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We often define churches by their size, music quality, architecture or notoriety of the pastor. Elaborate facilities. Multiple staff members. A plethora of programs. Is this how we define church? Is it about all of these things?

The answer can be “yes” and “maybe,” if these things are contributing to the main thing. The main thing is not bringing a crowd, running a great program, sending them home, and then hitting the repeat button next week . . . and the week after.

The main thing is to reproduce reproducers: to bring people in, introduce them to Christ, teach them, and then send them out to repeat the process. Almost sounds Biblical doesn’t it?

The church pictured (above) is a real church. I preached here at Lawley Family Fellowship in South Africa. I call them The Little Church with Nothing That Has Everything!

  • This building is borrowed from a home owner.
  • It has no electricity (DISH is mounted for the home owners use).
  • Plaster is falling off the walls.
  • Forty people fit into a room for twenty.
  • It is located just past the squatter shacks (buildings you have to see to believe).

Yet this was one of the most moving experiences of my ministry. I could not believe the heart of the people. Their singing was soul-stirring and brought me to tears. Let me tell you about the fruit from this little church:

  • Seven young men have gone out into ministry.
  • One young lady has gone out into ministry.
  • The Pastor is a product of the church.

I asked the Pastor for his permission to write this blog. I did not want to say anything to offend these sweet people. My reference to their lacking something is not a bad thing because I believe they have Everything. They know why we do church and they reminded me.

Perhaps we can all learn a lesson from The Little Church with Nothing That Has Everything. I am not suggesting we get rid of our buildings, programs or staff. I am not suggesting we take a vow of poverty.

What I am suggesting is we ask ourselves the question, “Why do we exist as a church or youth group?”

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  1. That is an amazing story!

    • John, some of the discipleship is being done with WOL materials created by Local Church Ministries so what your team is doing is making a difference globally. Thanks…Mike

  2. Mike, You hit the nail square on the head! Fantastic article. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but see Arden’s picture pop up. She’s a spitting image of her mom… sort of looks like you’re very happy and proud of her. There’s been a lot of change since the “laundry run!”

    • Dale, than you for your encouragement. It is a blessing to be here in Africa and see the commitment of the people. And I am glad you saw the picture of Arden in the “Instagram” pop up window beside the blog. These pictures help tell my story as well.


  3. I am about to be preaching about exactly this (reproducing reproducers) next week, as a lead up to our Disciple Now program for the adults to begin investing in/discipling/mentoring our young people. So thanks for the reinforcement! While I am at it, might I share this church’s picture and story?

    • Andrew… great to hear from you, and I am glad to know you are preaching on this topic. please feel free to use the picture and the story. I am excited for your ministry and appreciate your faithfulness. Mike

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