An African proverb declares, “In the desert there is one crime worse than murder: to know where the water is and not tell others.” Life-giving water has been placed in our hands. Jesus put it no less directly when he said, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.”
Evangelism or making Christlike disciples is all about sharing the life-giving water of Jesus with others. Some believe that the most effective method and the most Biblical method of making Christlike disciples is daughter church planting: a mother church giving birth to a daughter church. Maturity in humans is measured by the capacity to reproduce. A healthy, mature church should reproduce every three to five years.
I see a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit developing in the USA/Canada Region expressed in 212 new churches planted in the last two years, comprising approximately 10,000 Christlike disciples. History tells us that 60 to 80% of attenders in new churches were previously un-churched. That means 6,000 to 8,000 people were reached for Christ and the Kingdom through these new churches.
Another encouraging sign is the increase in the number of USA/Canada districts starting at least one new church. In 2011, 35 of our 80 USA/Canada districts started at least one new church; in 2013, that number grew to 47 of our 80 districts starting at least one new church. We are adding new churches in the USA/Canada Region.
Do these developments point to a multiplication movement, as we were in the early days of the Church of the Nazarene? Missionary David Garrison states, “A church planting movement is a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment.¹ Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird define a church multiplication movement as, “An exponential birth of new churches that engage lost people and that replicate themselves through even more new churches— measured by a reproduction rate of 50% through the third generation of churches, with new churches having 50% new converts.”²
I would suggest a much simpler definition. A multiplication movement occurs when churches make Christlike disciples by having grandchildren: a church planting movement will occur when churches make Christlike disciples by planting daughter churches that plant granddaughter churches. District Superintendent Stan Reeder encourages churches on the Oregon Pacific Districtto be significantly involved in planting a daughter church at least once every five years. Pastor Virgil Askren of Bend Church of the Nazarene sent a church planting team led by Pastor Brent Hofen to start nearby Bend Mission Church of the Nazarene in 2008. Four years after Bend Mission Church started, Bend Mission Church partnered with the Bend mother church to start Redmond Vision Church, led by Pastor Ryan Emerick. On any given Sunday, the three churches together will average 900 in worship attendance, with 500 of those in the two new churches. Using our 60 to 80% estimate, that means 300 to 400 new Christlike disciples! Redmond Vision Church is the daughter and granddaughter church of Bend Church of the Nazarene.
Here are four suggestions to enhance this movement:
- Pray for granddaughter churches to be planted.
- Build into the vision, plan, and timeline for planting within a daughter church the core value of reproductive multiplication.
- Receive an offering in the mother church each year for three years and give it to the daughter church to be set aside for the granddaughter church. (One time to do this in the United States is Grandparents’ Day, the first Sunday after Labor Day.)
- Invite the daughter church pastor to share the vision for a granddaughter church and the progress of plans each year. A good time would be Pentecost Sunday, the celebration of the birth of the Church.
A team of about 600 people is praying that the Lord will bless the USA/Canada Region with granddaughter churches. The three specific requests are: the same passion and fervor of the early Church of the Nazarene; 10,000 newly-trained missionary church planters in USA/Canada; 10,000 new churches of the Nazarene in the next 20 years. Will you join us in prayer?
BILL WIESMAN serves as Evangelism Ministries Director for the Church of the Nazarene.
2. Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird, Viral Churches (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010), 5.