the shape of leadership

Four Keys to Multiplication

Fundamental qualities for building strong churches

Kristi Northup on April 16, 2020

Often I hear leaders bemoan the state of believers and the lack of Pentecostal expression in our churches. They express fear about the future of our Movement and concern for the genuine lack of biblical knowledge among our people.

I myself sometimes wonder, Are we doing enough to prepare future leaders for what is to come? Is the Church in its current form strong enough to stem the tide of materialism, egocentricity and hostile territorialism and truly project a vision of Jesus?

All this shapes the work we do while continuing to plant churches and train leaders. Recently, I have seen an emerging culture that demonstrates the best of what we want to reproduce.

While many people think of the keys to church planting success as strategy and excellence, here are four more fundamental qualities vital to building strong churches:

1. Humility

Living in New Orleans, I’ve learned what a big difference a small thing like seasoning can make in food. Similarly, the hidden motivations of our lives give a certain flavor to everything we do and say. They affect the way our message is received, whether we know it or not.

Earlier this year at the CMN Conference, a speaker humbly shared his painful testimony of failure, candidly describing how God had restored him through forgiveness, love and accountability.

That unspoken theme of humility seasoned the entire event, and I believe it will set the tone for church planting going forward. When leaders model humility, it encourages those following behind to believe they too can accomplish what God is calling them to do.

Leaders are thinking and dreaming about how they can step out in faith to see more people in their communities come to Christ.

2. Diversity

In the Assemblies of God, we frequently talk about our Pentecostal distinctive. But we also have another distinctive: diversity. Since the Day of Pentecost, when God began pouring out His Spirit on all people (Acts 2:17), diversity has been a part of the Pentecostal experience.

It is still happening today. We are seeing it in our Fellowship as God calls men and women of all races, ethnicities, geographic regions, cultures, and backgrounds. We are all working together for one purpose: advancing God’s kingdom.

This is not natural; it is the supernatural work of God. Diversity requires humility, because we have to take a listening posture and ask for the input of people who see the world differently than we do. To reach an increasingly diverse nation, we need all the perspectives and gifts the diverse members of his Body bring to the table.

3. Cooperation

It takes more than a planter to plant churches. It requires enormous resources. It also requires leaders who are willing to be senders to produce healthy, vibrant plants.

I have been amazed to see the number of longtime lead pastors who have been involved in church planting now expressing a desire to plant a church or add a campus. They are sending their very best, often to areas not far from their central location.

Leaders are thinking and dreaming about how they can step out in faith to see more people in their communities come to Christ.

4. Spirit-Led Ministry

When we give the Holy Spirit time and opportunity to move, it is always transformational.

Many of our young ministers don’t know how to see this happen in their church plants, but they are hungry, and they are seeking. When given the opportunity to learn, they are responding.

I would encourage the seasoned pastors of our ministry networks to bring someone along and demonstrate how to move in the Spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:6, the apostle Paul instructed the young pastor Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

Young leaders are eager to see God move in their churches. They want to know how to lead an altar response, pray for others to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and encourage the gifts of the Spirit among their members.

Jesus has called us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). When our lives and churches are flavored with His character and presence, the Lord will use us mightily for His glory.

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