I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 83. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.
Our Bible verse for this episode is Romans 12:9-13 which says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
Our quote for this episode is from Solon, who said, “He who has learned how to obey will know how to command.”
In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.
Our topic today is part 10 of “Chapter 4: Multility: Keep it Cellular” from “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning. He continues as follows:
More Instead of Bigger
God desires for his church to grow numerically as well as spiritually. Bob Jones, founder of the conservative university that bears his name, once said, “Jesus promised that ‘where two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them,’ but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like a bigger crowd.” I happen to agree with Jones on this point. What indicators do we have that Jesus would like a bigger crowd? Peter’s commentary: “The Lord … is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Paul’s commentary: “The whole body … grows as God causes it to grow” (Col. 2:19). God’s command, related by Jesus in the parable of the great banquet: “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:23).
Some may look at CTK, see that it is small pieces loosely joined, and conclude that we prefer small over big. We don’t, actually. We prefer more over bigger. That is, we want to reach an unlimited number of people (more people than you could ever put in any one facility), but we feel that the best way to do this is to be in an unlimited number of places. This is our “theory of the business,” what Peter Drucker described as the important work of defining the environment of the organization, where intellect and spirit align. For instance, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, articulated his theory of business with his famous declaration, “I will continue to reduce prices as long as I live.” Our theory of business, where intellect and spirit align for us, is to be one church with many ministries, here, there, and everywhere. Individually, none of them may be that sizeable, but together they will present a formidable influence on the culture. This is what gives us our energy.
We feel that our calling is not to build a church but to reach a community. And we feel that trying to reach large numbers of people in one place is a very limited idea. So at CTK we feel we need to grow larger and smaller at the same time! We need to keep breaking it down so we can always make good on our pledge: “Always a place for you.” The time to start a new location is when we have the leadership to execute it, rather than the people to attend it.
It’s our job to cast the nets and God’s job to fill them. What we’ve generally found is that when we step out in faith, the Lord responds with growth. Typically, we’ve seen significant growth in overall attendance as we add more services. Perhaps a rule of thumb might be that 80 percent capacity becomes 50 percent capacity twice when one service becomes two. In other words, if one service has eighty people meeting in an auditorium that seats one hundred, two services might have fifty each (including new people who come, old-timers who come back, etc.). So the church immediately grows by 20 percent and now is positioned to grow rapidly to two hundred people without anyone feeling more crowded than they were prior to the change. You do lose the thrill of having eighty people packed into the room each service, but you are giving that up for the ultimate thrill of reaching out to more people and growing Christ’s kingdom.
It is clear that God wants his followers to reach an unlimited number of people. Did he give us any clues as to how we should do that? In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Note what he doesn’t say here. He doesn’t say, “You will have the biggest church you could imagine in Jerusalem. People will ride in on chariots from the surrounding communities.”
How big God’s church gets is his business. We just know we want to reach out to an unlimited number of people, or as many as we possibly can. The best way we know to do that is the way he suggested — by being in as many places as possible.
Throughout history, great moves of God have often accompanied a decentralized approach. John Wesley was a great revivalist. He also had his methods. As a student in Oxford, he became known as John Wesley, the Methodist. He placed people in small groups, as part of a society. The groups were to remain small but to help start new groups. He would send around traveling preachers and bands. It was a way to effectively reach out to and care for increasing numbers of people. In a five-year period, one hundred thousand people came to faith in Christ. It became a movement that transformed the spiritual landscape. I view Wesley’s methodology to be the precursor to the Deliberate Simplicity movement.
— PRAYER —
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”