My grandfather Edgar Bashforth fought in World War I in France in the 11th Machine Gun Company. After the war he received government help for returned soldiers and bought land near Brunswick Heads in northern New South Wales. He cleared the land and fenced it. He milled the timber and sold it, and he also raised dairy and beef cattle,
In 1923 Edgar married Lydia Vaughan, a local girl from nearby Mullumbimby. They married at 7:30am so that they could dash to board the train for their honeymoon! They had seven children, and one of them was my mother, Joan. I am one of their twenty-four grandchildren.
Today, Edgar and Lydia Bashforth have 100 descendants—children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
My grandparents’ story is not unusual. It’s the law of multiplication that God has written into the world he made. Where there is life and health, there is multiplication.
How could one couple be the cause of so many people coming into the world? They started things rolling, and they raised a family. Beyond that, they had no direct control. They did not fund, manage, or control the lives of future generations. As good parents they raised their children to a maturity that is defined as healthy self-reliance.
Church planting movements function in the same way. The size and influence of a single church is not what ultimately matters. Far more significant are the multiple generations of disciples and churches that one church of any size can produce.
Direct managed systems can only add churches, never multiply them. Multiplication can only occur when offspring are given the freedom to produce future generations.
Church size is not the point. It’s generational growth that counts. There is no other way to reach every corner of the planet with the gospel.