• johned@aibi.ph









This course is part of the Harvestime International Institute, a program designed to equip believers for effective spiritual harvest.


The basic theme of the training is to teach what Jesus taught,  that which took men who were fishermen, tax collectors, etc., and changed them into reproductive Christians who reached their world with the Gospel in a demonstration of power.


This manual is a single course in one of several modules of curriculum which moves believers from visualizing through deputizing, multiplying, organizing, and mobilizing to achieve the goal of evangelizing.














                                                              ©        Harvestime International Institute

























                   TABLE OF CONTENTS



How To Use This Manual       .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           3

Suggestions For Group Study .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           4

Introduction    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           5

Course Objectives       .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           7


1.   Fishers Of Men     .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           8


2.   The Day Of Small Things .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           15


3.   Parables Of Multiplication            .           .           .           .           .           .           .           36


4.   One Plus One Equals More Than Two     .           .           .           .           .           .           46


5.   An Introduction To Church Growth        .           .           .           .           .           .           58


6.   Internal Growth    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           70


7.   Expansion Growth            .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           90


8.   Extension Growth .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           114


9.   Bridging Growth  .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           123


10.  Decisions Or Disciples?   .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           140


11.  Stunted Growth   .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           161


12.  The Extension Training Center    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           173


Answers To Self-Tests            .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           189













                                                           MANUAL FORMAT


Each lesson consists of:


Objectives:  These are the goals you should achieve by studying the chapter.  Read them before starting the lesson.


Key Verse:  This verse emphasizes the main concept of the chapter.  Memorize it.


Chapter Content:  Study each section. Use your Bible to look up any references not printed in the manual. 


Self-Test:   Take this test after you finish studying the chapter.  Try to answer the questions without using your Bible or this manual.  When you have concluded the Self-Test, check your answers in the answer section provided at the end of the book.


For Further Study:  This section will help you continue your study of the Word of God, improve your study skills, and apply what you have learned to your life and ministry.


Final Examination:  If you are enrolled in this course for credit, you received a final examination along with this course.  Upon conclusion of this course, you should complete this examination and return it for grading as instructed.




                                           ADDITIONAL MATERIALS NEEDED


You will need a King James version of the Bible.













                                                              FIRST MEETING


Opening:  Open with prayer and introductions.  Get acquainted and register the students.


Establish Group Procedures:  Determine who will lead the meetings, the time, place, and dates for the sessions.


Praise And Worship:  Invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into your training session.


Distribute Manuals To Students:  Introduce the manual title, format, and course objectives provided in the first few pages of the manual.


Make The First Assignment:  Students will read the chapters assigned and take the Self-Tests prior to the next meeting.  The number of chapters you cover per meeting will depend on chapter length, content, and the abilities of your group.


                                        SECOND AND FOLLOWING MEETINGS


Opening:  Pray.  Welcome and register any new students and give them a manual.  Take attendance.  Have a time of praise and worship.


Review:  Present a brief summary of what you studied at the last meeting.


Lesson:  Discuss each section of the chapter using the HEADINGS IN CAPITAL BOLD FACED LETTERS as a teaching outline.  Ask students for questions or comments on what they have studied.  Apply the lesson to the lives and ministries of your students.


Self-Test:  Review the Self-Tests students have completed.  (Note:  If you do not want the students to have access to the answers to the Self-Tests, you may remove the answer pages from the back of each manual.)


For Further Study:  You may do these projects on a group or individual basis.


Final Examination:  If your group is enrolled in this course for credit, you received a final examination with this course.  Reproduce a copy for each student and administer the exam upon conclusion of this course.



MODULE:     Multiplying 

COURSE:      Multiplication Methodologies






The Bible records the creation of the world and the first man and woman (Genesis 1).  The first command given by God to these newly created people was to multiply:


So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.


And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it...(Genesis 1:27-28)


This process was not only to be physical multiplication, it was also to be spiritual.  As Adam and Eve multiplied physically they would fill the earth with others like themselves; people who knew God and walked in fellowship with Him.  They would be reproducing spiritually as well as physically.


The fall of man into sin interfered with this process (Genesis 3).  Sin resulted in physical death which hindered physical multiplication (Genesis 2:17).  It also  caused  spiritual death which is the spiritual separation of sinful man from a righteous God.  This hindered spiritual multiplication.


Because God loved man so much, He made a special plan to save people from this terrible spiritual death.  God sent Jesus Christ to die for the sins of all mankind.  Jesus paid the penalty of death in our place, then He overcame death by rising again from the dead (John 20).


Each individual must choose to accept God's plan of salvation by asking forgiveness for sin and accepting Jesus as Savior.*  As a believer in Jesus with sins forgiven, you are saved from spiritual death.


Although the physical body will someday die, you  will continue to live spiritually and will receive a new body  which will live forever:






* The Harvestime International Institute course, "Foundations Of Faith," explains God's plan of salvation in detail.

...We shall all be  changed...In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye...the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed...Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  (I Corinthians 15:51, 52, 54)


When you accept Jesus as Savior, it is like being created by God all over again.  The Bible calls it being "born again":


Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) 


Being "born again" does not refer to physical birth.  It refers to spiritual birth.  You are recreated spiritually as a new creature in Christ.  You are "new" because you no longer live in sin and practice the old sinful lifestyle:


Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17) 


In the beginning of the world, God's first command to His newly created people was to multiply.  His first command to recreated, "born-again" believers is the same.  We are to multiply spiritually and fill the earth with others like ourselves;  people who love God and walk in fellowship with Him.


When Jesus first called men to follow Him, it was a call to spiritual multiplication (Luke 5:10).  His last command  to believers was to multiply spiritually (Acts 1:8).  To meet the challenge of thousands of people who are dying in sin without the Gospel, each believer must become reproductive and learn the principles of spiritual multiplication.


This course shares Biblical methods of spiritual reproduction which will enable you to multiply in obedience to God's command.  You will learn how to multiply spiritually as an individual and corporately within the context of the local church.  If you apply the Biblical principles taught in this course, you can be responsible for the multiplication of thousands of trained and motivated believers.


If you are taking the Harvestime International Institute courses in order, this is the third course in Module Three, which focuses on multiplying the spiritual labor force trained through completion of Module Two. 


The courses in Module Three are  "Developing A Biblical World View," "Teaching Tactics," "Multiplication Methodologies," and "Power Principles."  These courses develop awareness of the spiritual need of the world and explain how to meet that need through Biblical teaching and preaching, multiplication, and the endument of spiritual power.



                   COURSE OBJECTIVES


Upon completion of this course you will be able to:


C         Reproduce  spiritually through application of Biblical multiplication methods.


C         Summarize multiplication principles taught in New Testament parables.


C         Explain how a believer can multiply spiritually to raise up hundreds of new believers.


C         Make your home a center for spiritual multiplication.


C         Summarize principles for internal multiplication within the Church.


C         Summarize principles for expansion multiplication of the Church.


C         Summarize principles for extension multiplication of the Church.


C         Summarize  principles for bridging multiplication of the Church. 


C         Move converts beyond decision to discipleship. 


C         Identify factors that hinder spiritual multiplication.


C         Establish a Harvestime International Institute as a center for spiritual multiplication.
















                         CHAPTER ONE


                                               FISHERS OF MEN




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Identify the first  and last commandments of Jesus to His followers.

C         Define "multiplication."

C         Explain what is meant by spiritual multiplication.

C         Define "method."

C         Define "methodologies."

C         Explain what is  meant by spiritual "multiplication methodologies."

C         Summarize principles of natural fishing which are applicable to spiritual fishing.




And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:17) 




When Jesus Christ began His public ministry on earth, He called several men to be His first disciples:


And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.  (Mark 1:17)


His first command to these men was to multiply spiritually.  If they followed Him, He would make them "fishers of men."  They would reproduce as they "fished" spiritually for other men and women.


The last message of Jesus to His followers was a call to spiritual reproduction:


But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 


And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:8-9) 


How could the disciples fulfill this great commission given by Jesus?  How could this small group of people multiply to reach the entire world?


                                                 MULTIPLICATION METHODS


Jesus revealed specific methods which would enable His disciples to fulfill the command to reproduce spiritually.  The first and most important of these was given as part of the commission in Acts 1:8.  Disciples would multiply through the endument of power by the Holy Spirit.  Other methods were revealed as the followers of Jesus began to multiply and reach the world with the Gospel.  These methods are recorded in the books of Acts and the Epistles in the New Testament.


This course explains these methods of multiplication.  It teaches you how to use them to reproduce spiritually and fulfill God's command. But first, you must understand what it means to multiply.  To "multiply" means to increase in number by reproduction.  Multiplication is the process of multiplying.  When something is multiplied it is reproduced over and over again in like form.


In the natural world, men and women reproduce themselves by having children.  They multiply physically.  Spiritual multiplication is done by reproducing spiritually.  A believer reproduces by sharing the Gospel with others, leading them to become believers, and establishing them as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Bible reveals God's methods for spiritual multiplication.  A "method" is a plan for accomplishing a specific goal. "Methodologies" is a system of methods which can be combined to reach a goal.


"Multiplication methodologies" are methods which enable believers to reach the goal of spiritual reproduction.  The goal never changes.  We are to reproduce spiritually and reach the entire world with the Gospel.  There are many different methods by which this goal may be accomplished.  These are the "methodologies," or various plans, by which you can multiply.


When man cooperates with God's multiplication methods, spiritual reproduction results.  Believers reproduce spiritually within the womb of the Church.


                                                        THE CALL TO ACTION


The men Jesus first called as disciples were fishermen. They were men of action.  They did not catch fish one at a time.  They used big nets to fish and brought in many fish of all kinds.


When Jesus called them to be "fishers of men," He revealed a similar plan for spiritual multiplication.  His followers were to "catch" men and women from every nation, culture, language, and ethnic background.  Their spiritual "nets" were to be filled.


Jesus called men to action.  He said He would make them become fishers of men.  They would not just be spectators in God's plan.  They would be participators as they fished for the eternal souls of men and women.


The call of Jesus is still the same.  We are to become fishers of men.  If we are not fishing, then we are not following.

                                                             FISHERS OF MEN


Why did Jesus use the example of fishing to call His followers?


First, it was an example they could easily understand.  These men made their living by fishing.  It was the thing to which they devoted their time and energy.  When Jesus called them to become fishers of men, they understood that they would "catch" men spiritually, just as they had caught fish in the natural world.  They also understood the demands of this call.  Spiritual fishing would require a commitment of their time and energy.


Second, Jesus used the example of fishing to call followers because there are principles of natural fishing which can be applied spiritually.  Here are some of these principles:




If you want to catch fish, you must go where the fish are.  Fish live in water.  You will never catch fish by waiting on top of a mountain or in the middle of a desert.


As  a believer, you must go where the fish are spiritually.  Men and women live in the world.  You cannot wait in the church building for unbelievers to come to you.  You must go into the marketplace, the schools, and the offices and "fish" wherever unsaved people are found. 




When you are fishing in the natural world, it is important to consider the environment.  You must observe the current and depth of the water.  You must know if it is salt water or fresh water.  You must observe how the wind is blowing.  All of these natural factors determine the type of bait and the methods you will use to fish.


The same is true in the natural world.  You must analyze the environment in which you find men and women.  What are their needs?  What is happening in their lives?  This will help you determine the method to use in fishing for their souls.


When Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4, He analyzed the environment in which He found her.  She was seeking natural water. He used this natural need to help her recognize her spiritual need.  The method He used "reeled her in" to the Kingdom of God.


In the natural world, if you are using trout fishing methods in salt water you will never catch trout.  Trout do not live in salt water.  They live in fresh water.


If you do not analyze the environment in the spiritual world, you will find yourself "fishing for trout in salt water" because you do not understand where people are and how to reach them.




A good fisherman uses different methods to catch fish.  He uses various baits to attract the fish.  He uses different kinds of fishing equipment which may include fishing rods, nets, spears, or baskets.  Different kinds of fish are attracted by different methods.  This is why a good fisherman uses various methods.


A fisherman can learn some of these methods in books written about fishing.  He learns other methods by experience and observation. The methods he uses change, but the goal is always the same...To catch fish.


If you are to be an effective spiritual fisherman, you must use different methods.  Different people are attracted to the Gospel by various methods.  Some are "reeled in" by teaching and preaching or comfort in time of need.  Others are "caught" by different methods.


The methods of spiritual fishing are varied, but the goal is always the same...To catch the souls of men and women.




Whether you are using a fishing rod, net, or spear in the natural world, you must cast it into the waters and draw it out again.


In the natural world, how you cast into the water is very important. Your casting must be on target.  You must also use care in order to land your fish after catching it.


In the spiritual world, we are promised if we "cast out" the Word of God, it will not return void.  It will accomplish its purpose in the hearts and lives of men and women (Isaiah 55:11).  When you use the Word of God, you will be on target every time.  Eventually, it will "catch" men and women. 




The time of day and seasons of the year affect fishing in the natural world.  Some fish migrate and cannot be caught in certain regions during some seasons.  The biggest fish are caught early in


the day when they come closer to the surface for feeding. If you fish in the wrong season or at the wrong time, you won't catch many fish. 


Timing is important in spiritual fishing also.  You will learn later in this course how important it is to "fish" the receptive areas of the world when the fish are "biting" spiritually.




A fisherman in the natural world must be patient.  He must wait for the fish to take the bait or swim into the net.  The same is true in the spiritual world:


Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (James 5:7) 


                                                  SPIRITUAL REPRODUCTION


Fishing in the natural world results in multiplication of fish.   Fishing in the spiritual world results in multiplication of men and women in the Kingdom of God.  Natural reproduction results in multiplication of living people.  Spiritual reproduction results in multiplication of spiritual people.


Natural reproduction is the result of life. Spiritual reproduction is also the result of life. It does not come through programs and promotions of man.  Spiritual reproduction comes through the spiritual life flow of God. 


In the natural body, reproduction starts in a woman's womb with a single cell of life.  That cell multiplies until a complete body is formed and a new baby is born.


Spiritual growth is similar.  It starts with the life flow of God in one man or woman.  It multiplies in the spiritual  "womb" of the Church.  You will learn how spiritual reproduction starts as you study "The Day Of Small Things" in the next chapter.  














1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.






2.         What were  the first and last commandments of Jesus to His followers?




3.         What is multiplication?




4.         How does a believer reproduce spiritually?




5.         Define "method."




6.         Define "methodologies."




7.         Explain what is  meant  by spiritual "multiplication methodologies."




8.         Summarize principles of natural fishing which are applicable to spiritual fishing.









           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)



                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


The call of Jesus to multiply spiritually is not an option or a suggestion.  It is a command.  Study the following chart which compares the various Biblical records of the Great Commission.  Look up each reference in your Bible.  Note the authority you have to fulfill the command.  Observe the extent of your ministry, its message, and the activities in which you are to engage in the multiplication process.


Reference       The Authority            The Extent     The Message              The Activities  



Matthew          "All authority"             All nations       All things                    Disciple by going,

28:1-20                                                                        Jesus has                      baptizing, teaching



Mark                Name of Jesus             All the             The Gospel                  Go and preach,

16:15                                                   world to                                              heal the sick.





Luke                Name of Jesus             All nations       Repentance                 Preach, proclaim,

24:46-49                                              beginning at    and the                                    and witness 

Jerusalem         forgiveness

of sins


John                 Sent by Jesus               (The extent of the ministry, the message,     

20:21               as He was                    and the activities are to be the same "as Jesus".)

sent by the Father



Acts                 Power of                     Jerusalem,        Christ                          Witness 

1:8                   the Holy                      Judea,

Spirit                           Samaria, and

the uttermost

part of the world







                         CHAPTER TWO


                                    THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Summarize basic principles of multiplication.

C         Identify various types of spiritual growth.

C         List references which show that concern with multiplication is Scriptural.

C         Identify factors which reveal a wrong emphasis on numeric growth.




For who hath despised the day of small things?  (Zechariah 4:10)




Growth in the human body starts with a single cell of life which is the result of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman.  That cell is multiplied within the mother's womb until another human being is created.  When it matures, that new human being also has the ability to multiply.


Spiritual growth starts with a relationship between one person and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Spiritual life flows into the soul and spirit of one who has accepted Jesus as Savior.  That spark of life, nurtured in the spiritual womb of the Church, grows until a new disciple is created.  That disciple has the ability to reproduce spiritually by leading others to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Whether in the natural or spiritual worlds, multiplication starts with a single cell of life.  This is why God said:


For who hath despised the day of small things? (Zechariah 4:10)


In this chapter you will start with small things.  You will learn basic principles of multiplication and about various types of spiritual growth.  You will learn of God's concern for spiritual multiplication and of factors which indicate a wrong emphasis on numeric growth.  You will start with basic principles, the small things upon which the greater revelation is based.



                                     BASIC PRINCIPLES OF MULTIPLICATION


You must understand basic principles of spiritual multiplication in order to learn and apply the methodologies.  The Biblical principles of multiplication do not change, but the methods by which you multiply may vary.  The methods change, but the purpose always remains the same.


The purpose and principles of God always remain the same, but the strategy to reach these purposes changes.  God's purpose from the beginning of time has been...


...That in the  dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him. (Ephesians 1:10) 


As the spiritual life of His people and historical conditions changes among the nations, God changes His strategy as necessary to accomplish His purposes.  For example, when fathers in Israelite families failed in their spiritual duty, God raised up the priests. When the priests became corrupt, He called prophets as spiritual leaders.  


Jesus used many different methods of ministry.  He did not deal with all people in the same way.  His methods varied, but His purpose remained the same...To touch and change the lives of men and women.


Here are some basic principles you must understand in the "day of small things" before you begin to multiply: 




God's concern has always been with the whole world:


For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

(John 3:16)


God is...


...not willing  that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9) 


Jesus expressed this same concern when He said:


For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 

(Luke 19:10) 


...for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

(Matthew 9:13) 


God is concerned with the multitudes.  He is concerned with numbers.  He is concerned with the multiplication of believers who will reproduce and spread the Gospel.  As you begin your study of multiplication methods you must start with the same concern as God--that of reaching the entire world with the Gospel message.




Spiritual multiplication cannot be accomplished apart from God.  It is God who gives growth:


...God gave the increase.  (I Corinthians 3:6) 




There are principles in God's Word which are applicable to every area of life and ministry. God works through men who know how to cooperate with these principles.  From the beginning of the world, God has worked on the earth through man.  He gave Adam and Eve the task of keeping the garden.  He used a man named Noah to preserve life on the earth during the flood.


God raised up Abraham to found the nation of Israel through which He would reveal Himself to the nations of the world.  God also used prophets, kings, and judges to accomplish His plan in Old Testament times.


In the New Testament, a man named John the Baptist "prepared the way for the Lord."  Jesus began His ministry with common men and when He returned to Heaven He left the destiny of the Gospel in the hands of these same men. The whole Biblical record is one of man cooperating with the principles of God to achieve the purposes of God. 


This is true in spiritual multiplication.  God does not bypass man to spread the Gospel.  He uses men and women who understand and cooperate with His principles of multiplication.  Paul summarized this cooperative relationship:


I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave  the increase. 

(I Corinthians 3:6) 


Paul stressed the urgency for believers to fulfill their responsibility in the plan of God:


For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.




How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  and how shall they hear without a preacher?  (Romans 10:13-14) 




Jesus said:


And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 

(John 12:32) 


Jesus was speaking here of His "lifting up" on the cross to die for the sins of all mankind.  Through His death, He would draw all men through the power of the Gospel.  When you share the Gospel message, Jesus is lifted up.  When He is lifted up in your life and your church, people are drawn by the power of the Gospel message.  Multiplication is guaranteed when Jesus is lifted up.




Jesus told a parable about growth in Matthew 13:1-9.  He explained the parable in Matthew 13:18-23.  Read these passages in your Bible.  In this parable, the seed represents the Word of God.  God has promised when we plant His Word, it is not done in vain:


So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11) 


...For I will hasten my Word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12)


It is the Word of God that brings change in the lives of men and women.  That change results in growth and multiplication based on the Word of God.




In the final message of Jesus to His disciples He said:


But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8) 


The power of the Holy Spirit enables multiplication.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit equip for multiplication.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit causes reproduction.  We will examine the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual multiplication later in this course.



In the early church, the spread of the Gospel was not left to the full-time pastors, prophets, evangelists, and teachers.  Every New Testament believer was spiritually reproductive.  If we are to reach the world with the Gospel, we must return to this strategy of the early church.  Both leaders and laymen must share the responsibility for spiritual multiplication.  The growth in world population requires a return to the New Testament plan of ministry by each member of the Body of Christ.  We cannot reach the world through token efforts and half-hearted dedication.


There are enough Christians in the world that the entire world could easily be reached with the Gospel.  There lacks only a sufficient number of inspired people to recognize and respond to the opportunity for multiplication.  


The command given by Jesus to believers is to "go" into all the world with the Gospel message.  You do not have to wait for the command to "go" because it already has been given.  In relation to the spread of the Gospel, the command is to "go" and watch for the stops, not stop and wait for the "go."   


                                                          TYPES OF GROWTH


The Bible speaks of four types of church growth or multiplication:




Geographic growth was predicted by the Lord Jesus:


But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost  part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)


Growth was to extend geographically throughout the nations of the world.




The church would experience numeric growth as it grew geographically.  Numeric growth of the first church is recorded in the book of Acts.  For example, the church had increased from 12 to 120 in Acts 1:15; to 3,000 in Acts 2:41; and to 5,000 in Acts 4:4.




The early church experienced ethnic growth also.  The Gospel was extended beyond the Jews to include Gentiles (people of all nations).




Growth in numbers is not the only emphasis of spiritual multiplication.  As you will learn later in this course, internal spiritual growth is also important.   Followers of Jesus must grow in spiritual quality as well as quantity:


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...  (II Peter 3:18)


God's desire is that we...


Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)


                                                 THE EMPHASIS ON NUMBERS


Some people ignore the subject of spiritual multiplication and church growth because they believe an emphasis on numbers is wrong.  But in the Bible there are many records of God's concern with numbers.  For examples, see Numbers 1:1-3; 2:23-24; 26:1-4; Revelation 7:9; 20:8; Genesis 22:17; and Hebrews 6:14.


Jesus told many parables concerning numeric growth.  You will study these in another chapter.  He also indicated that careful numeric records are kept in Heaven:


I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in Heaven, over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.  (Luke 15:7) 


Multiplication is emphasized in the record of the early church in the book of Acts.  Summaries of the growth of the church are recorded in Acts 1:15; 2:41; 4:4; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20; and 28:30-31.


You must not ignore the subject of multiplication just because of a few problems with wrong emphasis.  Rather, you must recognize and deal with the problems.  There is a wrong emphasis on multiplication when the following factors are present:




When spiritual growth is compromised to attract the crowds, there is a misplaced emphasis on numbers.  Some ministers say only what people like to hear in order to attract great crowds.  The Bible warns that...



...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.


And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.  (II Timothy 4:3-4) 




Read I Chronicles 21:18.  David's concern with numbers here was motivated by Satan and was an act of pride.  When you begin to take pride in great numbers, your emphasis is wrong.




There is a sin of the flesh mentioned in Galatians 5:20  which is called "emulations."  Emulations is a form of jealousy which results in imitating others to equal or surpass their achievements.  When you are jealous of large ministries and begin to imitate them in order to grow, you have a wrong emphasis on numbers. 




The goal of spiritual multiplication is winning new converts to Jesus Christ and discipling them until they become responsible, reproductive members of the Kingdom of God.  There is a difference between church growth and Kingdom growth.  If First Church splits and 100 of their members go to Second Church, church growth occurs in Second Church, but there has been no Kingdom growth.  Multiplication has not occurred. There has only been a transfer of existing numbers.


The goal of multiplication is not to attract new members from another church, but to reach the unreached with the Gospel. Emphasis on numbers is wrong when the goal of church growth replaces that of Kingdom growth.




Jesus ministered to crowds of people during His earthly ministry (Luke 6:17; 7:11; 8:37; 9:14-16; 14:26; 23:27; John 6:2).  But Jesus never ignored the individual because of the crowds.  He called individuals out of crowds to minister to them (John 5:3-13; Mark 5:24-34).  In John 4, Jesus ministered to one woman who brought an entire village to the Master.


In Acts 8 there is the record of a great revival preached by Philip in the city of Samaria.  In the middle of these meetings God spoke to Philip to leave Samaria and go to the desert between Jerusalem and Gaza.



Philip immediately left the great revival in which he was ministering.  He went from a densely populated country to a lonely desert. He left the crowds in order to minister to one man, an Ethiopian returning home from Jerusalem.  This one man was probably responsible for spreading the Gospel to the entire continent of Africa.


Many years ago in a missionary service in London, England, only two people  attended because the weather was so bad.  The visiting minister made a powerful appeal for workers among the Indians in North America but thought his time was wasted because of the low attendance.  But one of the two men heard God's call and yielded his life to Him. Within a month he had sold his business and was preparing himself to work among the Indians in North America.  He spent 35 years in effective ministry among these people.  His name was David Brainard.


Do not despise little things.  Remember, a small candle can do what the sun can never do...it can shine at night.




When multiplication results in church growth, the emphasis sometimes changes from people to things.  Because of growth, a bigger church building may be needed and efforts are shifted from multiplying disciples to a building program.  When your chief concern is with buildings to accommodate growth,  numbers have caused you to lose sight of the primary goal.


God is more interested in people than in buildings.  The Biblical record of God at work in the world focuses on people.  When multiplication results in a shift of emphasis from people to material things like buildings, priorities are wrong. 




Never judge the spirituality of another person or ministry by numbers.  Great numbers are not always an indication of spirituality.  Numeric success in some cases is mute testimony that the Church has failed to be the Church.  Sometimes, faithfulness to the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ may repel rather than attract.  For example, when Jesus began to teach the unpopular message of His death, many of His followers deserted Him (John 6:52-64).


There are other reasons why growth may not be evident. The Bible teaches there are certain seasons for spiritual growth just as there are growth cycles in the natural world.   In the natural world, during certain seasons of the year some plants do not reproduce.  They have no leaves or fruit and look like a dead branch sticking out of the ground.  But in the right season, these plants will blossom and fruit and leaves will come forth.


The same is true in the spiritual world.  There are certain times when specific areas of the world are more receptive to the Gospel than others. By studying the patterns of growth you can concentrate your spiritual forces in fields "ripe unto harvest."


God's numeric system is not the same as that of man.  We add in order to increase numbers. But sometimes God subtracts in order to add.  When Ananias and Sapphira were subtracted from the church because of sin (Acts 5), believers were added (Acts 5:14).  Sometimes God uses division to multiply.  When Paul and Barnabas were divided, God multiplied the missionary force (Acts 15:36-41).  Occasionally God reduces a number in order to accomplish a great purpose.  Read the story of Gideon in Judges 7.


Never judge a ministry or an individual on the basis of numbers.  Do not "despise" small things.  When a young boy offered his bread and two tiny fish to Jesus, it met the needs of a crowd of hungry people. God still takes insignificant things, blesses them, and uses them mightily for His glory.


                                            COME FORTH BEARING SHEAVES


Fearing wrong emphasis on numbers should not prevent the study and application of multiplication methods.   The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) makes it clear that God expects you to multiply what you have been given and that fearful excuses are not acceptable. Jesus told His followers:


Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?  Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  (John 4:35) 


When God sends harvesters in to the spiritual fields of the world, He wants them to come out with sheaves, not excuses:


They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.


He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.  (Psalms 126:5-6) 















1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.




2.         Summarize  the basic  principles of multiplication taught in this lesson.




3.         Identify four types of spiritual growth.










4.         List some references which show that concern with multiplication is Scriptural.




5.         Summarize factors discussed in this lesson which reveal a wrong emphasis on numeric growth.




6.         TRUE OR FALSE: If the statement is True, write "True" on the blank in front of it.  If the statement is false, write "False" on the blank in front of it:


a.________Concern with numbers is not Scriptural.

b.________If a church is not growing, they are not spiritual.







           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)


                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


The book of Acts in the Bible tells the story of multiplication in the early church.  Use the following outline to study this New Testament book.  This outline follows the multiplication plan of the Lord given in Acts 1:8 for the extension of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world.


Author of Acts:  Luke 


Written To:  The book is written to all believers, although it is specifically addressed to Theophilus.


Purpose Of The Book:   This is stated in Acts 1:1-2.  The book concerns what Jesus continued to do and teach after His ascension through His spiritual Body, the Church.


Key Verse:  Acts 1:8





                                                                      Acts 1:1-ll


I.          Introduction: 1:1-2


A.        To: Theophilus: 1:1

B.        Concerning: What Jesus continued to do and teach after His ascension

through His spiritual Body, the Church: 1:1-2


II.        The ministry of Jesus after the resurrection: 1:3


A.        Its duration:    Forty days: 1:3

B.        Its purpose:     Infallible proof: 1:3

C.        Its message:     The Kingdom Of God: 1:3


III.       The final meeting of Jesus with His disciples: 1:4-8


A.        The command to the disciples: 1:4-5

B.        The question of the disciples: 1:6

C.        The caution to the disciples: 1:7

D.        The commission to the disciples: 1:8



IV.       The ascension of Jesus into Heaven: 1:9-11


A.        Description of the ascension: 1:9

B.        Declaration of His second coming: 1:10-11


                                       Part One:  Forming The Witness In Jerusalem

                                                                     Acts 1:12-7


I.          The forming of the witness: 1:12-2:4


A.        Christ's disciples waiting in Jerusalem: 1:12-26

l.          The gathering of the disciples: 1:12-15

a.         Their meeting place: 1:12-13

b.         Their number and names: 1:13-15

c.         Their purpose: 1:14

2.         The exhortation given to the disciples: 1:15-22

a.         The speaker: Peter: 1:15

b.         The message 1:16-22

(l)  Background: 1:16-20

(2)  Instructions: 1:21-22

3.  The response of the disciples: 1:23-26

a.         The nomination: 1:23

b.         The prayer: 1:14-25

c.         The election: 1:26

B.        The baptism in the Holy Spirit: 2:1-4

l.          The occasion: 2:1

2.         The people: 2:1

3.         The place: 2:1

4.         The event: 2:2-4

a.         The wind: 2:2

b.         The tongues as of fire: 2:3

c.         Speaking in tongues: 2:4


                                 Part Two: Functioning Of The Witness In Jerusalem

                                                                      Acts 2:5-7


I.          The first witness: 2:4-40


A.        The manner in which the witness was given: 2:4-8

B.        The reaction to the witness: 2:7-13

C.        The sermon by Peter: 2:14-36

l.          Prophecy concerning the time: 2:17

2.         Prophecy concerning the spirit: 2: 17-18

3.         Prophecy concerning the event: 2:19-20

4.         Prophecy concerning salvation: 2:21

5.         The work of Jesus:  2:22-36

a.         Jesus was approved of God: 2:22

b.         Jesus was crucified: 2:23

c.         Jesus arose from the dead: 2:24-32

d.         Jesus is exalted at God's right hand: 2:33-35

e.         Jesus is now the Lord and Christ: 2:36

D.        Response to the message: 2:37-40

l.          Conviction:  2:37

2.         Inquiry: 2:37

3.         Instruction: 2:38

4.         Promises: 2:38-39

5.         Exhortation: 2:40


II.  The first local church: 2:41-47


A.        Membership of the first church: 2:41

l.          Their identity: They which received the Word.

2.         Their number: 3,000

B.        Spiritual practices of the first church: 2:42

l.          The apostles' doctrine.

2.         The fellowship of the saints.

3.         Communion.

4.         Prayer.

C.  The life pattern of the first church: 2:44-46

l.          Voluntary communal system: 2:44-45

2.         Daily worship and testimony: 2:46

3.         Fellowship in the homes: 2:46

4.         Unity: 2:46

D.        The witness of the local church: 2:46-47

l.          Nature of the witness: 2:46-47

2.         Results of the witness: 2:47


III.       The first miracle: 3:1-26


A.        The miracle described: 3:1-11

l.          The setting: 3:1

2.         The man and his need: 3:2-3

3.         The message:  3:4-6

4.         The miracle: 3:7-8

5.         The reaction of the multitude: 3:9-11

B.        The miracle explained: 3:12-18

l.          The man was not healed by the power of the apostles: 3:12

2.         The man was healed by God for the purpose of glorifying Jesus: 3:13-15

3.         The man was healed by faith in the name of Jesus: 3:16

4.         The man was healed to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecy: 3:17-18

C.        The message of Peter: 3:19-26

l.          The promise made by Peter: 3:19-21

a.         What God challenged Israel to do: 3:19

b.         What God promised He would do: 3:19-21

2.         The prophecy of the prophets: 3:22-26

a.         The prophecy by Moses and the prophets: 3:22-24

b.         The promise of the covenant: 3:25

c.         The plan of the Messiah: 3:26


IV.       The first opposition: 4:1-31


A.        The arrest: 4:1-4

l.          Source of the opposition: 4:1

2.         Reason for the opposition: 4:2

3.         Form of the opposition: 4:3

B.        The trial: 4:5-14

l.          The court: 4:5-6

2.         Questions of the court: 4:7

3.         Statement by Peter: 4:8-12

a.         Source of his answer: 4:8

b.         His answer:  4:9-10

c.         His testimony concerning Jesus and salvation: 4:10-12

4.         The evidence considered by the court: 4:13-14

a.         The character of the witnesses: 4:13

b.         The testimony of the man who was healed: 4:14

5.         The decision:  4:15-22

a.         The consultation: 4:15-17

b.         The decision: 4:17-18

c.         The response of Peter and John: 4:19-20

d.         The release: 4:21-22

6.         The reaction: 4:21-31

a.         The prayer of the church: 4:23-30

b.         The activity of the church: 4:31



V.        The first discipline of sin: 4:32-5:16


A.        Organization of the church: 4:32-37

l.          Its fellowship: 4:32

2.         Its witness: 4:33

3.         Its economy: 4:32-37

B.        The first sin disrupting the fellowship: 5:1-10

l.          The sin: 5:1-2

2.         Exposure of the sin: 5:3-4

3.         Disciplining of the sin: 5:5-10

C.        The results of discipline:  Fruitful witness of the fellowship: 5:11-16

l.          Reverent attitude of the members: 5:11

2.         Unity: 5:12

3.         Miraculous signs: 5:12, 15-16

4.         Community response: 5:12-14


VI.       The first persecution: 5:17-43


A.        Source of opposition: 5:17

B.        Action of the opposition: 5:18

C.        Deliverance by God: 5:19-26

l.          His act: 5:19

2.         His command: 5:20

3.         Response to His command: 5:21

4.         The discovery of His act: 5:21-23

5.         The results of His act: 5:24-26

D.        Trial: 5:27-40

l.          Indictment by the Sanhedrin: 5:27-28

2.         Defense made by Peter: 5:29-32

3.         Investigation by the Sanhedrin: 5:33-39

4.         Injustice of the decision of the Sanhedrin: 5:40

E.         Response to persecution: 5:41-42

l.          Rejoicing: 5:41

2.         Unity:  Met daily together: 5:42

3.         Witnessing: Teaching and preaching: 5:42


VII.     The first organization: 6:1-7


A.        The need for the organization: 6:1

B.        The organization suggested: 6:2-4

l.          Source of the suggestion: 6:2

2.         The reason for the suggestion: 6:2

3.         The suggestion:  6:3

4.         The advantage of the suggestion: 6:4

C.        The organization set up: 6:5-6

l.          The method used: 6:5-6

2.         The men chosen: 6:5

3.         Their ordination: 6:6

D.        The results of the organization: 6:7

l.          The word increased: 6:7

2.         The disciples multiplied: 6:7

3.         Obedience to the faith: 6:7


VIII. The first martyr: 6:8-8:1


A.        The description of Stephen:  6:3-15

l.          One of the seven: 6:3,5

2.         Filled with the Holy Ghost: 6:5

3.         A man of good reputation: 6:3

4.         A man of faith: 6:5

5.         A man of wisdom: 6:3, 10

6.         A man with special power: 6:8

7.         An effective witness: 6:9-10

B.        The persecution of Stephen:  6:11-15

C.        The message of Stephen: 7:1-53

l.          Abraham: 7:1-8

2.         The patriarchs:  7:9-16

3.         Moses: 7:17-43

a.         In Egypt: 7:17-28

b.         In the wilderness: 7:29-43

4.         The tabernacle: 7:44-50

a.         Of Moses: 7:44

b.         Of Joshua: 7:45

c.         Of David: 7:45-46

d.         Of Solomon: 7:47-50

e.         Of God: 7:48-50

5.         The prophets:  7:51-53

D.        The witness of Stephen: 7:54-8:1

l.          The attitude of the council: 7:54

2.         The announcement by Stephen: 7:55-56

3.         The action of the council: 7:57-59

4.         The death of Stephen: 7:59-8:1


                                     Part Three:  The Witness In Judea and Samaria

                                                                      Acts 8-12


I.          Transition:  Results of the death of Stephen: 8:1-4


A.        The persecution: 8:1,3

B.        The burial of Stephen: 8:2

C.        The extended witness of the church: 8:4


II.        The witness of Philip: 8:5-40


A.        Ministry in Samaria: 8:5-25

l.          The witness of Philip: 8:5-13

a.         The work of Philip: 8:5-7, 12

b.         The response of the Samaritans: 8:6-12

c.         Simon the Sorcerer: 8:9-13

2.         The work Peter and John: 8:14-17

a.         The coming of Peter and John: 8:14

b.         The coming of the Holy Spirit: 8:15-17

c.         The response of Simon: 8:18-19

d.         The warning of Simon: 8:20-24

B.        Ministry to the Ethiopian: 8:26-40

l.          Preparation: 8:26-28

2.         The witness: 8:29-35

3.         The response: 8:36-38

C.        Transition to Azotus: 8:39-40


III.  The witness of Saul: 9:1-31


A.        The conversion of Saul: 9:1-9

l.          His purpose: 9:1-2

2.         His vision: 9:3-9

3.         The voice: 9:4-7

4.         The blindness: 9:8-9

B.        The commissioning of Saul through Ananias: 9:10-19

l.          The call: 9:10-16

2.         The commission: 9:17-19

C.        The mission of Saul:  9:20-31

l.          Saul at Damascus: 9:20-25

a.         His witness: 9:20-22

b.         The response: 9:21-23

c.         His escape: 9:23-25

2.         Saul at Jerusalem: 9:26-30

a.         His reception: 9:26-28

b.         His activity: 9:28-29

c.         His departure: 9:29-30

D.        Transition: Rest in the church:  9:31


IV.       The witness of Peter: 9:32-12:35


A.        At Lydda: 9:32-35

l.          The believers: 9:32

2.         The sick man: 9:33

3.         Healing of the sick man: 9;34

4.         The response: 9:35

B.        At Joppa: 9:36-43

l.          The death of Dorcus: 9:36-37

2.         The call of Peter: 9:38-39

3.         The ministry of Peter: 9:40-41

4.         Response to the ministry: 9:42-43

C.        At Caesarea: 10:1-48

l.          Cornelius' vision: 10:1-8

a.         The man Cornelius: 10:1-2

b.         The vision of Cornelius: 10:3-6

c.         The response of Cornelius: 10:7-8

2.         Peter's vision: 10:9-22

a.         The vision: 10:9-12

b.         The voice: 10:13-16

3.         The arrival of the messengers: 10:17-22

4.         The visit to Cornelius' house: 10:23-48

a.         The journey: 10:23

b.         The reception: 10:24-27

c.         The explanation: 10:27-28

d.         The question: 10:29

e.         The answer: 10:30-33

f.          The unfinished sermon: 10:34-43

(1)        God is no respecter of persons: 10:34-35

(2)        Spread of the Gospel: 10:36-37

(3)        The Gospel message: 10:38-43

g.         The response of Cornelius: 8:44-48

D.        At Jerusalem: 11:1-12:25

l.          The problem of Gentile conversion: 11:1-18

a.         The problem: 11:1-3

b.         The explanation of God's work among the Gentiles: 11:4-17

(l)         The vision: 11:4-10

(2)        The visitors: 11:11

(3)        The visit: 11:12-16

c.         The decision: 4:18


V.        The church in Antioch of Syria: 11:19-30


A.        Evangelization of Antioch: 11:19-21

B.        Visit by Barnabus: 11:22-24

C.        Saul chosen as pastor-teacher: 11:25-26

D.        Information revealed by Agabus: 11:27-30


VI.       Persecution led by Herod: 12:1-25


A.        The murder of James: 12:1-2

B.        The arrest of Peter: 12:3-4

C.        The deliverance of Peter 12:5-19

D.        The death of Herod: 12:20-23


VII.     The declaration of the Word: 12:24-25


                             Part Four: Witness To The Uttermost Parts Of The Earth

                                                                     Acts 13-28


I.          The first missionary journey: 13:1-14:28


A.        The call to ministry: Acts 13:1-3

B.        Ministry in Paphos in  Cyprus: 13:4-12

C.        Ministry in Antioch in Pisidia: 13:13-50

l.          Transition to Pisidia: 13:13-16

2.         The message: 13:17-37

a.         The exodus deliverance: 13:17

b.         The wilderness wanderings: 13:18

c.         The conquest of Canaan: 13:19

d.         The rule of Saul and David: 13:20-23

e.         The ministry of John the Baptist: 13:24-25

f.          Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus: 13:26-37

g.         The invitation: 13:38-41

3.         The response: 13:42-50

D.        Ministry in Iconium: 13:51-14:5

E.         Ministry in Lystra: 14:6-25

F.         Ministry in Syria: 14:26-28 


II.        The Jerusalem council: 15:1-35


A.        The problem: 15:1-3

B.        The sessions: 15:4-21

l.          First public session: 15:4-5

2.         Private session of the apostles and elders: 15:6

3.         Second public session: 15:7-21

a.         Peter's report: 15:7-11

b.         Paul and Barnabas' report: 15:12

c.         James' report: 15:13-21

C.        The decision: 15:19-21

D.        The letters: 15:22-35


III.       Second missionary journey: 15:36-18:22


A.        The argument: 15:36-41

B.        Ministry at Lystra: 16:1-5

C.        Ministry at Troas: 16:6-10

D.        Ministry at Philippi: 16:11-40

E.         Ministry at Thessalonica: 17:1-9

F.         Ministry at Berea: 17:10-14

G.        Ministry at Athens: 17:15-34

H.        Ministry at Corinth: 18:1-18

I.          Ministry at Ephesus: 18:19-21

J.          Jerusalem and Antioch: 18:22


IV.       Third missionary journey: 18:23-21:14


A.        Asia Minor: 18:23

B.        Ministry in Ephesus: 18:24-19:41

l.          Apollos: 18:24-28

2.         Disciples of John: 19:1-7

3.         School of Tyranus: 19:8-12

4.         The sons of Sceva: 19:13-17

5.         Dedication of the converts: 19:18-20

6.         The decision: 19:21

7.         Defenders of Diana: 19:23-41

C.        Ministry in Macedonia and Greece: 20:1-5

D.        Ministry in Troas: 20:6-12

E.         Ministry in Miletus: 20:13-38

l.          The journey: 20:13-16

2.         Meeting with the elders from Ephesus: 20:17-35

a.         Review of his ministry: 20:17-21

b.         Facing the future: 20:22-24

c.         Paul's conscience: 20:25-27

d.         The warning 20:28-31

e.         Commended to God: 20:32

f.          Paul's example in labor: 20:33-35

3.         The farewell: 20:36-38

F.         Ministry in Tyre: 21:1-6

G.        Ministry in Ptolemias: 21:7

H.        Ministry in Caesarea: 21:8-14


V.        The final visit to Jerusalem and the trip to Rome: 21:15-28:31  


A.        Jerusalem: 21:15-23:32

l.          Transition to Jerusalem: 21:15-17

2.         Rumors against Paul: 21:18-30

a.         That he had degraded the law of Moses: 21:18-26

b.         That he had desecrated the Temple: 21:27-30

3.         The reaction of Paul: 21:23-26

4.         The rescue of Paul: 21:30-32

5.         Replies by Paul: 21:33-23:10

a.         The Jewish crowd: 22:1-23

b.         The Roman centurion: 22:24-26

c.         Chief captain: 22:26-30

d.         The Sanhedrin: 23:1-10

(l)         Paul's confession: 23:1

(2)        Encounter with the high priest: 23:2-5

(3)        A divided court: 23:6-10

6.         The revelation to Paul: 23:11

7.         Revenge against Paul: 23:12-15

8.         Rescue of Paul:  23:16-32

a.         The plot revealed: 23:16-22

b.         The letter: 23:25-30

c.         The escape: 23-32

B.        Caesarea:  23:33-26:32

l.          Before Felix: 23:33-24:27

a.         The accusations of Tertulius: 24:1-9

b.         The answer of Paul:  24:10-21

c.         The response of Felix: 24:22-27

2.         Before Festus: 25:1-12

3.         Festus and Agrippa: 25:13-27

4.         Before Agrippa: 26:1-32

a.         Paul speaks for himself: 26:1-23

b.         Invitation to the Savior: 26:24-29

c.         The verdict: 26:30-32

C.        En route to Rome: 27:17-28:31

l.          The storm:  27:1-44

2.         The serpent: 28:1-6

3.         The healing: 28:7-10

4.         The journey continues: 28:11-15

D.        Rome: 28:16-31

l.          Meeting with the Jews: 28:16-29

2.         Ministry: 28:30-31



                       CHAPTER THREE


                                 PARABLES OF MULTIPLICATION




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Define the word "parable."

C         Explain why Jesus used parables.

C         Identify principles of multiplication in parables taught by Jesus.




And with many such parables spake He the Word unto them, as they were able to hear it.  (Mark 4:33) 




This lesson focuses on principles of multiplication taught by Jesus during His earthly ministry. A parable is a story which uses an example from the natural world to illustrate a spiritual truth.


The actual meaning of the word "parable" is to "lay beside, to compare."  In parables, Jesus compared natural examples with spiritual truths.  A parable is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning.


                                                             WHY PARABLES?


The disciples once asked Jesus why He used parables to teach spiritual truths:


And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speaketh thou unto them in parables?  (Matthew 13:10)


Jesus answered:


...Because it is given  unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.  (Matthew 13:11)



Understanding of spiritual truths taught in parables was given to the disciples because they had spiritual minds.  Those without spiritual minds heard the parables and failed to understand them.  Spiritual truths can only be understood by a spiritual mind:


But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (I Corinthians 2:14) 


A spiritually minded man is one who has been born again spiritually. Those with spiritual minds understand the principles revealed in parables.  Those with carnal, sinful minds cannot understand.


                                              THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM


When Jesus commissioned His followers to reach the world with the Gospel message, He said...


And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations:  and then shall the end come.  (Matthew 24:14)


The Gospel you are to spread to the world is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Its message includes the birth, life, and ministry of Jesus.  It includes His death for the sins of all mankind and His resurrection from the dead.  You are to tell people how to enter the Kingdom of God through spiritual rebirth and teach them how to live the new life of the Kingdom.*


                                             PARABLES OF MULTIPLICATION


Jesus told many parables about the Kingdom of God.  Among them were parables about how the Kingdom would spread throughout the world.  The following parables about the growth of the Kingdom reveal basic principles of multiplication.  Look up each reference in your Bible and read the parable:


The Lost Sheep:         Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7

The Lost Coin:           Luke 15:8-10

The Lost Son:             Luke 15:11-32


These parables reveal God's concern for the lost and the urgency with which you should seek to bring them into the Kingdom of God.   It does not matter why they are lost.  The sheep had





*  Further instruction on this subject is given in the Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Kingdom Living."


wandered away. The coin was lost through carelessness.  The son was lost through his own rebellion.    You are to make every effort to find those lost in sin. You are to go where they are, not wait for them to come to you.  God is not concerned with how men are lost, only that they be found.


The Empty Banquet Table:              Luke 14:15-23


Multiplication should not stop just because some refuse to respond to the invitation of the Gospel.  You are to seek the spiritually hungry and bring them into the banquet prepared by the Lord.


The Barren Fig Tree:                          Luke 13:6-9


Jesus told a parable about a barren fig tree.  The fig tree is a natural symbol of the nation of Israel.  God raised up Israel as the nation through which He could reveal the Kingdom to the world.  God tried to get the "tree" of Israel to bring forth "fruit" among heathen nations by sharing their knowledge of the true God.  But Israel remained barren and unfruitful.


Now God has raised up the Church for this purpose.  God nurtures believers in an attempt to make them productive, just as He did the nation of Israel.  His purpose is the same:  We are to bring forth fruit among the heathen by sharing our knowledge of the true God. God is not pleased with trees that produce no fruit.


The Talents:                                       Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27

The Man On A Long Journey:        Mark 13:34-37

The Servants:                                     Matthew 24:43-51;  Luke 12:39-46

The Watching Servants:                   Luke 12:36-38

The Faithful Manager:                     Matthew 25:14-30


These "servant" parables emphasize wise stewardship of the message of the Kingdom which has been entrusted to believers.  Each believer is given "talents" or special abilities to use in spreading the Gospel.  Whether your abilities are great or small, you must multiply what God has given you.


Each servant is required to multiply.  When Jesus returns to earth, those who have properly used their abilities will be rewarded (Luke 16:10-12).  Those who have not multiplied are considered unfaithful:


For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. 

(Matthew 16:27) 


Jesus recognized the principle of percentage in the multiplication process:


For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. 

(Luke 12:48) 


The Kingdom of God is spread by wise use of the spiritual talents given by God.  If you use what God has given you, your talents will increase.  If you do not use it, you will lose it.


The Sower:                             Matthew 13:3-8; Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-8


The Gospel of the Kingdom is spread by sowing the seed of the Word of God.  There can be no multiplication without the Word.  The fruit depends on the life that is in the seed itself (the Word of God) and the response of the soil (man's response to the Word of God).  There will be varied responses to this sowing of the Word.


Your responsibility is to sow.  As you sow the seed of the Word of God, some soil is ready and yields a harvest.  Other soil is not responsive and yields very little.  Even Jesus encountered unresponsive soils in His earthly ministry:


And He could do there (his own country) no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk and healed them.


And He marveled because of their unbelief...(Mark 6:5-6)


The Tares And The Wheat:             Matthew 13:24-30


As you multiply the Kingdom by adding new believers, Satan will try to defeat the process.  He will sow people described as weeds among the good seed of God's Kingdom.


Some of the people who profess to be believers and come into  the church through multiplication are not sincere.  They are weeds planted by Satan.


Jesus does not want you to spend time and effort trying to separate the weeds from the wheat.  Keep sowing the seed and multiplying.  In the day of harvest when Jesus returns, the weeds will be separated from the harvest.


The Fishing Net:                                            Matthew 13:47-50


Jesus compared the growth of the Kingdom of God to a great net thrown into the sea.  All kinds of fish enter, but when the net is drawn to shore the good fish are separated from the bad.


The Kingdom will draw in men and women from all nations.  Many will enter.  Some will be sincere, others will not.  In the final day of judgment when God draws in the net, the good and bad "fish" will be separated.  You are not called to separate, you are called to fish.


The Mustard Seed:                            Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:31-32; Luke 13:19


The Kingdom of God will multiply like mustard seed.  The mustard seed is very small in the beginning, but in maturity it grows to great size.  The Kingdom of God on earth had a small beginning.  When Jesus returned to Heaven after His earthly ministry, He left behind a small group of followers to spread the Gospel.  That small group of believers has multiplied to thousands of followers in many nations. 


The Leaven:                                       Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21


Like leaven in a lump of dough, the Kingdom of God will multiply to spread throughout the whole "lump" of the world.  Like leaven, the power of the Kingdom is not external but it is internal.


The Vine And The Branches:          John 15:1-16


This parable describes the relationship between Jesus and the fruit-bearing process.  He is the spiritual vine and we are the branches.  You cannot bear fruit alone. You are reproductive only as you are attached to the life flow of the branch, Jesus.  Jesus wants to prune your life of everything that is not reproductive so you will bring forth spiritual fruit that remains.


The Harvest:                                      Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2


In this parable, the field is the world. The harvest is the multitudes of men and women ready to respond to the Gospel message.  A great harvest waits to be reaped by the spiritual laborers of God.


                                       OTHER MULTIPLICATION PRINCIPLES


Jesus taught other multiplication principles in brief statements:


Light Of The World:                         Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 8:16


The Kingdom will multiply as believers appear like lights from a city located on high ground which can be seen from miles around.  We are to bring the light of the world (Jesus) to a world filled with spiritual darkness. The Kingdom will multiply as people are drawn to the light.


Salt Of The Earth:                            Luke 14:34


In Bible times, salt was rubbed into meat to preserve it from decay.  Believers are the "salt" to be rubbed into the world with the message of preservation (salvation).  The Kingdom will multiply as men are saved from the "decay" (spiritual death) of sin.


Treasures In Heaven:                        Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:15


Believers are not to be concerned with multiplying treasures of the world. The multiplication to which you are called is spiritual multiplication.  As you share the Gospel, you multiply your spiritual treasures in Heaven.


The Broad Gate:                               Matthew 7:14


You cannot judge the right way in terms of numbers only.  The way to Hell draws many while the way to eternal life is found by few.


Many Works:                                     Matthew 7:22


Many wonderful works will be done by many people.  On the surface there will be growth and multiplication.  But doing many great works is not necessarily the same as doing God's will and accomplishing His purposes.  God's work must be done by His people in His way.


Little Is Much:                                   Matthew 10:42; Matthew 14:15-21


Everything done in the name of Jesus, even that which seems small, is productive.  The miracle of the loaves and fishes illustrate how God multiplies and uses what little we have to offer.


Growth Requires Change:               Mark 2:21-22; 7:13


New growth requires change.  You cannot contain the new in old vessels of tradition and sinful lifestyles.  The powerful potential of the Word of God is hindered by men who cling to traditions and refuse to change.


Gain By Losing:                                Mark 8:34-37; 10:29-30

Receive By Giving:                            Luke 6:38


Worldly principles teach that you gain by obtaining more and more.  Jesus taught that you gain everything when you lose everything.  What appears to be loss in the natural world is gain in the spiritual world.


Death Brings Life:                             John 12:24


Through the death of Jesus, many received eternal life.  To multiply, a seed must die.  Through death comes life.  To be a reproductive disciple you must die to the desires of your flesh.  You must be "dead" to sin.  You must abandon your own way to follow Jesus.


The Church On The Rock:              Matthew 16:18


The Kingdom of God is founded on the rock Christ Jesus.  There is no growth without Him.  Jesus said, "I will build my Church."  He said no man could enter into it unless the Father draws him (John 6:44).


Opposition was to be expected, but the "gates of Hell" cannot defeat the plan of God for the growth of His Kingdom:


With men, this is impossible; but with God, all things are possible. 

(Matthew 19:26)


 ...all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23)




The greatest principle of multiplication taught by Jesus was given in His final words to the disciples.  His command  revealed the basic plan for the spread of the Gospel and the multiplication of converts and disciples:


Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;


Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  

(Matthew 28:19-20)


Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. 

(Mark 16:15) 


And He said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:


And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


And ye are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)


But ye shall receive power,  after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8) 





The teachings of Jesus reveal that He is not pleased with:


-Fishing without catching.

-An empty banquet table.

-Sowing without reaping.

-A tree that bears no fruit.

-Lost sheep not brought into the fold.

-A lost coin that is sought but not found.

-Lost sons that do not return.

-Unproductive servants.

-Unresponsive spiritual soil.

-Ripe harvests that are not reaped.


Our Father, who is not willing that one person should perish, is interested in results through spiritual multiplication:


Even so, it is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.  (Matthew 18:14)


The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  (II Peter 3:9) 






















1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.








2.         Define the word "parable."






3.         Why did Jesus use parables to teach His followers?






4.         On a separate paper, briefly describe the multiplication principle taught in each of the following parables:


The empty banquet table:

The barren fig tree:

The lost sheep, coin, and son:

The servant parables:

The sower:

The tares and the wheat:

The fishing net:

The mustard seed:

The leaven:

The vine and the branches:






           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)


                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         From age 12 to the start of Christ's public ministry, the Bible does not give a detailed account of what occurred in His life during this time.  Only one verse reveals the spiritual growth process occurring during this period:


And the child (Jesus) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.  (Luke 2:40)


To be effective, spiritual growth must always precede public ministry.


2.         As the end of  time approaches, Satan will use his own principles of multiplication. Study the following references:


-Many false prophets shall arise:  Matthew 24:11

-Many people will be deceived:  Matthew 24:11

-Iniquity will increase:  Matthew 24:12

-Many will fall away from the truth of the Gospel:  II Thessalonians 2:3

-Persecution of believers will increase: Matthew 24:9-10

-Profane and vain babblings will increase: II Timothy 2:16























                        CHAPTER FOUR


                       ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS MORE THAN TWO





Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Define the word "witness."

C         Define the term "laity."

C         Define the term "clergy."

C         Explain what is meant by the "calling" of the laity.

C         Explain God's plan of multiplication for the spread of the Gospel.

C         Name two New Testament men  used as examples of this multiplication process.

C         Explain how to get started in spiritual multiplication.

C         Begin to multiply spiritually.




And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 

(II Timothy 2:2)




Growth in the human body starts with one cell of life. That cell multiplies over and over again until a human baby is formed.  After birth, the process continues in the child.  Human cells continue to multiply and growth occurs.  The same is true in the spiritual world.  Each person who has experienced new life in Jesus is similar to a living cell in the human body.  Each believer must reproduce spiritually. The Gospel is spread as believers continue to multiply in this way.


This chapter reveals your personal responsibility in this spiritual process. You will learn of the plan of God for spiritual multiplication which makes "1 plus 1" more than two.


                                                            THE CHALLENGE


The challenge of Jesus to believers is to reach the entire world with the Gospel (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8).  Today we live in a growing world.  Thousands of new human beings are born each day.  The population of the world is increasing rapidly.


There are many unreached people groups in the world who have never heard about Jesus.  These groups consist of millions of individuals who have not yet been reached with the Gospel. Many villages and communities have no church.  In many nations, there are not enough trained pastors for the churches that do exist.


How can we ever achieve this great challenge of Jesus to reach the whole world with the Gospel?


                                                                  GOD'S PLAN


God has a special plan for reaching the world with the Gospel.  Jesus summarized it when He told His disciples...


But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8) 


Here is God's plan: The Holy Spirit is the divine power behind the multiplication process, Jesus Christ is the content of the message, and the whole world is to be the recipient of the message.


Disciples are the agents of multiplication.  God's method is for each disciple to bear "witness" of the Gospel message.  To "witness" is to tell what you have seen, heard, or experienced.  In a court of law, a witness is one who testifies about someone or something.  As  a witness, you are to testify  about Jesus and His plan for the salvation of all mankind.  There are two kinds of evidence presented by witnesses in a court of law.  One is testimony which is verbal witness about the subject.  The other is evidence which is visible proof.


The Holy Spirit helps you bear witness to the Gospel both verbally and through the demonstration of God's power.


                                     DIVISION BETWEEN CLERGY AND LAITY


God's plan is for each disciple (believer) to be a witness of the Gospel.  The early church grew as they followed this plan. Each believer shared the Gospel and was reproductive spiritually.  Their homes became centers of multiplication (you will learn more about this in a later chapter).  The church grew and multiplied as individual believers bore witness to the Gospel.


As the church grew, God called  some people to serve full-time as pastors, evangelists, prophets, teachers, and apostles.  Over a period of time,  believers became part of one of two divisions in the church.  They were either "clergy" or "laity."


The word "laity" comes from a Greek word which means "belonging to the chosen people of God."  The basic meaning of the word is "all the people of God."  The terms "layman" or "laity" came to be used for those who were not serving in special full-time functions in the church.


The term "clergy" developed to identify professional ministers in the church.   Clergy refers to those who consider the ministry their profession and who usually are employed full-time by the church.  They may or may not be ordained by a denomination.


Over a period of time in church history, a gradual separation developed between clergy and laity.  Many laymen stopped reproducing spiritually.  They began to leave the challenge of reaching the world to the full-time clergy. 


No professional clergy can ever accomplish what the entire Church was commissioned to do.  This is one of the reasons we have not yet reached the world with the Gospel.  Believers have shifted their personal responsibility to the clergy.  The Bible does teach division of labor in the Church, but every person is to be involved in the spread of the Gospel.  (Read Acts 6:1-6).


As the church at Jerusalem multiplied, it became necessary for a division of labor to meet all the needs in the church.  The leaders gave themselves full-time to  study of the Word and prayer.  Laymen performed duties like ministering to the widows and other such tasks of serving.  But although believers served in different offices in the church, they were all involved in the spread of the Gospel.


Stephen was one of the laymen chosen for serving tasks, yet he bore powerful witness to the Gospel (Acts 6:8-11).  Philip was another layman chosen for serving tasks.  He shared the Gospel with the Samaritans (Acts 8:5-12).


When persecution came in Jerusalem and believers scattered to other cities they continued to be witnesses of the Gospel:


Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.  (Acts 8:4)


For true believers, there is no division between sacred and secular because Jesus is Lord of all.


                                                 THE CALLING OF THE LAITY


If you are to really understand the spiritual call of the laity, you must go back to the Old Testament.  God's plan was for the entire nation of Israel to be "priests" or ministers:


And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation...

(Exodus 19:6)


As priests, each person in Israel was to be a witness of the one true God to unbelievers.

The establishing of an official priesthood did not change God's plan for Israel.  The priesthood was like the "clergy" of today with special leadership roles. But the entire nation was still to serve as ministers of the message of God to heathen nations.


In the New Testament, believers are given a similar calling.  They are to be priests or ministers of the Gospel:


But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  (I Peter 2:9) 


The calling of believers is to bear witness of God who has brought them out of spiritual darkness into the "light" of Jesus Christ (John 9:5).


Believers are told to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1).  There is one calling and that is to bear witness to the Gospel message.  It is the vocation of all believers.  Each person is accountable for their response to this call.


The call is not based on education or natural ability.  God uses ordinary laymen in order that He alone may receive the glory:


For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:


But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;


And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. That no flesh should glory in His presence.  (I Corinthians 1:26-29)


                                             THE MULTIPLICATION PROCESS


In the Bible, God reveals a special plan to enable believers to fulfill their calling.  Multiplication is a basic principle of all growth in the natural world.  Growth does not take place by adding just one unit to another.  Living cells multiply.  Each new cell produced has the ability to reproduce.


God's plan of multiplication is similar in the spiritual world.  Paul summarized this plan when he wrote these words to Timothy:




And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to  teach others also.

(II Timothy 2:2)


Paul told Timothy to select faithful men and commit to them the things he had been taught by Paul.  These faithful men were to have the ability to teach others.  Through this organized plan of reproduction, the Gospel would spread throughout the world.


To see how God's plan of multiplication works, study the chart on the following page.  This chart uses the period of a year as the average time necessary to convert someone to the Gospel and train him to be a reproductive Christian.  In reality, the process could take more or less time, depending on the person involved, so it is not possible to set a firm time limit.  But if a believer would reach just one person and disciple them each year and have them pledge to disciple one person each year, the world could easily be reached with the Gospel message.


Observe on the chart that during the first year the believer is discipling one person.  At the end of that year, there are now two faithful men, the believer and the new convert he has discipled.  (You will learn more about this process of discipling later in this course.)  During the next year, each of them reach one person with the Gospel and disciple them.  At the end of the second year, there is a total of four people, each of whom will disciple one person the following year.
























DISCIPLER(S)                     DISCIPLE(S)                                    TOTAL


YEAR 17        65,536                                     65,536                         =          131,072


YEAR 16        32,768                                     32,768                         =          65,536


YEAR 15        16,384                                     16,384                         =          32,768


YEAR 14        8,192                                       8,192                           =          16,384


YEAR 13        4,096                                       4,096                           =          8,192


YEAR 12        2,048                                       2,048                           =          4,096


YEAR 11        1,024                                       1,024                           =          2,048


YEAR 10        512                                          512                              =          1,024


YEAR  9         256                                          256                              =          512


YEAR  8         128                                          128                              =          256


YEAR  7         64                                            64                                =          128


YEAR  6         32                                            32                                =          64


YEAR  5         16                                            16                                =          32


YEAR  4         8                                              8                                  =          16


YEAR  3         4                                              4                                  =          8


YEAR  2         2                                              2                                  =          4


YEAR  1         1                                              1                                  =          2




Now, take an average church membership of approximately 100 people.  Increase this chart to 100 people each reaching one person with the Gospel and training them to be reproductive and you can see how we could easily reach the entire world with the Gospel. Multiplication is faster than addition.  Here is a diagram that illustrates addition:



          Addition: 1+1+1+1+1...continue to grow one by one




Here is a diagram that illustrates multiplication. In this process, each person goes on to multiply himself and "one plus one" results in more than just two:





Multiplication: 1x1x1x1x1...you continue to multiply

                                    x x x x x

                                    1 1 1 1 1...each one you reach continues to multiply

                                    x x x x x  

                                    1 1 1 1 1

                                    x x x x x

                                    . . . . .

                                    . . . . .

                                    . . . . .            

                                    c c c c c...each one they reach continue to multiply

                                    o o o o o  

                                    n n n n n

                                    t t t t t

                                    i i i i i

                                    n n n n n

                                    u u u u u

                                    e e e e e

                                    s s s s s










The following diagram shows the first stages of multiplication resulting from Andrew, one of the first disciples of Jesus:



1.  Andrew shared the Gospel with his brother, Peter.

2.  Peter shared the Gospel on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

3.  Peter continues  to share the Gospel with others who also become reproductive.

4.  Thousands of believers  scattered from Jerusalem continue to spread the Gospel.

5.  Each person they reach becomes  reproductive and the process continues.....


Here is a diagram showing the first stages of spiritual multiplication resulting from the Apostle Paul:



1.  Ananias is used of God to raise up Paul.

2.  Paul disciples Timothy.

3.  Paul continues on to disciple others.

4.  Timothy disciples "faithful men" who can teach others.

5.  Faithful men reach others.

6.  These "others" continue the multiplication process.

7.  Each person in the network continues to multiply.


                                                          ORDINARY PEOPLE


The Bible tells little about the man named Ananias referred to in the above diagram.  He was not known of man, but he was used of God to raise up the Apostle Paul.  Andrew was a common, uneducated fisherman.  But look at the chain of spiritual multiplication for which he was responsible!




You may not be well known by man.  You may not be well known in your community or church denomination.  You may be an ordinary person who works at ordinary tasks.  But God can use you to multiply disciples.


Read the story of the healing of the lame man in Acts 4.  When Peter and John appeared before the Council, it was obvious that they were uneducated, common men:


Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.


And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.  (Acts 4:13-14)


These "common" men had received new life through Jesus Christ.  The life within them resulted in spiritual reproduction.   Jesus entrusted the laity with the responsibility of spreading the Gospel.  He took fishermen from their boats and made them into fishers of men.  He believed that ordinary people could become extra-ordinary when empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Gideon was a farmer.  Paul was a tentmaker. Moses was a  shepherd.  Luke was a doctor and Joseph was a great political statesman.  Whatever your education or occupation, God can use you in His plan. 


Where you are and who you are is not important.  It is what you are doing where God has placed you. The key to effective spiritual multiplication is to be God's man or woman, in God's place, doing God's work, God's way.


                                                               HOW TO BEGIN


The New Testament reveals that the Gospel spreads the most rapidly along existing social networks.  By this we mean that you can spread the Gospel easiest to your own social group of friends, relatives, and co-workers.


For example, Jesus called one fisherman named Andrew.  Andrew shared the Gospel with a relative named Peter.  They shared with other fishermen with whom they worked.  Soon a whole group of fishermen were following Jesus.


In daily life and work the laity is not just fragments of the church scattered in the community who come together for worship and fellowship.  Laymen are ambassadors of the Kingdom to their relatives, friends, and co-workers. The world of work, school, family, and community is your arena of ministry. 




In Luke 16:19-31 read the story of the rich man who went to Hell.  This man wanted to return to share the Gospel with his family but it was too late.  Do not wait until it is too late to share the Gospel with those in your own social network.


                                     SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND MULTIPLICATION


The true evidence of baptism in the Holy Ghost is becoming a powerful witness of the Gospel.  The power of the Holy Spirit enables believers to multiply spiritually (Acts 1:8).


One way the Holy Ghost empowers believers is through spiritual gifts.  Each believer is given spiritual gifts to equip him to minister to others.  These gifts are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit. 


If you do not know what spiritual gifts God has given you, order the Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Ministry of The Holy Spirit."  This course deals with the subject of spiritual gifts.


                                                        A MODERN EXAMPLE


Nothing can defeat God's plan of multiplication of the Gospel through the witness of individual believers.  Here is a modern example:


After years of missionary work in the nation of China, the church numbered fewer than one million when missionaries were expelled by the government.  Pastors were imprisoned, Bibles burned, and churches closed.  But thirty years later, when a measure of openness returned to China and reports were available, the number of believers was estimated to be from 10 to 50 million.


Although the churches had been closed  and pastors imprisoned, ordinary believers continued to reproduce spiritually.  Nothing can stop God's plan for the spread of the Gospel.


                                                  GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM


Every believer must become reproductive.  But mere multiplication of believers is not enough.  Believers must become a functional part of the Church which is the corporate body uniting all true believers.  The Church must also multiply itself.  The Church must experience internal spiritual growth and progress on to expansion, extension and bridging forms of growth.  You have learned of your responsibility to multiply individually. In the following chapters you will  learn how to multiply corporately within the context of the local church.







1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.






2.         Define the word "witness."




3.         Define the term "laity."




4.         Define the term "clergy."




5.         Explain what is meant by the "calling" of the laity.



6.         What is God's plan of multiplication for the spread of the Gospel?




7.         What two New Testament men were named as examples of spiritual multiplication?






8.         What is the best way to get started in spiritual multiplication?






           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)



                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         In the last chapter you studied parables of multiplication.  Review the following parables again.  In these parables each individual was responsible to faithfully multiply:


-The talents: Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27

-The man on a long journey: Mark 13:34-37

-The servants: Matthew 24:43-52; Luke 12:39-46

-The watching servants: Luke 12:36-38

-The faithful manager: Matthew 25:14-20


2.         Read the conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-22.  In Acts 10:22 read the words Jesus spoke to Paul at the time of his conversion.


Your concern should not be with whether or not others fulfill their responsibility to spread the Gospel.  You should not question like Peter, "What shall this man do?"  Your concern should be as Paul, "What shall I do, Lord?"


























                         CHAPTER FIVE


                        AN INTRODUCTION TO CHURCH GROWTH





Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Identify the true Church.

C         Explain how the Church started.

C         List illustrations used in the Bible to describe the Church.

C         Identify Scriptural purposes of the Church.

C         Identify four types of Church growth.

C         Summarize the ministries of the Holy Spirit in relation to church growth.




And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. 

(Matthew 16:18)



In the last chapter you learned of the responsibility of each believer to multiply spiritually by sharing the Gospel message.  God has a special plan for new believers raised up by this process.  They are to become part of a fellowship of believers known as the Church. Believers are to reproduce individually within the context of the Church.  As new believers are born again into the Kingdom of God, the Church is multiplied.  


This chapter introduces God's plan for the Church as a center of spiritual multiplication.  The following four chapters deal with specific types of church growth.


                                                                THE CHURCH


When we speak of the "Church," we are not talking about a man-made organization or denomination.  It is not a product of history or the result of a plan thought up by man.  


The word "Church" actually means "the called out ones."  When we speak of the Church, we are talking about the world-wide fellowship of all true believers who have been called out of the world into the Kingdom of God.


For purposes of ministry, this world-wide fellowship of believers is divided into local groups of believers.  These local groups are also called the Church.   Some of these local groups have remained independent. Others have joined together in organizations such as the Assemblies Of God, Baptist, Methodist, etc.


You do not become part of the true Church by joining an organization. You become part of the true Church by being born again into the Kingdom of God.  This is done by confessing and repenting from sin and accepting Jesus as your personal Savior.  After you become a believer, God's plan is for you to become part of a local fellowship of believers which is part of the true Church.


                                                   HOW THE CHURCH BEGAN


In the Old Testament the nation of Israel was chosen as the group of people through which God would reveal Himself to the nations of the world. Over and over, Israel failed in this responsibility.


In New Testament times when Jesus came to earth, Israel rejected Him as their Messiah.  Because of this, God raised up another group of people through which to reveal Himself to the world. That group is called the Church.


The first mention of the word "Church" is when Jesus explained how the Church would be built:


And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. 

(Matthew 16:18)


In this passage Jesus revealed that Peter would be one of the spiritual foundation stones of the first church.  This meant he would be important in its growth and development.  Peter's name actually meant "a rock or a stone."


Jesus then said of Himself, "...upon THIS rock I will build my Church."  He indicated that the Church would be established upon Him.  He would be THE rock upon which the Church was built.  There would be many other lesser stones (people like Peter). In fact, believers are called "living stones" which  are part of the structure of the Church:


Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

(I Peter 2:5)


The foundation of these "living stones" is a "Rock."  That  Rock is Jesus and it defines the limits of the Church.  A Church is not a true Church unless it is built upon the Lord Jesus Christ.


Over the years many different church denominations have developed for purposes of organization and ministry.  If they are a true Church founded on Christ, they are all part of the one world-wide fellowship of believers:


There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;


One Lord, one faith, one baptism.


One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.   (Ephesians 4:4-6)


Jesus said the "gates of Hell " would not prevail against the true Church. This implied that the Church would experience great opposition from Satan, but would not be defeated.


The book of Acts in the Bible records the first opposition to the Church (Acts 8).  Throughout history to the present time, the Church has received much opposition, but it still exists and it will continue to exist.  It will fulfill the purposes of God.


                                            HOW THE CHURCH IS DESCRIBED


The Bible uses several illustrations to describe the Church.  These examples reveal much about the structure and purpose of the Church. Look up each of the following references in your Bible. The Church is described as:

A new man:  Ephesians 2:14-15


The Body of Christ: Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:30; I Corinthians 12:27


The temple or building of God:  Ephesians 2:21-22;  I Corinthians 3:9,16: I Timothy 3:15; I Peter 2:5


A royal priesthood: I Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10


The Bride of Christ: II Corinthians 11:2; Matthew 25:6;  Ephesians 5:22-32


The household of God: Ephesians 2:19


The flock of God: John 10:1-29; I Peter 5:3-4; Hebrews 13:20; Acts 20:28


There is one Church but it is referred to in the Bible in different ways.  It is called:


The Church of God:  Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 1:2;10:32; 11:22; 15:9; I Timothy 3:5; I Thessalonians 2:14


The Church of the living God: I Timothy 3:15


The Church of Christ:  Romans 16:16


The Church of the firstborn: Hebrews 12:23


The Church of the Saints: I Corinthians 14:33


The people of God:  Hebrews 4:9; I  Peter 2:9-10


                                   SCRIPTURAL PURPOSES FOR THE CHURCH


There are many purposes of the Church revealed in the Bible.  Its members are to be engaged in:




The greatest purpose for which man was created was to worship God. Worship is a central purpose of the Church. Study the following verses:  I Peter 2:5,9; I Corinthians 14:26-27; John 4:23-24; Ephesians 2:19-22.




Members of the Church are to serve by ministering to needs of each other:


-These needs may be material needs:  Acts 11:27-30; Acts 6:1-6.


-Members are to freely share their substance with others:  Acts 2:44;4:32, 34,37


-Members should also show care for the spiritual needs within the Body of

 Christ:  John 15:1-7; Romans 15:1-15; I Corinthians 3:9; Galatians 6:1;

 Colossians 2:16-23; I Thessalonians 2:7-16.




-The fellowship of the Church is based on unity in Christ: Ephesians 4:4-6  


-The Church is made one in Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18.  Each member is equal before the Lord: Ephesians 2:19-20.


-The Church is to be a community of fellowship in word, prayer, and deed:  Acts 2:41-47;

  4:24,32-33; Ephesians 2:20-22; I John.


-Their fellowship is to be united with one purpose, mind, soul, and heart:  Acts 1:14; 2:46;

  4:24,32; 5:12; 15:25


The fellowship is not only to be within individual churches but also between churches.  Study the following verses which illustrate the close fellowship between the early churches:


-They recognized they were one in Christ with a common bond:  Acts 15:1; Romans 15:26-27


-They regularly communicated with one another:  Romans 16:16; I Corinthians 16:19-20;

 Philippians 4:23


-They helped one another:  Romans 15:26; I Corinthians 16:1-3.


-They supported the apostles' labor in other fields: Philippians 4:15-16


-They shared letters from the apostles: Colossians 4:16.


-They sent representatives to one another:  Acts 11:22,23,27; 15:1,2; I Corinthians 16:3,4


-They encouraged one another as models of the faith:  II Corinthians 1:24; 9:2; I Thessalonians

 1:7-10; 2:14


-They cooperated in the common cause of evangelism:  I Thessalonians 1:8.




The Church exists for mission, not just for meetings of worship and fellowship. The purpose of both Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament was to reveal God to the world.


In the Old Testament, Israel was to be a witness to the heathen nations around them.  The strategy of God was for nations to come and see His power revealed in Israel.  In the New Testament, God's strategy was different.  His plan was for the Church to go to the nations as His witnesses.  The true mission of the Church is summarized in Ephesians:


To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to


the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

(Ephesians 3:10-11)


Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation  of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.  

(Ephesians 1:9-10)


The mission of the Church is summarized as follows:


1.         The Church is to present Jesus to the world as Lord and Savior.  The Church is to lead people into right relationship with Jesus so they may experience forgiveness of sins and new life.


2.         Through water baptism teaching, and preaching, the Church is to establish believers in the doctrine, principles, and practices of Christian living.  They are to teach converts to "observe all things" commanded in the Word of God.


3.         The Church is to organize new believers into functioning local fellowships.


4.         These established churches are then to repeat this process to win new believers and establish new fellowships.


Study more about the mission of the Church in the following verses:


To spread the Gospel to the world:  Matthew 5:13-14; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:19-23;  Acts 1:8.


To serve as salt of the earth and light of the world:  Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:14-16: I John 4:1.


To disciple new converts:  Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:27-28; Ephesians 4:11-16; I Peter 5:1-3.


                                                 TYPES OF CHURCH GROWTH


If the Church fulfills its Scriptural purposes, four types of growth will result:





Internal growth refers to the spiritual growth of the people within the church.




Expansion growth is growth in numbers which occurs when the mission of evangelism is fulfilled by the Church.  New believers are won and incorporated in to the Body of Christ.




A church extends when it starts new churches in similar cultures. 




Bridging growth occurs when the Gospel is shared across cultural boundaries with people of another race, ethnic group, or nation.


Here is a diagram that illustrates the different types of Church growth:




You will study each of these types of growth in the next four chapters which concern multiplication within the local Church.


                                    THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CHURCH GROWTH


The Holy Spirit is the spiritual power behind all types of church growth:


But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)


This verse shows how the Holy Spirit enables:




Internal Growth:  The disciples would receive a new spiritual experience in this special outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  This would enable them to become powerful witnesses of the Gospel.


Expansion Growth:  The church would multiply in Jerusalem.


Extension Growth:  The Church would extend to plant new churches in other similar cultures (Judea).


Bridging Growth:  The Church would bridge cultural gaps to reach other regions like Samaria and the "uttermost parts of the earth."


The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has many ministries. He was active in the creation of the world, was the inspiring force of the written Word of God, was active in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and serves many functions on behalf of the believer.  


The Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the Gospel and draws men and women to salvation. The Holy Spirit even has a ministry concerning Satan.  He is the restraining spiritual force that limits the power of Satan  (Isaiah 49:19).  Each of His ministries are discussed in detail in the Harvestime International Institute Course entitled "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit." 


The Holy Spirit also has specific ministries affecting the growth and development of the Church:




On the Day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:1-41 the Holy Spirit formed the Church.  The Bible teaches that the Church is the habitation of God built by the Holy Spirit:


Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;


And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief  corner stone;


In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto a holy temple in the Lord;


In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)




The worship of the Church should be inspired by the Holy Spirit:


But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.


God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.  (John 4:23-24)


For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  (Philippians 3:3)




This is evident in the record of the missionary activities of the first Church:


Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  (Acts 8:29)


Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,


After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into  Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.


And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.  (Acts 16:6,7, 10)

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.


So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.  (Acts 13:2,4)




Some denominations appoint or elect ministers to serve in the Church.  Many people go to college or seminary to be trained as ministers.  But the requirement set by Scriptures is that ministers be called and selected by the Holy Spirit:


Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed  the church of God, which He hath purchased  with His own blood.  (Acts 20:28)





Paul wrote:


And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.  (I Corinthians 2:4)




Acts chapter 15 records a special meeting of leaders to discuss various problems in the Church.  Their final decision was guided by the Holy Spirit:


For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.  (Acts 15:28)




The book of Acts opens with the record of this great event:


And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.


And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.


And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as a fire, and it sat upon each of them.


And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:1-4)


This baptism was the powerful force behind the internal, expansion, extension, and bridging growths of the Church recorded in the remainder of the book of Acts. 













1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.




2.         Of whom is the true Church composed?




3.         How did the Church start?




4.         There were several illustrations used in the Bible to describe the Church.  Can you remember at least three of them?


_____________________   _____________________   ___________________________


5.         What are the four purposes of the Church discussed in this lesson?


__________________                                                _____________________


__________________                                                _____________________


6.         Name and briefly define four types of church growth.


__________________                                                _____________________


__________________                                                _____________________


7.         This chapter discussed seven purposes of the Holy Spirit in relation to church growth and development. How many can you list?


__________________                                                _____________________


__________________                                                _____________________


__________________                                                _____________________




(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)


                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         Here are some guidelines for recognizing the true Church.  It is a Church that is:


-Doctrinally correct: All teachings are based on the written Word of God.


-Composed of regenerated members: The lives of its members have been changed by the power of God.


-Worshipful:  Worships the one true God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.


-Evangelistic:  Is actively involved in the mission of reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


2.         Here are some guidelines for recognizing a false Church.  It is a church that is:


-Doctrinally incorrect: They emphasize selected portions of God's Word and eliminate other portions.  They do not take the Word of God literally. They accept teachings of man which contradict God's Word.  


-Divisive:  May have divisions within the church and seeks to cause division within the Body of Christ in general. See Romans 16:17-18; Acts 20:29,30; Ephesians 4.


-Controlling:  A false church will attempt to control the lives and actions of its members in a domineering way.


-Composed of unregenerated members:  People continue living in the old sinful
















                          CHAPTER SIX


                                            INTERNAL GROWTH




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Explain what is meant by "internal" church growth.

C         Define "spiritual growth."

C         Identify the evidences of spiritual growth.

C         Explain the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to internal Church growth.

C         Identify growth conditions in the natural world that parallel those in the spiritual world.




And... holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (Colossians 1:19)




In the last chapter you learned there are four types of growth in God's plan for multiplication of the church.  The Church is to multiply through internal, expansion, extension, and bridging growth.  This lesson focuses on the internal growth of the Church.


                                                         INTERNAL GROWTH


When we speak of "internal growth" of the Church, we are referring to the spiritual growth and development of its members.  The Church grows spiritually in proportion to the growth of its individual members.


The Church must not only grow in quantity through extension, expansion, and bridging growths, it must also grow in quality.  Growth in quality is internal or spiritual growth.

Paul referred to this process, comparing it to internal growth in the natural body:


And...holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment  ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (Colossians 1:19)


The "increase of God" refers to spiritual growth.  As members grow spiritually, the Church experiences internal growth.  The entire Body is nourished and increases with the increase of God.


Spiritual growth is an increase in spiritual maturity which results in the development of the Christ-life in the believer.  It is growth in the knowledge of Jesus:


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...(II Peter 3:18)


It is growth in Jesus:


But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.  (Ephesians 4:15)


Spiritual growth means decrease of self and increase in the life of Christ in you:


He must increase, but I must decrease.  (John 3:30)


Spiritual growth does not come automatically as a result of the length of time one has been a believer. It is result of the development of the Christ-life in the a believer.


Evidences of spiritual growth include:


1.  An increase in spiritual knowledge.

2.  Proper application of that knowledge to life and ministry.

3.  A deeper delight in spiritual things.

4.  A greater love for God and others.

5.  Development of Christ-like spiritual qualities (spiritual fruit).

6.  An increase in desire and ability to share the Gospel with others.

7.  Development and effective use of spiritual gifts.


Growth is the natural result of life.  If there is spiritual life in a church, internal growth will result as well as expansion, extension, and bridging growths.


                                  THE HOLY SPIRIT AND INTERNAL GROWTH


In the last chapter you learned of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the church.  The Holy Spirit:

-Formed the Church.

-Inspires its worship.

-Directs its missionary activities.

-Selects its ministers.

-Anoints its preachers.

-Guides its decisions.

-Baptizes it with power.


In addition to these ministries in the Church, the Holy Spirit has important functions in relation to the internal growth of the Church.  These include:




Spiritual growth is hindered by sin.  The Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin:


And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:


Of sin, because they believe not on me;


Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and ye see me no more;


Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  (John 16:8-11)


When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, we can then follow the command...


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9)




"Regeneration" means change.  The Holy Spirit changes the lives of believers.  Such change brings internal growth:


Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and  renewing of the Holy Ghost.  (Titus 3:5)




Sanctification means to "separate unto God."  This separation results in spiritual growth:


But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth...

(II Thessalonians 2:13)





The Holy Spirit indwells or lives in the life of believers.  The purpose of this indwelling is to strengthen the new nature received through salvation:


What!  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

(I Corinthians 6:19)


Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  (I Corinthians 3:16)


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  (II Corinthians 5:17)


This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.


For the flesh lusteth against the  Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.


But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  (Galatians 5:16-18)




Strength and growth are related.  You become strong as you grow.  It takes strength to grow.  Internal growth comes through the strengthening of the Holy Spirit:


That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)




Unity brings internal growth in the Church:


But he that is joined unto the Lord is one  spirit.  (I Corinthians 6:17)


For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many are one body:  so also is Christ.


For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  (I Corinthians 12:12-13)




The intercession of the Holy Spirit builds up the believer spiritually:


Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:  for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Romans 8:26)


But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.  (Jude 20)


Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. 

(Ephesians 6:18)




The Holy Spirit guides believers into the truth of God's Word which brings spiritual growth:


Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.  (John 16:13)


For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

(Romans 8:14)




The Holy Spirit reveals the truths of God's Word to a believer which results in spiritual growth:


But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit:  for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  (I Corinthians 2:10)




People grow spiritually in an atmosphere of love:


And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love  of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5)






The Holy Spirit is at work internally to conform believers to the image of Jesus:


But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  (II Corinthians 3:18)     




We grow spiritually as we grow in the knowledge of God.  The Holy Spirit is our resident teacher:


But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:  but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.  (I John 2:27)




Doubt hinders spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit eliminates doubt by giving assurance of salvation:


The Spirit itself beareth witness, with our spirit, that we are the children of God.  (Romans 8:16)


And he that keepeth His commandments  dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.  (I John 3:24)




Restrictions limit growth.  The Holy Spirit gives liberty from sin and traditions of man:


For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:2)


Now the Lord is that Spirit:  and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  (II Corinthians 3:17)




Depression and discouragement hinder spiritual growth.  The Holy Spirit provides comfort:

...and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost...(Acts 9:31)


Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you...


But the Comforter,  which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (John 14:17, 26)




One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus was to raise Him from the dead.


The same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you.  The Spirit is able to quicken (empower, give new life, resurrect) your mortal body:


But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.  (Romans 8:11)


If you do not mature spiritually, you become spiritually "dead."  The growth process ceases.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit that quickens you again to spiritual life.




Paul said:


And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power;


That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.   (I Corinthians 2:4-5)


The demonstration of  power by the Holy Spirit increases your faith in God.




The special power to witness is the true evidence that one has been baptized in the Holy Spirit:



But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in  all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)


Spiritually mature believers will be reproductive witnesses of the Gospel.




The Church experiences internal growth through the baptism of the Holy Spirit:


And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:4)


Baptism in the Holy Spirit results in the development of spiritual gifts and fruit in the lives of believers.




Spiritual gifts are important to the internal growth of the Church because they "edify" believers.  To "edify" means to "build up and promote spiritual growth." (You will learn more about spiritual gifts in the next lesson.)




Spiritual fruit is the nature of the Spirit revealed in the life of the believer.  It refers to spiritual qualities which should be evident in the lives of all believers.


Spiritual fruit is the evidence of spiritual growth.  Like fruit in the natural world, it is a product which results from the process of life.  Just as fruit takes time to develop in the natural world, spiritual fruit takes time to develop.  It is the product of internal growth in the life of the believer.


Here is a list of the spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit:


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,


Meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)


God wants you to grow in:


Love:  Deep affection, care, and concern.


Joy:  Gladness, delight, and jubilance which is not dependent on the circumstances of life.

Peace:  Quiet, calm, harmony; absence of strife, anxiety, and concern.


Longsuffering:  Patience--the ability to cheerfully bear an unbearable situation; endurance.


Gentleness:  A mild manner; not severe, violent or loud;  quiet, respectful kindness to others.


Goodness:  Acts of holiness and righteousness.


Faith:  An attitude of confidence towards God.


Meekness:  Controlled strength.


Temperance:  Moderation in emotions, thoughts, and actions; self-control.*


                                                  CONDITIONS FOR GROWTH


In the natural world there are certain conditions required for growth and development of fruit. These natural conditions are parallels of spiritual factors necessary  for growth of the fruit of spiritual maturity.  Here are some of the parallels:




Growth is impossible without life. Fruit development starts from a seed.  There must be life in the seed, or it will not grow.  In the parable of the sower, the "seed" is the Word of God.  Growth comes through the seed of the Word:


As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.  (I Peter 2:2)



Jesus was the visible manifestation of the Word of God, the Seed, and in Him was life:


In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (John 1:4)


For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.  (John 5:26)




*  The Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit" discusses each of these spiritual qualities in detail.  




Jesus came to plant this seed of life in us to enable our spiritual growth:


I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.  (John 10:10)




The seed of the Word of God must have good soil in order to develop properly.  Read the parable of the sower in Mark 4.  Only the seed which fell on good ground brought spiritual growth:


And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.  (Mark 4:20)


You must prepare the "ground" of your heart and mind to receive the seed of the Word of God.




Water is necessary for growth in the natural world.  God promised:


For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon dry ground.  (Isaiah 44:3)


This pouring out is an anointing of the Holy Spirit of which water is a symbol:


I will pour out of my spirit upon your seed. (Isaiah 44:3  Amplified Version)


He that believeth on me, the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)


The water of the Holy Spirit causes the seed of the Word of God to take root in the hearts of men and women who are spiritually dead:


For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.


Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;


Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.  (Job 14:7-9)






It is response to light that causes growth in the natural world.  Spiritual growth occurs in response to spiritual light.  That light is Jesus:


In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (John 1:4)


I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (John 8:12)




Air is drawn in by the natural plant from the atmosphere which surrounds it.  Air is necessary to growth.  In the Bible the Holy Spirit is compared to air or a wind:


The wind breathes where it will and thou canst hear the sound of it:  But knowest nothing of the way it came or the way it goes.  So it is when a man is born of the breath of the spirit.   (John 3:8 Knox Translation)


The Holy Spirit breathes life into the Seed of the Word of God.  Spiritual growth and fruit development result.




In the parable of the sower, competition for space caused some plants to  die:


He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  (Matthew 13:22)


The competition of the things of the world chokes the seed of the Word of God and prevents spiritual growth.




A period of rest (called dormancy) occupies a specific season of the development cycle of  plants in the natural world. It is a time of rest for the plant and is the season that precedes the springtime of rapid growth. During dormancy, the plant looks like it is dead. But it is not dead.  The seed of life is still alive within.


Sometimes an individual or a church may appear as though it is not growing spiritually.  But if the seed of the Word of God has been properly planted, internal growth will occur in time (Psalms l).


Just as in the natural world, spiritual dormancy precedes the period of rapid growth and development.  Wait patiently for the process of internal growth to multiply spiritual fruit:


Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

(James 5:7)




Roots are necessary to anchor and supply nutrients to the plant.  Psalms 1 tells how to develop the root system in your spiritual life:


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.


But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doeth he meditate day and night.


And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  (Psalms 1:1-3)




Every time you plant a seed to produce fruit, it does not come to life unless it dies first:


Verily, verily I say unto you, except acorn of what fall into the ground an die, it abideth alone:  but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  (John 12:24)


Every time you plant a seed, you sow something that does not come to life (germinating, springing up, and growing) unless it dies first.

(I Corinthians 15:36 The Amplified Version)


Spiritual life depends on death to the things of the world.  It requires death to sin, worldly desires, and pleasures.  Death to the world results in the development of the fruit of Christ-likeness in your life.




In order to bear fruit in the natural world a branch must be attached to the main plant. If the branch is broken off from the main life-giving vine or trunk it will not bear fruit.


Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  In order to bear spiritual fruit we must maintain our relationship to Him:


I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.


Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit.


Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.


Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.


I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.

(John 15:1-5)




Pruning is necessary in the natural world if a plant is to remain reproductive and bear fruit.  When a farmer prunes a plant he cuts off the unproductive branches in order to make the plant produce more fruit.  He removes everything which would hinder the growth of the plant.


Pruning is also necessary in the spiritual world.  Spiritual pruning is correction by God. The Bible also calls it chastisement.  When God "prunes" He removes from your life everything which would hinder your spiritual growth. This process is necessary if you are to bear spiritual fruit:


Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)


Sometimes you do not reap the benefits of pruning because you blame Satan when God is actually the one bringing circumstances in to your life to correct (prune) you.  The purpose of God's correction is given in Hosea 6:1:


Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten and He will bind us up.  (Hosea 6:1)


The chastisement of pruning results in a return to God. Only by returning to Him will you become spiritually reproductive and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.




Climate is important to development of fruit.  In the natural world many types of fruit are developed in environments that are specially controlled. They are grown in buildings called "hot houses" at specific temperatures.  They are protected from the real environment of the outside world.


If you take a "hot house" plant and move it outside, it will soon die because it has lived only in a controlled environment. It cannot withstand the environment of the real world. Spiritual speaking, you do not want  "hot house" Christians who look good in controlled settings but wilt on contact with the real world.




































1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.






2.         What do we mean when we speak of the internal growth of the Church?




3.         What is spiritual growth?




4.         List seven evidences of spiritual growth.


                ______________________________    ______________________________


                ______________________________    ______________________________


                ______________________________    ______________________________




5.         This lesson discussed many ways the Holy Spirit affects the internal growth of the church.  List those you can remember:






6.  This lesson discussed the conditions for spiritual growth similar to those necessary for growth in the natural world.  List those you can remember.







           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)


                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         When a plant is near death in the natural world, it must be revived.  When a Church is near spiritual death, revival is also necessary.  To revive is to "regain life and flourish anew."  Study the following references:


A cry for revival:  Psalms 85:6            God's plan for revival:  II Chronicles 7:14


Study the following accounts of revivals in the Old Testament.  What were the factors that brought revival? What were the results of each revival?


The revival at Sinai:                            Exodus 32:1-35; 33:1:23

The revival under Samuel:                  I Samuel 7:1-17

The revival on Mt. Carmel:                 I Kings 18:1-46

The revival in Ninevah:                       The book of Jonah

Revival under Asa:                             II Chronicles 15

Revival under Hezekiah:                     II Chronicles 29:1-36; 30:1-27; 31:1-21

Revival under Josiah:                          II Chronicles 34:1-33; 35:1-19

Post-captivity revival:                         Nehemiah 8:1-18


2.  In the last chapter you learned that the Church is compared to a spiritual building built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  Internal spiritual growth is the process of building on that foundation.  Study the following outline:


                                                     GROWING BY BUILDING




A.        What are you building spiritually?


1.  You are a building:


Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house...(I Peter 2:5)


2.  You are building an eternal structure:


For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  (II Corinthians 5:1)


3.  The Church is a building:


...Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.  

(Ephesians 2:20-22)


B.        There are two involved in the process:


1.  God:


...He that built all things is God.  (Hebrews 3:4)


Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that built it...

(Psalms 127:1)


 ...I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:18)


2.  Man:  Man, in union with God, is to build:


For we are laborers together with God..ye are God's building. 

(I Corinthians 3:9)


 ...Building up yourselves on your most holy faith...(Jude 20)


You...and they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places...thou shalt raise up the foundations...thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.  (Isaiah 58:12)




Before you start to build you must:


1.  Count The Cost:


For which of you, intending to build a tower,  sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after He hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it began to mock him.  Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.  (Luke 14:28-30)




2.  Be Determined:


And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord...

(II Chronicles 2:1)


3.  Have A Proper Motive:


Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet smelling incense...continual shewbread, ...burnt offerings..solemn feasts...(II Chronicles 2:4)


4.  Prepare:


For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach it...(Ezra 7:10)

And that servant, which knew this lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will...(Luke 12:47)




1.  Build On The Right Foundation:


Wise man builds on foundation of the Word...it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.  (Matthew 7:24-27)


The right foundation is Jesus and His Word:


..Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)


Built up in Him...established in the faith as ye have been taught....

(Colossians 2:7)


Be careful how you build on this foundation:


For other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which Is Jesus Christ.


Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble;


Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  (I Corinthians 3:10-13)


2.  Build According To The Plan:


In every Biblical building project, there was a plan given by God.  See Genesis 6: Exodus 25: I Chronicles 22. People obeyed God's plan:


Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

(Genesis 6:22)


The plan was different, but the  same was true of Moses, David, Solomon, Ezra, and Nehemiah...each did as the Lord commanded.


All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, every all the works of this pattern...then David gave to Solomon his son, the pattern...(I Chronicles 28:19)


If you do not follow God's plan for building your life on the Word of God, you will not succeed:


Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of His hands, he shall destroy them and not build them up.  (Psalms 28:5)


3.  Build According To Your Ability:


In building projects of Old Testament times, people gave according to their own ability:


They gave after their ability....(Ezra 2:69)


4.  Build willingly:


Be willing to grow spiritually:


They offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place...

(Ezra 2:68)


5.  Build In The Strength Of The Lord:


And I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord God was upon me...

(Ezra 7:28)


6.  Build In Unity:


The people had a mind to work... (Nehemiah 4:6)


7.  Build Wisely:


Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established.  (Proverbs 24:3)


Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  (Proverbs 14:1)


Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.  (Proverbs 9:1)


God will endue you with wisdom:


God filled workers with...wisdom, understanding, knowledge...that they make all I have commanded...(Exodus 31:3,6)


Solomon was...endued with prudence and understanding, that he might build an house for the Lord...(II Chronicles 2:12)


The source of wisdom is God:


If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally..and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)




















                       CHAPTER SEVEN


                                          EXPANSION GROWTH




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Explain what is meant by expansion growth.

C         Summarize expansion growth of the first church in Jerusalem.

C         Summarize New Testament methods of church expansion.




And the Word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in  Jerusalem greatly... (Acts 6:7)




In the natural body, the various parts are coordinated by the head.  All bodily actions result from directions given by the head.  Jesus is the Head which provides direction for His spiritual Body, the Church.  Jesus said, "I will build my Church" (Matthew 16:18).  In the Bible, His methods for achieving this objective are revealed.


Methods for multiplying the Church should be based on what is taught and demonstrated in God's Word.  As members of the Body of Christ, believers are called to act upon these directions from the Head, our Lord Jesus Christ.   This chapter is the first of three that concern growth in numbers in the Church.  This lesson focuses on expansion growth.


                                                        EXPANSION GROWTH


Expansion growth occurs when believers win new converts to Christ and bring them into fellowship with their own local church.  This results in numeric growth of the local church.  Expansion growth should be directed at increasing the Kingdom of God. 


If Second Church adds 100 members from First Church through transfer of membership, Kingdom growth has not occurred.  There has been an increase in membership at Second Church but no expansion of the Kingdom of God.  Kingdom growth only occurs as new converts are won to Jesus and discipled to become responsible members of the Body of Christ.



                                              THE NEW TESTAMENT RECORD


The book of Acts records the expansion growth of the first church at Jerusalem.  Here is a summary of that record:




And in those  days Peter stood up in the midst of the Disciples and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty). (Acts 1:15)


The Church began in an upper room with a small band of 120 Disciples. On the Day of Pentecost  3,000 were added to the Jerusalem church:


Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  (Acts 2:41)


After Pentecost, expansion growth occurred on a daily basis:


And The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 

(Acts 2:47)


The number of the men in the Jerusalem church grew to 5,000.  This count did not include the women and children who were part of the church: 


Howbeit many of them which heard the Word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.  (Acts 4:4)


Eventually, multitudes were added to the church:


And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.  (Acts 5:14)


Even people who opposed the church were amazed at its extension:


Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 

(Acts 5:24)


The word added was first used to describe the expansion of the church.  Soon the growth became so rapid that the word multiplied was used:


And the Word of God increased, and the number of the Disciples multiplied in  Jerusalem greatly... (Acts 6:7)

From this point on, the book of Acts stresses the  multiplication of churches as well as members of the local Jerusalem church.   New churches were planted in every heathen center of the then-known world in less than 40 years.  For example, in Samaria...


...when the believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)


The churches in Judea, Galilee, Samaria, Lydda, Sharon, and Joppa all experienced expansion growth:


Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.  (Acts 9:31)


And all that dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord.


And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. (Acts 9:35,42)


"Much people" were added to the church through the ministry of just one Jewish convert:

For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord.  (Acts 11:24)


Three verses record the great numbers added to the church at Antioch:


And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.


And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church and taught much people. And the Disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.  (Acts 11:21, 24, 26)


As the Word of the Lord continued to grow and be multiplied, new believers were added to the church:


But the Word of God grew and multiplied.  (Acts 12:24)




The following passages summarize growth of the church outside of Palestine:


And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the Word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.


And the Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 

(Acts 13:49-50)


So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed.  (Acts 19:20)




And it came to pass in Iconium, they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.  (Acts 14:1)




In Derbe, disciples were confirmed, exhorted, and organized by Paul (see Acts 14:20-21).




And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.  (Acts 16:5)




And a certain woman named Lydia seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  (Acts 16:14 This was the beginning of the Church at Philipi).




And some of them believed and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude and of the chief women not a few. 

(Acts 17:4)




Therefore many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.  (Acts 17:12) 






The Lord said "I have much people in this city" (see Acts 18:8-11). The book of Acts closes with the Apostle Paul still expanding the church, even though he is a prisoner in Rome:


And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him.


Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. 

(Acts 28:20-31)


Paul reports many thousands of Jews alone have turned to Christ and become part of local churches:


And when they heard it, they all glorified the Lord and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and are all zealous of the law.   (Acts 21:20)


                                               HOW THE CHURCH EXPANDED


These are the methods by which the early church expanded.




Where there is no vision the people perish.  (Proverbs 29:18)


Without spiritual vision, people die spiritually.  The early Church had a spiritual vision.  It was a vision Jesus had given His disciples when He told them...


...Lift up your  eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  (John 4:35)


Spiritual vision unites people in purpose.  Vision leads to development of a strategy. That strategy includes understanding of purpose, objectives to accomplish that purpose, and methods of evaluation to make sure the purpose is being fulfilled.


Vision leads to compassion. When Jesus saw the multitudes He was moved to compassion.  It was a burden based on knowledge of their need.  Vision is basically the development of a Biblical world view, seeing the world as God sees it and responding on the basis of that view.


The early church caught the vision of expanding from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and the ends of the earth. It was a vision taught by their leader (Acts 1:8).  When people have a spiritual vision, expectancy replaces boredom and cooperation replaces competition.




Jesus taught that some areas would be more receptive than others:


Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.


But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 

(Matthew 10:5-6,14)


Some areas and groups are more receptive to the Gospel at certain times than others.  The early church worked in spiritual harvest fields that were receptive.  When Paul was rejected in the synagogue, he taught elsewhere (Acts 9:20-31).   When he first wanted to go to Asia, the Holy Spirit stopped him  (Acts 16:6).  He went later at a more receptive time.


Expansion occurs most rapidly when you concentrate efforts in ripe harvest fields. This does not mean you ignore the unresponsive fields. You continue to plant the Word,  wait, and pray for God to make them receptive to the Gospel.




The early church used the "go" method rather than the "come" method of Old Testament Israel. In Old Testament times the nations were to come to Israel to receive the revelation of God.  But in the New Testament the command was "Go ye into all the world."  New Testament believers followed this strategy.  They did not sit around waiting for the world to come to them.




Each member of the early church multiplied to reproduce new disciples:


Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word.  (Acts 8:4)


The chart in the last chapter showed how rapidly believers multiply when each one teaches one who is able to teach others also. 


Churches need to send men and women into the arena of everyday life...People who live their faith rather than just talk about it, people whose lives have been changed by the power of the Gospel.  A soldier does not win a war by remaining in the barracks.  A harvester does not remain in the barn, and a fisherman does not sit idly on the shore.




In New Testament times the Gospel spread quickly along existing social networks of family and friends.  For example, Jesus called Andrew to follow Him. Andrew immediately started sharing the Gospel.  He began by reaching his family. He brought Peter to Christ.


Study the following passages which illustrate how the Gospel spread within existing social networks:


-Zaccheus and his family:  Luke 19

-Family of official of Capernaum:  John 4:53

-Relatives and friends of Cornelius: Acts 10:24,44

-Two households in Philippi: Acts 16:15 and 27-34

-The family of a synagogue leaders: Acts 18:8

-Stephanos and his household: I Corinthians 1:16

-Households of Aristobulus and Narcissus: Romans 16:10-11

-Onespihorous and family: II Timothy 1:16

-Philemon and family:  Philemon l




Throughout the book of Acts, the early Church used methods taught and demonstrated by Jesus. They preached the Gospel, taught the Word, baptized new believers, and trained new disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).


Prayer and study of the Word were important in the expansion of the church (Acts 6:4).  Combining the Word of God with the demonstration of power also expanded the church.  As people were healed, miracles were performed, and demons cast out, multitudes came to the Lord.


(The demonstration of power was so important that Harvestime International Institute has an entire course devoted to this subject entitled "Power Principles").




Groups were important in New Testament expansion.  In Acts 6:1-7 when a problem arose, a special group was organized as a solution.  Paul taught a special group of disciples in an extension school (Acts 19:9). On occasion, Paul taught segregated groups of Jews and Gentiles (Acts 13:42). Small groups met in homes (Acts 12).



Many churches have organized their entire membership into small groups to accomplish purposes that cannot be achieved as well in larger meetings of the entire church.  Small groups are more intimate, mobile, and flexible to minister to personal needs.  This diagram shows how a church can organize such groups:




1.         The Pastor (number l) trains key leaders to be in  charge of the small groups (indicated by the numbers 2).  He instructs them in the spiritual purpose and activities of the group which should include fellowship, study of the Word of God, sharing of personal experiences, prayer, caring for practical material needs, and evangelism. The number of group leaders varies from Church to Church depending on how many groups are formed.


2.         Each group leader (indicated by the numbers 2) forms and leads a small group (indicated by the numbers 3).




God's plan, from the beginning, was for the home to be a Christian training center:


And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart...And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house...And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and thy gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)


Every home as a center of evangelism was part of the method of expansion in the early church as illustrated in the following references:


-Acts 2:  The Holy Spirit was given during a prayer meeting in the upper room of a home.


-Acts 5:42: Believers worshiped in the temple and the home, and went house-to-house in visiting, fellowship, and worship.


-Acts 8:3:  When Saul tried to defeat the Church, he did not concentrate efforts just on the temples of worship.  He entered every house trying to abort the spread of the Gospel.  Each home was a center of evangelism.


-Acts 9:11, 17:  Paul was discipled by Ananias in a home.


-Acts 10:  The first vision of the cross-cultural expansion of the Gospel was given in a home as Peter prayed.


-Acts 10:  The first message to the Gentiles was preached in a home.


-Acts 12:  A home prayer meeting resulted in the deliverance of Peter from prison.


-Acts 20:20; 28:30-31:  Paul taught both publicly and also house to house during his ministry.


-Acts 20:7-12:  Paul was speaking in a home when Eutychus fell out of the window.


-Acts 21:8-14:  Prophetic revelation occurred in homes.


-Churches in the home are recorded in I Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3-5; Colossians 4:15; and Philemon 1:2.




The Holy Spirit is the power which convicts sinful men and women and persuades them to accept the Gospel message. This results in new converts which leads to expansion of the church.


And when He (the Holy Spirit) is come, He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment:


Of sin, because they believe not on me;


Of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more;


Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  (John 16:8-11)




Human growth requires the development of a skeletal structure to support the multiplication of cells.  For the Body of Christ to grow, structure is equally important. Jesus said the harvest is ripe, but laborers are few. If laborers are few, then they should be organized effectively to reap the harvest.


For this purpose, the Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts and various offices in the Church.  These gifts and offices are for the purpose of the work of the ministry.  Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit to enable the work of the ministry.  You can read about the different spiritual gifts in the following passages:



-Romans 12:1-8

-I Corinthians 12:1-31

-Ephesians 4:1-16

-I Peter 4:7-11


God has a special place in the Church for each believer: 


But now hath God set the members, every one of  them, in the body, as it hath pleased Him.  (I Corinthians 12:18)


Every member has a place which God has chosen for him.  He is empowered to fulfill his special purpose in the Church through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  When each believer is filling the place God has chosen for him and using his spiritual gift, the Church operates properly.  God compares it to the operation of the human body in which each member knows and performs its function (I Corinthians 12:1-31).


Each person is important to the work of the ministry, just as each part of the natural body is important:


And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.


Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.  (I Corinthians 12:21-22)


The Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit" provides detailed study on each spiritual gift. For this reason, only a brief summary is provided here:


Special Leadership Gifts:


There are special positions of leadership to which God calls and ordains some in the Church:


And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.  (Ephesians 4:11)


The special leaders given by God include the following:




An apostle is one who has a special ability to develop new churches in different places and cultures and to oversee a number of churches as a supervisor. Apostle means "a delegate, one sent with full power and authority to act for another." The apostle has a special authority or ability to extend the Gospel throughout the world by developing organized bodies of believers.  Modern terms used by the church for an apostle are missionary and church-planter.




There are two prophetic gifts.  One is the special gift of being a prophet.  The other is the speaking gift of prophecy.  In general, prophecy refers to speaking under the special inspiration of God. It is the special ability to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people.   A person who is a prophet has the special leadership gift of a prophet as well as the speaking gift of prophecy.




An evangelist has an ability to share the Gospel with non-believers in a way that men and women respond and become responsible members of the Body of Christ. The meaning of the word "evangelist" is "one who brings good news."




Pastors are leaders who assume long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers.




Teachers have the ability to communicate the Word of God effectively in such a way that others learn and apply what is taught.  A teacher is one who has the gift of teaching and also serves in a leadership position in the Church. 


The five special gifts of leadership function together to expand the Church. The apostle extends the Gospel message to various regions and raises up organized bodies of believers.  God gives miraculous signs and wonders to assist in this extension of the Gospel.  The apostle provides special leadership to the churches he raises up.


The prophet also provides leadership in the Church.  One of his functions is to give messages from God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Evangelists communicate the Gospel in such a manner that people respond to it and become believers.  They may minister individually or to large groups, but their ministry always produces new believers.


These believers then come under the care of apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers of the church who guide their spiritual development.  (The example of Philip in Acts 8 illustrates this.  He brought the Samaritans to Christ, then turned them to the apostles for further teaching.)


Pastors exercise long-term care for those who have believed through the message of apostles and evangelists.  Their ministry is a picture of the loving care of a shepherd for his sheep.  Teachers provide instruction which goes beyond that of the evangelist.  They teach believers to be spiritually mature.  They train faithful people who are capable of teaching others.


The main responsibility of those with special leadership gifts is to help other believers to discover and use their spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16).  The work of the ministry requires the active participation of all the members. When this structure of Body ministry is not functioning properly, inactive members are easily carried off by false doctrines (Ephesians 4:14)


Here is a brief summary of other spiritual gifts given believers:


Speaking Gifts:


These gifts are called "speaking gifts" because they all involve speaking audibly (out loud).


Prophecy: A person with the gift of prophecy speaks by inspiration of God to communicate an immediate message to His People.


Teaching: Teachers  have the ability to communicate the Word of God effectively in such a way that others learn and apply what is taught.


Exhortation:  The ability to draw close to individuals in time of need, counseling them correctly with the Word of God.


Word of Wisdom:  The ability to receive insight as to how knowledge may be applied to specific needs.


Word of Knowledge: The ability to understand things which others do not know and cannot understand and to share this knowledge with them.


Serving Gifts:


These gifts serve the Church by providing structure, organization, and support in both spiritual and practical areas.


Serving:  The ability to perform practical tasks related to the work of the Lord, freeing others from routine but necessary duties.


Helps:  The ability to assist others in the work of the Lord enabling them to increase the  effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts.


Leadership: The ability to set goals in accord with God's purpose and communicate these goals to others.  A person with this gift motivates and leads others to accomplish goals for the glory of God.


Administration:  This gift is called "governments" in the Bible.  A person with the gift has the ability to give direction, organize, and make decisions on behalf of others.


Giving:  The special ability to give material goods and financial resources, time, strength and talents to the work of the Lord.


Showing Mercy:  Special compassion and an ability to help those suffering.


Discerning Of Spirits:  The ability to evaluate people, doctrine, and situations and determine whether they are of God or of Satan.


Faith:  A person with the gift of faith has a special ability to believe with extraordinary confidence and trust God in  difficult circumstances.


Hospitality:  Ability to provide food and lodging and minister to other material necessities of those in need.


Sign Gifts:


These are supernatural signs of God's power working through believers to confirm His Word.


Tongues:  The ability to receive and communicate a message of God to His people through a language never learned.


Interpretation:  The ability to make known in a language understood the message of one who speaks in tongues.


Miracles:  Through a person with the gift of miracles God performs powerful acts which are beyond the possibility of occurring naturally. 


Healing:  A person with this gift has the ability to let God's power flow through him to restore health apart from the use of natural methods.




Believers with special gifts are not the only leaders in the church mentioned in the Bible.  The offices of deacons, elders and bishops are also mentioned in the New Testament.*  These are also instrumental in the growth of the church.





*  Some churches consider a bishop the same as a pastor. Others consider it a separate office.



These positions of leadership are not the same as the gifts of leadership you just studied. They are special offices established by the early church to assist in its expansion growth. You can read in Acts 6:1-7 how the first organization in the early church resulted in growth.


The record of the early church was preserved by God as an example for us to follow in structure.  These offices should also function in the church today.


The purpose of these offices is to assist those who have the special gifts of leadership i.e., the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.


Use the following section to study these positions of leadership:


                                                                 Church Offices



Title                            References                                         Duties


Bishop                         I Timothy 3:1-7                                   Many consider a bishop to be the

Philippians 1:1                         same as a pastor.  These verses

Titus 1:5-9                                           do indicate he is to have

I Peter 5:2-3                                        indicate long term care over a

group of believers.


Deacon                        I Timothy 3:8-13                                 These verses indicate

Philippians 1:1                         deacons have a ministry

Acts 6:1-7                                           of serving and helps.


Deaconesses                I Timothy 3:11                                    Deaconesses are not specifically

Romans 16:1-2                                    mentioned in the Bible. Some                                                                                                             churches have adopted this term

for the wives of deacons or other

women who minister in serving

and helps.


Elders                          Acts 20:17,28-32                                These verses indicate

Acts 14:23;15                                      elders provide leadership

Acts 16:4; 11:30                                  in church decisions,

I Timothy 5:17                                    minister to the needs of

I Peter 5:1-4                                        believers, and assist

Titus 1:5                                              in development and care of

James 5:14                                           local bodies of believers.


Note:  The word "elders"  is first used in the Bible in Exodus 3:16 in reference to the leaders of Israel.  There are many references to the elders of Israel throughout the Bible.  These elders are different from the position of leadership known as an elder in the early church.  All of the verses we have listed here refer to the elders in the church rather than the elders of Israel. 


The elders function in leadership along with the special gifts of leadership God has set in the church. The elders are not to run the church independent of the special leaders of God, i.e., prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers.  God has set the special leaders in the church.  Man chooses the elders.   


All leaders in the Church should be born-again believers, of course.  But the  Bible also gives specific qualifications which must be met by those filling these church offices:


Qualifications For Bishops And Elders:


Above reproach: Should have a good reputation and not be in violation of God's Word:  I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6,7


Husband of one wife:  If married, should have only one mate: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6


Temperate: Moderate in all things: Titus 1:8; I Timothy 3:2


Self-controlled:  Demonstrates control in all areas of life and conduct:  Titus 1:8


Sober, vigilant: Prudent, sensible, wise and practical:  I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8


Hospitable:  Home is open to others:  I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8


Able to teach:  Has an ability communicate God's Word to others:  I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9


Not addicted to wine:  I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7


Patient:  The opposite of being quick tempered:  I Timothy 3:3


Not self-willed:  Not self-centered and always wanting their own way:  Titus 1:7


Not a new convert:  Must have maturity and experience as a believer:  I Timothy 3:6


Loving what is good:  Supporting all that is worthwhile to God and His purposes: Titus 1:8


Just:  Fair in dealing with people: Titus 1:8


Stable in the Word:  Titus 1:9


Holy:  Titus 1:8


Not fond of sordid gain:  Not known for greed for financial gain;  Free from the love of money: Titus 1:7; I Timothy 3:3


Manages his own household well:  Must show leadership ability in his own family:  I Timothy 3:4-5


Having children who believe:  Must have children who have responded to the Lord and are not rebellious:  Titus 1:6


Good reputation with those outside: Must have a good testimony among non-believers: I Timothy 3:7


Qualifications For Deacons:


Dignity:  Must be respected and demonstrate a serious mind and character:  I Timothy 3:8


Not double tongued: Does not give conflicting reports:  I Timothy 3:8


Not addicted to much wine:  I Timothy 3:8


Not fond of sordid gain:  Not greedy for financial gain:  I Timothy 3:8


Settled in his commitment to the faith:  I Timothy 3:9


Tested:  A person who has undergone spiritual trials and temptations and proven faithful:  I Timothy 3:10


Beyond reproach:  The absence of any charge of violation in conduct:  I Timothy 3:10


Husband of one wife: If married should have one mate: I Timothy 3:12


Good managers of children and household:  Must demonstrate leadership in family life: I Timothy 3:12


Proven:  Not a new convert, but proven as a believer:  I Timothy 3:10


Qualifications For Deaconesses:


Women:  I Timothy 3:11


Dignified:  Respected, person of serious mind and character:  I Timothy 3:11


Not malicious gossips:  Does not talk about others in a slanderous way:  I Timothy 3:11


Temperate: Moderate in all things:  I Timothy 3:11


Faithful in all things:  Trustworthy and dependable in every area of life:  I Timothy 3:11


Helper of many:  Must minister to others and help meet  their needs:  Romans 16:2

The following diagram summarizes the organization of the Church:



                                                                 THE CHURCH


                                                          Special Leadership Gifts:






                                                              (Ephesians 2:20-22)




(assisted by special offices of bishops, deacons, elders, and each member of the body using their spiritual gift in the church in the place God has set them)



                                         The Foundation laid by Apostles and Prophets

                                                                  Ephesians 2:20




                                         BUILT UPON THE ROCK-JESUS CHRIST


                                                                  Matthew 16:18

                                                                I Corinthians 3:11

                                                                  Ephesians 2:20









1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.






2.         What happens when a Church experiences expansion growth?






3.         Summarize the expansion growth of the first Church in Jerusalem.








4.         Below is a list of New Testament methods of Church expansion.  On a separate sheet of paper summarize how each was used in the first church at Jerusalem.


-Spiritual vision

-Receptive areas and times

-"Go" rather than "come" method

-Every believer reproducing

-Social networks

-Methods of Jesus


-Every home

-Ministry of the Holy Spirit

-Spiritual gifts and offices





           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)



                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         The following study illustrates the results of individual believers witnessing in their own social networks of friends and relatives.  A study of 4,000 new converts to various churches was conducted to determine how they came to visit the church in the first place.  Here were the results:


6 to 8%            Just walked in

2 to 3%            Came through a program of the church

8 to 12%          Came through invitation of the pastor

3 to 4%            Came due to a special need in their lives

l to 2%             Came as a result of a visit by church members

3 to 4%            Came through a Sunday school class

70 to 80%        Were invited by friends and relatives


You might want to study new converts in your own church to determine why people first visited the church.  The information you gain from the study will provide information for prayer and improvement.  Have each person complete the following form:






Please check all the factors on the following list which led you to first visit this church:


_____Friends recommended it.

_____I came on my own.

_____I saw an advertisement (sign, newspaper, radio, television).

_____Because of the radio or television ministry of the church.

_____A former pastor recommended it.

_____I received a letter, tract, or other printed material from the church.

_____Because of a personal visit by the pastor.

_____Because of a personal visit by a member of the church.

_____Because of a revival or crusade.

_____Because it is my denominational preference.

_____Because I (and/or my family) received spiritual help through the church.

_____It is located near my home.

_____It is a friendly, caring church.

_____Because a relative belongs here.





2.         Going from house-to-house was a method used in the early Church. Here are some suggestions for visiting the homes of those in the community where your Church is located:

-Dress appropriately for the visit, in a manner acceptable for business in your culture.  You are there on God's business.


-Pray before going on the visit.


-Center your visit on the needs of the people.  Do they need salvation?  Do they need counsel for other spiritual needs?  Are they in need of physical healing or material help?


-Do not stay too long.  Christ's encounters were brief but purposeful.


-Plan to follow up with other visits: What is your point of reentry to the home?  In other words, what was said that gives you an opening to make a repeat visit?   (For example, to check on the condition of a person who is ill).


-Did anything come up you should refer to the pastor for his personal care and attention? 


3.         In all expansion of the church there are three important factors:  The Spirit of God, The Word of God, and the man of God.


Review the book of Acts again using this outline:


The Spirit of God is emphasized.  Acts 1-11


Five accounts of the baptism of the Spirit are recorded in chapters 2,8,9,10,19.


The Word of God is emphasized.  Acts 12:20


Its titles are varied. It is called the Word (16:6); Word of God (17:13); Word of the Lord (15:35); Gospel (15:7); Word of this salvation (13:26); Word of His grace (14:3; 20:32) words of this life (5:20)  Its result are that the Word increased (6:7); grew and multiplied (12:24), and grew and prevailed (19:20)


The man of God is emphasized.  Acts 21-28


These chapters the Apostle Paul as an example of the man of God.


4.         Several studies of growing churches were conducted in the United States. The following is a summary of common factors present in these expanding churches.  The list is not in order of importance.  How does your church measure up?


-Strong spiritual leadership.

-Well mobilized laity and team ministries.

-Effective evangelism.

-Biblical priorities.

-Demonstration of power (healings, miracles, etc.).

-Gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit manifested.

-Congregations that multiply by planting new churches.

-Small group ministries within the church.

-Anointed corporate worship.

-Visibility (located in a visible place in the community).

-Solid financial resources.

-Organized programs of discipleship training.

-Specific purposes and objectives.

-Effective relationship to the community in which it is located.


-Biblically based (preaching, worship, doctrine).

-Flexible (open to change by the Holy Spirit).

-Friendly, loving membership.

-Spiritually growing, mature, committed.

-Emphasis on prayer.

-Multiple ministries.


5.         Special group ministry was one method of expansion in the early church.  Here are some special groups ministries you might pray about starting in your church:


-Discipling for new converts

-New and expectant mothers



-Elderly people

-Young Married couples

-Single people

-Ministry to those bound in substance abuse, i.e., alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.


-Bible study

-Neighborhood groups in different regions of the city

-Unwed mothers

-Special culture or linguistic groups

-Mens' ministry

-Womens' ministry

-The physically or mentally handicapped

-Special groups for those who have experienced difficulties, i.e., death of a spouse,

            child, divorce, etc.

6.         Each group will need a leader. Be sure the leader fits the Biblical qualifications for church leadership.  Here are some responsibilities of a group leader:


-To be responsible for the group to the pastor and church leadership.


-To conduct teaching within guidelines given by the pastor.


-To encourage participation of group members in study, discussion, prayer, evangelism, and other activities.


-To establish an atmosphere of love and trust in which people free feel free to share their problems.


-To visit and fellowship with group members in their homes.


-To help group members identify their spiritual gifts and encourage their use in the group, church, and community.


-To monitor and encourage the spiritual growth of group members.


-In the case of neighborhood groups, monitor the needs of the area, making contact with new neighbors, visiting and ministering to those with specific needs.


-To train assistant leaders who can substitute for the leader in a temporary capacity and eventually, if needs be, assume leadership of the group.


7.         The following sample letters can be used in Church expansion:


Letter for out-of-town visitors:


Dear (name of person):


I was delighted to have you visit and worship with us this past Sunday.  One of the pleasures of ministering in (city name) is that of meeting so many lovely people from so many places.


I sincerely trust that our service was meaningful and of spiritual benefit to you as well as pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ.


Please visit with us again when you are in this area.  Should I be able to assist you at any




time in spiritual matters, please feel free to call upon me.


Sincerely yours,

Your name and

Your Title


Letter to a visitor from the community who attends another local church:


Dear (name of person):


It was a pleasure to have you visit with us recently.  We trust you found the service meaningful and that you experienced the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.


I am pleased to know that you are active in another fellowship of believers, but if I can ever be of assistance to you, please feel free to call upon me.


Do come and visit us again!


Sincerely yours,


Your name and

Your Title


Letter from the pastor to new people in the community:


Dear (name of person):


Welcome to (name of city)!  As you know, in moving to a new location, new friendships are important.  I would therefore consider it a real privilege if you would think of me and our church as new friends!


If you do not have a church home yet, we invite you to attend our services of worship listed on the enclosed brochure (or give information on the services right in the letter).


If I can be of spiritual assistance to you and your family please feel free to call me.


Sincerely yours,

Your name and

Your Title





Letter from a member of the church to new people in the community:


Dear (name of person):


Hello...My name is (insert your name). Welcome to the city of (name of city).  I hope you will find it as enjoyable as I have to be part of this community.


Perhaps you have not yet found a church home.  I would like to invite you to worship with us this Sunday at the (name of church, service schedule, address).


The (name of church) has become an important part of my life in this community. Spiritually, I have found warm, sweet fellowship and a minister who is always available as a friend and counselor.  Socially, I have met many of my friends through the church.


The enclosed brochure provides additional information about  our church. Please visit us...We would love to become friends of yours.


If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact me at (your name or address).  I do hope to meet you soon!


Sincerely yours,

Your name


Letter to a prospect contacted in visitation:


Dear (name of person):


Recently, members of our visitation team had the pleasure of meeting you and introducing you to the ministry of the (name of your church).  We sincerely hope that you will visit and worship with us in the very near future.


As the minister of the (name of church) let me assure you that I have a personal interest in your spiritual life and am committed to making the Bible relevant to the development of a more meaningful relationship with God.


We extend to you the fellowship and ministry of this church to you and your family, and I look forward to meeting you soon.


Sincerely yours,


Your name and

Your Title


                       CHAPTER EIGHT


                                          EXTENSION GROWTH




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Define "extension growth."

C         Explain what is meant by "church planting."

C         Summarize the extension growth of the New Testament church.

C         Explain how churches multiply through extension growth.

C         Identify four ways a new church might be started.

C         Identify three types of extension churches.

C         List Biblical priorities for selecting areas in which to start new churches.

C         Explain the message which results in new churches. 




And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.  (Acts 16:5)




The disciples were commanded by Jesus to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8).


As you learned in the last chapter, the Jerusalem Church experienced rapid multiplication.  The next step in God's plan was extension growth.  The Jerusalem Church was to start new churches in other Jewish cities.


                                                        EXTENSION GROWTH


Extension growth occurs when a church starts another church in a similar culture.  The new church is an extension of the "mother" church, just as a child  in the natural world is a physical extension of the parents.


If the "mother" church is spiritually mature, the new church will grow into similar maturity.  If there are problems in the "mother" church, the new church is likely to have similar problems. This is why it is important for a church to experience the internal growth of spiritual maturity before extending to start new churches.


"Church planting" is a term also used to describe extension and bridging growth of the church.  This term is used because one "plants" a new church much as a farmer plants a seed in the natural world. In fertile ground, the seed will produce a new plant like the "mother" plant from which the seed came.


The term "planting" is preferred because it is not enough to just "organize" a church which does not fit into the local culture.  It is not enough to just "found" a church and leave it to struggle.  It must be "planted," which means it is rooted, growing and continuing the spiritual life cycle.


                              CHURCH EXTENSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT


In the human body, cells divide to grow.  One cell divides to make two cells. These two cells each divide to make another, and so the process continues.  Growth in God's Kingdom is similar.  Multiplication takes place by division.  Division is a primary means of God's plan for growth.


If we do not voluntarily choose to divide and multiply, God may allow circumstances to cause it. Acts chapter 8 tells of a great persecution that arose against believers at Jerusalem. This persecution brought division to the Jerusalem Church as people were forced to flee Jerusalem to live in other cities.


As these people left Jerusalem for new areas they "went everywhere preaching the Word" (Acts 8:4).  As new converts were won, new churches were formed. These churches were an extension of the "mother" church at Jerusalem.


The New Testament church not only extended to plant churches in similar cultures, it also bridged the cultural gap to start churches in differing ethnic communities. You will learn about this "bridging growth" in the following chapter.  (This and the following chapters should be considered together, as they both concern starting new churches).


The record of extension in the book of Acts reveals churches were started by the Jerusalem church in Judea, Galilee, Lydda, Sharon, and Joppa.  These were all similar Jewish cultures.


As you learned in the last chapter, each of these churches experienced expansion growth also.  The Jerusalem church and the fellowships created by its expansion all were...


...established in the faith, and increased in number daily. (Acts 16:5)


Not only did individual believers reproduce spiritually, but Churches increased in number as the Jerusalem Church expanded its witness throughout the region.




                                          HOW EXTENSION CHURCHES BEGIN


There are four ways a new Church is started:


1.                  One church starts another church.


2.         Several churches cooperate to start another church.


3.                  A large church divides to form two or more separate churches.


4.                  An individual believer is directed to a certain area to start a church.  One with the spiritual gift of apostleship is often used in this manner. This person is sometimes called a "church planter."   


In each of these, multiplication occurs through extension of the Gospel message by forming a new Body of believers.


                                            TYPES OF EXTENSION CHURCHES


New churches may be different types of extensions:




These are churches established to minister to a specific  community, village, or area in a city.  They may be the result of evangelism which has raised up a group of new believers in a certain area. They may be established to minister in an unreached or responsive areas.




These fellowships minister to a specific ethnic group who share the same culture, ancestry, and language.   For example, a church might be started for people who speak Spanish and cannot understand the English speaking "mother" Church services.   Other examples would be a church for Asians in a refugee camp or for Indians on an American reservation.




A church may be established for a special purpose: For example, a church may be planted near a college to minister specifically to the students.     


                                       PRIORITIES IN STARTING EXTENSIONS


The Bible teaches certain priorities in extending the Gospel and starting new churches.  These are as follow:




The first priority is unreached people.  Paul wrote:


For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  and how shall they hear without a preacher?  (Romans 10:13-14)


Areas in which there is no existing witness to the Gospel should always be the priority. Read the parable of the sheep in Luke 15:3-7.  The priority was on the lost sheep, not those already in the fold.




You learned in the last lesson the importance of working in responsive spiritual fields. Jesus taught it (Matthew 10:13-15; Luke 8:5-15) and Paul practiced it (Acts 13:42-51).  Jesus and Paul did not abandon the unresponsive fields.  They continued to proclaim the Gospel to them and warn of God's judgment.  But their priority was people who were responsive.




This was a strategy used by Paul which you will learn more about in the next chapter.  Cities have the greatest populations.  Many people visit cities for business and pleasure.  As you reach multitudes in the city, they return to rural areas to share the Gospel and raise up new churches.


Whether it is change in custom, styles, or laws, such change usually starts first in cities and then spreads to rural areas.  When you reach a city with the Gospel, it will spread along these natural lines of society into the  rural areas. 


                                                               THE MESSAGE


The message of the church planter must be:




New churches come into existence as a result of the unsaved hearing the Gospel and accepting Jesus as Savior.  When preaching is based on the Bible, it carries with it the authority of God.  Hearers recognize and respond to the power of the Word of God.





Jesus is the center of the message that multiplies Churches.  People must know who He is, the importance of His earthly ministry, His death, and resurrection.  They must be taught how to respond to the Gospel and receive salvation and eternal life.




People respond when a message meets their personal needs.  A good example of this method is Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4).  His message centered on her need for natural water.




Several courses offered by Harvestime Institute cover details of how to actually plant a new Church.  If you are taking the Harvestime Institute courses in their suggested order, the course you are presently studying is part of a group of courses on Biblical principles of multiplication.


These courses include "Developing A Biblical World View," "Teaching Tactics," "Power Principles" and this course on "Multiplication Methodologies."  Each course explains different parts of God's plan for spiritual multiplication.  In addition, the following courses focus on various aspects of Church planting:


Biblical Management Principles will guide you in selecting and developing leaders for the church.


Environmental Analysis will help you determine areas responsive to the Gospel and ready for evangelism and church planting.


Management By Objectives will teach you how to identify the purpose of the local fellowship, make plans, and organize the church.


Mobilization Methodologies  will help you mobilize the membership.


Leaven-Like Evangelism  presents church planting as the end goal of evangelism.


To properly plant and organize churches, you should obtain these courses.  Meanwhile, begin to pray for God's direction as to where He wants you to grow.  If you are the pastor of a church, you need not wonder IF you should multiply.  You have already learned that it is God's will to multiply.


Your prayers should focus on WHERE you should plant a new church and WHEN, because timing and location are important keys to spiritual harvest. You want to multiply in the right place at the right time.

                                             NEW CHURCHES MUST MATURE


Just as a new baby in the natural world, a new church may be dependent on the "mother" church in its early development.  But as the new church matures, it should become a separate, functioning body of believers, also capable of multiplication through spiritual reproduction.  This is the model for churches raised up by the Apostle Paul.


The extension church should expand on the basis of Scriptural principles shared in the chapter on "Expansion Growth."  To properly mature, each new extension church must:




Each program or group started in the church should be in harmony with the purpose and objectives.  The Harvestime International Institute  course on "Management By Objectives" explains this in detail.  




These include spiritual gifts and offices and training new converts to become spiritual leaders capable of using their gifts.  The Harvestime International Institute courses on "Biblical Management Principles" and "Management By Objectives" will assist you in doing this.




The Harvestime International Institute course "Biblical Management Principles" explains these in detail.




The Harvestime courses in the "Deputizing" module of Harvestime Institute will help you accomplish this goal.




These include the following items:


-Formulating a doctrinal statement, so visitors will know the Biblical beliefs of the church.

-Legal items required by the government for a new church.

-Organization of the church including leaders, officers, and a procedure for church finances. 

-Location and ownership of church property.

-The relationship of the "mother" church to the new extension.



                                          THE MULTIPLICATION CONTINUES


It is God's plan for each new church created through extension growth to continue the cycle of multiplication.  The new church should experience internal growth in spiritual maturity.  It should expand in numbers and then extend to plant other new churches.


Through this Biblical method, the church will continue  to grow and to reach the "uttermost parts of the world" (Acts 1:8).   Here is a diagram that illustrates this process:



A.  The "mother" church (identified by "A") plants new churches.

B.  The new churches (identified by "B" on the diagram) start other extensions.

C.  These extensions (identified by "C" on the diagram) start other new extensions....

D.  The process continues.
























1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.




2.         What is "extension growth"?




3.         What is meant by the term "church planting"?




4.         Summarize the extension growth of the first church at Jerusalem.




5.         Identify four ways a new church might be started.


__________________________________     ___________________________________


___________________________________     __________________________________


6.         Identify three types of extension churches.


           _____________________   ______________________   _____________________


7.         What are the Biblical priorities for selecting areas in which to start new churches?




8.         What type of message results in new churches?








           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)



                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY 


For further study on how to plant a church obtain the following courses offered by Harvestime International Institute:


Biblical Management Principles will guide you in selecting and developing leaders for the church.


Environmental Analysis will help you determine areas responsive to the Gospel and ready for church planting.


Management By Objectives will teach you how to establish the purpose, make plans, and organize the church.


Mobilization Methodologies will help you mobilize the church fellowship for evangelism.


Leaven-like Evangelism will raise up new converts for the church.



























                         CHAPTER NINE


                                            BRIDGING GROWTH




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Explain what is meant by "bridging growth" of the church.

C         Provide a Bible reference explaining God's plan for "bridging growth" of the church.

C         Identify the key New Testament leader in "bridging growth."

C         Summarize methods Paul used in extending the Gospel to other cultures. 




...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 

(Acts 26:18)




The last chapter concerned extension growth which occurs when a church plants a new church in a similar culture. It should be considered together with this lesson which concerns bridging growth.


The same principles necessary for extension growth of the church are used in bridging growth and vice versa.  This means everything discussed in the last chapter is applicable to bridging growth.  But bridging growth also requires some special methods and these are the subject of this chapter.


                                                          BRIDGING GROWTH


Bridging growth occurs when a church extends itself across national, linguistic, or ethnic gaps to plant a new church in a different culture.  The term "bridging" is used because when this process occurs a "bridge" is created from one culture to another to communicate the Gospel. Modern means of transportation and communication have greatly advanced the potential of the church for bridging growth in even the most remote areas.    




                               BRIDGING GROWTH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT


Bridging growth was part of the plan of the Lord Jesus for extending the Gospel throughout the world.  The disciples were to begin their witness in their own culture at Jerusalem and then expand to plant churches in other areas of similar culture.


Next, the disciples were to bridge national, linguistic, and racial gaps to spread the Gospel in cultures different from their own to places such as Samaria and the "uttermost parts of the world" (Acts 1:8). The disciples immediately fulfilled the command to multiply within their own culture (Acts 2). 


Extension to the other regions of similar culture came as a result of persecution:


...And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea...


Therefore they  that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word.  (Acts 8:14)


Philip first bridged the cultural gap in the revival in Samaria recorded in Acts 8.  Peter and John continued the ministry in that area.


The Apostle Peter had some difficulty in accepting the commission to work cross culturally.  He was a devout Jew and previously had limited contact with Gentiles  (other non-Jewish nations).  God spoke to Peter in a vision recorded in Acts 10 and then Peter took the Gospel to the Gentiles in Caesarea.


The bridging growth in the New Testament is best illustrated by the ministry of the Apostle Paul. God called Paul specifically to this ministry.  Paul was Jewish, yet God told him he was:


.. a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children  of Israel. (Acts 9:15)


Because Paul was called of God to cross-cultural ministry, his methods are important in understanding bridging growth of the church.  Read the story of the conversion of Paul in Acts 9. The rest of the book of Acts is filled with a record of his missionary activity in the nations of the world.  Many of the New Testament books are follow-up letters he wrote to the churches he planted in these various regions (Romans-Hebrews).





                                            METHODS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL


Paul was chosen by God as a pattern or example:


Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.  (I Timothy 1:16)


This is why Paul's methods can serve as an example in bridging growth of the Church.  Here are some principles of bridging growth revealed in the ministry of Paul:




Paul was motivated by the condition of Gentiles without Christ ("Gentiles" means all nations other than Israel):


Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles...at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.  (Ephesians 2:11-12)


He was motivated by a sense of obligation:


I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 


So as much as in me, is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.  (Romans 1:14-15)


Paul was motivated by a desire to be obedient to the heavenly vision given by God:


...I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.  (Acts 26:19)


He was motivated by zeal and a burden for God:


Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  (Acts 17:16)


He was motivated by pure love:


But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God...by love unfeigned. (II Corinthians 6:4,6)




Paul had proper priorities.  Things that were gain to him...education, material wealth, position, etc.....he counted as loss in the spiritual realm.  Only what benefitted the cause of Christ was valued:


But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.


Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

(Philippians 3:7-8)


Your priorities should always be:


1.         Your relationship to God.


2.         Your relationship to the Body of Christ (including your family which is also part of that Body).


3.         Your ministry for God.


Relationship comes before ministry for two reasons:


1.         You cannot minister when your relationship is not right with God.


2.         You cannot minister when your relationship is not right with others.

Members of the Body of Christ (including your own family) will not

receive your ministry when your relationship with them is not right.




The ministry of Paul was based on the Word of God. As the Word of God spread to other cultures, churches were planted:


But the Word of God grew and multiplied.  (Acts 12:24)


So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. (Acts 19:20)


And so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.  (Acts 16:5)





The Gospel of the Kingdom of God Paul’s message.  He did not substitute charitable missions in needy nations for the power of preaching the Gospel.  He did not use attention-getting schemes to draw crowds.  People were attracted through the power of the Gospel:


For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  (Romans 1:16)




Paul prayed for God's direction in spreading the Gospel to other cultures:


And as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them.


And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.  (Acts 13:2-3)




The Holy Spirit was the director of Paul's missionary activities.  For example, on one occasion...


...They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia. 

(Acts 16:6)




Paul followed the instructions of the Great Commission to preach, teach, and bear witness to the Gospel.


And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them...(Acts 20:7)


And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house. 

(Acts 20:20-21)


It is not enough to just communicate the Gospel.  The message must be delivered in a way that it is understood by the hearers.  Vocabulary, language, and style of delivery must be adjusted in order to make the Gospel understood. Paul recognized and practiced this (see Acts 21:37-40 and 22:2).   Acts 26:18 provides a formula for effective communication of the Gospel to people of other cultures. God sent Paul to the Gentiles...


...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 

(Acts 26:18)


The Gospel must be presented in such a way that it:


1.  Opens the eyes of the people.

2.  That they may turn from spiritual darkness to light.

3.  That they may turn from the power of Satan to God.

4.  That they may receive forgiveness of sins through salvation.

5.  That they may receive a spiritual inheritance through sanctification by faith.


The culture in which a person is raised determines five areas:


His language:  How he expresses and receives communications and ideas.

His world view:  How he views and understands the world.

His beliefs:  Religion, beliefs in supernatural; ways  of thinking; thought processes.

His values:  Moral, material, social values; motivation, ways of making decisions.

His behavior:  How he acts, behaves; socially and culturally acceptable behavior.


Acts 26:18 addresses each of these:


Language: Message effectively communicated is

understood and received.

Opens their eyes:         ->

(verses 1-2)                                          World view: Biblical world view communicated.


Beliefs:  Message of faith; Gospel of the Kingdom,

changes their beliefs.


Values change



That they may turn and receive: 

(verses 4-5)                  ->                   Behavior changes








Paul did not only communicate the Gospel, he demonstrated it through the power of God:


Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Ilyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.  (Romans 15:19)




Paul did not just share the Gospel and then leave new converts unattended.  He formed a body of believers to which the new converts could be attached.  He planted local churches.


Evangelism without establishing a local body of believers is like bringing children into the world and then not claiming the responsibility for their care. Here is the cycle Paul followed in each city where he planted the Gospel:


1.         Workers commissioned:  Acts 13:1-4; 15:39-40


Workers were trained and commissioned to reach a certain area.  Believers in the home church helped prepare, send, support, and cooperate with those God set apart for the work.


2.         People contacted:  Acts 13:14-16; 14:1; 16:13-15


In most areas, Paul made a courtesy contact with existing religious leaders in the synagogue.  He attempted to gain the understanding and support of the local leaders as much as possible. Group and individual contacts followed, the objective being to get as wide a hearing as possible for the Gospel message.


3.         Gospel communicated: Acts 13:17; 16:31


The Gospel was communicated by preaching, teaching, witnessing, and the demonstration of power.  Different methods were used as needed in order to effectively communicate the Gospel.  The method in some cities was to teach in the synagogue (Acts 14:1).  In others, receptive people were separated into special groups  (Acts 19:9).  Special ministry to individual people groups occurred in some areas (Acts 13:42) and language as well as methods were adjusted to assure proper communication of the Gospel message (Acts 22:2).


4.         Hearers converted:  Acts 13:48; 16:14-15


The effective communication of the Gospel resulted in conversion, with people accepting the message of salvation and repenting of sin. 


5.         Believers congregated:  Acts 13:43


Paul did not stop with evangelism and conversion.  He congregated the believers into a local church.  New believers were immediately introduced into the fellowship and discipline of the local church.  Times and places were set for the assembling together of the new church body.


6.         Faith confirmed:  Acts 14:21, 22; 15:41


As indicated by the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), further teaching followed conversion.  This teaching, within the context of the local church, established new converts as they learned basics of the Christian faith and how to live in the Kingdom of God.  The "confirmation of the faith" fostered spiritual maturity, helping believers discover their spiritual gifts and become functioning members of the Body of Christ.  


7.         Leaders consecrated:  Acts 14:23


As believers matured, local leaders were raised up by God who were qualified for leadership in the Church.  Elders (leaders) were selected from the local congregation, not imported from other churches or nations.  Each church developed a Biblical organization which was scriptural, functional, and effective.


8.         Church commended: Acts 14:23; 16:40


When leaders were in place and functioning effectively, dependency on the church "planters" ceased.  An orderly transition was made from the founder to the new local leaders.  The Church was "commended" or turned over to the Lord as a functioning, local Body of believers.


9.         Relationships continued:  Acts 15:36; 18:23


Relationships continued between the new fellowship and the church planter (Paul) and the mother church (Jerusalem).  Relationships were also established between the new fellowship and other churches throughout the region to further the spread the Gospel.




Paul had a definite world strategy. The Bible record reveals his concern for Asia, Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia, and Spain, which were whole provinces at the time.


The locations where Paul established churches were centers of Roman administration, Greek civilization, Jewish influence, or commercial importance.  Study these locations where Paul planted churches:



Philipi: (Acts 16) This was the leading city of Macedonia.


Thessalonica:  (Acts 17:1-10) This was a large, influential commercial city.


Corinth:  (Acts 18:1-11)  A commercial metropolis of Greece.


Ephesus:  (Acts 19:1-10) Where the main highways of the Roman empire stretched from Rome to the east.  Strategic port and trading center.


Paul knew he could reach a greater number of people in the crowded cities.  He also realized that change usually starts in cities and then spreads to the rural areas.


These great centers of trade and tourism also had people of many nations passing through for business or pleasure purposes. The cities were on the travel routes where the natural movement of people occurred.  As these visitors were reached with the Gospel, they would bear the message with them when they returned home.


Paul moved in widening circles from these established mission bases. After Paul left Jerusalem he turned his attention to Asia Minor laboring first in Tarsus and Antioch (Acts 11:25-30;13:1-3), then West Asia-Minor with Ephesus as his center (Acts 19:1-20;16:8).  From there, Paul moved west with Rome as the center and Spain as the remotest part reached (Acts 19:21; 23:11; 28:14-31; Romans 1:9-15; 15:24, 28).




Paul's strategy in bridging growth was affected by the receptivity of people to the Gospel.  In Matthew 10, Jesus told His disciples not to go to Samaritans or Gentiles but to Israel.  The timing was right then for Israel. The other groups would be receptive to the Gospel later.


Even among the Jews, the disciples were to minister to the receptive. They were to stay and share where they received a good response and move on when they met unreceptive peoples.  They were to concentrate their efforts on the  areas of greatest receptivity.


Paul also followed this strategy.  When the Jews rejected the Gospel, Paul turned to the Gentiles (Acts 13:42-51).  When Athens was not ready, Paul went to Corinth.  In Corinth, Paul turned from the Jews to the Gentiles.  The receptive Greeks rejoiced and many believed and were baptized  (Acts 18:5-11). The Lord approved of Paul's actions through a vision telling him to stay in Corinth and fearlessly proclaim Christ (Acts 18:5-11).  When synagogue communities rejected him, Paul started congregations with those who were receptive.  When persecution drove him out, he went to another city.







Paul was concerned with reaching his own people with the Gospel:


Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  (Romans 10:1)




Paul gave priority to areas where Christ had not yet been preached:


Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation;


But as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand.  (Romans 15:20-21)




Paul worked with various "people groups" within a city or region.  For example, he ministered both to the Greek and Jewish people groups in Antioch (Acts 13:42).  A people group is a tribe, caste, or any group of like cultural, linguistic, and ethnic background. It is important to view a city or region in terms of such groups and plan bridging growth accordingly.


For example, in one city in the United States there are large populations of Spanish speaking, English speaking, and Mandarin Chinese speaking peoples.  Bridging growth to plant churches in this city should target these specific people groups.  Planting a Tagalog speaking church in this city would not be beneficial.  There are no Tagalog-speaking groups in the city. This is why bridging growth to other cultures must always focus on the people groups within a certain area, not just the city in general.


Planting churches within certain people groups advances the Gospel most quickly.  Members of a people group all speak the same language and have the same customs. There are no linguistic or cultural barriers to hinder the spread of the Gospel.  As you learned in a previous chapter, the Gospel spreads most rapidly through existing lines of society...people who are related, speak the same language, and have the same customs.


People who are "like us" can even be broken down into smaller units for purposes of the Gospel. For example, you do this when you form Sunday school classes according to age groups. You extend this same concept when you plan to reach different people groups. 



Harvestime International Institute offers a course entitled "Environmental Analysis" that assists in analyzing an area prior to ministry.  We suggest you obtain this course to assist in church planting.


The course will assist you in such areas as:


1.         Identifying the people to be reached.  What different people groups make up the city or region?  Who do you plan to reach?  What is their religious, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic background. 


2.         Identifying their spiritual needs.  For example, is a church needed among the Spanish speaking of a certain city?  Perhaps their needs are being ministered to but the French-speaking of that area are neglected spiritually.


3.         Determining receptivity to the Gospel.


4.         Determining methods you will use to reach these people.  How can they best be reached?  Who should reach them?    You must reach people in a way that is understood and culturally acceptable.  For example, if a certain group cannot read, literature evangelism would not be a profitable method to reach them. 




Paul was willing to adjust to people of differing cultures and all different levels of society (see I Corinthians 9:16-23).


A person is greatly affected by the culture in which he is raised.  People in Culture A will differ from those in Culture B:


Culture A                                                        Culture B

Home Culture                                                 New Culture





When you leave your own culture to enter another with the Gospel, you are different.  You may not fit in:





But you can adjust.  Like Paul, with the help of the Lord, you can learn to fit in. The choice is yours:   Will you change your cultural patterns for the sake of the Gospel?







Paul was not only willing to adjust to other cultures himself, he did not let cultural differences affect of the Gospel.


In western nations if a new convert should have to leave his own family because of conversion, he joins others like him in the Church.  They all speak the same language and have the same culture.  But in other nations where Christianity means leaving one's clan to join another group, the Gospel will spread slowly. Some cultures are more communal in nature than western nations.  Tribe, caste, clan, and group are very important.


In New Testament times when a man became a Christian it did not mean he had to depart from Jewish customs.  Neither did a Gentile have to adopt Jewish customs (such as circumcision).  At first there was a problem with the Jews wanting to impose cultural requirements on Gentiles who were converted.  But Paul said such things were an unnecessary yoke.  You can read the discussion and decision of the Church council on this matter in Acts 15.


(Note:  When we speak of "culture" we are talking of ways of conduct that vary from group to group which do not violate moral laws of God's Word. Sinful practices are never acceptable).




Paul adjusted the time spent in various cultures according to need.  In some places he stayed only a few days.  (Acts 21:4). Other places he ministered for "a long time" (Acts 14:28).  He was mobile and his schedule was governed by the Holy Spirit.




Paul communicated the Gospel through mass communication. He took the opportunity to address large crowds:


And it came to pass in Iconium that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.  (Acts 14:1)





Paul preached to multitudes but he also knew the value of investing his life in a few key men who would be able to teach others also.  Timothy was one of these men as was Titus and even John Mark, who had once refused for discipleship training (Acts 15:36-40).  It was Paul through which the Holy Spirit revealed God's plan for each believer to multiply spiritually (II Timothy 2:2).


Working with other believers like Barnabas and Silas, as well as the disciples he trained, greatly multiplied the ministry of the Apostle Paul.   On his second and third missionary journeys, Paul enlisted the help of coworkers who were native to the region where they planned to work.


This is a key principle.  Africans can best reach Africans.  Indians can best reach their own people.  Asians can best penetrate their own continent with the Gospel.  They speak the language, understand the customs, and have already adjusted to the lifestyle.




Paul planted independent churches.  Although they were related to the mother church in terms of fellowship and leadership, they were not dependent upon the main church.  Paul did not take support from mission churches, neither is there any record of him providing support to the new works in other cultures.  He raised up self-supporting churches able to carry on the work of the Gospel without depending on outside financial support.


All financial arrangements made for the continuing existence of a new church should be such that the people themselves can control their own business.  If a church receives its support from another church, denomination, or believers in another nation then it is dependent upon them.  If the sponsoring church or denomination fails, the new church will also fail.  If relations between that nations are severed, the church will experience difficulties when support from the other country is cut off. 


The same Lord that turned water into wine and multiplied a few bread and fishes to feed the multitudes is certainly capable of raising up funds necessary for the extension of the Gospel.


Authority to exercise spiritual gifts should be given to the new church at once, with leadership raised up from within the new congregation. When Paul selected elders, they were chosen from within the people, not imported from other regions:


For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. (Titus 1:5)



Paul involved the new churches in all areas of outreach including prayer, giving, and as co-workers in expanding, extending and bridging growth of the church (see Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:19; Philippians 1:5,7; 4:14- 16).


Each church Paul planted was a new center of spiritual multiplication.


For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad...

(I Thessalonians 1:8)


Paul founded new churches on the Word of God and the rock, Christ Jesus. He did not found them on an organization or denomination or on his own personality. Creating dependence does not train for independence.


                                   A SUMMARY OF CHURCH GROWTH TYPES


In the last few chapters you have learned how the church multiplies through internal, expansion, extension, and bridging growth.


Study the following diagrams. These diagrams summarize these types of church growth. The circles represent a church in your own culture.  The square represents a church in a different culture.


Internal Growth:

Spiritual growth within the church.




Expansion Growth:

Growth in numbers.



Planting a new church in a similar culture.




Bridging Growth:

Planting a new church in a different culture.





1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.








2.         What is meant by "bridging growth" of the church?






3.         Give a Biblical reference confirming Christ's plan for "bridging growth" of the church.




4.         Who was the key New Testament leader in "bridging growth" of the church to the Gentile nations?




5.         Summarize the methods Paul used in extending the Gospel to other cultures.
















           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)



                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         The church at Antioch was planted by the church at Jerusalem.  After the persecution of Stephen, many believers left Jerusalem.  Some came to the city of Antioch in Syria, the third largest city in the Roman Empire.  There they established a church (Acts 11:19-21). 

The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. This was the first church in which "non-Jews" were prominent in the fellowship.  The Greeks (Gentiles) seemed to be the main people in the church.  Antioch soon became the new center of the New Testament churches.  The ministry which we have now received bears the mark of Antioch, not Jerusalem with its narrow concepts of reaching only the Jewish culture.


2.         The spread of the Gospel by Paul to other cultures is often summarized in the form of three missionary journeys:


The fist journey:                                  Acts 13:1-14:28

The second journey:                            Acts 15:36-18:22

The third journey:                               Acts 18:23-21:14


3.         Read Paul's personal testimony in Acts 22:


Before conversion to Christ:               Acts 22:3-5

Conversion:                                         Acts 22:6-11

His general ministry:                           Acts 22:12-16

His special mission:                             Acts 22:17-21


4.         Study more about the cycle Paul followed in each city by reviewing events at Ephesus:


People contacted:                                Acts 18:19; 19:1,8,9

Gospel communicated:                       Acts 19:4,9,10

Hearers converted:                              Acts 19:5,18

Believers congregated:                        Acts 19:9-10

Faith confirmed:                                 Acts 20:20, 27

Leaders consecrated:                          Acts 20:17,28: I Timothy 1:3,4;

Church commended:                           Acts 20:17; Ephesians 1:1-3,15,16


5.         Was bridging growth of the New Testament church effective?  Examine the record:


...There was much rejoicing in that city (Samaria): Acts 8:8


...And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw Him, and they turned to the Lord: Acts 9:35


...The Word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied:  Acts 12:24


...And the Word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region:  Acts 13:49


...The churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily:  Acts 16:5


...All who lived in Asia heard the Word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks:  Acts 19:10


...The Word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing: Acts 19:20


...From Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum Paul fully preached the Gospel of Christ: Romans 15:19


6.         The social and geographical range of converts in Acts reveals how the New Testament church bridged social, cultural, and national gaps with the Gospel. A partial listing includes such people as:


-Barnabas, a wealthy Levite from Cyprus (4:36-37)

-Stephen, a Hellenist, a man of learning (6:5, 8-10; 7:1-53)

-The Ethiopian eunuch of great authority (8:27)

-Saul, a Pharisee and scholar (9:1)

-Cornelius, a Roman centurion of Caesarea (10:1-48)

-Simeon, Lucius, Manaaen of Antioch (13:1)

-Sergius Paulus, a Roman proconsul of Paphos (13:6-12)

-Lydia, a businesswoman, of Thyatira (16:14-15)

-A jailer of Philippi (16:27-34)

-Chief women of Thessalonica (17:4)

-Dionysius of Athens (17:34)

-Aquila and Priscilla of Pontus (18:3)

-An Alexandrian Jew of authority (18:24-28)

-Publius, leading man of Malta (28:7-10)

-(See also Stephanas of Corinth I Corinthians 1:16 and

  Philemon of Colossae Philemon l-2)









                          CHAPTER TEN


                                      DECISIONS OR DISCIPLES?




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Define "convert.”

C         Define "disciple.”

C         Summarize three important aspects of the call to discipleship.

C         Identify nine discipleship principles revealed in the study of Jesus and His disciples.

C         List nine characteristics of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

C         Explain the true test of discipleship.




Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (Matthew 16:24)




You hear often of the "Great Commission" of Jesus, but do you really understand the mission which Jesus actually gave His followers?  Was the command just to win new converts?  Did He challenge them to conduct city wide rallies and build great church buildings?  Did He tell them the priority was feeding and clothing the poor?


Let us read His instructions again:


Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;


Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 

(Matthew 28:19-20)


The priority was going to all nations, teaching them the Gospel, baptizing them, and then providing further follow up teaching on all Jesus had commanded.


This was the priority.  It still should be the priority.  You can spend your life in many different ways.  You can do good works such as helping the poor.  You can build great church buildings.  You can conduct great religious rallies.


But you must do one thing if you are to fulfill the mission of Jesus:  You must participate in the reaching of all nations with the Gospel message.  All other activities--such as ministering to the poor, building churches, etc.--are valid only as they contribute to this priority.


But this reaching of all nations is more than bringing people to a place of decision for Jesus Christ.  To accomplish the Great Commission you must progress beyond decisions to discipleship.


                                                   DECISIONS OR DISCIPLES?


Two types of teaching are involved in the commission of Jesus:




People must hear the Gospel in order to respond to it, repent from sin, and be born again. Such teaching is also called "evangelism":


Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.   (Matthew 28:19)


New believers are sometimes called "converts.”  A convert is a believer in Jesus who has been born again by faith and has become part of the Kingdom of God.   (The Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Leaven-like Evangelism" provides training in how to evangelize and raise up new converts.)




After you have been taught the Gospel and come TO Jesus, you must learn how to follow AFTER Him:


Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 

(Matthew 28:20)


The commission of Jesus reveals that further teaching is to follow conversion and baptism.  New converts are to be instructed in all Jesus taught.  This process is sometimes called "following up" or "shepherding" a new believer.  It is also called "discipleship.”





                                                DEFINITION OF DISCIPLESHIP


The plan of Jesus is that you lead converts on to discipleship.  A disciple is a convert who is established in the basics of the Christian faith and capable of raising up new converts and discipling them.  The word "disciple" means a learner, a pupil, someone who learns by following.  It is more than head knowledge. It is learning that changes a person's lifestyle.


                                              THE DECISION/DISCIPLE CYCLE


Decision is only the first step of true discipleship.  Converts must progress beyond decision to become responsible members of the body of Christ capable of raising up other new believers. Winning new converts is important, but training men and women to follow Jesus and become spiritually reproductive  is equally important.  Each one you train will convert others, disciple them, and train them to reach others.


This is the Biblical plan of discipleship demonstrated by Jesus. He chose twelve men, discipled them, and trained them to reach others.  As you learned in Chapter Four of this course, this "each one-teach one" plan results in multiplication of believers, churches, and denominations.


But always keep the objective clear:  You are not discipling to build your own ministry or denomination. The purpose of discipling is to reach all nations for Jesus Christ.


Achieving the Great Commission depends not so much on better techniques and greater technology, but rather on the development of committed disciples.  The following diagram illustrates the continuing cycle of evangelism and discipleship:


Evangelism $ Converts  $  Discipling  $ Disciples ( Evangelism $ Converts  $  Discipling  $ Disciples ( Evangelism $ Converts  $  Discipling  $ Disciples- - - - -ÿ


Evangelism results in new converts.  Discipling results in disciples who are able to evangelize, produce new converts, and disciple them.  The cycle then continues to repeat the same pattern.


                                                  THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP


Read Luke 9:57-62 in your Bible.  In this passage three men approach Jesus desiring to be disciples.  To each, Jesus reveals a different aspect of what the call to discipleship involves:


1.         CONSIDERED COSTS:  (Luke 9:57-58)


The first man would follow Jesus without waiting to be called.  He attempts to become a disciple through self- effort.  Jesus warns him that he does not understand the meaning of discipleship.  Discipleship is not an offer man makes to God.  It is a call of God to man. 


Jesus said, "If you follow me, this is what you will face." He explained that true discipleship is costly.  It cannot be achieved through self-effort.


2.         PROPER PRIORITIES:  (Luke 9:59-60)


The second man was called by Jesus to "follow."  To "follow" means to come after one that goes before, to imitate an example. It involves both belief and obedience.  When Jesus called His 12 disciples, He bid them come and follow.  He did not outline a career path.  He did not give details of the program for life.


The disciple must leave the old life behind because of the call alone.  What decisions and partings and sacrifices this might require remain unknown. The follower leaves a life of security for one of insecurity in the eyes of the world.  The commitment is not to a program, but to a person.  That person is the Lord Jesus Christ.


In the Luke passage, the response of this man to the call to follow was "suffer me first..."  He wanted to follow Jesus, but it was not his priority.  Jesus would never suggest that a follower of His ignore the needs of his parents (see John 19:25-27).  It is a matter of priorities which is stressed in this story.   This man wanted to bury his father first. At the critical moment when Jesus calls a man to follow Him, nothing must be placed before response to that call.


In another passage, Jesus explained in more detail what "following" involves:


Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (Matthew 16:24)


Self-denial must come before you can take up the cross. The old selfish and sinful nature must be denied. (Read Romans 7-8 about Paul's struggle in this area).  Then you must take up the cross.  The cross is symbolic of the sacrifice, pain, rejection, insult, and hardship involved in doing God's will. The cross may even mean a call to death by martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel. 


"Taking up the cross" does not refer to the burdens of life. These are common to all men. They are the afflictions, trials, disappointments, and depression due to life in a sinful world.  The believer is not excluded from such burdens of life.  He experiences illness, accidents, fire, and natural hazards because he lives in a world marred by sin.  But these burdens are not "taking up the cross."  Cross bearing is voluntary, not something imposed by the burdens of life.  It is a continuous (daily) choosing to deny the desires of self in order to do God's will.


Cross-bearing is necessary to discipleship. Jesus said, "Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple."  Taking up the cross is not pleasing because it involves self denial. But it must be done voluntarily for the sake of Christ in order to become His disciple.

To take up the cross, you must empty your hands of the things of the world.  If your heart is set on money and material things, your hands are too full to take up the cross.  If your time is consumed by pleasure and things that please the flesh, your hands are too full to take up the cross.  After denying self and taking up the cross, the next step is to follow.  You must leave behind the old lifestyle and old sinful relationships.


You never enter discipleship by sitting and waiting for it to happen. YOU must take the first steps:  Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow.  Matthew could have remained at the tax table and Peter at his nets. They could both have pursued their trades honestly and probably would have enjoyed "spiritual" experiences.  But if they wanted to follow in true discipleship, they had to leave the old situation and enter the new.  Matthew had to leave the tax tables and Peter his nets.


This does not mean every disciple must leave their job and homes.  What it does mean for all is that it will require a change in lifestyle. In some cases it may also mean leaving home, jobs and loved ones for the sake of the Gospel.  You must follow wherever Jesus leads.  Discipleship must be the priority.


3.         ABSOLUTE AIMS:  (Luke 9:61-62)


The third man in Luke 9:57-62 wanted to follow, but he wanted to do so on his own terms. Bidding his family farewell was a normal thing to do, but Jesus had called him to follow. What was his real aim in life?  Discipleship or doing his own thing?  This man's aims in life were not settled.  He was holding back torn between the old life and the new to Jesus called.


                                  THE METHOD AND MESSAGE OF DISCIPLES


The call to discipleship involved a commission  to teach all nations.  The method of the disciples was to be witnessing.  Jesus said, "Ye shall be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). The emphasis was not so much on what they would do as what they would be.  What they did grew out of what they were.


To the end, the followers of Jesus regarded themselves as witnesses.  Toward the close of his life, Paul said:


Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying...


...That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.  (Acts  26:22-23)


Witnessing for the disciples was preaching, teaching, baptizing, and demonstrating the power of God through miracles and healings.  The message of their witness was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God:


And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  (Matthew 24:14)


Paul summarizes the basic elements of the Gospel:


For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;


And that He was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures...(I Corinthians 15:3-4)


This is what Paul called the "truth of the Gospel" (Galatians 2:5).  Any other message was unacceptable (Galatians 1:8).


                                                    JESUS AND DISCIPLESHIP


Jesus had only 3 2 years of ministry in which to do the work God had sent Him to do.  This was a tremendous task.  He was able to visit only a few places during this short period of time and reach only a limited number of people. 


To assure completion of His mission, Jesus made discipleship a priority.  He knew His disciples and their disciples would reach multitudes of villages and cities that He would never have opportunity to visit.


Jesus could have spent all His time feeding and clothing the poor.  He could have built a big church building in Jerusalem.  There are many methods He could have used.  But Jesus chose the greatest key of spiritual multiplication.  He knew that by  investing His life in a few faithful men a multiplication process would begin that would never end. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men capable of reaching the masses.


No matter what nation you live in, whether you live in a big city or a remote village, you heard the Gospel because of the faithfulness of the disciples of Jesus.  If we could trace back in history the way the Gospel spread until it reached you, the path would lead back to one of the original followers of Jesus.


Jesus is your model for discipleship.  If you follow His model, you will realize that reproductive disciples do not result from a brief seminar. Jesus gave priority time to discipling.


In studying the relationship of Jesus and His followers, several principles of discipleship are revealed.  These are important in the process of discipleship:



1.         SELECTION:


The appointment of the 12 Disciples is recorded in Matthew 5:1; 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; and Luke 6:12-16.  The appointment of the 70 is recorded in Luke 10:1-16.  Selection is the first step in the discipleship process.  When Jesus selected disciples, He called common men. Some were uneducated and they all had faults and failures.


It has been said that if the original 12 disciples were reviewed by a church mission board in the present time, they would be turned down for missionary service.  But Jesus operated on the basis of potential, not problems.  He did not choose men and women because of what they were, but because of what they could become.  He looked beyond the problems to their potential.


Every new convert should be discipled by someone, but you will not be able to disciple everyone.  You are only one person and are limited in the number you can  disciple at any one time. This is why discipleship should be done within the context of the local church.  The pastor can be sure that each new convert is properly discipled by a mature believer.


How did Jesus decide who to select as disciples?


First, By depending on God:


I can of mine own self do nothing... because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.  (John 5:30)


Second, He made it a matter of prayer.  Luke 6:12-13 records that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before selecting the men He would train as disciples.


Third, Jesus took the initiative to call His disciples.  People will not flock to you to become disciples of Jesus.  You must take the initiative to call them.  Through God's power you must "make" disciples.


Fourth, Jesus made it clear what discipleship involved.  As you learned, disciples must consider the cost, have proper priorities, and make discipleship their absolute aim in life.


Discipleship also involves faithfulness and the ability to teach others.  Paul told Timothy to select faithful men and commit to them the things he had been taught. These faithful men were to have the ability to teach others.  These two qualities are essential to the multiplication process.  If a man is not faithful, he will not fulfill his responsibility of spiritual reproduction.  If he is faithful but does not know how to teach others, then he will also fail. 


Paul spoke of believers who should have been able to teach others but had not yet matured spiritually to be able to do so.  These people are not yet ready for true discipleship.  They must be


further instructed in the basics of the faith.  Discipleship calls for "faithful men, able to teach others also."


Faithful men are not necessarily faultless men.  Do not confuse discipleship with perfection.  Do not focus on problems in the lives of prospective disciples.  Look at their potential.  Discipleship is a process that leads to the "perfecting of the saints" described in Ephesians 4. Even "faithful men" have problems and weaknesses to overcome as did the original disciples.


The world takes talented men and attempts to give them character.  They focus on creating professionals. God said to take "faithful men" of character and He will empower them with spiritual talents and abilities.  Faithful men are available to accomplish God's purposes. When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, they "immediately" left their nets.  The word "immediately" reveals their availability.


When you select men and women to disciple, they must be available.  They must be willing to make discipleship the priority of their lives.    Faithful men are motivated by spiritual vision.  When Jesus gave Peter and Andrew the vision of catching men and women, it motivated them to leave their nets.   Faithful men have a hunger for the Word of God, as did Christ's disciples.  Their "hearts burned within them" as He shared the Scriptures (Luke 24:32,45).  They were willing and eager to be taught.


2.         ASSOCIATION:


When Jesus called His disciples, He called them to "be with Him."  He shared His life intimately with His disciples.  He spent time with them in both formal ministry situations and informal circumstances.  Discipleship will not happen through committee meetings or Sunday worship services alone.  There must be close association with those whom you disciple.  You must share your life with them.


3.         CONSECRATION:


Out of association with Jesus, consecration developed.  Jesus called His disciples to consecration to a Person, not a denomination or organization.  Such consecration to God called for absolute obedience to His Word and purposes (see John 4:34; 5:30; 15:10; 17:4; and Luke 22:42).


4.         VISION:


Jesus motivated His followers by giving them spiritual vision. He called them to a task greater than the routine of everyday living.   He called His followers to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).  He gave them a vision of worldwide spiritual harvest (John 4:35).  He challenged them with the revelation of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13).



Without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18).  They have no direction and no motivation. Discipleship must include the communication of spiritual vision to motivate the mission.  The vision is world-wide conquest with the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Never be distracted by a lesser cause.


5.         INSTRUCTION:


Jesus spent much of His time teaching His disciples. His instruction always related to the vision He had given them.  If you are to train disciples following the methods of Jesus, then you must teach what Jesus taught.  This is part of the command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:20).  Emphasis should be on the teachings of Jesus and what was revealed as these teachings were put into practice in the first Church.


Harvestime International Institute curriculum provides such discipleship training.  In the final chapter of this course, you will learn how to multiply through establishing extension centers in which to teach these courses.  Harvestime also offers a course entitled "Teaching Tactics" which trains you to teach using the methods of Jesus.


As you teach what Jesus taught, you teach the entire revelation of God's Word because it is based on the Old Testament. Jesus said:


...These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me...


...Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:


And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  (Luke 24:44,46-47)




Jesus did not teach through verbal instruction alone.  He demonstrated what He taught.  He taught healing and demonstrated it by healing the sick.  He taught the authority of the believer over Satan and demonstrated it by casting out demons. He taught concern for the poor and illustrated it by feeding the multitudes.


The disciples were not only students, they were eye witnesses to the demonstration of God's power.  They later said they were teaching "That which we have seen and heard" as  "eye witnesses" (I John 1:1).



Jesus taught by example.  He demonstrated what He said by how He lived and ministered.  He said:


For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 

(John 13:15)


The demonstration of God's power makes people listen to your message:


And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  (Acts 8:6)


Paul spoke not only of the truth of the Gospel (Galatians 2:5) but of the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).  He declared and demonstrated the Gospel (I Corinthians 2:1,4).


Because of the importance of the demonstration of power in the process of multiplication, Harvestime International Institute has a course entitled "Power Principles" devoted to this subject.




Mere knowledge is not enough.  To be effective, knowledge must be applied. There comes a time for action.  The disciples not only listened to the teachings of Jesus and observed the demonstrations of power, they also participated. Teaching a subject is not enough to assure learning. Teaching alone is like trying to learn brain surgery by reading a book.


Disciples must have actual experience in what they are learning. They must gain experience in how to share the Gospel, how to pray for the sick, how to cast out demons, etc.  Jesus provided such opportunities for His disciples. Read Mark 6:7-13 and Luke 9:1-6.  Jesus sent His disciples out to experience what they had been taught.  Make sure your disciples become doers of the Word and not hearers only.


8.         SUPERVISION:


When the disciples of Jesus returned from their ministry trip, Jesus evaluated their efforts (Luke 9:10). Throughout the entire training process Jesus supervised His disciples.  They were not left alone in their struggles. He was there to correct, rebuke, and encourage them.


You cannot assume that the work will be done merely because you have shown a willing worker how to do it and sent him out with glowing expectations. You must supervise. As disciples meet frustration and obstacles, you must teach them how to meet these challenges. 




Supervision is sometimes called "follow-up."  Paul supervised or "followed up" his disciples:


And after he had spent some time there, he departed and went over all the country of Galatia, and Phyrgia in order, strengthening all the disciples.  (Acts 18:23)


Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.  (Acts 14:22)


9.         DELEGATION:


The final stage of the discipleship process was when Jesus delegated His followers to become disciple-makers themselves.  He gave them the task of spiritual multiplication throughout the nations of the world.


                                     CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRUE DISCIPLE


Disciples of Jesus should become mature believers with the fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in their lives and spiritual gifts in operation in their ministries.


There are many characteristics of a true disciple of Jesus when you consider the total revelation of God's Word, but Jesus emphasized nine specific characteristics.  A disciple is one who:


1.         FORSAKES ALL:


He leaves everything to follow Jesus:


So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:33)


2.         DENIES SELF:


A true disciple must deny himself by voluntarily taking up the cross of discipleship:


Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (Matthew 16:24)


And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:27)




3.         FOLLOWS JESUS:


Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow.  (Matthew 16:24)




Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink?  or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...


But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (Matthew 6:31,33)




By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (John 13:34-35)


6.         ABIDES IN THE WORD:


...If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed.  (John 8:31)


The word "abide" means to remain or continue.  A disciple is in a continual process of learning and applying the truths of God's Word.  


7.         IS OBEDIENT:


Abiding in the Word is more than learning.  It is acting upon what is learned.  It is obedience.  It is not enough to read, study or memorize the Word. It must be translated into a lifestyle.  Abiding includes obedience.


8.         IS A SERVANT:


The disciple is not above His master, nor the servant above His lord.  (Matthew 10:25)


But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister:


And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant;


Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.  (Matthew 20:26-28)




A disciple is to glorify God through fruitfulness: 


Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  (John 15:8)


When you bear spiritual fruit you develop the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:20-23).  You also bear fruit by reproducing spiritually (John 15:1-16).


                                            THE TRUE TEST OF DISCIPLESHIP


The true test of discipleship is what happens when you are no longer present with those whom you have discipled. Do they continue to be faithful to what you have taught them? Do they teach others who are capable of continuing the multiplication process? If so, your discipleship process is successful:


A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.  (Luke 6:40  Revised Standard Version)


In your training of others, expect problems such as Jesus experienced...


-On one occasion,  Peter, James and John displayed a hateful attitude by wanting to call fire from heaven to destroy an unreceptive Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-55). 


-Peter denied the Lord three times (Luke 22:54-62).


-All three were asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane when they were told to pray  (Luke 22:45-46).


But this handful of men were worth the investment of the time and ministry of Jesus.  They proved to be faithful men, despite their faults and failures.  When Jesus was no longer with them  they continued the process of multiplication to the nations of the world. Jesus said:


The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.  (Matthew 9:37)


Harvesters...men and women capable of spiritual reaping...are still few.  Are you willing to give your life to be part of the few?








1.         Write the Key Verse from memory.






2.         What does the word "convert" mean?






3.         Define "disciple."






4.         Summarize three important aspects of the call to discipleship.







5.         List nine important discipleship principles discussed in the study of Jesus and His disciples.


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________






6.         List nine characteristics of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________


                _____________________________    _______________________________




7.         What is the true test of discipleship?




























           (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)


                                          FOR FURTHER STUDY


1.         "Discipling" has also been called "shepherding," a term drawing from the Biblical illustration of how a shepherd cares for his sheep.


-God is compared to a shepherd:  Hebrews 13:20; Psalms 80:1-2; Ezekiel 34:11


-Jesus is compared to a shepherd: John 10:11-18


A shepherd is a guide, watchman, and guard over the sheep.  He rescues them from danger, binds up their wounds, loves, and feeds them. Think about these duties of a shepherd and how they are similar to caring for those whom you are discipling.  Read the following verses: Matthew 9:36-38; Mark 3:14- 15; John 21:15-17; Acts 20:28.


2.         The repeated call of Jesus Christ was a call to follow. The words "follow," "follow me," and "come after me" are used by Jesus more than 20 times.  They are addressed to:


Simon and Andrew:                                        Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17

James and John:                                              Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:20 (implied)

Matthew:                                                         Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27

Philip:                                                              John 1:43

Peter:                                                               John 21:19,22

The rich young ruler:                                       Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22

Another of His disciples:                                Matthew 8:22

Any man:                                                        Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34;

Luke 9:23; John 12:26


Paul speaks of himself as a follower of Jesus and calls upon the Corinthians to follow him (I Corinthians 11:1).  Similar instructions go to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:1); the Philippians (Philippians 3:17); and the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:6).


3.         The word "disciple" is not used in the Old Testament, but the principle of discipling is apparent:


Joshua was a disciple of Moses:                     Deuteronomy 3:28

Elisha was a disciple of Elijah:                       II Kings 2

A school of prophets trained disciples:           II Kings 2:4


4.         Note how the Apostle Paul followed up his disciples:


With letters:                                                    I Thessalonians 1:1

With prayer:                                                    I Thessalonians 1:2; 3:10

By sending representatives:                            I Thessalonians 3:1-5

By personal contact:                           I Thessalonians 2:18


5.         The Apostle Paul invested his life in training faithful men and women. There are 125 names in the Bible recorded in connection with Paul's ministry.  Learn more about discipleship as you study the following references which focus on his followers:


Apollos:  Acts 18:24-28; 19:1; I Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-6,22; 4:6; 16:12; Titus 3:13.


Aquila & Priscilla:  Acts 18:1-3,18-19,26; Romans 16:3-5; I Corinthians 16:19; II Timothy 4:19


Barnabas: Acts 4:36-37; 11:22-30; 13:1-14:28; 15:1-40; I Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1,9,13; Colossians 4:10


Luke:  Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1; 16:10-18; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16; Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24; II Timothy 4:11


Mark: Acts 12:12,25; 13:5,13; 15:36-39; Colossians 4:10;  II Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; I Peter 5:13


Silas: Acts 15:22,27,32-34,40-41; 18:5; 17:15; II Corinthians 1:19; I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:1; I Peter 5:12


Philemon: Philemon 1-25


Phoebe:  Romans 16:1-2


Stephanas:  I Corinthians 1:16; 16:15-18


Trophimus:  Acts 20:4; 21:29; II Timothy 4:20


Tychicus:  Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7-8; II Timothy 4:12; Ephesians 6:21-22; Titus 3:12


Onesimus:  Colossians 4:9; Philemon 10-21


Lydia:  Acts 16:13-15,40


Gauis:  Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; I Corinthians 1:14


Euodia And Syntyche:  Philippians 4:2-3


Erastus:  Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23; II Timothy 4:20

Epaphroditos: Philippians 2:25-30; 4:18


Epaphras: Colossians 1:7-8; 4:12-13; Philemon 23


Demas:  Colossians 4:14; Philemon 23-24; II Timothy 4:10


Aristarchus:  Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24


Andronicus And Junias:  Romans 16:7


Ananias:  Acts 9:10-19; 22:12-16


Titus:  II Corinthians 2:12-13; 7:6-7,13-14; 8:6,16-17,23; 12:17-18; Galatians 2:1-3; Titus 1:5; II Timothy 4:10


Timothy:  Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Romans 16:21; I Corinthians 4:17; 16:10-11; II Corinthians 1:1,19; Philippians 1:1; 2:19-23; Colossians 1:1; I Thessalonians 1:1; 3:2, 6; II Thessalonians 1:1; I Timothy 1:2,18; 6:20; II Timothy 1:2; 4:9, 21; Philemon 1; Hebrews 13:23


6.         The titles Paul called his followers reveal some of the responsibilities of discipleship:


Laborers:                     Philippians 4:3; Philemon 1:24; I Thessalonians 3:2

Helpers:                       II Corinthians 8:23

Workers:                      Romans 16:3,9,21: Philippians 2:25; Colossians 4:11

Soldiers:                      Philippians 2:25

Slaves:                         Colossians 1:7; 4:7

Prisoners:                     Romans 16:7; Philemon 23: Colossians 4:10

Son:                             I Corinthians 4:17; I Peter 5:13

Servant:                       Philippians 1:1

Brother:                       II Corinthians 1:1


7.         Discipleship is sometimes costly. Consider the fate of some of the first disciples who died for the Gospel:


Matthew suffered martyrdom by the sword in Ethiopia.


Mark died at Alexandria after being dragged through the streets of the city.


Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece.


John was put in a pot of boiling oil, but escaped death and was banished to the Island of Patmos.


Peter was crucified at Rome with his head  downwards.


James the less was beheaded at Jerusalem.


James was thrown from the top of the temple and beaten to death by the crowd below.


Philip was hanged in Phyrgia.


Bartholomew was beaten to death.


Andrew was bound to a cross where he preached to his killers until his death.


Thomas was run through with a sword in India.


Jude was shot to death with arrows.


Matthias was first stoned, then beheaded.


Barnabas was stoned to death by Jews at Salonica.


Paul was beheaded at Rome by Nero.


8.         Use the following outline to study further on discipleship:


Discipleship In The Gospels


Discipleship must be a priority: Luke 9:57-62.


The disciples followed Jesus wherever He went: Matthew 8:23; 9:19;  Mark 6:1; 8:10; 10:46; Luke 22:39; John 1:37; 3:22; 6:3; 11:7,54; John 18:1-2.


Jesus gave His disciples authority over Satan: Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1.


Disciples were to be servants:  Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40; John 13:5-17.


Jesus called disciples to total commitment:  Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 14:26-33; John 1:20-23.


Disciples were like family to Jesus:  Matthew 12:49; John 2:12; 19:26-27.


The disciples and Jesus enjoyed times of social fellowship together: John 2:2.


Jesus shared meals with them:  Mark 2:15; John 4:31-33.


Disciples did what Jesus commanded them:  Matthew 14:19, 22; 15:36; 21:1, 6; 24:3; 26:19; Mark 6:41,45; 11:1; John 6:12.


Disciples came to Jesus with their problems and questions: Matthew 14:15; 15:12, 33; 17:19; Mark 5:31; 8:4; 9:28; John 9:2.


Jesus corrected His disciples when they were wrong:  Matthew 19:13-15; 26:8-13;  Mark 8:33;  10:13-16; Luke 9:40-42; 9:54; John 6:61.


Jesus demonstrated God's power to disciples: Luke 19:37; John 2:11; 20:30.


Discipleship requires obedience to God's Word: John 8:31.


Discipleship requires love:  John 13:35.


Discipleship requires fruit bearing: John 15:8.


Jesus sent special word of His resurrection to His disciples and appeared to them:  Matthew 28:7-8; Mark 16:7; John 20-21.


The disciples forsook Jesus in His darkest hour: Matthew 26:36-45,58; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:45; John 18:17,25.


Later, they proved to be faithful men: Matthew 28:16.


Jesus took His disciples apart for special times of instruction, revelation, prayer, and rest:  Mark 3:7; 4:34; 7:17; 10:10; 12:43; Matthew 11:1; 13:30,36; 16:13, 21; Mark 4:34; 7:17; 9:31; 10:23-24; Luke 6:20-49; 9:18; 10:23; 11:1; 16:1; 17:1,22; 20:45; John 2:22; 16:29.


                                                  Discipleship In The Book Of Acts


The disciples multiplied as they were instructed to do:  Acts 6:1,7


Disciples had differing responsibilities. Some were involved in serving ministries. Others (leaders) gave themselves to study of the Word and prayer. All reproduced spiritually:  Acts 6


Disciples experienced persecution:  Acts 9:1


Women were disciples as well as men:  Acts 9:36


Disciples shared material things with each other: Acts 4: 11:29


Disciples were joyous people, filled with the Holy Ghost:  Acts 13:52


Strengthening and confirming disciples was a priority of Paul: Acts 14:22; 18:23


Paul separated disciples from the multitudes to receive special training:  Acts 19:9


The disciples expressed their love for one another:  Acts 20:1


Disciples were warned that others would try to divert them from true discipleship to Jesus:  Acts 20:30


Miscellaneous references to disciples in the book of Acts include: 9:10, 19, 25-26, 38; 14:20, 28; 15:10; 16:1; 18:27; 19:1, 30; 21:4, 16;






























                      CHAPTER ELEVEN


                                            STUNTED GROWTH




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:


C         Write the Key Verse from memory.

C         Define "stunted" growth.

C         Identify factors that hinder spiritual growth and multiplication.

C         Provide Biblical remedies to correct such problems.




Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.


But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.


And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  (Psalms 1:1-3)




There are many factors which affect the normal growth and development of the human body.  Lack of proper food retards physical growth.  Various diseases also affect development.   When there is lack of growth in the human body, a remedy must be found to correct the problem or else growth will be "stunted."  When growth is "stunted," the body does not develop properly.


As you have learned, the Bible compares the church to a physical body. Like a physical body, its growth and development is affected by many factors.  Sometimes problems occur in the church.  These problems can "stunt" spiritual growth.  When spiritual growth is "stunted"  the church does not multiply properly.  There is a lack of new converts and disciples and an absence of spiritual maturity.


Jesus said "I will build my church."  We cannot cause  multiplication ourselves, but we can remove conditions that prevent growth.  When we do so, we are creating the proper spiritual climate in which growth can occur. This chapter lists common problems that prevent multiplication. For each  problem a Biblical remedy is provided.


                                                          STUNTED GROWTH




A human body must have natural food and water or it will die. The spiritual body must have spiritual food and water or it will die.  Some churches do not teach the Word of God at all.  They teach doctrines of men.  They say what people want to hear (II Timothy 4:3).  Spiritual malnutrition is the result of a famine of the Word of God  (Amos 8:11-12).   Others teach only the "milk" of the Word and people never mature spiritually. Believers neglect Bible study or never go beyond the basic truths to the "meat" of God's Word.  As a natural body dies without food, so will the spiritual body.




Renew emphasis on the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Teach both the milk and meat of the Word (I Corinthians 3:1; I Peter 2:22; Hebrews 5:12-14).  A human baby cannot live on milk alone forever.  A growing child must learn to eat solid foods.  The spiritual body of Christ cannot exist on the "milk" of the word alone.  A growing spiritual body must learn to eat the "meat" of the Word of God.  The Word of God is "the bread"  of spiritual life.  The Word is our spiritual food.  Basic truths easily understood are called the "milk" of the Word. More advanced teachings in the Bible are called the "meat" of the Word.




The Bible says "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).  The spiritual vision of some people is limited to their own families and communities.  Others are preoccupied with faraway places with strange sounding names, while people right outside their church doors die without Christ.




A balance must be achieved between local and world-wide spiritual vision.  The church must develop a global vision while not neglecting those in its own community.  This is the vision Jesus gave His disciples of the spiritual harvest which is ready to reap. The field is the world.  "Lift up your eyes and look":  This is the vision shared by Jesus with His followers which changed the purpose and destiny of their lives (John 4).      




Read the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1-20.  When the seed of the Word of God does not take root in your life, shallow spiritual growth results.  When persecution and difficult times come, you die spiritually (Mark 4:17).




Teach the people that reading, hearing, and teaching the Word of God is not enough.  They must become doers of the Word. It must change their lives  (James 1:22-25).  It is the entrance of the Word into the heart that brings change (Psalms 119:130).




Churches often have unproductive methods and programs. When such activities are not pruned, fruit bearing ceases.  Without pruning, the slow but sure process of death destroys life. In the natural world when a tree is not pruned it may continue to stand upright, but it is dead.  There is no fruit, no growth and multiplication.  The structure is there, but the life is gone.  The same is true in the spiritual world.




In the natural world, unproductive branches must be pruned in order for the plant to bear more fruit.  In the spiritual world, we must prune unproductive activities from our lives and churches.  Methods and programs which do not result in evangelism and discipleship must be "pruned."


Each meeting, program, and activity of the church should be evaluated.  Analyze unfruitful works to discover why they are unfruitful.  Remember:  Pruning is not just getting rid of unproductive branches.  The purpose is seeking ways to cause more effective growth and spiritual fruit (see John 15).




In the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1-20, there was responsive and unresponsive soils.  Little growth occurred in unresponsive areas.




There are unresponsive areas in the world with little opportunities for multiplication.  There are other areas ready for spiritual harvest which offer great opportunities for the spread of the Gospel.


Responsive peoples must be identified and efforts concentrated in these areas.  When Paul heard that the Holy Spirit was bringing Gentiles to discipleship in Antioch, he promptly left Tarsus and went to Antioch.  When the timing was not right for Asia, Paul concentrated on responsive areas until God opened the door to Asia.  Concentrate efforts on responsive areas.  Continue sowing and waiting for proper timing in fields not yet ripe unto harvest.




Spiritual leaders have wrong priorities when they are more concerned with church business than prayer and ministry of the Word of God.  Priorities are given to secondary projects such as good works, building projects etc.  Maintenance becomes more important than mission.




Jesus said nothing about building great buildings, Christian retreat centers, and other such projects.  While these are not wrong in themselves, multiplication is hindered when such projects are given more emphasis than evangelism and discipleship.   A problem with priorities and its solution is recorded in Acts 6:1-6.  When  spiritual leaders began to give their time to prayer and ministry of the Word of God, multiplication resulted (Acts 6:7). 




Some churches have ceased to grow because the ministry did not relate to the people.  Perhaps the minister was not one of the people.  He was of another culture and could not relate to them properly in language, customs, etc. 




Leadership should be raised up from the local church as soon as possible after a church has been planted (Titus 1:5).  Local leaders of the same culture and language normally can communicate the Gospel most effectively.




Many churches have adopted a "come" strategy rather than the "go" method commanded by Jesus.  These churches plan services and programs and try to get unbelievers to "come" to church.  They never "go" out into the world to reach people with the Gospel and bring them in.  They open their doors and wait for the people, but no one comes.  In such a church, members may be busy every night of the week with meetings.  Conventions, seminars, and workshops have replaced evangelism.




The church is supposed to be God's base of operation in the world.  But the church has become the field of operations rather than a base which sends disciples into the fields of the world to minister and multiply. The church must stop evangelizing itself and start evangelizing the world.  The church should be a place where believers are trained and equipped to go out into the world where sinners are and win them to Christ. The "go" strategy of Jesus must be emphasized (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8).




Unconfessed sin in the lives of church members hinders spiritual growth.




Study the instructions given by Paul to the Corinthian church to deal with unconfessed sin in members  (see I Corinthians 5:11-13).  If the erring member repents, he is to be accepted back into fellowship  (see II Corinthians 2:4-8).




Conflict arises when members of the Church body have unresolved personal problems between them.  If these conflicts are not properly dealt with, division can result.  Unresolved problems hinder the multiplication process.




Matthew 18:15-17 gives specific instructions for correcting problems between members of the body of Christ.  Study also the example of Paul in Barnabas in Acts 15:36-41.  If problems are handled properly, even division can result in multiplication which will benefit God's Kingdom.




Church growth is affected when leaders do not meet the spiritual qualifications outlined in the Bible.  The standards for church leaders established by God are spiritual qualifications.  He is not concerned about education and abilities as much as with the true spiritual condition of man (see I Samuel 16:7).            




A leader should resign from his position until he sets his "own house" (his personal spiritual life and family) in order. Leaders should meet the qualifications listed in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9.




People have a tendency to resist change.  Many are content with things the way they have been for the last 40 years.  They do not readily accept new methods.




Remember that the purpose of the church to evangelize and multiply spiritually never changes.  The methods to accomplish these purposes do.  It is true that we should use Biblical methods of the early church, but the world has changed since that time.  We cannot reject new methods just because they were not used in Bible times.


For example, you should not refuse to use things like printing presses, computers, and tape recorders to spread the Gospel just because Paul did not use them.  These methods did not exist in that time.  Recognize that tradition can hinder God's plan (Mark 7:13).  Teach people to expect new things from God (Isaiah 43:19).




Multiplication is hindered by the manner in which the Gospel is communicated.  Ministers try to impress their people with great words and a display of theological knowledge.  They do not communicate at the level of human need.  Their actions are not in harmony with their words.




The Gospel must be communicated so it can be understood by the listeners.  Preachers, teachers, and evangelists must communicate at the level of their audience instead of trying to impress with great words and a display of theological knowledge. When Jesus taught, the common men heard and understood Him (Mark 12:37).


Communication must be adapted to all levels of society and education (Romans 1:14).  Verbal communication must be in harmony with lifestyle.  We must be doers of the Word as well as communicators. The communication of our faith is effective only when the things of God are evident in our lives (Philemon 6).




Some churches do not reach out to people in their community because "they are not like us."  They do not minister to those who are culturally different, are of a different race, or speak another language.  Some churches refuse to cross geographic boundaries.  They do not want people from another area of town or a different region coming to their church.   Some people reject fellowship with members of other denominations.  Some have so separated themselves from the world that they no longer multiply because they  have no contact with unbelievers.




See Ephesians 2:14.  There are no walls of separation in Christ.  The church has built walls of separation which must come down.  We must cross cultural, linguistic, geographic, and denominational lines to reach people where they are.


We must lay aside these weights and sins and focus on the task of reaching the world with the Gospel (Hebrews 12:1-2).  We are not to isolate ourselves from the world.  We are to be in the world, but not partakers of its sinful ways (John 17:15).  Separation from the world does not mean isolation or segregation.




Spectators are people who view but do not participate in the plan of God.  They do not reproduce spiritually.  They leave evangelizing and discipling to the "professional" ministers. A church filled with spectators will not grow.




Each member must recognize his personal responsibility to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  Members must be led in discovery and use of their spiritual gifts to enable the church body to function properly (II Timothy 1:6).


Ministers must equip members for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).  Each person must become reproductive, and each home must become a center of evangelism (II Timothy 2:2).




New believers are not developed into disciples.  They either return to the old life of sin or remain spiritual babies who are incapable of reproduction.




Converts must be developed into disciples and equipped for ministry if the multiplication process is to continue.  Evangelism is not complete until a convert is made an active disciple of Christ.  Teaching is to follow evangelism as well as precede it  (Matthew 28:19-20).




Fear of failure is the greatest enemy of multiplication.  Read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  The servant who was afraid was unprofitable.  He did not multiply spiritually.




Develop a relationship with God based on love instead of fear (I John 4:18).




Plans, programs, and business of the church can replace true worship.  A service can be filled with announcements, fund raising, special presentations, and planned programs.




Establish proper priorities in the church.  Love and worship of God is first.  Love and ministry to others is next.  All other programs follow these greatest two responsibilities (Matthew 12:29-31).