The concept of multiplication isn’t new, especially in the world of leadership. While it may not happen as often as it should, most leaders understand that unless they move beyond the addition of workers to the multiplication of leaders, they will never maximize their potential, or the potential of the organization, ministry, or department they lead.
The same principle holds true with personal growth. You can grow yourself and even impact others, but multiplication is an entirely different level. In the same way a rock tossed in a pond creates a series of ripples, the Multiplying Level of personal growth initiates an enduring process of personal growth ripples. Those ripples form when you help somebody grow, and then they turn around and invest in the growth of others. At this level, personal growth revolutions spread and even have the potential to go viral.
My grandmother—Violet Morley—recently passed away at the age of 92. She wasn’t popular or famous or rich. You won’t find her name in the history books of earth. But you can be sure that her name is remembered in the halls of eternity. She was a deeply spiritual woman with an unwavering commitment to prayer.
I’m convinced that Grandma’s name was known in heaven and in hell—heaven because she spoke to Jesus daily, and hell because she fought the enemy fearlessly. She once told me, “We have to do many different things, but prayer is the main thing.”
On the day that she died, my mom told me that grandma’s life was like a ripple—an enduring set of prayer ripples. Those ripples were felt in countless lives as one friend and family member after another surrendered their lives to Christ. At her funeral, letters were read and messages were shared by people who grandma “prayed into the Kingdom.” On three separate occasions, those in attendance stood to their feet in applause of this tiny, insignificant lady who had a Mount Everest sized prayer life.
When I reflect on her prayer journey, I realize that she didn’t take the journey alone. She mentored others in prayer, and she passed her prayer habit on to future generations. Prayer was more than a personal habit. It was a multiplied habit. She might have been a little lady, but she grew and multiplied a contagious prayer life…in her, around her, and beyond her.
A great biblical example of the highest level of growth is found in the book of 1 Thessalonians. Paul, Silas, and Timothy express gratefulness in their letter to the church in the city of Thessalonica. After an initial greeting, they write:
For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-8)
I want you to see the personal growth ripples in this passage. It started with Paul, Silas, and Timothy when they said, “You know how we lived among you for your sake.” They began by living their growth. What they learned and thought transformed how they lived. Out of the overflow of personal transformation, they intentionally impacted the Thessalonians—“You became imitators of us and of the Lord…”
But the growth didn’t stop there. Multiplication kicked in: “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.”
What the Thessalonians received from Paul, Silas, and Timothy’s growth was more than an inspiring model that impacted how they lived. They were empowered to multiply that transforming work in the people around them. These men didn’t keep their growth a secret. Nor did the Thessalonians let the growth ripple end with them. They chose to invest in the believers in Macedonia and Achaia who then, invested in people “everywhere.” That’s exponential growth. That’s the power of multiplication. Paul, Silas, and Timothy’s personal growth started a growth revolution in people they never even met.
Question: What would have to happen for you to begin multiplying your growth through others?