The Forgotten Secret

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The Forgotten Secret

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Twelve years ago, after barely beginning the study of Thai, Mrs. Davis and I were given sole missionary responsibility for Thailand’s largest province—nearly a million Buddhists in almost 2,000 villages. It was a great area, with about a dozen believers and only two missionaries. In desperation we sought God’s answer [for growing our influence] and found, as others are finding, an old and forgotten secret—as old as the first chapter of Genesis.

From the day God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply,” multiplication has been the secret of the growth of the human race. We as Christians will lose the race to tell the world of Christ until we are converted from our dedication to mere addition and begin conscientiously, diligently, and specifically applying the principle of multiplication—so characteristic to the growth of a living organism—to the living Church, the Body of Christ.

We must apply our secret at the level of the local church. To start rapid growth by multiplication, we must encourage our own local church to reproduce itself in another part of that city or in a neighboring town or village. We have fine tools for evangelism, teaching, extension, and so on. Our need is not for a change of tools, nor necessarily for more or better tools. Our need is to put these tools into the hands of the local church for concentration, evangelism, and church planting.

Each local church throughout our world-wide movement early in its corporate life should with prayer and determination choose a target community and plant a daughter church and then nurture that daughter church until she will in turn reach out and plant another church in the manner of a spontaneous chain reaction. But we have become a cautious people. We are afraid of uncontrolled growth; or perhaps our real fear is in growth not controlled by us. But God the Holy Spirit is the life of the Church, and Christ, the Head of the Church, controls it. God would be glorified by the multiplication of local churches around the world; by growth by chain reaction; and by growth that could match the population explosion of our generation.

by Paul S. Davis
Adapted from The Alliance Witness, August 9, 1961.

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