Nick Klinkenberg

Nick Klinkenberg

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Let's be rabbits and not elephants

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Addition is good, for example 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12; That’s OK and certainly better than nothing, BUT what about 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81? That’s multiplication!! Often we think bigger is better, for example a leader may talk about having a church of 500 then over time it grows to 1200. That’s growth, but let’s not mistake that for multiplication. 

Let's look at how Elephants reproduction: The are only fertile four times a year. One baby per pregnancy. A 22 month gestation period. Sexual maturity at 18 years. Maximum growth potential in 3 years from 2 elephants to 3! 

Now let’s look at Rabbits reproduction: Almost continuously fertile. Average of 7 babies per pregnancy. 1 Month gestation period. Sexual maturity at 4 months. Maximum growth potential in 3 years...from 2 rabbits to 476 million!!

The DNA of Jesus, His disciples and Abraham is one of Multiplication!

Jesus spoke about multiplication often. For example, look at forgiveness, 70 x 7. Also what about when Jesus mentions 30, 60, 100 times!! Matt 13:23, Mk 4:8. The feeding of the 5000 men (probably 13000 people in total) is a story of multiplication.

Of course look at the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Gen 1:28 / 22:15-18, Deut 1:10-11. My life verse in Eph 3:20-21, “God is able, to do exceedingly, abundantly more then we could ask, think or imagine…”  

Let’s not forget Jesus’ Commission in Matt 28:  “Go, make disciples of the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you!”

Often I see leaders wanting to build larger churches. After all, healthy things grow! But an apple tree will always be an apple tree, it will never be an oak tree or a poplar tree. I can pray & fast 40 days and 40 nights, but it will never be an oak tree!! But it is able to multiply! In fact if the seeds of one apple tree could all be planted, we would have an orchard, and in time orchards! That’s multiplication.

Even nature declares multiplication. So if you’re an apple tree, be the best apple tree you can be and do what you are meant to do: multiply!

So with the resources you have, how can you multiply? 

 

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Put down your rod and pick up a net

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I find myself speaking in various leaders’ meetings and environments about Multiplication. I wonder if we, as church leaders in the West, have been subtly and innocently sidelined towards being addicted to addition. I have come to a conviction that God wants to multiply His church, not simply add to it.

Look at Jesus’ call to Simon Peter and the disciples—telling them that He would make them fishers of people  (Luke 5:1-11 NIV), it was an invitation to partner with others. It was also an offer to the purpose of making them partners with Him in “fishing” for people, as well as a call to follow Him. 

But I have only recently seen the huge backstory to this passage of Scripture. It would have been a miracle to catch even 10 or 20 fish at that time of day. These were professional fishermen who knew the lake and its environs. To catch any fish at that time of day would have been an amazing miracle. But Jesus asks them to launch out into the deep and let down the nets. They caught so many fish that day, the nets began to break (and note that it was nets, not simply a single net). Also, both boats were so full of fish they were in danger of sinking. That’s MULTIPLICATION—an out-of-control harvest! That’s certainly not simply addition!

I believe Jesus is saying to us today: Multiplication is My desire and plan for every disciple and every church. I am convinced Jesus wants us to fish with nets (plural). He wants church-planting churches! Let’s not allow ourselves to be a cul-de-sac church—a dead-end-street church—a church that doesn’t plant churches.

Instead, let’s think about planting forests, or using nets,  not simply planting a tree, or fishing with a hook and line.

Here’s another way of looking at this: Say we want to multiply cars. It takes a huge amount of energy and time to make a single car from scratch. But imagine a factory where multiple cars are produced, and not only one factory, but many factories

I absolutely believe in Multiplication as a viable biblical strategy.

Let’s fish with nets… not just a hook and a line; lets plant forests or orchards…not simply a tree!

What do you think? 

To be continued…

 

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Having a Mutiplication Mindset

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Beware, this is not for the faint-hearted.  

It's a good thing to plant a church. But over the last few years I've been arrested and disturbed by the thought of multiplication, churches planting churches that plant churches. Instead of planting one tree, think about planting a forest, in fact planting forests. I confess I missed what I now believe is Jesus’ divine strategy: multiplication. I now see this is God's passion and purpose; I can't believe how I missed it. I wonder if we've been addicted to addition, prioritising gathering, saying to people 'come' while not prioritising and emphasising the commission of Jesus to 'go’ – especially in the West.

Please note: Every thought below assumes that lost people matter to God; Multiplication Mindset (MM) people hold this passionately. As such, people with an MM are always praying & thinking about how they can reach one more person for Jesus. 
 

What are the characteristics of a Multiplication Mindset person?
 

1. They understand discipleship is THE key. It's the number 1 priority to multiplication. After all, isn't this what Jesus commanded us to do? 
"Who is discipling you?" "Who are you discipling?"  Leaders of MM churches are interested in how many are being apprenticed, and how many apprentices are leading in mission. 
 

2. They don’t look at the attendance size of the church to plant church-planting churches - it's always about leader readiness. 
 

3. Often church is: 'We can do it: you can help'. They say: "YOU CAN DO IT: WE CAN HELP."

It realizes the priesthood of all believers. 
From volunteer to a person who is called.
How can we empower more people to be involved in kingdom activity? People don't ask in MM churches, "Am I called to ministry?" 
They ask, "What is the ministry God called me to?"
 

4. The MM person says, let’s pastor the city. Not just our own church.
 

5. The MM person says: Sending capacity is the focus, not simply seating capacity. 
 

6. The MM person develops an apostolic atmosphere, an apostolic culture. This is a high priority. 
 

7. The MM person asks: Does the mission have a church, not does the church have a mission?
 

8. The MM person has a "yes" attitude. It doesn't have a bias to a no attitude. 
 

9. The MM person has a minimalist theology about what church is. It simply wrestles with, “What is church for us?” It does not in any way water down Scripture. 
 

10. The MM person is about planting church-planting churches. It results in new networks and movements of churches. 
 

11. The MM person says, Let's give a significant % of finance for church-planting churches. (As a guideline at least 10%.)
 

12. The MM person focuses on releasing people and ministries before prioritizing bigger buildings. Here's a radical thought: Are you willing to make church multiplication a higher priority than church facilities? If you are not in a building yet, are you willing to plant your first church before building your first building? 

13. The MM person understands that local churches are the key drivers to begetting churches. Central vision is good but lacks greatness. A defining aspect of multiplication is churches beginning churches. Local churches take responsibility and ownership for planting churches. 

Todd Wilson from Exponential writes: "The prevailing value we place on accumulation is at the core of why less than 4 percent of U.S. churches ever reproduce (or why greater than 96 percent of churches never reproduce). Ponder the consequences of less than 4 percent of adults ever having children.

Lately, however, I’ve been encouraged that an increasing number of church leaders are becoming discontented with the elusive, addition-focused scorecard that never satisfies. These leaders are wrestling with redefining their success—shifting their focus and behaviors from attracting and accumulating to releasing and sending. They get that our “sentness” is at the heart of Kingdom multiplication and the fruit of biblical disciple-making". (Exponential newsletter - email Feb. 2017)

I believe he makes an important point. What do you think? In Europe particularly, MM people are nearly non-existent. Yet I am absolutely convinced the ONLY way to reach the nations of Europe is with an Multiplication Mindset.

A few Questions: 

1. Which Multiplication Mindsets (MMs) speak to you? How do they speak to you, in what way do they challenge you? 

2. What can you do about it now? 

3. What do you think about what Todd Wilson says? 

4. Which MMs do you feel you are functioning in, and in what way? 

4. What MMs can you action over the next year? 

5. If you are part of a church leadership team, how could you get others in a conversation regarding MMs? 

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March Update

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I have just returned from another fruitful trip to Europe. Here is a quick overview.

 

It began in Netherlands with a VCI all-in gathering in Ternuezen. The level of relational connectedness is steadily growing and it was delightful to see people interacting and praying with one another. A few of the leaders mentioned that the discussions and spontaneous interactions were highlights as we introduced various leadership topics. 

We will meet again in June & we will who is on track in planting another church. I know of at least 3 churches who are “in the process” of working with people with the objective of planting. Very exciting!

Then I headed for Oss (Sth Holland) to be with Christiaan & Jedidja, who Pastor another church in the VCI network. The timing was excellent and being with Chris & JD is always fruitful and fun. They are expecting their second child in just 4 weeks!

Chris & I met with the team for the Church Planting Training Center www.cptc.nl. CptC begins in September this year and is coming together exceptionally well. This will be an excellent strategic push towards planting churches that multiply. 

Amsterdam was next - I caught up with friends who are in the beginning stages of a brand new church plant in Amsterdam North. Their first meeting is an open information meeting in May. We will officially recognize ‘Public Church’ as part of the network in June. 

Then Arras in North France, this was a first for me. Arras has an interesting history, many New Zealanders fought near here in the 1st W. War. Many miners from Waihi came to this area to dig tunnels under enemy lines, as they were fast and experienced. 1000's upon 1000's of soldiers died from both sides and the many grave yards are sobering places. Craters where grenades and explosives ignited can still be seen. 

The Arras church led by Paul & Irene Mears is now part of the network. We will officially recognize this in our June meeting. They certainly have caught the mission of multiplication. Arras has 90.000 people and 4 churches. There are approx. 300 people who are Christians and I'm being generous!! There are towns around them that have no alive church. I find this disturbing and it's the reason we're doing what we're doing! 

Back to Amsterdam for a few days – friends, pastors & even a catchup with my Father’s sister.  And then to Paris – to a church in the middle of Paris for 7 meetings over Saturday and Sunday.  A very busy but enjoyable weekend.

In Summary: 7 churches are now part of the network. It's exciting to see the fruitfulness, synergy and power of connectedness.  Thank you for your thoughts & prayers. 

On the home front, Karen continues her work in the funeral company, and is constantly challenged in all sorts of situations. We have now been in our home in Cambridge for a year, and love it! We are enjoying getting to know our neighbours.


My new book Multiplication is about to be released. I'm exceedingly pleased with the content and have a conviction it will be another encouraging tool towards seeing churches multiply. I believe this is a prophetic book, written for a time such as this. 

Once again thank you for your prayer and support. Without you, this would be a very difficult and lonely journey.

 

Account Details for Vision Churches International

Bank: Westpac
Branch Name: Victoria Street
Bank City: Hamilton, New Zealand
Branch number: 03-0318
Account number: 0882461-00 Swift code for Westpac NZ: WPACNZ2W

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