Multiplication or Addition – Which is Your Choice?

Pastor Patrick Badstibner is founder of World Prayr (on Twitter).  Pat has been providing us with a monthly blog post, but I’m pleased to be able to present this blog post, the first in a series of four weekly posts by Pat, to our Energion Publications family.

Check the World Prayr organization and the World Prayr devotional blog as well.  You’ll find a dynamic and growing group of Christians who are practicing the second great command, to love their neighbors as themselves, and thereby practicing the first command as well.

First you should know this is a four part series and I pray you will take the time to follow along and keep up. With each part I promise to bring home a point and prayerfully lead into the next part of the series. For those who take the time to read any part, let me thank you ahead of time. For those souls who are brave enough to follow all four parts, I shall pray God gives you an extra blessing covering your eyes.

[The series will be published here weekly, with each part appearing on a Monday. – ed]

I want to take a look at three different sayings that seem to be popular among those that refer to themselves as pastors today, while at the same time visiting with some friends named Dave and Paula (well the names have been changed to protect the innocent but the situations are true) and how those sayings might play out in other scenarios of life. While also looking at maybe some erroneous teachings or views as it comes to the subject of discipleship in the church.

Let me tell you just a bit about my friends, Dave and Paula. Dave and Paula own a business in which they own three paint stores in a very busy metropolitan area. Their stores are surrounded by old standards doing business in the same old way with the same methods and techniques that have been used for over thirty years or longer. Dave and Paula have done quite well, obviously since they have three stores now– in spite of being surrounded by these large well supported corporate retail giants. They have used updated methods and techniques to reach, build, and sustain their customer base.

We are not going to look at just their business though; we are also going to look and see if their obvious business savvy has translated into personal wisdom. Then as I said we are going to take a minute and look at some popular sayings we may find being said by pastors today.

Recently with Dave and Paula

Recently Dave and Paula had a meeting with some of their store managers and it was brought to their attention that customer referral sales were down twenty-five percent. This was not good news to Dave and Paula as they had built, and still believed that their business was built, on referrals and they had no desire to be in the addition business but rather wanted to be in the multiplication business. However, Dave’s answer shocked their managers as he said, “We have the systems, market studies, everything in place and the numbers show that we are growing by leaps and bounds. Perhaps we cannot help it if our numbers are down for repeat business and customer referral. Let’s keep adding numbers and we will not have to worry about the rest. After all it is not our fault if we have the systems in place and people are not coming back as often. Let’s just keep creating radical methods of getting new customers in and stay on a steady course with an occasional twitch here and there. Sound Good!” Funny though, it left all Dave’s managers going “hmmmmm!”  Does it really sound good?

Now what do you think? Is Dave’s advice sound to his management team?

Funny Thing

I read recently where a pastor said “We have the systems in place, it is not our fault if they are not growing.”

“Ah! Pat you say this is a church not a business.”

How right you are! Only two issues:

  1. The great commandment found in Matthew 28:

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

is not telling others how to be saved, or just bring others to Christ or go grab those who aren’t buying yet. It is, however, “go make disciples.”

*A disciple is someone buying hook, line, and sicker and whose life is being immersed in the truth of the Word of God; such that they in turn are producing additional disciples.

  1. A pastor’s main focus and main task is not to reach those who are not part of his flock.

Ah! Heresy, Heresy, that’s it! I am not going to read any more how Pat gets off with such nonsense. I did not say it, God did, several times in His word; let me show you a couple of instances:

  1. 1.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, we see Paul speaking to believers, encouraging them to not make it difficult for those who labor for them. Key word and point Paul is speaking to believers.

2.  Wherever scripture refers to the office of pastor, or title, it refers to words like shepherd, overseer, and elder.

Now, a question: Is a shepherd’s first job is to concentrate by getting more sheep or to concentrate on protecting, guiding, and helping grow to maturity the sheep he already has?

If we define an organization, ministry, or church that focuses heavily on adding numbers and reaching those that are not in their organization, ministry, or church as being in the addition business, then we may define and state that one whose leadership focuses heavily on impacting and changing the lives, or on building its current base as being in the multiplication business. We state they are in the multiplication business because they are building those currently involved in order that they may reach those who are not.

So having looked at what a Shepherd’s main job is do you see any similarities between Dave’s advice to his team and what a lot of pastors today are saying? Do you feel Dave is in the addition business or the multiplication business as it pertains to building and growing his business?

Is the church you’re leading or going to in the multiplication business or in the addition business? Are you going to church just because you like the music, you come out emotionally feeling good, or are you going to a church that is radically taking the same steps to bring to maturity those who are currently in church as they are those who are not in church.

If part one made no sense to you wait for part two I promise as we move forward in this series the message of the series and the points of the message will become clearer and make more sense if they do not as of yet.

Or did you expect me to reveal all the points in part one?

Part two:  Can we really go deeper without making clones (coming July 5).

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