Is "Birthing" the Only Way?

While "birthing" is a popular multiplication model, some situations call for an alternative.

There are some people in this world that love the concept of childbirth. I'm not one of them. Don't get me wrong. I love my three kids and can't imagine life without them. It's the birthing process that I have issues with. It's the moment after conception that I begin to struggle with the reproduction process.

I think it has to do with my beautiful bride being stretched and swollen for three-quarters of a year. It may have something to do with nine months of her being constantly fatigued and nauseated. This is followed by two years of sleep depravation. The actual birth is the least pleasant of all. All that pain, screaming and gnashing of teeth. The sight, the smell … it's tough to watch. It's glaringly obvious to me that childbirth is truly a result of the curse.

Some small group practitioners are also in love with the "birthing" metaphor to describe a philosophy of small group expansion and multiplication. I, again, am not one of them. Granted, some of my cynicism stems from reading and hearing from small group trainers whose illustrations, in my mind, parallel too closely with the actual childbirth process. For example, "the pregnant group" represents the group that grew larger by adding members before giving "birth". "Labor pains" describe the struggle and difficulty of a new group leaving the "mother." The "doctor" symbolizes a coach or pastor, who, with great care and expertise helped the group give birth.

At one training event I attended, a pastor, attempting to describe the need for care after a group gives birth, committed an incredible faux pas. He mistakenly used the term "afterbirth" rather than "postpartum." The illustration was received, as you can imagine, with a bit a cynicism from the feminine perspective ...

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