Christ never intended His people to remain solitary. He intends us to gather. Hebrews 10:24-25:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Disciples gather under godly leaders who teach the Scriptures. Why? To stoke the fire in our hearts and lives toward “love and good works.” We cannot stir up one another if we remain solitary. I cannot tell you how many times I hear of people who, when going through a rough patch in their lives, fall into the lie of Satan in believing staying away is the answer. Guilt and shame are part of the steps the Spirit uses to convict us of sin, but Satan apprehends them to develop a habit of staying away.
Why? Satan does not want you to love others, only self. Satan does not want you to do good works in God’s name, only good works in your name. And, most definitely, Satan does not want you to be encouraged (that is, to have courage poured in you by others). He wants us afraid and apathetic—and away!
Yet, one of Satan’s other tactics is to be physically present, but spiritually withdrawn. We can gather, but the preacher not preach the Word. We can gather, but not bring up or encourage anyone around us in the things of Christ. We can gather and talk about last night’s game, our stock portfolio, the political climate, or even using our conversation to gossip about our brother and sister in Christ.
So gathering for the sake of gathering in a small group, church, or even a conversation isn’t enough. We gather to help stir up one another and encourage each other that Jesus is enough for our heart, soul, mind, and strength—and in our relationships with our FRANs.
What does this have to do with multiplying disciples? In our excitement to multiply, we must be sure we multiply well. It’s good to gather, but not just for gathering’s sake. We can avoid gathering, but we can gather for the wrong reasons.
We can also love gathering with each other so much that we do not want to give each other up for any reason! But we are calling to gather in order to go, being sent to provide other environments for others to hear the gospel so they can send and provide other environments, etc.
Why to we gather? We gather to grow in the Word, to love each other, to serve inside and outside the church, and then go to tell others about Jesus.