Don Dent and a team took a trip to Asia to test the health of a multiplying movement which has planted 20,000 churches in eight years.
Here's a summary of what they found.
- These churches multiply, i.e. churches plant churches that plant churches.
- Evangelism is normative among these churches and a large portion of the believers are actively sharing their faith.
- There is accountability to share the gospel.
- Almost all additions to local churches are through baptism following conversion from another religion.
- New churches result primarily from evangelism and baptisms instead of planning, money raising, and grand openings.
- I met several teenagers who have already started one or more churches.
- Local church leadership is almost always chosen from within the group on the basis of who is faithful in sharing their faith and training the new believers in discipleship.
- Intensive mentoring is a primary means of raising up quality leaders.
- These churches show deep commitment to mission partnership. One network of churches gives 30% of their offerings to mission work outside their local church.
- Although gospel proclamation is the priority in ministry, the believers also pray for the sick and demonized.
- A commitment to on-the-job practical training is essential to growth.
- Several networks that are approximately five years old have planted churches in several other countries.
- A majority of the leadership is between the ages of 22-40.
- False teachers are trying to infiltrate the church, but leaders are equipped to counter them.
- This growth is taking place in a climate of persecution, where it is illegal to become a Christian. Believers can be beaten, thrown out of the village, and jailed.