It is the nature of living things to reproduce. The birth of a living organism is the most obvious example, but every tree, flower or shrub has a unique method of creating seeds to propagate more of its own kind. If you think about it, every living thing multiplies itself. Even as you read these words, your body is hard at work to create new cells and tissue. When living things stop reproducing, they have begun the slow process of death.
Interestingly, our faith works in a somewhat similar fashion. Jesus made it clear as he trained his disciples that they were to go out and help create more followers of Christ: He called them to reproduce themselves. From the book of Acts through the letter of Revelation, we see the church devoting itself whole-heartedly to this mission. (And wherever the church throughout history has chosen to stop reproducing itself, death inevitably sets in!)
We have chosen, as a church, to incorporate this idea of multiplication into our mission statement: We exist to glorify God by making fully-devoted followers of Christ who can make fully-devoted followers of Christ. Did you catch that? It’s not enough to simply get ourselves to a place of spiritual maturity or fullness- we are actually seeking to take what God is doing in us and pass it on to others. This resonates perfectly with what we read in Scripture: "So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ." (Colossians 1:28) The apostle Paul’s desire was not to perfect himself, but to thoroughly train and equip others so that they would be walking in a perfect relationship with Christ!
I hope that as you read the two resolutions on the inside of this newsletter, you will see our desire to take this "multiplication mindset" from the individual level to the group level. We are pursuing the idea of launching a new church in Kelso/Longview. Why? Simply put, because we believe that if Christ calls us as individuals to multiply ourselves, he has called us as churches to do the same thing! And I believe that as we pursue this goal as a church, the idea will work its way down into the heart of each individual. We will become people reaching people as we endeavor to be a church planting church.
I know that some of you are very excited about this, and will read these statements with growing passion and conviction. But I am also guessing that some of you, perhaps many, have a great deal of apprehension or concern about church planting. Justifiably so! You might ask, "Are we really ready to do something like this? Isn’t planting a whole new church kind of a big deal?" To you I would say, you are right. This is a big deal. But who is ever truly ‘ready’ to become a parent? If humans were required to truly prove their readiness for a child, none of us would have been born! The fact is, we arrive at a place where we decide that the timing is right and the desire is on our hearts to move forward. That is exactly the place we find ourselves in as a church. Do we have some apprehension? Absolutely. I’d be worried if we didn’t! But we also sense that God has led us here. The time is right. Let’s step forward together and see what God will do in us and through us on this journey. Enjoy the ride! It’s going to be a thrill.