Harvest Time!

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It seems appropriate for me to finish this series of blogs at the end of the growing season. The Michigan summer has been great for apples. My favorite farmers market is brimming with baskets of fresh, crispy  apples – Honey crisp, Zester, Macintosh – and zucchini, peppers, melons, corn, peaches, …sorry to make  you southern folks jealous.  Is your mouth watering? Harvest time is so exciting. 
 
What about ministry harvest?
 
Our last role is about multiplication, harvest or propagating. I wouldn’t normally use the word “propagate”, but once again, “propagate” came out of the gardening book and fits nicely with the other roles that start with the letter “P”. So let’s go with it. Propagate means to reproduce an organism (biology), create new plants (gardening), spread something widely, and impel something forward (physics). I think it works! 
 
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matt 28:18-20) Those words describe reproduction, new creations, spreading widely and being impelled forward – propagation. 
 
What does a leader do to encourage the process of propagation in a small group discipleship ministry? What can a leader do? What can’t a leader do? 
 
Here are a few that came to mind.
  • Pray for multiplication and harvest. (Matthew 9:38) 
  • Plant the DNA of multiplication in your vision, leader training and in your ongoing coaching conversations.
  • Celebrate new groups. Tell stories about groups that have multiplied
  • Communication! Make sure every group member knows the details, plans and reasons for starting new groups. 
  • Encourage group leaders who are willing to take the risk of launching new groups. Be prepared to support leaders through the multiplication transitions. 
  • Learn about the variety of ways multiplication happens. In a garden, there are several ways to multiply plants: seeds, cuttings, splitting. 
  • Tell multiplication stories.
  • Watch for reasons to start new groups. You might start groups for young parents, people dealing with grief or divorce or people who have a shared interest or want to learn about a particular topic.
How do you think leaders encourage multiplication?
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