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The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches Hardcover – February 24, 2008
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The Multiplying Church teaches us new math by using age-old formulas to accomplish the mission of Jesus. Bob Roberts writes with the wisdom of an experienced church planter and the perspective of a man who has a global influence. If you are tired of attrition and want more than simple addition, then read, learn, and become a multiplying church! -- Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church & NewThing Network
Any book by Bob Roberts is an event. But this one is even more eventful than his others, primarily because the #1 church planter in North America shares his secrets with the rest of us. Your church, and your soul, can never be the same after reading this book. -- Leonard Sweet, Drew University, George Fox University, www.wickiletics.com
From the Publisher
This is a must-read for pastors and lay leaders involved in, or wanting to learn about, the church multiplication groundswell in North America. It shows how multiplying churches should be a natural, regular function in the DNA of every church. Learn the principles from master multiplier Bob Roberts. Here is powerful hope for the church in America.
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At Northwood Church where Roberts serves as pastor, church planting interns are brought on staff. They start core groups with people who are currently outside of their church. These groups grow and then form into new churches, which then replicate the process (58). The "mother church" is relatively unaffected. With this approach, Northwood is able to plant fifteen churches per year (!). When the book was first published in 2008, they had already planted a hundred.
The author does not despise small churches. Far from it! They are much easier to achieve than large megachurches. Roberts would rather have a hundred churches with a hundred people each than five churches with two thousand each. The former is better for the church universal in the long run.
Roberts writes with insight and humor. He has some moxie--a bit larger than life. You can almost hear a Texas accent as you read. I recommend this book for churches that want to have the maximum amount of impact for the kingdom, long-term. I'd love to sit down with him for lunch some day and pick his brain.
- Any Christian with the drive for starting new things.
- Anyone interested in planting a church.
- Leaders who want to be effective both locally, and globally.
- Christians who want to make more disciples.
- Churches interested in missions.
Seriously, this book is a great read, a simple read, and Dr. Roberts is a practitioner, not just a theorist.
I highly recommend this book.
According to the author, none of the usual reasons for planting a church is sufficient in itself: obedience to the Great Commission; conducting evangelism more effectively; communicating more relevantly; conducting research and development in new church styles; establishing bases to reach more people; reaching future generations; and impacting existing churches. The only real reason worth starting a church is to achieve transformation in the lives of people and communities. So the dreaming should start not with the church, but with the people outside the church.
I found the book hard to follow in parts, as the author seemed to leap from idea to idea; nonetheless it is a very worthwhile read as it contains some attractive ideas. Chapter 8 encourages us to start with the society, not the church, and to think like a community developer. We need to know what is going on in the society in the domains of economics, agriculture, education, medicine/science/technology, communication, arts/entertainment, governance/justice and family. Churches emerge when the gospel intersects these domains and people begin to follow Christ.
The book is in three parts, 1) "The New Math," 2) "The Prime Numbers," and 3) "The Sum Total."
Roberts "New Math" is the way he gives a resume of each chapter. An example is the first chapter entitled "Made in Asia--Jesus Movements." For this chapter his math is "CPM-CP+J=JM" which translated is "A church planting movement (CPM) minus church planting (CP) leaves a movement. But what kind of a movement do we want? Add to that Jesus (J) and you get what we are all after--a Jesus movement." (Roberts 2008, 38) Roberts is simply thinking outside of our models and saying that when believers discover the Lord Jesus they are filled with fire and many people come to Christ and new churches are planted as in China.
You will want to read each of these chapters and get excited by the ways God works in grace by his Holy Spirit.
Here are some key quotes:
"Better to be a mother who produces ten than a church planter who produces one. The real key to a church planting movement doesn't lie in the individual church that is planted but in the incubators that produce churches." (17)
"Upon examination, the movements that are exploding often have poor systems, little control, and massive fruit." (25-26)
You will want to think through the eight discoveries that he details on pages 29 to 38 to having your vision of church planting challenged and stimulated.
On page 62 he lists five reasons why churches do not multiply. Look at these and ask yourself which of these six hinder your church from multiplying.