The last multiplication movement among Friends in North America was in the late 19th century, moving from the eastern seaboard, through the central plains, and on to the west coast. Today, the winds of God’s Spirit seem to be blowing again.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next movement came in our generation and began in the middle of the country? That was the very heartbeat of the 2018 National Friends Church Multiplication Conference, co-sponsored by MCM Associates and Barclay College, held August 1-3 in Haviland, Kansas. Our God showed up along with more than 100 evangelically-minded Friends from all over the United States. Friends clearly want to make church multiplication a priority!
Our guest speaker for this year’s conference was Pastor Dave Ferguson from Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. Dave is a nationally-known multiplication leader who serves as the primary face of the Exponential Conference, called by many across America and around the world as the “largest gathering of new church planters and teams on the planet.” He has authored numerous books including Hero Maker, which provided the central focus for his five plenary challenges at this conference.
It was an inspiring Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20), Great Commandment (Mt 22:37-40), and Great Collaboration (Jn 17:20-23) gathering of Friends from Mid-America, Rocky Mountain, Eastern Region, Northwest, Southwest, Iowa, Indiana, and North Carolina Yearly Meetings. These intense five days (including travel) included strategic workshops and equipping sessions to help leaders and churches to get outside of themselves and to see the ripe harvest fields all around us. The beautiful new Ross-Ellis Center at Barclay College was the setting and the unusually cool summer weather in Kansas made it the ideal place to be at this moment on God’s beautiful creation.
Dave Ferguson brought a timely challenge to be about Kingdom business by making new disciples into “Kingdom Heroes,” rather than building our own reputations and realms. There were challenges to set goals and then multiply them by 100 or a 1000 like our great big God does, in order to meet the needs of this world by deploying new leaders who start new churches. Though we already have most of the tools we need, we recognized that we do need to develop a culture and commitment to continually make new disciples and to start new churches, so we were challenged to develop new networks for church planting because it is our corporate calling.
With tracks and workshops for Latino leaders in Spanish, as well as other cultures, this conference was relevant and inspiring for all. The Thursday night session included an invitation to pray at the front of the auditorium where numerous individuals and couples prayed to be used and empowered by the Spirit of God to go and to build Christ’s Kingdom!
We invite others to join in the quarterly MCM-hosted “Catalyst Conversations” with people who are actively involved in the stateside mission work of new church planting to hear what God is up to and to learn how we can be more involved. The next Multiplication Conference will be decentralized into multiple regions and is planned for the year 2020 with inspirational leadership coming from online sessions presented by some of our international heroes from around the world. More information will be coming, so plan now to be a part of the beautiful “new thing” that the Lord of the harvest is doing in our midst!
– Randy Littlefield, Director of Multiplication Ministries