Be a part of
Church Multiplication Network
By Steve Pike
At a recent Convoy
of Hope preparation day, I saw the foundational principle of Church
Multiplication Network in action.
people packed 10,000 bags of groceries in a little over two hours. My job was
to make sure each bag had a small package of pancake mix in it. Everyone
(including AG General Superintendent George Wood) did something. We set aside
our personal agendas to work together and complete an otherwise impossible
That is the core
idea behind Church Multiplication Network: to help churches work together to do
more than they could ever do by themselves.
Today is Church
Planting Sunday in the Assemblies of God. Imagine what could happen if,
starting today, the 12,000 churches and nearly 3 million people in our U.S.
Assemblies of God Fellowship decided to set aside their personal agendas and
work together to plant 1,000 churches in two years?
Let’s consider the
possibilities. The average Assemblies of God church plant has 51 active
attendees by its first anniversary and 65 by the second, according to
researcher Ed Stetzer’s Church Plant Survivability and Health Study 2007. This
means adding 1,000 new churches could result in reaching more than 55,000 new
people within the next two years. That is a significant number, since for the
past decade the AG has added an average of 38,058 adherents every two years.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are the souls of nearly 17,000
additional people worth our efforts to reach them?” Hopefully our answer is a
America is a
nation plagued by religious paradox. A majority of Americans claim to be
Christians, according to David Kinnaman’s research in his book Unchristian. Yet
according to David Olson’s research entitled 12 Surprising Facts About the
American Church, in 2006 only 17.3 percent of Americans attended church on any
More books and
literature on church planting and church health are available than ever before,
yet the number of new church starts is not keeping pace with the U.S.
population growth rate, and the number of churches paralyzed on a maintenance
plateau hovers consistently at 80-85 percent.
planted for the purpose of helping lost people know Jesus, have proven to be
the best methodology of evangelism. Yet church planting, as a part of the
missional strategy of most churches and denominations — including the
Assemblies of God — has been consistently underprioritized, underfunded
We are seeing some
alarming trends that could affect the future vitality of the Movement. The
average number of people attending church in America weekly has remained
constant at about 51 million since 1990, while 94 million new souls have been
added to our population.
tell us the Assemblies of God should increase the number of its churches by 2
percent per year (net gain) just to keep up with population growth. In 2006,
the AG had a net gain of 13 churches (.1 percent gain, or one-twentieth of what
The average age of
AG pastors is increasing to disturbing levels. In 2005, only 24 percent of AG
ministers were younger than 40, with another 24 percent at 65 or older. The
number of younger leaders seeking credentials has been trending down.
Many studies seem
to indicate the current generation of U.S. young adults is more disconnected
from the church than any previous generation. Conversely, every study shows
young people are attracted to a church where they have a voice in the form that
church takes. (That church is usually not their parents’ church.)
If we hope to
reverse these trends and surge forward in the mission of reaching lost people
with the gospel, we must aggressively plant healthy churches at a greater pace
than we have in the past.
The concept for
the Church Multiplication Network was birthed in January 2007 during a time of
Holy Spirit visitation in a meeting of the Assemblies of God Executive
Presbytery. Church Multiplication Network is built around a ministry plan
carefully crafted and reviewed by leaders from all perspectives across national
regions, networks and cultures. The network is focused on delivering resources
and assistance to local churches and leaders to reach their utmost potential
for multiplying the presence of God’s kingdom in the communities in which they
Our AG executive
leaders have expressed their passion for church planting and they have endorsed
Church Multiplication Network by investing $2 million in seed money to provide
for a healthy launch of this collaborative effort. AG U.S. Missions and the
Reach America Coalition are active sponsors as well.
Multiplication Network’s goal is MX9: to plant or commit to plant 1,000 (M)
churches by (X) General Council in 2009 (9). It’s a God-sized dream, but I am
firmly convinced God has called the Assemblies of God to be part of an
unprecedented surge of birthing new communities of faith throughout our nation.
Here are some ways
you and your church can be involved:
1. Pray for new
church plants. A frequently updated prayer list and newsletter are available at
2. Give a special
offering to invest in the Church Multiplication Network Matching Fund. This
fund will provide for crucial church planting support systems like assessment,
training and coaching of church planters. If every church receives an offering
equal to $10 for every attendee, a pool of funding will be created that will
adequately support the planting of thousands of new missionally focused
churches. Give $10 to reach 1,000!
3. Choose to be a
4. Choose to send
a church planter.
We hope today, on
Church Planting Sunday, every AG church will take a step of faith and say yes
to expanding the Kingdom through starting new churches.
STEVE PIKE is
national director of Assemblies of God Church Planting and Development.
TPExtra: Editor Ken Horn
speaks with Steve Pike about church planting in this week’s podcast.
comments to email@example.com.