Creating a Multiplication Movement, Leadership

Strengthen Your Spiritual Muscle for Church Planting

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As we continue this expedition to build the foundation for a church planting culture, we have so far unpacked several obstacles.  This journey began challenging churches and their leadership to face your fears, and our resentence to change.  Biblical vision and values need to be aligned.  So, now we are ready to go run off and do something revolutionary for God, right?  Not quite.  Anytime we want to do something bold for God, the enemy Satan wags his finger and says not on my turf.  The unbelieving culture we plan to plant this new church in will fight tooth and nail to resist.  This past week I revisited Revelations 12 as a reminder of how Satan views the offspring (Christ and later Christians) of the woman (Mary, the mother of our Lord.)

“And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.[1] Revelations 12:13-17

  1. Deepen Leaders’ Prayer Lives.

Because Satan is not rooting for your current church or any future mission endeavors to succeed,  it is the task of the leadership team to be spiritually prepared for the slings and arrows of the Evil One.  Here is a true story from a Christian leader that will explain what I am saying.

A Christian leader — we’ll call him Steve –was traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. Guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. “Looks to me like you’re memorizing something,” he said. “No, actually I was praying,” the man said. Steve introduced himself. “I believe in prayer too,” he said. “Well, I have a specific assignment,” said the man with the goatee. “What’s that?” Steve asked. “I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors.” “I would certainly fit into that category,” Steve said. “Is my name on the list?” “Not on my list,” the man replied. – Common Ground, Vol. 10 No. 7.

Our best example of early church planters was a group of believers that gathered together regularly and prayed.  Early in the Book of Acts, we see that pattern established.  42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles.”  Acts 2:42-43

Build your new mission plant on prayer.  Raising up a group of people to be prayer intercessors confronts the enemy on God’s terms.

  1. Develop and Support Prayer Intercessors.

 

Connecting to people outside the God’s grace is a passion of mine and is my calling in ministry.  If you share this desire to plant a church or ministry that connects with people outside of the body of Christ, then stick with me as I devote time over the next several months laying out how to develop that team in further detail.  However, here are some fundamental qualities to look for in that development.

First, you can’t lead people where you are have not gone beforehand.  Make your first prayer intercessor, YOU! Second, make sure you and your team are on the same page.  That place of unity is grounded not on the leaders’ agenda, but on the guidance and direction of God’s Word.  Third, a Prayer Ministry Leader should be identified to lead and shepherd the group.  It doesn’t have to be a paid staff person, but should be someone with the spiritual gifts for that ministry. Finally, pray and ask God to send laborers to partner with you in this new church plant.  Pray for discernment to select who will be an appropriate fit for your core leadership team.

Next week’s post will dig deeper into the formation of the intercessory prayer team.  Thank you for all who have been reading and following.  I can sense the movement of God leading and directing churches to get more rooted in the mission entrusted to His saints.

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 12:13–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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Creating a Multiplication Movement

Church Multiplication: Starts with a Shared Vision and Values

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In order to move forward on a path to create a culture where multiplication is commonplace, there are three key foundation elements that need to be quickly established. The church or organization must:

 Clarify and Communicate its Vision and Values.

 The word vision in a church context often makes people nervous.  However, God communicated with his prophets with vision.  For example, in Ezekiel 37 remember this exchange with God and the prophet? “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” [1]

The Eerdmans Bible dictionary describes how vision is an old biblical tradition.  “In the biblical tradition visions were a means by which Jews and Christians experienced God’s self-revelation and were able to learn about the future. In the patriarchal period even before Moses God revealed himself and Israel’s destiny through dreams (Gen. 28) or the appearance of an angel (chs. 16, 18).” [2]

As I talk about vision it is the idea that God is providing His Church with a divine revelation about its future work for the kingdom.  Visions that are given to us by God are always bigger than us and can only be accomplished with His strength and direction. Will Mancini, in his book, “Church Unique”, makes this critical point about vision, “God is the chief visionary who leads us to push forward, not with arrogance but with confidence, because we know we are a part of His divine chain reaction.” We must be clear about this point; vision is from God. Vision may seem far beyond our reach and, if so, that may be an indicator that we are heading in the right direction. If the vision is comfortably within our capabilities, God does not receive the glory. But if the vision is “God-sized” in scope, meaning impossible without God’s intervention, then God receives the Glory and Him alone!

Your values are defined by two key questions:

 How Are You Sharing Your Story (Narrative)?

What stories you highlight in your public assemblies (worship) communicate what you value.  What do you talk most frequently about with your people? What are the metrics you commonly measure? Do worship attendance, the dollars collected toward the budget or the numbers of people in Bible study define who you are? These things are important indicators of church health. Do you want those to be measurements of success?

What are You Doing (Behaviors)?

We can have the best intentions, but in the end, people judge you by your actions. How are you investing your time? That’s what determines your values. Your behavior reveals your real core values. Where you invest your time, talents, and treasure express to the organization what you value.

What is the message you are communicating with your tribe? The stories you are highlighting are necessary. Shifting to missions may be as simple as telling different stories. Try modeling the behavior you want to be emulated.

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

It’s our time to make a kingdom difference!

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eze 37:1–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Myers, A. C. (1987). In The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (p. 1040). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Creating a Multiplication Movement, Culture Change, Leadership

The US Factor Barrier in Church Planting

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At my last congregation in Milwaukee we had reached a critical place in our ministry, it was year six of our ten-year vision plan. As a church, we had reached a point where God had given us an opportunity to do something bold for the kingdom.  We had the chance to plant an African immigrant church.  Unfortunately, we also ran into four considerable hurdles to clear.  In this post, we will look at the four barriers you must navigate to create a church multiplication movement in your congregation.

  1. The perception of scarcity of resources.

Many churches do not take the leap of faith into church planting because members worry they don’t have sufficient resources to share with a church plant and still meet their current obligations.  Though our God is a generous God, we live life much like Hattie Green.

It was 1916, and Hattie Green was dead. Hattie’s life is a sad demonstration of what it is like to be among the living dead. When Hattie died, her estate was valued at over $100 million; yet Hattie lived in poverty. She ate cold oatmeal because it cost money to heat it. When her son’s leg became infected, Hattie wouldn’t get it treated until she could find a clinic that wouldn’t charge her. By then, her son’s leg had to be amputated. Hattie died arguing over the value of drinking skim milk. She had money to meet her every need, but she chose to live as if it didn’t exist.   Turning Point, March 1993.

Do you genuinely believe that if we asked God for the resources to carry out the mission He gave to the church, He would deny us?  In John 16, Jesus reminds us of God’s generosity.  23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

2) Silo thinking

Silo thinking produces part-time disciples.  Part-time disciples are partially committed to the church and God’s mission. Part-time disciples are defined in the Bible in this manner:

  • More concerned with what people think. “Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave. Galatians. 1:10
  • More concerned with their public image.  6The influential leaders didn’t add anything to what I was preaching—and whatever they were makes no difference to me, because God doesn’t show favoritism.” Galatians 2:6
  • More concerned about bringing people into the church (Jerusalem). While this is not a wrong motive, the mission is larger (Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth) than growing your church attendance. As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?” Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority.  Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8

 

3) Being too church centric.

In the book “Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow,” by Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im, they warn against having a church-centric mindset. A church-centric mindset is the temptation to focus so much on the needs of the local church that you forget to include space, time and resources for those outside your walls. “We must overcome the church centricity barrier by moving from an ‘inward focus’ to an ‘outward focus.’ So, what does an ‘outward focus’ look like? In our research on transformational churches, churches that met our criteria as a transformational church had 67 percent of members agree that, ‘our church leaders think as missionaries and work to understand the cultural context in our region.’ In addition, 71 percent believed, ‘our leadership senses a call to our local city or community,’ and 77 percent said, ‘Our church leadership understands the context.’”

Imagine have a congregation that understands the mission is outside its walls.  What happens far too often is that these numbers are in reverse.

4) We have enough churches attitude.

The final barrier to starting a church planting movement is that most churches believe multiplication is not for their congregation.  Many just don’t see the need.  Their argument being we have too many churches now, why don’t we just focus on getting our own wayward members back, then we will be just fine.  To be fair, many understand the vision behind church planting but just don’t have a personal conviction to participate in a multiplication movement.  Leaders need to not only get their people to buy into this vision but often need to be convinced themselves.  Which means as a leader you need to share this vision clearly, consistently, and creatively in various forms and fashions.  The research shows that “Churches who regularly communicated a commitment to multiplication were more likely to multiply within their first five years than those who don’t.” [1]

What we communicate most often, most passionately gets done.  What are you communicating to your congregation on a regular basis?  Of course, we better be communicating Jesus and Him crucified, but how are we communicating His mission?

 

[1] “Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow.” E. Stetzer & D. Im, p. 37

 

Other posts on Church Planting:

https://revheadpin.org/2017/12/14/how-to-start-a-church-movement/

https://revheadpin.org/2017/12/19/the-fear-factor-in-creating-a-church-multiplication-movement/

 

Creating a Multiplication Movement

The Fear Factor: In Creating a Church Multiplication Movement

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The Fear Factor in Church Planting

As we begin this journey to launch a church multiplication movement, it would be irresponsible not to address some reason why this movement may struggle to take hold in many congregations.

In this post, we will examine barriers to creating a multiplication movement.

Fear

Black Bart was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because a hood hid his face, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims. His sinister presence was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard.  Today in the Word, August 8, 1992.

I can remember each time God placed on my heart the need to launch a new initiative on my leaders every one came with a healthy dose of fear.  To create a new culture in your organization comes with risk.  This movement could cause you to lose friends, lose financial supporters who don’t buy into this vision. Even if you get support and the financial backing, there is a chance this new direction may fail, at least in our eyes, based on our expectations.  So, we may take the posture of Ready, set…ready, set… and struggle to “go.”  Fear is a powerful deterrent.  The above illustration reminds us that often our fears are internally generated, but that does not make them any less real or powerful.

At the end of that famous book Habakkuk. Habakkuk wants deliverance for his people and pleads with God to save them. But he closes the book encouraging God’s people to overcome their fears:

“Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes,
even if the olive tree fails to produce
and the fields yield no food,
even if the sheep pen is empty
and the stalls have no cattle—

Even then,
I will be happy with the Lord.
I will truly find joy in God, who saves me.
The Lord Almighty is my strength.
He makes my feet like those of a deer.
He makes me walk on the mountains.” (GW)

Before you jump out into the multiplication waters, avoid some of my previous mistakes.  First, sit down with your leaders and engage in an extensive time of prayer and discernment.  Seek God’s direction for your ministry.  Is God leading you to be a church that plants churches? If God is leading you to take this leap of faith, then ask your leaders, are they willing to multiply themselves?  If there is resistance, then maybe the time is not right, and fear is greater than faith at this moment in time.  Pray for boldness for you and your leaders.  Patiently wait for your group to gain a 2 Timothy 1:17 attitude, “God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.”

“Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child.” Source Unknown.

The next post will address more barriers…

1) the perception of scarcity of resources

2) silo thinking,

3) being too church-centric and

4) we have enough churches attitude

…before we launch into the process in 2018.  Stay tuned.

 

Other posts in this series on church planting:

https://revheadpin.org/2017/12/14/how-to-start-a-church-movement

 

Creating a Multiplication Movement

How to Start A Grassroots Church Movement

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Several years ago, I tried to start a grassroots movement in my church body to help churches multiply new churches to better reach new believers. It did not catch on as I had hoped.  But it was a great learning experience.  Not one to give up easily we are going to expand the reach of the concept.  Over the next three months, this series of post will lay out the critical components needed to launch a culture of multiplication.  It comes not from me but from years of study and observation.  It is my prayer that it will help the church regain its missional sea legs.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said of the church. “The church is her true self only when she exists for humanity.”

The Challenge of Movement.

When the church forgets who she is and why she was created it loses some of its impacts.  Here is a good example of this.  

Antithesis

The church has buildings but little boldness.

The church has numbers but little nerve.

The church has comfort but little courage.

The church has status but little spirit.

The church has prestige but little power.[1]

Creating A Shared Vision.

Before you can take the hill, you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish.  For the church that starts with cultivating a heart for the harvest.  Jesus gave the church a very simple parting request.  Go, make disciples, preach, teach, and baptize.

Here is Jesus missionary command:

“I the Lord, Jesus Christ, who has been given all authority in heaven and on Earth, command you, my devoted disciples in every age to go to the ends of the earth, to teach all people of every tribe and nation my gospel. Make all people by disciples who in term will produce other disciples to expand my kingdom to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus first gave us the missionary command, and he also gave us the mission strategy.

He said “pay no attention to national boundaries. “Go into all the world” translation go wherever the people live, breath, move, and have their being. Find them. Join them on their life’s journey as they go about their daily lives.

Have a sense of urgency that Mark 16 expresses.

16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned.”

This is our mission manifesto, and we go forth with the promise of Jesus’ personal presence and the backing of his almighty power. All the authority of heaven and earth support this mission manifesto.  A distinctly authentic Christian church is a Christ-centered, mission-driven, people-focused, community-transforming church.  The next post will cover the three key foundation building pieces to create this culture.  1) Clarify and communicate vision and values, 2) Discern and address the spiritual hurdles, and 3) Commit to multiplication in every area of your church’s ministry.

[1] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 65). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

 

Other posts in this series on Church Planting:

https://revheadpin.org/2017/12/19/the-fear-factor-in-creating-a-church-multiplication-movement/