Note: this entry is part of a week-long series with Dave White from the Philippines.
Yesterday we talked about the growth and multiplication Dave White has been seeing in the church in the Philippines. I asked him what he saw as the keys to some of that growth, and here’s what he told me:
- A strong prayer movement: Mobilizing prayer at the grassroots is critical. We knew we needed a vast number of intercessors. God raised up a powerful group called “Intercessors For The Philippines.” They hold a national prayer gathering every year, with several days of intense intercession. They also made great progress toward organizing groups of intercessors in every province and town in the country. They didn’t get all the towns covered, but they got a lot—and they prayed for crucial issues related to church planting. Since then more prayer movements and organizations have started.
- Concrete goals: In 1974, the leaders of the denominations gathered together and planned what would become the goal for saturating the nation with churches. By the time they walked away, everyone knew the goal was 50,000 by the year 2000. That 50,000 was roughly equivalent to the number of villages or neighborhoods in the Philippines: A church in every village. That was a clear, concrete goal that everyone could get their mind around. Even though it was an incredibly big goal, it was also incredibly understandable at a micro-level. There was lots of prayer behind this, and we hit the goal.
- Unity among denominations and parachurch ministries: The strong prayer movement and the national goal-setting in 1974 have alluded to one of the other important keys to growth: unity among the pastors from many denominations and ministries, including parachurch organizations. We had good unity among top national leaders. We also had well united ministerial fellowships at the local level. Mutual respect among diverse groups contributed greatly to saturating the whole nation with churches.
- Continual vision-casting: People lose vision in 30 days, making the continual casting of that vision essential. We had national event every 2 to 3 years, with one of its purposes casting vision. Denominations had their own church planting goals. Vision casting for these goals was done regularly. Church planting training was also done in many towns. Trainees met monthly for a reminder of the vision and skill training.
- Tracking progress: Tracking progress is huge. We regularly check back and ask these questions as continual reminders that we are tracking progress: How are we doing? How close are we to the goal? Are we going to hit it? What are we doing that’s working? What do we need to change if we’re behind? We had a research team that would continually track progress toward the goal and give us a report on how we were actually doing.
How could you implement these five keys to growth in your context?