How to Multiply Spiritually
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The instruction in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply applies not only to populating the earth, but also to making followers of Jesus Christ.
How do we take that next step, from focusing solely on own walk with God to looking outward?
What does it even mean to multiply spiritually?
Spiritual multiplication means making disciples who will make disciples, or helping people get to know Jesus who will then help others know Jesus.
Here are some steps to help you multiply spiritually.
Anyone can learn this – people who have just come to know Jesus, or those who have known him for a long time. Learn these steps for yourself, and then once you are practicing them, in keeping with spiritual multiplication prepare yourself to teach them to someone else.
You are a follower of Jesus!
This is the only truly crucial element to being able to multiply spiritually.
John 15, in the New International Reader’s Version, says this: If you remain joined to me (this is Jesus speaking), and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit.
John 6:63 tells us that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Or, as I once heard it read, apart from Jesus we can do and do and do and do and do nothing.
This is critically important. We do not have the power to move someone’s heart toward God, and if we try on our own we fail. But when we call on God and continue to be in intimate dependence on him, anything can happen.
This is a really freeing concept because most of us don’t feel we have the skills, the knowledge, the ability, or even the personality to introduce someone to Jesus. But the good news is we don’t need to because the Holy Spirit does the true work when we make ourselves available.
Step two is about motivation.
Before we can multiply spiritually, we need to want to. There are a lot of motivators in scripture – the great commission in Matthew 28:19, 20 for one, or Ephesians 2:10 which refers to the works “which God prepared in advance for us to do”, but perhaps one of the greatest motivators is to stop for a minute and think about what your life would be without Jesus.
What is the good news to you right now?
Many of us tend to think about heaven when we think of the good news, or the gospel – and that is amazing news, but the gospel permeates more than life after earth.
Here are some of the reasons that the biblical message of the gospel – the fact that we know God loves us because He sent Jesus – is good news:
- the good news of Jesus includes the internal deep peace of being reconciled with the God of the universe
- the good news is knowing that God cares and will never leave you alone
- the good news is about knowing that one day God will make everything that is out of order on this earth, right.
The list goes on and on.
Ephesians 4:17 talks about people who are who are excluded from the life of God because of ignorance. I find that verse so sad, but I also hear it as a call to love others enough to want them to know Jesus.
In our own lives, and in the lives of those we are mentoring/teaching we need to be aware that God has called everyone, not just ‘super Christians’ to a ministry of our own. He has called everyone to a sharing of our faith with those who are “excluded from the life of God” because they do not know.
Identify people in your sphere of influence that you can begin to influence for Christ. They should all be people with whom you have a relationship. Do this through combination of brainstorming and prayer. Put together a list of 3 to 10 people.
As you head into your volunteer opportunities, include some of these people on your list.
When you look at your list of people, they will likely be diverse, from spiritually closed to spiritually curious. Perhaps your list will include people who have some previous experience with God and some who have none.
STEP 4 is extremely important.
Pray for the people you have identified on a regular basis, at least several times a week. Your prayers will have an effect so when you connect with these people, remember to go into those times together prayerfully. Listen not only to their words, but also to their hearts so that you can pray more wisely for them.
You may need to pray for some of the people on your list for years, but don’t give up. Have you ever thought about this? You may be the only person in the entire world praying for that person.
Step 5 is freeing. And terrifying.
Practice being open, honest, and authentic about your own life. Casually, and in short clips, share the things you are learning, experiences you’ve had with God, something you read in the Bible that impacted you, decision processes you’ve made with God, prayers you’ve seen answered…
Don’t try to think about converting this person; focus instead on just being open about who you are. As you grow in your faith, you’ll find this tends to spill out fairly naturally. It’s amazing how often the conversation will swing to something that happens to be exactly what you have been reading in your Bible that morning. Abide in Him and you’ll find He opens doors for you and suddenly you’ll find yourself saying things like, “Wow, I just read about that this morning.”
Similar to step five, and sometimes blended in with it, is that of beginning to engage in spiritual conversations Again, take the pressure off yourself about it being your job to convert anybody. People don’t convert people. People who try to convert people mostly just annoy people. The Holy Spirit converts people. The main part of our job is given to us in Matthew 22 where the disciples asked Jesus what the most important commandment was and he said, “Love God completely. And then, love other people.”
Look at the way Jesus engaged in conversations. He certainly wasn’t one to give people all the answers! He often left them with a somewhat confusing story to think about (we call them parables!), or a question, because He knew that when we discover an answer on our own, our conviction is much stronger than when someone else pushes an answer on us.
Over the next few days and weeks, pay attention to how seldom people listen to others. Many people love to talk about themselves, but most people aren’t very interested in listening.
You can completely set yourself apart as a loving person by learning to be a good listener. Truly listening is an act of love. Think in advance about a handful of questions you can ask the people you are praying for to draw them out, to help them be more thoughtful about their lives, to express your care and interest in their lives. Just plan questions.
Having a spiritual conversation involves a lot less talking than what most people think it does!
Refresh your understanding of the biblical message of the gospel and think of ways to present it to people when you’re given the opportunity. Keep a little booklet or card on hand to remind yourself.
An easy 3-step memory tool that I use to explain the gospel is this: Problem > Solution > Action Required.
Think in advance, about ways that you will explain the gospel, using language and illustrations that are relevant to the different people in your sphere. Practice it in your head; talk out loud to yourself.
As you continue to pray for the people on your list, remember that somewhere out there another Christian is praying for people in their life as well. God may use your readiness to answer someone else’s prayer.
I had a very fun example of this at one point in my own life. A neighbour, with whom I’d had a few really simple connections popped in for coffee one day. They had recently had a baby, born 2 months’ early; he was on oxygen. My neighbour set his carseat down on the floor, she sat down, I handed her her coffee. We had hardly started our conversation when she looked across the room said to me, “Tell me what it means to be a Christian.”
I did, the baby started to cry, and she left. Not long afterward she told me that she had become a Christian and we ended up with a long-term relationship out of that. We later learned that her husband came from a Christian family. I strongly suspect that they had been praying for this couple for years. I was praying for other people, and so I was ready, and we got the joy of the harvest.
So, those are some of the steps for how to multiply spiritually.
And then when someone in your sphere becomes a follower of Jesus, your new role becomes that of a discipler, and you now get to teach them how to multiply spiritually!
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TAKE2 Videos by Trainer
Allan Mitchell Angel Aspden Anna Page Bruce Walker Carrielynn Lund Deb Barlott Deb Lowrie Deborah Lantier Donna Mitchell Dr Cath Thorlakson Dr Ian King Emily Lecerf Emmie Stanley Jamal Kimbanga Kathy Flett L Falk Lucas Burton Margaret Johnston Mary Lou Ng Mountainside Community Church Fernie BC Nils Reuter Phil & Lorraine Taylor Phillip Telfer Rod Bergen Ronda Sajim Sandy Tower Shelly Banai Tara Penner Wendy Sumner
TRAINER: staff team, Edmonton
SOURCE: Recorded for CS101
POSTED: Oct 2016