You may not know this about me, but I love math. It was my best subject in school. In fact, before I had any desire to be a pastor, I flirted with the notion of being a math teacher. Not that I spent a lot time thinking about this, but math was easy for me and I thought that maybe I could be the first cool math teacher in the history of Western Civilization. Then God showed up and called me to be a pastor. I didn’t learn this right away in my ministry career (there were no math classes at my Bible college), but a few years back I was exposed to Kingdom math.
Kingdom math is a little different from regular math. In regular math, you have addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Now I know that some of you have a headache already. All this talk of math and words ending in -ion is making you break out into a cold sweat. Don’t worry, I’m not throwing up any problems for you to solve. But I think we all know that in regular math, when we add and multiply, you’ll always get a larger number (except when 0 is involved). Likewise, when you subtract and divide, you’ll always get a smaller number (yes, except for 0).
Here’s where Kingdom math is different. In God’s Kingdom, the more you divide, the more you’ll add; or more specifically, the more you purposefully divide your church, the more you’ll add people being reached for Christ. It’s a hard concept to grasp, but let me explain. Our church, Providence, is small church in a small town. We average between 150-175 on Sundays. But we believe at Providence that church planting is a natural outflow of doing church according to God’s Word (see book of Acts in the Bible). When you start or plant a church, you divide up people and money. It would be conceivable to think that by sending out a group of people from our church, that it would affect our attendance. That only makes sense, but in Kingdom math, God does something powerful. The more you divide to spread the gospel of Jesus, the greater the number of people will be impacted.
We just experienced this. On September 9, we sent out a number of families from our church to start Gospel Life church with Josh Kappes as the lead pastor. On the Sunday morning of September 9, our morning attendance was 170, and Gospel Life started with 76. Now when you add those numbers up you get 246. Did you see it? We divided through church planting and through dividing up, we increased the reach of the gospel to reach more people for the Kingdom of Christ. Let me just say that we’ve never had a morning worship attendance with that many, but even if we did, the 170 and the 76 are greater numbers than 246 because the power of each of those churches to grow and divide are now greater.
I believe that most of us in the American church have a very small vision when it comes to what God can do and how many people He wants to reach with the gospel. The smallness of our vision may even look like 3000-4000 people sitting in a room on Sunday morning, but it’s still small. It’s small because the principle of dividing and church planting will always result in a greater movement of God through His church.
I’m praying that Kingdom math starts to take root in our hearts and minds, and that we have an insatiable desire to do more of it as a church. It comes down to simple faith in God’s promises from His Word that He will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail.