Multiplication tools: passing it on

Does your simple/organic church have an impact beyond the gathering? There’s a simple tool to help with that.


Photo Credit: Kalexanderson (Creative Commons)

In the interactive Bible study pattern that we most frequently use and teach to others, four symbols help people share around the passage:

  1. A question mark: do you have any questions about what this verse says?
  2. A lightbulb: this verse brings understanding either about the passage, or about something going on in your own life. The light has come on.
  3. An arrow: God is speaking to you directly through this verse and there’s something you need to do about it
  4. An ear: who do you know who needs to hear what has been shared?

It’s this last symbol that helps to create an impact beyong the gathering. When each person is accountable, not only to apply what they have learned in their own lives but also to pass  it on  to someone outside the group, the influence of the group spreads. When the person they share it with is a not-yet-believer, there is the opportunity to multiply.

We retain only 5% of what we hear, but 90% of what we teach on to others. This practice therefore, not only spreads the message, it also helps people to retain what they have learned.



Multiplication tools: accountability. A story

Accountability has been key to the church that meets in our home over the last few weeks.

Photo credit: ItzaFineDay (Creative Commons)

In the last post, I described how a challenge to pray with someone during the week, led to my reaching out beyond my comfort zone to pray with a total stranger over the phone.

Our initial week's challenge had resulted in different ones praying for neighbors, people at work, and other college students, so our simple/organic church decided to repeat the experiment. This time, I reached out to a relative who needs work. She's one I've had many spiritual conversations with in the past, but who would probably describe herself as pagan. She was very willing for me to pray.

Then I had a surprise. As part of my initial reaching out, I'd placed an ad on Craigslist: "Do you need prayer?" A week or so later, a lady responded, asking me to pray for certain things. As our conversation has developed, she has opened up more, and in my last message to her, I was able to share the Gospel openly. That story is still ongoing.

Many simple/organic churches or small groups long to be more outward-focused but don't know how. Why not think through some of the skills that might make a difference in this area, commit to pray, and then challenge each other and hold each other accountable to put them into practice.

In disciple-making movements in other nations, ongoing accountability plays a vital part. Who did you share your story with this week? Have you been able to pray for anyone during this past week.

We often use four symbols when we study the Bible. The last one is an ear: who do you know who needs to hear what we've been learning? The power of this symbol is to hold each other accountable to share what we've been learning with someone else. This leads to multiplication.

I'd love to hear some of your stories.


A key multiplication tool: accountability

Accountability can make you do some crazy things.

Two weeks ago, the church that meets in our home discussed accountability. In order to make it practical, I challenged everyone to try and pray with someone, preferably who doesn't know the Lord, during the week, and said that we would report back the next time we came together.

Big mistake! Having challenged everyone, I now needed to live up to it too. Since I live the life of a writer, most of my time is spent with just me and my computer. There was no obvious situation where I would come across someone new, so I brainstormed.

I put an ad on Craigslist. "Do you need prayer?": no response.

I responded to some tweets that said, "I need prayer" or "I need God": no response.

Finally, a couple of days before we were due to meet again, I received a sales call from someone at an online pet pharmacy. Our dogs needed some more flea and tick meds, so I placed my order. The lady at the other end was just saying goodbye when I interrupted her.

"Before you leave, is there anything I can pray for you. I believe that God answers prayer."

She broke down. She told me something I could pray about and I prayed for over the phone. It turned out she was a Christian. As we said goodbye, she said, "I'll never forget you!"

When our group came back together, everyone had a story of how they had deliberately prayed for someone. No one they approached had refused prayer; everyone was very grateful.

Would we have done it without the knowledge that we would be asked to report back? I don't think I would have done so. Accountability is a key tool in multiplication.

Practical activity: Give your group a challenge. Maybe challenge them to pray with someone, or to tell their story to a not-yet-believer. The important thing is that you follow up with it.