Friday, June 13, 2014

Multiplication vs Addition

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest." 
      Matthew 25:24-27 (taken from the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-29)
      A few years ago I began to wonder why in places of "great awakenings" that after a few generations there are hardly any Christians in the area at all. We can start in Israel. At Pentecost there were 3,000 souls saved in one day after Peter's Spirit-filled message. Those who were saved “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” Acts 2:42, 47b. Not even persecution or threats of death could quench the revival fire as “those who had been scattered went about preaching (proclaiming) the word” Acts 8:4. However, today in Israel only 1 in 2,500 people are Christ-followers. This same scenario is true for Asia Minor (Turkey), Europe, and even more sadly is coming to pass in our own country. 
     About the time I started to think on this, I ran across an article talking about the "required birthrate" to sustain the existence of a people group or ethnic group. The article stated that a minimum of two births per couple is required or the people group will eventually die out. Many countries in Europe have been below this rate for a while and some people groups in the USA have now fallen below this rate. This information was at least in part the answer to my question. One reason Christians become almost extinct in a country or area is that we are not having enough "spiritual births" to sustain the existence of our "people." 
     Why is this the case? One reason I believe this is the case is because we have an "addition" mentality rather than a "multiplication" mentality. By that I mean we have come to believe that the responsibility of bringing new children into the Kingdom is for the pastor, the evangelist, or someone who has the "gift of evangelism." If we simply do the math we can see that these few people cannot "produce" enough spiritual babies to keep up. But what if we adopt a "multiplication" mentality? Let's theoretically compare: 9 pastors at BCC lead 2 folks (two talents from the parable above) each to Christ in a year making a total of 18 Christ-followers. But, what if every Christ-follower at Brevard Community "produced" one spiritual baby over the next year and trained that "child" to do the same? If each member (approximately 600) had just one "spiritual birth" (one talent from the parable above) the number would be 1,200. See the dramatic difference? One model dies while the other thrives. 
     The "thriving model" is the Biblical model. It is what Jesus meant when He told us (all His followers) to go and make disciples of all People Groups beginning with our own. When each of us were born into the family of God we were given "talents" according to our ability, circumstances, and season of life, Matt. 25:15. However, many of us have hidden the "talent" He has given us and it is doing nothing to grow the Kingdom, not even drawing interest. Our Father only expects us to use what He has given us but He is expecting a "return on His investment". Notice that the master called his slave "wicked and lazy" because he did nothing with what was entrusted to him. 
     If each of us will just take our "talent", uncover it, and begin to tell someone "what great things the Lord has done for us" the multiplication will begin. Then we will hear our Master say "Well done good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master", Matthew 25:23. I'm convinced this is the way our People, the Family of God, will thrive. 

"Grace to you and Peace, from Him Who was and is and is to come."

Alan Perry
Missions Pastor