Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Ok, so the title of this post is not a real word. It is a neologism (yes, that is a real word). A neologism is the coining of a new word. I honestly do not know if I am the first to use the word "decentralplication," and do not really care if I am. I am not the first to talk about the concept and that is what is important. The word is the combination of decentralization and multiplication, both of which are powerful in their own rights, but together form a synergism that is powerful for ministry.

Consider the example of Jesus. He is not only the only human ever to have a perfect theology, but He is also the only one to live it (apply) it perfectly - not only for Himself, but towards others as well. Yet, He didn't let the fact that others would not properly understand or apply stop Him from incorporating the "...oh, ye of little faith..." others into His plan for ministry. Why? Because Jesus understood the power of decentralplication.

Consider that Jesus had many people around Him at certain times (feeding 5000 and 4000 on separate occasions). But He invested Himself in far fewer whether that be the seventy-two in Luke 10, the twelve we usually consider (Luke 6.12-16), or the inner circle of three (Matthew 17.1). In any event, investing in others was more than just for their sake, it was extending Himself, not only during His life, but preparing for the time after His resurrection and ascension.

In last week's post, I mentioned the prospect of each person making two disciples over the course of a year. And then if each new disciple also made two over the course of each of the next four years as well. The impact on the Kingdom would be phenomenal. Well, taking that a step further, what if we were each to follow the example of Jesus, what could that mean? For instance, if I invested my life into 12 people who each invested their life into twelve, who each invested their life into twelve. The numbers become staggering rather quickly. At just three levels, we have 1,728 (1x12x12x12). And the reality is that in some ways it would be less stressful than what many try to do in a church of 75.

Think about it. One pastor cannot be effective pouring himself into 75 people (but we will consider just 72 for mathematical comparison). If the pastor does this at an equal level, then each person will get very little of the pastor and the pastor will have nothing left to give. But if the pastor is only being poured into 12 who will each invest in twelve others, the pastor has much more to give the twelve (decentralized) and the overall effect is twice as many people could be served (multiplication). Moreover, the pastor is being poured into by one person along with eleven other peers which provides support.

Now, you may consider me naive to think this will work. But it can...indeed, it should. Actually, it truly will! For it was the model of Jesus. And it represents the kind of church He (wants) wills to build. Why hasn't it happened? Well, it did! The early church grew at an astounding rate because of this principle. But it isn't happening because we, humans, are often more concerned with building a church suitable to us, than one suitable to the One who promised to build it in the first place.

So, we must first be willing to follow Jesus in extending His ministry. I may be able to do some, but others can do much more and, after all, a major role as pastor is to equip the saints for ministry (Ephesians 4.11-13). Thus, I need to encourage people to do, even when it means mistakes will be made. Of course, that is a part of the process of learning. But the encouragement then comes in helping the person move forward from that lesson.

Second, we must encourage those around us to be investing in others as well. Ultimately, this model reflects one that was important to Paul. He had a Barnabas to train and encourage him and a Timothy to train and encourage himself. But a quick count reveals more than thirty individuals that Paul incorporated into ministry along the way. Each one had different abilities, but all had a place in extending Paul as he extended the ministry and gospel of Jesus at one time or another.

Today, we each have a call to extend the gospel of Jesus as well. We may be able to do a good deal by ourselves, but if we will learn to practice the idea of decentralplication, we might be amazed at how much God will actually do in, around, and through us. Will you join me in practicing the process of decentralplication?

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