“If you are not getting to fourth-generation church multiplication, it is probably because you are going too slow.”
I sat back in my chair in the restaurant and thought about the boldness of that statement. I had been invited into this conversation with George Patterson by Jared Nelms and Koudjo Nenonene of The Timothy Initiative. George is a retired church planting missionary.
George went on to say, “To get to 4th generation church multiplication, go fast. When you go fast, people focus on obedience and on following the commands of Christ. When you go slow, people focus on knowledge and on getting the details right. Multiplication is usually a casualty.”
George was saying that rather than focus initially on depth of knowledge and the right details, which will come over time, focus primarily on obedience and on rapid reproduction immediately after salvation. This missional DNA is the health that will grow churches. Depth and maturity will result over time as healthy churches obey Christ and grow.
George emphasized baptizing as soon as practical and engaging new believers in sharing Christ with their family and friends immediately after salvation. George also talked about the basic commands of Christ that needed to be taught in the first weeks of a new church. He identified seven general commands of Christ that he sees demonstrated in the early church in Acts 2:37-47:
- Repentance, belief, and receiving the Holy Spirit through regeneration.
- The breaking of bread in the Lord’s supper
- Loving your neighbor and impacting the community
- Making disciples
George feels that these basic commands of Christ are crucial in the first few weeks of a new believer’s life and the early weeks of a new church’s life. He said, “If you are not teaching the basic commands quickly, Satan will rush in and fill the new believers with good things, biblical things that keep them from crowning Christ as Lord. The key is obedience to Jesus’ commands, not knowledge of doctrine or theology.”
If you would like to hear more from George Patterson, I found an excellent interview online courtesy of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.