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Christ-Compelled Multiplication

By Board of Bishops

March 17, 2021
Christ-Compelled Multiplication 

References from Scripture, the Book of Discipline, and L+L Articles  

Bringing life from life is found in the First Commission and the Great Commission.  

  • God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22) 
  • So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. (Genesis 1:27-29) 
  • 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.” (Matthew 28:18-20) 

FMCUSA Statistics that support our call to awaken to multiplication: 

  • A quick review of our most recent annual report reveals that many of our churches have not reported a new convert in years. Very few have seen significant growth from reaching people who are not already following Jesus. 
  • In terms of the number of churches in our movement, the first Free Methodists planted 500 new churches in the U.S. between 1860 to 1880. Over the next 20 years, that number doubled to more than 1,000. Over the last 120 years, our total number of churches has declined to fewer than 850 churches. 
  • When it comes to membership, our movement climaxed in 1992 at more than 74,000. Our most recent count (2018) was just over 68,000. 
  • Our greatest area of growth has come in worship attendance with averages rising to more than 100,000 a few years ago, but even this figure has declined to just under 92,000 in our most recent annual report (2018).

Declarations of the Apostle Paul that stir us to be a movement once again: 

  • “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). 
  • “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
  • “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8).

¶6030 Disciple-making. 2019 Book of Discipline 

Disciple-making is the great commission of our community. The church earnestly engages in evangelization and disciple-making. We are not casual about pointing out the way of life and holiness. We are concerned for the spiritual growth of all those in our charge, whether pre-Christians, new Christians, or longtime Christians. 

Visit beginning April 1, 2021 for “Christ-Compelled Multiplication” by Bishop Keith Cowart and discipleship materials related to this value of The Free Methodist Way