At The Austin Stone, the process of connection to multiplication follows a general pattern that usually takes approximately two years. It generally goes something like this:
- What’s Next?
- The First Four Weeks
- Processing a Preferred Future
- Establishing Healthy Rhythms
- Thinking Critically about the MC
- Considering Multiplication
It might seem odd to you that I am talking about multiplication in a series on newly forming missional communities, but it’s critically important to talk about it early on. If you’ve participated in a small group before, you know that one of the most difficult experiences in group life can be the working through multiplication, especially when deep relationships have been formed.
The Great Commission, however, simply cannot be fulfilled if the church doesn’t have a value for more disciples being made, which requires that we multiply! To be honest with you, it takes an extraordinary amount of faith to continue being obedient…I hate it every time someone departs from our community, and I dread the process of leaving one missional community to plant another. It’s really hard!
That’s why we begin talking about multiplication at the very beginning. If we want a movement that makes a dent in the Great Commission, we will need to multiply disciples, communities and churches, and everyone needs to be involved.
In helping communities process through a preferred future, we cast vision for multiplication at the outset of our training, and then will continue to ask questions along with way. We want to keep the mission in front of our groups, even as they are forming, in order to prepare them well for the future of their community.
Also, we want to make sure that we provide plenty of time for a community to get their minds and hearts around multiplication so that we can celebrate when it does happen, as well as grieve. There are a number of questions about multiplication – why multiply? when? how? – and I want to take some time to address that in the next series of posts. Stay tuned!
In the mean time, what do you think are the key components to setting a healthy DNA early in a community?