the micro level is impossible.
Our focus must be on getting back to multiplying healthy reproducing disciples. Trying to get churches to multiply who are filled with non-reproducing believers is futile. Until we get back to basics of being disciples, and multiplying ourselves in others, there is little chance of ever seeing a CPM in our midst.
To see the rest of the series of posts on "Things God is showing us" click on Part 2 of 4, 3 of 4, or 4 of 4.