Houston, TX (ANS) – While staying at a hotel during a recent out-of-town trip, my wife and I met a couple who were serving on a church staff in a town where we had some longtime friends. In conversations with the couple, we learned that the man came to the Lord and was discipled by a man who was led to the Lord by a friend that I introduced to Christ in 1975. I guess you could say we have spiritual grandchildren and great grandchildren. It is encouraging to know that when we introduce people to a living relationship with the living Christ, that it can have reproducing impact.
Principles of the Kingdom of God
That experience was a good reminder of some important principles of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, a very small seed can produce a large plant. He also said the kingdom of God is like yeast. A small amount of yeast can affect a large lump of dough. Little things can have such big impact, especially in relation to our service and influence in ministry and mission work. It is also encouraging to know how God can use many different ways of advancing His Kingdom and how we can participate in His redemptive activities.
Sharing Christ, by All Means
Back in the 1980s I began hearing reports of how churches were starting and reproducing in remote areas through radio broadcasts. One program consisted of simply reading Scripture at dictation speed, with no commentary. What was discovered later was that students were copying the Scriptures, reproducing and distributing them to others. Discussion and storytelling groups were springing up around the life, teaching and Spirit of Jesus. Churches were being planted, growing and reproducing. This is a great example of how God uses multi-model methods to spread the gospel and advance the work of the Church. In this case, it included oral or spoken methods, along with the use of modern technology and print-based media.
The Orality Movement
In the Orality movement we like to emphasize how God is using all means available for communicating the gospel, reproducing disciple making and multiplying movements. Of all the ways and means He has used, and is using, most people have come to the Lord through personal contact and Orality-based methods. The rapid growth of the Kingdom these days is normally among cell groups, simple, organic, house churches, communities of Jesus followers who meet in board rooms, store fronts, in schools, under trees and many other expressions of the Body of Christ.
Focus on the Few to Impact the Many
There are many examples in Scripture and throughout history of how little changes can have big impact. Most major movements and spiritual awakenings have started with one person or a small group. It has been a joy to introduce people to Jesus, then discover later the impact they have had on others. It is actually the reproducing life of the Lord Jesus in and through our humanity that produces lasting fruit. There are many examples and demonstrations of the kingdom principles of the mustard seed and yeast. As followers of Jesus, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will connect us with those with open and fertile hearts. When we introduce one person to the living Christ, it often opens a door to an entire network of new connections and relationships.
The Mission Field We All Live In
Every Christ follower lives in a mission field, made up of families, neighbors, co-workers or fellow students, and friends, as well as those in our normal traffic patterns. Every individual we encounter also has a network of relationships, made up of families, neighbors, co-workers, friends and others. Being aware of the Trimtab factor can help us realize the potential we can have for the kingdom by sharing the gospel with one person. We can focus on the one, or the few, to impact the many.
It is valuable to know what it means to be salt and light and to realize that we can be part of reproducing and multiplying spiritual movements. Every member of the Body of Christ has the capacity and opportunity of participating in church multiplication.
In our Orality Training and practices with Living Water International we have observed that God often uses the most unlikely people to spread the Good News of Jesus. Sometimes all it takes is a spark that ignites a movement of reproducing communities of Jesus followers. My longtime friend, Dick Eastman recently shared with a group of us at the Jericho Center in Colorado Springs on the topic of spiritual awakenings. He pointed out that every major movement of God throughout history started with a few praying people. He noted that from research by scholar and historian J. Edwin Orr that throughout Church history these awakenings started, on average, with eleven people.
God Honors His Word
It was encouraging to recently reconnect with a man that I led to the Lord almost 30 years ago. He shared about several family members, a number of co-workers and others who have come to the Lord over the years. In fact, one of his brothers had become a pastor in a creative access country in the Middle East. When we sow the Seed of the Word of God, we can have confidence that it will not return void. If we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly, but if we sow abundantly, we will reap abundantly, as we are told in Scripture. God is faithful and will honor the little things we say and do in His Name.