From the beginning of Revolution, one of our dreams is to be a reproducing church. Which means, we want everyone in Tucson to be within a 10 mile drive from a site of Revolution or a church we plant. We are beginning to make plans to send out our first plant or site in the next 2 years. Which has caused us to step back and ask, “How does that really happen? What needs to happen in terms of leadership development, community, discipleship and mission for that to happen?” Recently, as part of the stack of books I’m reading on this I came across Dave and Jon Ferguson’s book Exponential. They started Community Christian Church in Chicago and have launched sites and church plants all over the country through their NewThing Network.
The premise of the book is how a church creates a movement of churches that reach a city and ultimately the world. They point out that 2 numbers is what drive them in their movement: 67 and 20. If the world were a village of 100 people, 67 would be far from God, facing a Christless existence. And 20 of the 100 people would be living in extreme poverty. It is our mission to reach the 67 and come alongside of the 20.
The book walks through how you create a system to develop leaders, communicators, church planters, campus pastors, artists, etc. One of the things that jumped out to me in this book, as well as in my other reading on reproducing churches is the intentionality that must be there. It must be proactive. You must plan to do it and not react to growth or a situation. While today as a church we are a church of 200, we want to plan, pray and raise money to not only grow but then send out people to start a movement on the other side of the city. This has impacted how we are thinking about our preaching over the coming year, how we will develop leaders to get there, to multiply everything we do, to make sure our systems are reproducible and simple enough to move to a second site and beyond.
Someone asked me the other day why we would do this since we aren’t that big as a church. I don’t think it is about size, but about vision and having the leadership to do it. Multiplication and church planting is a lot like having children, if you wait til you are ready and can afford them, no one would have them.
Here are a few things that jumped out:
- If you are open to God’s call on your life, God will use you and your friends to love the poor, feed the hungry, and bring Jesus to the people in your community who face a Christless eternity.
- When Jesus called people into discipleship, he was calling them for and preparing them to accomplish a mission.
- If you don’t have a dream that leads you to greater dependance on God, then you need to get a bigger dream.
- Two fears that keep churches off mission and away from multiplying: fear of failure and fear of loss.
- Apprenticeship is not about finding people who can help us do tasks more effectively. We’re not talking about preparing people to simply replace us so we can move on to something else. At the heart of biblical apprenticeship is a mindset of reproduction: reproducing our leadership so the mission will be carried on to future generations.
- The essentials to building a missional movement: reproduce more and betters leaders. Reproduce more and better artists.
- Churches that multiply and create a movement believe that the mission of Jesus will be accomplished.
- Churches should grow out of mission, not the other way around.
- Developing coaches (leaders of leaders) may be the single most overlooked yet vital task in spreading a missional movement.
- Leaders reproduce – they reproduce Christ followers, artists, leaders, small groups, celebration services, campuses, and churches throughout their city and around the world. Without strong leadership and a firm grasp of the value of reproduction, churches begin to grow stale and get desperate or die (or in most cases, both).
This was a great book and one that is a must read if you want to grow a reproducing church and start a movement in your city.