Most transformational organizations, religious or otherwise, are launched with a certain ethos and energy that starts with a seminal vision/idea and swells like a wave to impact society around it. Take the Celtic Christians, the Moravians, early Pentecostalism, and closer to our time, the Vineyard, for examples of dynamic movements that have had global impact. It is perfectly true to say that most groups that have impact on either a local, national, or international level almost always begin with a form that sociologists call a movement. That is, there are some common characteristics that mark off the early phase of dynamic social movements that are distinct from the social structures of the later institutions that arise from them. This is as true for ecclesial, para-church, and mission agencies, as it is for corporations, community projects, political parties, and many other secular organizations.
However, in the midst of the rapid change and hyper-growth of almost everything around us, we as the Church have almost lost our voice to impact the culture. Now more than ever, what is “new and improved” becomes “old and worn out” in just a fraction of the time. This dramatically impacts the mission of the church. As leaders responsible for our generation, we simply cannot expect significantly different outcomes using outmoded understandings of the church and culture. If churches are not prepared for what is here today, how will they respond to what lies ahead? So the good news is that we can become the church as it was always meant to be – a rapidly spreading, high impact, movement. We need not settle merely for striving in this rapidly changing world; Jesus’ people can actually thrive in it, and God willing, even redirect it. But if we are to do so, we will have to change. Our Heavenly Father has given us everything we need to get the job done.1
Church multiplication matters! First of all, because the church is the bride of Christ, but also the church is God’s intended vehicle to advance the gospel and grow believers into the image of Jesus. New churches matter because they are the most effective of all churches in reaching the lost around us. New church planting is no longer on the fringes of church life. It is now an anticipated and even preferred destination for new church leaders. It must be a priority for denominations, networks, and local churches. In our Friends Church movement our response to this challenge is a new non-profit organization that we have chosen to call, Multiplication Catalyst Ministries, or MCM Associates, which is easier to say! Persons wiser than I have rightly recognized, that a committee or a board sometimes paralyzes the movement of God’s Holy Spirit. Although you see, we are not planting churches so much as we are planting a movement; the movement of the Friends Church! We will identify, train, empower and champion any ready churches and Friends regions in North America over the next few years. Our mission is to reanimate a church movement by deeply embedding “a go with Jesus!” challenge into our local ministry culture.
With momentum coming out of our 2016 National Friends Church Multiplication Conference, my task along with our EFC-MAYM Home Missions Team, is continuing to oversee our new church planting projects, and also working with MCM Associates to complete the not-for-profit ministry incorporation, and raising future funding support, while actively recruiting regional point catalysts’ from each geographical entity across America. Once incorporated here in the state of Kansas, with Barclay College as the formal address, the core team of active apostolic leaders including Jim LeShana, Vice-President at Barclay College; David Byrne, Executive Director of Coalition of Hispanic Ministries; Mike Dennis, Pastor of Riverbend Friends in Tecumseh MI, and an EFC-ER Multiplication leader; Tom Palmer, former new church planter and leader in Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends; Thayne Thompson will bring his experience, enthusiasm, and business background in as Treasurer; and I will be leading this newvision. Please pray with us, and also as God leads, challenge your local congregation to make a monthly financial commitment to this ministry. Make these pledges payable to MCM, and send them directly to Thayne Thompson at 807 N Timberleaf Dr. in Derby, KS 67037. Reap the blessings!
– Randy Littlefield, Associate Superintendent of Multiplication Ministries