God is a God of multiplication. We see this in the Old Testament, where He takes an elderly, childless couple, (Abraham and Sarah) and makes a people more numerous than the stars. He took a few fish and loaves of bread and fed thousands. He used a small group of people to start His global church. And throughout the history of the church, He has multiplied resources and people over and over again.
But does your church really believe God can multiply? Budgets, location, and size can lead some churches to act as if God cannot and will not do a multiplicative work through their church. How do you know if this is your church? Here are five signs your church is underestimating God’s ability to multiply:
1. The church’s vision doesn’t push your church to prayer.
“This seems reasonable.”
What is your church’s vision? What are you and your congregation striving to become five years or ten years down the road? What are you and your congregation attempting to accomplish?
When answering these questions, does your church feel the need to fall on its knees in prayer, knowing that what they are chasing will not happen unless God moves? Does the vision cause the church to humble themselves rather than be filled with pride, knowing that such a vision will not be about them?
Be wary of a vision that feels humanly doable. These types of visions are focused on human capabilities rather than God’s multiplicative abilities. A vision that does not drive the congregation to pray is a sign that the church may be underestimating God’s ability to multiply.
2. The church defines the future by current limitations.
“We will never be a church that can start a homeless ministry. We just don’t have the financial resources.”
“We won’t be the church that will plant other churches. We just don’t have enough people.”
“We won’t be the church that experiences any type of numerical growth. We just aren’t located in an attractive area.”
God is not limited by current financial resources. He can take what is given and multiply the financial resources. God is not limited by the size of your church. He can use the few to accomplish the significant. God is not limited by a particular location. He takes churches around the globe, those in all types of areas, and grows them. A congregation that defines its future by current limitations is a sign that the church may be underestimating God’s ability to multiply.
God is not limited by current financial resources.
God is not limited by the size of your church.
God is not limited by a particular location.
3. Silos are prevalent in the church.
“This is mine.”
A silo is a group of people or ministry within the church that attempts to operate independently of others. Resources are not shared with others but are kept within the silo. These silos can sometimes develop when a scarcity mentality exists. They view resources as scarce and react by hoarding and protecting. Other groups and ministries are seen as threats instead of partners.
A prevalence of silos is often evidence that a church’s leadership and members believe that what they have—volunteers, financial resources, and physical resources—will rarely increase and quickly diminish. A prevalence of silos can also indicate that groups and ministries feel as if they are the ones who are the most effective group within the church, indicating a lack of belief that God can and will use other ministries. Therefore, a prevalence of silos is a sign that the church may be underestimating God’s ability to multiply.
4. Those with lower incomes rarely give.
“What can God do with the little that we are able to give?”
In many churches, the 80-20 rule applies to giving. Twenty percent of the givers make up eighty percent of the total giving. There are several reasons why this could occur. But this breakdown doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of givers. Many givers may be unable to give any numerically significant amount, primarily because of lower income.
What can be concerning is when there is an absence of gifts from those who are numerically limited with their generosity. This void can demonstrate a lack of belief in God’s ability to multiply the impact of every gift. The focus is on the number and not the sacrifice. Of course, Scripture reveals God’s ability to multiply the little into something significant. If there is a lack of regular giving among those with lower income, this is a sign that the church may be underestimating God’s ability to multiply.
5. Gospel-sharing stories are rare.
“How could God ever use me?”
Sometimes, Christians are hesitant to share the incredible story of Jesus because they feel unequipped, uneducated, and hindered by their past. They view ministers as super Christians, something that they will never be. And so, they keep the gospel to themselves.
Scripture is full of stories of flawed men and women who God used in a mighty way.
What they don’t realize is that Scripture is full of stories of flawed men and women who God used in a mighty way. They don’t realize that God did not ask an eloquent orator to speak to Pharaoh, but Moses, a man full of doubt because of his speech impediment. They don’t realize that God consistently uses the lowly to multiply and advance His Kingdom. If gospel-sharing stories are rare, this is a sign that the church may be underestimating God’s ability to multiply.
Consider whether any of these signs are present in your church. Does your church’s vision push your church to pray? Does your church define the future by current limitations? Are silos prevalent in your church? Do those with lower incomes rarely give? Are gospel-sharing stories rare?
If any of these signs are present in your church, point your congregation to Scriptures. God is in the multiplication business. And He can take your church, with its flaws, lack of resources, and poor location, and multiply its Kingdom impact in ways never imagined.
Never underestimate God’s ability to multiply.