In military strategy, one of the biggest concerns is spreading forces too thin. Doing so, increases the territory covered, but also reduces effectiveness. History is replete with examples of powerful militaries rendered weak because they tried to hold too much territory too fast.
The same can be true for people. Everyone knows people who are so busy doing so many things that they are incapable of accomplishing much of anything. We likewise say that such a person is “spread too thin.”
The same applies to missions. Frequently, churches use a “shotgun” approach in missions strategy–trying to cover as much territory as they possibly can. The logic is that reaching new territories means touching more lives. However, the same limitations that govern militaries and individuals apply also to missions work. Rarely are there sufficient financial resources and adequate personnel available to be effective when people and resources are spread too thin. Attempting to cover a broader expanse can debilitate the entire enterprise.
In contrast, one of the key concepts of the Encounter with God approach to missions is a firm commitment to concentrating human and financial resources in a limited arena. This means beginning with one church in one city. This initial church has a capacity to develop more ministries, reach more people and achieve greater impact than it would otherwise be able to dream. Such churches advance and develop much faster, quickly becoming partners in future expansion efforts. The result is reproduction by multiplication rather than simple addition.
Over time this concentrated focuses produces a network capable of generating the resources and leadership required for sustaining reproduction without dependence on outside resources. Strong churches of this nature will reach new territories and hold greater promise of discipling entire nations for Jesus Christ.