Multiplying Churches: Living the Dream! Vision Becoming Reality
Our IBC vision describes a dream…it’s God’s dream that we have joined.
“We dream of helping churches to keep their focus on making and multiplying disciples. We see churches being equipped to teach and train their members to be lifelong, loving, and loyal followers of Christ who are actively sharing their faith.”
In the last several years we’ve taken reproducible disciple-making training to hundreds of our leaders. We’ve taken it to our leaders at Multiply Conferences, regional conferences, individual church workshops, online at our Church Multiplication Network gatherings, and even to individual pastors and other church leaders. We’ve developed and provided reproducible disciple-making resources specifically for our IBC churches…and they’re using them and finding them very effective. As is intended, our church leaders have begun disciple-making in such a way that they’re reproducing disciple-makers. The goal is for every church member to become a disciple who makes disciples who will go on to make other disciple makers.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
My greatest joy is to hear the many testimonies of disciple-making experiences. Pastors and elders are in disciple-making groups together enriching their personal walk with Jesus and their ability to shepherd their churches well. Men and women are in disciple-making groups, respectively, and lives and families are being changed. As has been my personal experience, leaders have shared how people are coming to salvation through their disciple-making efforts. Exactly!
“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” (Matthew 28:19-20).
More and more, reproducible disciple-making is becoming more than something we talk about. It’s becoming something we do…becoming who we are. Disciples making disciples who make disciples.
“We dream of becoming a catalyst for strategic church-planting. We see churches praying for, contributing to, and supporting an ever-increasing number of church plants to reach people with the gospel, blessing the communities and churches where they are located.”
This year is our 10–year anniversary of starting new churches in this most recent season of IBC church planting. In the beginning we partnered with another convention that was instrumental in coaching us and helping us get started. Early on, several churches partnered together to see a single church get started, but church planting proved to be contagious. More and more of our churches started planting churches themselves. And soon those new churches were helping other churches get started. That’s the dream! That our churches would start churches that would go on to start more churches.
We praise God and celebrate the new churches God has birthed in and through the IBC!
- Converge International Fellowship, Darmstadt, Germany (2012)
- Lifebridge International Church, Panama City, Panama (2012)
- Tamarindo Church, Tamarindo, Costa Rica (2012)
- Rome International Church, Rome, Italy (2015)
- Koinonia International Christian Fellowship, Aalborg, Denmark (2016)
- Waypoint Christian Fellowship, Landstuhl, Germany (2016)
- GLACE Community Church, Vicenza, Italy (2018)
- International Baptist Church, Bonn, Germany (2018)
- Emmanuel International Church, Ternes, France (2018)
- Multination Church, London, England (2018)
- River of Life Church, Frankfurt, Germany (2019)
- Mittelpunkt Brazilian Fellowship, Berlin, Germany (2019)
- New Song Church, Copenhagen, Denmark (2021)
- Internationale Gemeinde Köln, Cologne, Germany (2022)
(And I know of at least three new initiatives underway right now!)
This year also marks 20 years in mission partnership with the European Baptist Federation to plant new churches together. Daniel Trusiewicz of the EBF reported at our 2022 Annual Convention Meeting that together we have supported 41 indigenous church planters in 15 countries: Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, Estonia, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Latvia, Lebanon, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine. This partnership has been a tremendous blessing to both the churches supported and the supporting churches.
Additionally, we have IBC churches supporting church planting through missionaries in the Middle East, Philippines, and Brazil; supporting local host-nation-language church plants in their cities; and one even supporting a street church in their city.
Twenty years ago, church planting in the IBC seemed to be a bit of a foreign concept. It was certainly something we had done in our past. It was something that people did somewhere else. It was something that only select people did. It has become much less foreign to us now and becoming ever-more familiar. Church planting has grown from a value we aspired to have to a true value of the IBC. “We value church planting. We believe that every church should be involved in some way in helping to start new congregations. We desire to expand our reach to strategic places around the world where the gospel is needed” (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20).
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
It’s ALL God, but He’s so gracious to let us participate.
We’re living the dream, but it’s far from over! God is always at work redeeming His creation, and we are all invited to join Him in his work. The fields remain ripe for harvest. The children of God all over the world need the family of God. Praise God for including us in His dream, His glorious mission!
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised! (Psalm 145:3).
by Darryl Evetts
Director of Church Multiplication