The Multiplication PriorityBy Dan Vis
May 27, 2019
This week's memo is the last one in our series on the core principles driving our ministry at FAST. And it's one of my favorites in our entire library. Let's always look for ways to build this concept into everything we do for Christ!
For nearly 30 years, virtually my entire adult life, I've pursued a single vision with single-minded focus: to jumpstart a process that leads to spiritual multiplication. Looking back, I'm sometimes surprised at how little I've wavered from that vision. It's still the driving force behind everything I do.
And I remember how it all started.
I was a brand new Christian, in my early twenties. And as I've mentioned elsewhere, some friends had taken me under their wing and were investing time in my training. At one point I was assigned to memorize an illustration similar to the FAST Track illustration in our Explosion Formula booklet.
As I memorized the various parts of the presentation, something clicked in my brain, and I realized clearly it had to be God's plan. Conviction came with overwhelming force that this was the only conceivable way to reach a world. And at that instant, the whole direction of my life changed forever.
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Addition vs MultiplicationI was good with numbers, and I knew the difference between an arithmetic series and an exponential sequence. The first plods along at a steady, consistent pace. The other starts slow, but accelerates, and quickly becomes explosive.
The difference between winning 100 members to Christ each year (Plan A) and winning just 1 person a year, but also training him to reproduce (Plan B) is pretty shocking. You can see the preliminary results of these two plans in the table below:
|Year||Plan A||Plan B|
The results seem comparable for the first 10 years. But Plan A merely produces 1000 converts. Spiritual babes, unlikely to ever reproduce. And Plan B produces 1000+ reproducing workers, all hand trained, one at a time. But the results diverge more dramatically over the next 10 years:
|Year||Plan A||Plan B|
During these next ten years, Plan A merely produces another 1000 converts. But Plan B explodes, because those first 1000 workers have now all multiplied and become another 1000 each! All still one person at a time. It reminds me of the promise in Isaiah:
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
I believe multiplication is God's plan for every believer. The "each one reach one principle" is imminently doable. And God's promises are certainly ours for the taking!
I'll spare you the numbers were this to continue another 10 years, but here's the nutshell version: Plan A continues to produce consistent results, netting another 1000 baptisms or so. But Plan B is now producing 1000's of baptisms every day. New members, all equipped in time to reach out and win still more.
By the end of this third decade, Plan A is sitting at around 3000 believers. But Plan B is within spitting distance of reaching the entire world, with over a billion skilled, trained workers. It's the fulfillment of God's promise in Jeremiah:
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Given the extraordinary contrast in the results, how could any one, serious about finishing the work, conscientiously give their life to anything but spiritual multiplication?
The Game of ChessIn those early days, a couple illustrations drove the point home to my thinking. One was an old legend about the inventor of Chess. Story has it, the Emporer of India was so impressed with the game, he asked the inventor to name a reward. The man asked for just one grain of rice for the first square. Two for the second. Four for the third. And double that amount for each of the remaining squares.
To the Emporer, and most of us who aren't mathematically inclined, it seemed a small reward. And he quickly agreed. But when calculated, the final total was well over a trillion tons of grain. That's somewhere in the ball park of the entire world's global rice production for the next 500 years.
If we are serious about reaching the world, we need to cultivate the kind of strategic thinking manifest by the inventor of Chess. Multiplication is by far the most potent way to finish the work of the Gospel.
Nuclear RodsThe massive explosion of a nuclear bomb is actually another illustration of multiplication. A single neutrino injected into fissile material causes an atom to split, ejecting two neutrinos and releasing a small amount of energy. Those two neutrinos split two more atoms, firing off four neutrinos, and releasing double the energy. With each iteration, the number of neutrinos doubles and the chain reaction accelerates--resulting in an explosion of unfathomable power. It's pure multiplication.
But multiplication can be hindered. Nuclear plants (like the one in Fukushima) attempt to control the rate of reaction by inserting lead rods into the fuel source. These rods absorb a portion of those flying neutrinos, slowing the process, and reducing the power output to a more manageable level. Done properly, it prevents an explosion.
Unfortunately for us, the enemy has succeeded in inserting lead rods into the disciple-making process of most churches. Whether it is due to poor internalization of the word, lack of prayer, sin in the life, ineffective ministry training, or any number of other causes, explosive multiplication is being blocked.
And it's a cause for concern. When we think in terms of multiplication, every broken link in the reaction process has severe consequences. One new member who leaves the church, is not just a single person, but a loss of the 1000 believers he might have become ten years down the road if properly nurtured and trained. A person who survives church membership, but never learns to reproduce, is not much better. In the grand scheme of things, a loss of 999 potential members is only marginally better than the loss of 1000 potential members.
If we can figure out how to remove all these "lead rods", however, it would only take a single "neutrino" to start the world's final, spiritual chain reaction! Exciting thought, isn't it?
Setting PrioritiesThe flip side of all this should be obvious. If our goal is to equip every believer to become a reproducing worker, we ourselves must learn to reproduce. The multiplication process only works so far as there are no broken links in the chain, no break in any of the generations. And each failure to reproduce is not the loss of just one individual, but the thousands who could have been discipled through his influence and the influence of those he trained. Clearly, none of us can escape the priority of becoming a worker for Christ ourself!
One of the best ways to get equipped for soul-winning service is to learn the basics of how to share the basic teachings of the Bible with others. And FAST can help with that. Enrollment is now open in an exciting new, groundbreaking course called Truth Corps. In it, we'll share a powerful strategy for learning how to answer people's questions on some of the most important Bible questions today. You'll also learn how to find and give Bible studies, how to answer difficult problem texts, and much more. Get verse by verse answers for dozens of questions, and a step by step guide for continuing the expansion of your Bible knowledge. This class will change your life!
Give multiplication the personal priority it deserves. Give one summer to becoming a more effective Bible worker. Come join the Truth Corps!
CommentsHow important is it focus on multiplication rather than addition? What do you see as the biggest hindrances to reproduction? What do you see as essential to jumpstarting a chain reaction that leads to global evangelism?
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 09/28/21|
I may have read this memo before but it reinforces the notion that all I need do is teach one person how to share this Gospel truth and the Holy Spirit uses that person to teach someone else who teaches someone else and so on. I so enjoy how you use science and mathematical principles to bring out Bible truths! Understanding that the results are up to God frees me to just keep allowing Him to use me to do my part. He is responsible for the rest.
I also gained new insight from Isaiah 60:22A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. and Jeremiah 33:22As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.. I am excited to more consciously use this process for soul-winning.
Finally, you mentioned that your focus has never wavered from your vision and God has blessed you. This notion of focus is particularly relevant to me as I am reading about or listening to how technology has influenced people's attention and ability to focus on one thing. I am all too aware of how I get distracted by alerts, rings, lights on the computer, phones, and other electronic tools. They can and are great helps but at times, they are also "lead rods". I praise God for how He continues to use you to reach souls for His kingdom.
|Posted by Denise Buglino on 09/27/21|
|Well, I'm terrible at math, but I get what you said Dan. Here's a text that popped into mind.....1Co_3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. That being said, it is up to each individual to maintain that vital connection with the vine, the source of their own spiritual life, in order to grow and produce any fruit. The branch may produce more fruit every year as the branch grows stronger and stronger by taking what Jesus provides for it - His strength, the water of life and food/nutrients/bread. We will never do anything exponentially except through Him as Dan said in comment below on 6-5-18 -for it says in John 15:5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. That is important to remember in doing math - especially encouraging for those of us who can barely do 1 + 1=2 addition. maybe using His mathematical formula Jesus will take our + and turn it to an X? We know Jesus multiplied the few loaves and little fishes and turned simple water into abundant wine when the people, disciples, and servants took what they had and gave it, listened to and obeyed His voice and exercised faith. The same thing happened after Pentecost. Our God is a mathematical genius! : )|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/27/19|
|I don't really recommend doing Truth Corps and Basic Training together Gayle. It's possible, but I think your experience would be better to focus on one or the other.|
|Posted by Gayle Voigt on 05/27/19|
|Can Truth Corps be taken simultaneously with Basic Training? And AWE if you open it up?|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/05/18|
|Thanks Carole! God is good. :) Curiously, and entirely unplanned, I note there is a close connection between marriage and multiplication, isn't there? And I'm talking spiritually--without a strong and intimate connection to Christ, there is no way we can bear fruit. But praise God for John 15:5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.!|
|Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/04/18|
|Congratulations! on your wedding anniversary. May His Spirit fill you both with His love each day.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/04/18|
|Thank you Jonathan! We've been very blessed together and I thank the Lord for the years we've had so far. Can't wait to see what's ahead! :)|
|Posted by Jonathan Rutaganira on 06/04/18|
|Congratulations to you and your wife Dan
May the Lord’s goodness and blessings be upon you. May He grant you many more happy years together.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/04/18|
|Good guess Dan, but I have another book in mind actually... And thanks for the congrats!
Same to you Robert. :)
|Posted by Dan Pratt on 06/04/18|
|Congratulations on your anniversary, Dan and Vi.
Great post. Yes! Multiplication. Exponential growth! I'm excited. Would we be exploring the the explosion of spiritual growth in the book of Acts next?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/04/18|
|Prayer is a key part of the soul-winning process Carole. And the training process too, for that matter. It's only one spoke on the disciple's wheel, but it is definitely an important one!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/04/18|
|Another way to look at it, is that it's not really how many we win but how many soul winners we put in the field. If I focus one year on winning someone to Christ, I've won one person. But if I spend that year training someone to be a soul winner who wins souls year after year, the net result for the kingdom of God could be dozens of souls won to Christ through the course of that person's life. That's where the real impact comes--being able to mobilize people for ministry!
And isn't that the point of the ministry Jesus did? While He did both evangelism and training, He regularly prioritized the training of the 12 over reaching the multitudes. And more and more so the closer He got to the end of His work. He recognized in the long run that investment would yield more benefit.
Actually, I think we can multiply faster than once a year. We saw our best results practically when 2-3 leaders trained 8-10. So that's 3-4 times faster. But, if the training is incomplete (lead rods), and doesn't result if full reproduction the overall rate of growth will be slower because not every person will end up reproducing. There's also the question of whether or not they will continue reproducing faithfully over a sustained period of time.
FAST is dedicated to trying to solve these issues so every person who chooses to, can live a wildly fruitful life for God. I believe we can all have a successful ministry, beyond our craziest imagination, if we will but discover and follow God's principles and prioritize multiplication. Psalms 2:8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
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