PHILADELPHIA (BRN) – Originally developed with church planting in mind, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Multiplication Pipeline has expanded to be a full discipleship curriculum for pastors to utilize as they walk alongside upcoming church leaders.
Conveniently designed as an online platform, Multiplication Pipeline gives pastors the freedom to identify ministry leaders within their church and then disciple them with already-curated course content and resources.
“The beauty is it (Pipeline) gives the pastor a track to run on, so he doesn’t have to create everything from nothing…a lot of pastors don’t have time to do that,” said Hal Hopkins, NAMB Church Planting Catalyst.
Free to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Churches, Multiplication Pipeline offers three levels of training: Living on Mission, Disciple Making and Church Planting.
At the ground level, Pipeline offers training in spiritual formation, Bible literacy, evangelism, understanding the church and servant leadership. The second level focuses on self-awareness, communication, teamwork and other disciple making skills, while the third tier of Pipeline hones in on abilities specific to church planting.
Participants in Pipeline do not have to start at level one, but it is recommended that they discuss with their pastor what level is an appropriate starting place for their spiritual walk.
Throughout these levels of training, trainees read recommended articles and books and given assignments to complete. Pipeline’s goal is to increase an individual’s head knowledge through valuable resources, while also assigning them practical tasks they can carry out through daily ministry.
“I think every church ought to be training leaders, whatever method you use, every pastor ought to be committed. I mean, that’s a biblical command to each of us as pastors, [to] equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4),” said Hopkins.
He continued: “So, the Lord has given us that as a charge as leaders, the only question is, how are you going to do it? And for me, Pipeline is a tool that helps to facilitate that process.”
Pipeline in Action
Hopkins and Kyle Canty, NAMB Send City Missionary, both serve in the Philadelphia area and minister to churches in the Pennsylvania/South Jersey region.
Of these churches are The SOAR Church in Woodbine, New Jersey, and Delval East, “The Lifehouse Church,” located in Willingboro, New Jersey. Currently, both churches have rising church leaders enrolled in the Pipeline training program.
“What we wanted to do, myself and Pastor Chris [Betner] from Delaware Valley, we wanted another resource and tool that would help us to disciple some young men in our church that we thought had potential to become church planters, if not, just church leaders where they will have a key role in leadership,” said Dr. Tom Dawson, senior pastor of The SOAR Church.
Through conversations with Hopkins and Canty, Dawson and Dr. Chris Betner, senior pastor at Delval East, found out about the Multiplication Pipeline, which quickly became their tool of choice when it comes to discipling.
“It helps us to equip people – men that we see who have potential and the possibility of moving on to the next step, and I think it has done a great job,” said Dawson.
Betner echoed Dawson, saying, “It really helps the pastor equip the saints for the work in ministry, and it does it in a way that also is a support to the pastor and to the local church leaders, so that it doesn’t all fall on you.”
Combined, the two churches have a total of 10 men enrolled in Pipeline, five coming from each church. All of which are actively involved in ministry at their respective church.
Every month, these young leaders meet via Zoom to discuss how their training is going, the assignments they have completed through Pipeline and to pray for one another.
Although they are acting overseers of the cohort, Dawson and Betner usually opt out of the Zoom meetings to give the young men a space to open up and speak freely, not only about the training but life in general.
“You got a lot of young guys with young families [who] are able to come together and share some of the same challenges and stuff that they have in ministry and, kinda like iron sharpens iron, they help each other. So that has been very, very helpful to us,” said Dawson.
Another helpful feature of Pipeline is that participants can complete assignments at their own pace and, virtually, access the training anywhere.
“So, the unique thing about the Pipeline [is] all they have to do is get a link to sign up, sign up and [then] they can access their learner’s path, which is just the track that they’re working through. They can access it from their phone or computer…so it’s very easy to access,” said Betner.
At this point, the SOAR and DelVal Pipeline cohort has been meeting for a little over a year and half, and, already, Dawson and Betner are seeing the effects. Included in the cohort is Dawson’s youth pastor.
“I’ve seen my youth pastor really expand his youth ministry with goals, plans, [and] vision. He’s been able to also reach young people by using social media – Tik Tok and stuff like that – [and] going into the schools. His reach in his ministry approach is different, you know, just [from] being around that,” said Dawson.
He continued: “That cohort is really testing them and challenging them to grow and to advance the Kingdom.”
Betner has also witnessed growth in his ministry leaders from their exposure to Pipeline.
“What I really appreciate about the cohort is it also gives them opportunity to take what they’ve learned, and to see it in practice in their local church,” said Betner.
He continued: “I’m able to see development in them as they serve in their respective areas. So, we got some who are ministers, we have some who work with our youth ministry [and] we have some who work in the area of administration, and so you get to see their development and their growth immediately in the life of the church.”
The SOAR and DelVal cohort are on track to complete the entire Pipeline training in three years.
Prospects from Pipeline
By the end of the Pipeline experience, students are anticipated to be well-developed church leaders, if nothing else, but the larger hope is that pastors will be able to identify from within their own church walls who could fill the pulpit or plant a church.
“Prayerfully, we’ll have pastors birthed out of this group… and] I’m putting emphasis on church planters, because a lot of times we have to wait and see if church planters from around the country are interested in coming to our area,” said Dawson.
He continued: “If we want to multiply churches, why not birth our own out of our own people? People who are qualified that we birthed and grew [and] who can become our own multipliers.”
Churches in Pennsylvania/South Jersey are encouraged to take advantage of this discipleship tool and build up leaders that know the context of your mission field and are willing to take the next step.
“It is an awesome opportunity to help us be built up in the things of the Lord, and you don’t have to be this emergent leader already. If you have a desire to lead, or you see people in your church with a desire to lead, this is a great place to start,” said Betner.
Baptist Resource Network (BRN) churches can register for or learn more about NAMB’S Multiplication Pipeline by visiting www.namb.net/send-network/pipeline/. Churches are also invited to reach out to Hal Hopkins, NAMB Church Planting Catalyst, with any questions about Pipeline by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Step Stories are stories dedicated to highlighting the next steps BRN churches are taking to advance the gospel and grow their ministry. These stories also spotlight resources that are designed to help churches take their next steps. Contact the BRN Help Desk if your church is ready or in need of assistance to take its next step!