A Visual of Multiplication by Subtraction

Last week I shared a post from Alan Frow on his forthcoming book on church multiplication. I also shared the post on our church site with longer quotes from the book. Because of the drama involved in a church with a multiplication DNA it has stirred up some conversation.

One of my ministry partners that thought it an important call, we shall call him Gopher Benji given his line of work, shared the following visual illustration of church multiplication.

Your post this week about subtraction and its pain reminded me of an analogy of church planting I observed over the past six months in propagating my succulents.  Here it is in a nutshell, with my amateur photographic journal:

1. Plant 1, well-rooted (sorry for the algae…)

2. Plant 1, now under duress, as half of it was broken off to be re-planted.

3. Plant 2 — formerly the top of Plant 1 — growing, putting down roots — notice the roots don’t have to be huge, just need to be present.

4. Plant 2 gets lopped off — now much smaller and under stress.

5. Lopped off plants (one or two from Plant 1 also) to plant… some won’t make it, but some do!

6. Plants 3 and 4 planted — from Plant 2 — now growing!

7. Meanwhile Plant 2 struggles but starts growing again.

8. Meanwhile Plant 1 has also been growing.

9. Now Plant 1 is ready to potentially plant 3 more new plants! Ready for another ouch?

It’s intense! Plant 1 has turned into 4 plants (potentially 7)… each with the potential to keep multiplying. The plants have scars. They’re not symmetrical or textbook anymore. But they are alive and making more life.

Intense indeed, but a great visual to remind us that life goes on in multiplication, especially when the vinedresser is as skilled as our Lord is! Be encouraged friends, keep going.

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