Most churches in America never multiply or plant a daughter church. Some say the number is over 95% of churches that fail to multiply. The reasons vary: for some it’s not in their plan at all, for some the only multiplication is a missionary far away, for some the plan keeps getting pushed backward in time because of expense, and for some the plan to multiply is simply too hard to accomplish. If you have 100 in attendance and your plan is to multiply at 400, there’s a large statistical chance that your church will never have 400 since only about 3% of churches are that large.
The primary reason that churches don’t multiply is the failure to multiply leaders. The Lord Jesus had 3 close friends, then the twelve, the 70, and the 500. He picked 12 to be his apostles and poured his life into them so that they might be his face to the world. This is what leaders are meant to do – replicate.
In India, when we hold a three-day Leadership Conference teaching through 1Timothy, on the second day we ask this question, “how many of you are training elders?” And the universal answer is that they are not. In a room of 100 pastors there might be two who are actually training others to lead. Most of them are struggling to lead churches of 25-30 people and these leaders are barely surviving. It is the breath of life when we show them from the Bible that God’s plan is for a plurality of leaders in the church – we’re not wired or expected to lead alone. You can visibly see stress leave and joy come at the thought of sharing the emotional and spiritual load of shepherding God’s people.
Our calling at ELI is to train leaders who multiply. Like Nehemiah, we seek to train leaders who will train leaders who are responsible for the fruit and success of their portion of the work. Like Paul expressed to Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
In order to be successful, a leader needs three things: Knowledge, Skill, and Motivation. Like the three sides of a triangle, these aspects of leadership are connected together. Pastors and Elders need Knowledge of the gospel, the scriptures, theology, and church history; they need Skill in shepherding, organization management, training others (discipleship), teaching, preaching, prayer, evangelism, counseling, and marriage; they need Motivation to overcome the many obstacles within and outside the church to move forward in exalting the name of Jesus and leading His church. Those three work together – Motivation is necessary to gain Knowledge or Skill, and of course, Skill and Knowledge improve Motivation. All of this tied together by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly, in places like India and Africa, many have significant Motivation as a result of being delivered from deep spiritual oppression by the power of the Gospel. As a result of their Gospel Motivation, many preach Christ to others and small churches are born before the leader gains much needed Knowledge and Skill.
At ELI our purpose is to resource and train international leaders who will in turn train others so that the fame of the name of Jesus would grow.