Lights in Every Street - Christian Fellowship in Your Street
7) Training new leaders and multiplying groups. Suggestions:
a) Prayerfully plan ahead. Ask the Lord to guide you and open up the way groups in streets all over your area, and pray that He will raise up more workers (Matthew 9:37,38), and help leaders of each street fellowship to train other workers (2 Timothy 2:2). Think of what it would be like with groups on streets all over the area for which you feel you can take responsibility before God. Prayerfully reason back, step by step to where you are now, seeing how this could come about. You can then set goals, assess your strengths and weaknesses, gifts and people available, and make plans. Cut out activities that do not move you towards your goals.
i) Continue so that there are lights all over your area (and eventually in every street of the world, including the presently unreached peoples) – so that the world is full of the knowledge of the glory of the God through Jesus Christ. Do not lose focus but push on concentrating on the vision of all people brought into His family through our Lord Jesus Christ and giving glory to God. Continually ask, “What is it going to take – what must be done – so that there are lights in every street across this city – and this world?”
b) Multiply your group.
i) Train each member of the street fellowship so that they can begin other street fellowships (2 Timothy 2:2). Envision each one of them as a leader of another group.
(1) Ask them how the group can be improved and help them learn.
(2) Train them in all the areas outlined in this study, and help them to form and lead their own groups – wherever God opens the door.
(3) If you wait until the group is “mature” or “strong” before beginning other groups, it will fossilise and will never reproduce.
(4) Help the members of your group train members of their groups to begin other groups.
ii) Each street fellowship group should usually grow to not more than twelve or fifteen people – relationships between people tend to become weaker with a larger number. Before it reaches twelve, by God’s grace, you will have begun other groups as members of the group begin other groups – rather than bringing all the people to meet together with you.
c) Evangelize in other streets.
i) Seek a person of peace – someone who will be able to lead the group in their street, respected by others, whose heart God has prepared so that they are open to the Gospel (Luke 10:6). Teach that person and his family the Gospel, and also – behind the scenes – teach them how to lead a group. Work with that person to win people from the street. The new group will have a local leader right from the start. Often their family, friends, and neighbours will come to the Lord as well and form a new group. (This is easier than trying to win individual converts, disciple them, and then trying to form them into a new group.)
ii) It is normally better to form new believers into a new street fellowship as they are converted, rather than putting them into existing street fellowships.
iii) Try to begin two or three street fellowships at the same time. Even if they are small, the groups will encourage one another. If one group should fail, then, by God’s grace, the other groups can help stray people from the failed group.
d) Train leaders behind the scenes. A biblical example of someone preparing a leader behind the scenes can be found in Acts 18:24-26 where Priscilla and Aquila helped Apollos.
i) When people are converted, appoint some of them as leaders from the start. In a new street fellowship, it is usually better to train a couple of people from that street to serve as leaders – rather than having someone from outside. Group leaders do not need to be highly educated pastors or full-time paid leaders. (Highly trained leaders can even slow down church multiplication because they may require large numbers of people to support them. In large congregations much time and energy is consumed by maintaining the existing church rather than in outreach.)
ii) Privately model how to lead and then teach the new leaders behind the scenes so that they lead when the street fellowship meets together, rather than leading the meeting yourself. When the street fellowship meets, take a low profile – or do not attend at all. Very soon, encourage the new fellowship to itself begin other new groups. Assist them. After the group has begun its first new group, watch like a parent whose child is learning to ride a bicycle independently – at a little distance. The new group will certainly make mistakes. When they start another group and are remaining true to the Bible, you can move on, concentrating on your work in another area – but maintain regular contact.
iii) Meet with the new leaders before each street fellowship meeting and show them what to do. Teach them how to prepare and lead a Bible study. The new leaders can bring their questions and problems back to you. (See "4) Training disciples and pastoring them to help them love and obey Christ", part d), above, for the format of such a meeting.
iv) Encourage team leadership. Having several leaders seems to be the New Testament pattern (the Lord sent His disciples out in pairs (Luke 10:1); Paul always worked with other partners, and appointed more than one elder in the churches he planted (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). Team leadership has several advantages:
(1) Sharing of responsibilities reduces the load on any one individual, avoids burnout and makes it possible for people to serve on a volunteer basis.
(2) It fosters mutual support, encouragement and accountability.
(3) If one leader has difficulties the work does not grind to a halt.
(4) It helps prevent the false distinction between “clergy” and “laity”, encouraging all members to be involved in ministry.
(5) “Extra” leaders are formed who can be used to begin new churches.
e) Reproduce yourself. Never do anything alone – always take someone with you in all tasks so that you are a model for them. Help all group members to have experience in leading all group activities. To model activities:
i) First do the activity so the other person sees how to do it – modelling everything in a way that new believers can easily imitate;
ii) Then assist the other person as they do it;
iii) Then watch while they do it (and make helpful comments);
iv) Then leave – and let them get on with it themselves – but keeping in contact from time to time.
The moment a group starts another group, a new generation of Christians begins. With each new generation, you change roles. That is, you first model how to evangelize and run a fellowship as you begin a new fellowship (first generation). After the group is established you take an assisting role – you assist the first generation street fellowship church in planting a second generation street fellowship. After the second generation group is begun you again change roles and begin watching as the second generation group begin a third generation group with the assistance of the first generation group. When the first generation group begins a second group, you can concentrate in a new area, modelling again as you do the work in another first generation group.
f) Arrange ongoing teaching for leaders. Many churches fail and die if there is no ongoing equipping and accountability. Suggestions:
i) Keep training the leaders of all groups you begin.
ii) Encourage your trainees to meet with even newer leaders to train them – in the same way as they are being trained. Every leader needs to receive regular ongoing input from a trainer. This ensures the continued expansion, by chain reaction, of the Lord's work.
iii) Arrange for mutual accountability and discipling between leaders of discipleship chains.
iv) Set up regular leaders’ meetings where more advanced biblical training and equipping is provided by an outside source.
v) Training courses can be helpful for new leaders. Use the Bible, this booklet and any applicable training materials (see www.trainforChrist.org which is a searchable online database of evangelical training courses).
g) Remember that this is God’s work and the glory is for Him alone. Do not try to centrally control everything that happens or create a hierarchical leadership with yourself at the top. Each group derives its authority directly from Christ – even though the leaders are mutually accountable. Your part is to train and encourage others to do what God has called them to do. Do not rely on money or equipment to continue the work – this limits its extension.
h) Take your part in missionary work to unreached areas (Mark 16:15)
i) Pray regularly for people who still have never heard the Good News, and for those who go to them.
ii) Give to promote missionary work world-wide – in a focused way (Romans 15:24).
iii) Adopt a specific, unevangelized, people group to pray for them and their evangelization. Make plans to prepare those that will go to reach them. It is good to cooperate with other churches and mission agencies to do this. (You can find more help in Unreached Peoples of the World downloadable at www.missionarytraining.org.)
iv) Train others for missions.
v) Go to other places as God guides you.
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