5 Tensions In Becoming a Multiplying Church | Dave Ferguson

  /  Carla Vaca.

'Over the last couple years I have been a part of extensive research regarding churches in North America and what it takes to become a multiplying church.  Much of those findings and insights are in a field guide by Todd Wilson and myself, How To Become A Level 5 Multiplying Church.  What we discovered is that a multiplying church will deal effectively with the following five tensions:

1.    Proximity: Here vs. There

Churches will constantly be drawn to return to here. But churches that are focused on multiplying need to have their eyes set on the next site and the next church plant – which is out there. To create a movement of multiplication, church leaders will make a impact here while having a vision for there. 

Multiplying Church Question: What is your church's vision for not just here, but going there?

2.    Priority: Grow vs. Send

Multiplying churches will live in the tension of prioritizing both growing their church and also sending people out to start new works.  Instead of only optimizing systems to develop leaders for your programs and ministries; multiplying churches will create development strategies to send leaders out. Does your church have excellence in its leadership development program? In what ways is your church growing leaders to send them out?

Multiplying Church Question: What is one step that your church could take toward sending leaders out?

3.    Place: Build vs. Plant

Lyle Schaller once told me, “The most overlooked aspect of new church development is the importance of place.” Place matters, and buildings can help. But they can be a huge hindrance too.  If you want to be a multiplying church you’ll need to live with the tension of building church facilities and planting new churches. Multiplying churches will put as much time into their multiplication strategy as their church facility strategy. 

Multiplying Church Question: How can your existing and new facilities be used in your strategy for multiplication?

4.    Provision: Financial security vs. financial uncertainty

Jesus says in Luke 14 that we need to “count the cost” of following Him. If we are going to be multiplying churches we must recognize that there are very real costs and financial risks involved.  Without a strong conviction about movement making we will always gravitate toward financial security. Each church must decide what percentage of their budget will be spent on church planting and cast vision for why your church invests in multiplication. 

Multiplying Church Question: Is your church willing to tithe toward church planting?

5.    Personal plan: Relax vs. Risk

As churches leaders mature and gain influence they will face the tension of relaxing or continue to take risks. It’s in the second decade of leadership and beyond that you have more experience, access to resources and relationships to tap. More than ever during this season you can leverage all your leadership for movement making and multiplication.

Multiplying Church Question: Is this the time to relax, or is it time to leverage all of this leadership capital for movement making and Kingdom gain?

How a church manages and resolves these five tensions will determine if they will become the rare and exceptional multiplying church.

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Network in Columbus Ohio | Sean Spoelstra

  /  Carla Vaca. Source.

Last August I was part of the turbo training for Network leaders up at 2/42.  One of my dreams that came out of that training was gathering church planters all across the Greater Columbus area for relationship, encouragement, to build trust and possibly see collaboration in planting churches.  I was so inspired by what I had heard Troy and Dan do in Kansas City and wondered if God might use me to do the same in Columbus.

Once I got back from the training I sent out an e-mail to as many planters as I could think of (approx. 25) inviting them to a monthly gathering.  This was my goal as the group got to know each other:

First, to provide a space where relational connections could be made.  (Relationship + Trust = Collaboration). It started in September with just a handful of us meeting monthly in a Panera community room.  Planters sharing their stories, concerns and joys.
Then, we began to discuss best practices and brought in guest speakers to add value to their ministries. 
Finally, a date night that would blow their socks off!  Purposely being extravagant to bless, encourage and re-energize them and their teammates. 

Three months ago I reached out to the NewThing Catalyst Team to see if one of them might find time to come to Columbus to be a guest speaker at the monthly gathering of planters.  Then the idea of this date night for planters came to me and whoever was to come from NewThing would be part of that as well.

On the relational foundation of eight months of gatherings, last Wed. Apr. 6 from 6:00-9:00pm we had our "date night" for church planters their spouses and core leadership teams. 100 people from 14 different churches joi together for this fun and spiritually enriching evenin at one of Columbus' coolest locations for events: The Venue at Dock580

The night was designed to bless, encourage and re-energize those who came by providing an extravagant event that would foster connection.

The night began with couples having their picture taken by a professional photographer as a keepsake for the evening.  Then as they entered the Dock580 Venue, a live band filled the air with fun music that set the tone for the night. Once they received a name tag there were hors d'oeuvres and drinks for them to enjoy as they met new planters or caught up with old friends. 

I then welcomed everyone, cast vision for our time together and prayed for the meal. I asked that they continue to get to know each other around their tables by telling their individual church planting stories. 

Later I introduced my wife Melissa as our first speaker who was to answer the question, "How I survived being married to a church planter". (My mentor, Tyler Flynn suggested the topic and that Melissa be one of the speakers knowing there were so many ladies in the room). Her message was very well received. Then Mark Artrip, pastor of Movement Church in Hilliard gave away some books and a free registration to the Exponential Conference. e also pointed out materials on the tables promoting the One Night Columbus worship event and a few other things. Mark then introduced our next speaker, Patric O'Connell, director of NewThing.  H cast great vision for we as planters to reach the city of Columbus for Christ in a spirit of collaboration and unity.  

Tyler Flynn, of Mission Columbus, tied the evening together and like a father in the faith, expressed that it is now this generations mission to bring the Gospel to the lost. He asked that everyone pray at their tables in groups of two or three for each other and our city. 

By all accounts the evening was a great success!  From the food, drinks, entertainment, speakers and location--these church planters were spoiled. I believe a true spirit of unity was created and that the stage is set for God to do something great through these men and women here in Columbus, Ohio. 

As we remain humble and teachable but also intentional about the Jesus Mission, I believe many will find their way back to God.

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What Leadership Residency is and isn't | Eric Metcalf

  /  Carla Vaca.

What Leadership Residency Is and Isn’t:

A Leadership Residency Is…

High-level Access: Access to budget meetings, leadership meetings, brainstorming meetings and tough decision-making meetings.
Pragmatic: Practical ministry experience that includes apprenticing in a small group, leading a group and then reproducing that group. (at COMMUNITY, all areas of ministry benefit from small group leadership principles)
Sending: Every Leadership Resident is given the opportunity to be sent well by a church where he/she does the Residency. In almost every case, sending churches will support a Leadership Resident with generosity, support and prayer.
Fun: We are not going to have someone trade his/her life for something slow and predictable. A Leadership Residency stretches your schedule, your mind, your dreams—and you are going to have a lot of fun getting there.
Clear: Someone who has committed to a Leadership Residency should know why there are doing it. Defining your timeline and where you are going to plant is essential.

A Leadership Residency IS NOT...

An Internship: Leadership Residents are not interns that get all the jobs that no one else wants to do. They are there to be stretched through high-level experiences, decision-making and leadership. They work closely with their staff person.
Theory-only: NewThing believes in education, however, a Leadership Residency is about putting the education you have already received into practice.
Lonely: A Leadership Residency is based upon a communitas-model, where trust + mission = a shared life with people committed to the Jesus Mission. We are in this together.
Boring: If it’s boring, then something is missing. We are trying to create room for someone to grow, ask questions, and stretch themselves before they plant. Boring is not an option.
Fuzzy: We want to be sure that a Leadership Residency is not about job placement or some type of generic leadership-development experience. We avoid bringing someone into the Leadership Residency if they do not have any idea where God is calling him or her. A Leadership Residency should serve as a valuable process to help accomplish the call God has already placed on your life.
At NewThing, we believe a Leadership Residency is the key factor in seeing a reproducing church movement in our lifetime.

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NEW Network in Norway | Øystein Gjerme

  /  Carla Vaca.

I met Dave Ferguson over a bowl of Spaghetti in Norway a number of years back. He kept talking about movements during our meal. His passion for the Mission of Jesus and the reinvention of church caught my attention, and lead me to read the Exponential book. The book gave language to a number of convictions that I have been carrying in ministry, and I understood that this is a voice worth paying attention to! My closest associates at our church also fell in love with this philosophy of ministry, and we have been greatly impacted by the teaching we have received ever since.

We were invited to be a part of the LARN cohort (Leaders of Reproducing Networks) during the fall of 2014, and did not need any time to consider. It was an honor, and it has helped us greatly. The Action Learning Plans that we created during that year has become the blueprint for the work that we now have in progress. The timing could not have been better, as we truly feel that NewThing helps us lead a reproducing network. We are so blessed to be a part of this.

What we love about NewThing Network is that it challenges us to be reproducing. Even before we planted our church in 2004, we set out to be a church-planting movement, not knowing how to go about it. By being a part of NewThing we are connected to people who have walked this road before, and who are willing to share their insights. This propels us into the calling we feel God has put on our ministry.

We also love NewThing because it is at the forefront of imagining and innovation in regards to what has not yet been done in church planting. The collaborative culture gives everyone a voice to share, at the same time as it is effective in detecting and promoting best practices.  

But most of all, we love NewThing because it gives glory to the One who does the NewThing. The leadership of the network is the real deal, and continually reminds us of the sense of calling and mandate that drives them to keep on moving forward. We love being a part of this, and expect that the best is still ahead!

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Leadership Pipeline | Dave Clayton & Aaron Etheridge

  /  Carla Vaca.

5 PRINCIPLES TO STARTING & SUSTAINING A LEADERSHIP PIPELINE As a church begins to experience the joy of multiplication, a pipeline for developing leaders becomes a necessity.

Without a leadership pipeline, the joy of multiplication will soon be overtaken by the pain and stress of a leadership gap — that moment when you realize your church growth and multiplication has outpaced your leadership development and multiplication. What follows are five guiding principles for starting and sustaining a leadership pipeline.

1. KNOW THE GOAL As a wise animated figure once stated, “Knowing is half the battle.” Before you begin to develop your pipeline, you need to know the destination that you are trying to reach. Key questions to ask in order to discern your end goal include: What is the vision? How many leaders do you need to accomplish the vision? What kind of leaders do you need to accomplish the vision? We know that the goal of our pipeline is to discover, develop, and deploy disciple making church planters so that we can plant churches in 40 global gateway cities, among young adults. Knowing that goal helps us recruit leaders as well as create teachings & learning experiences. If the goal is not clear to you, you will work in default mode, getting the same results that you’ve always gotten.

2. AIM YOUNGER, NOT LOWER (WHERE WILL WE FIND THE LEADERS?) We look at recruiting leaders a lot like high school football. In the NFL, everyone is after the star so players get shuffled around. In NCAA football, coaches develop their program and try to recruit talented upcoming athletes to plug in. In high school, you work with what you’ve got. When possible, we look for leaders from within. Because our church is very young, it often means we are raising up very young leaders. Most churches wouldn’t hire our leaders, but we get the joy of walking with them and developing them from the ground up (Discover, Develop). Then we do it all over again because these young leaders go to expand the Kingdom (Deploy).

3. SLOW IS THE NEW FAST (HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?) Our leaders need to be developed in the areas of character and competency. Competency can be trained at a weekend training event, but character takes time…lots of time. So we embrace a slower discipleship process of developing leaders.

4. LET THEM PLAY Millennial leaders bring a lot of talent to the table, so it shouldn’t surprise us that they want a place at the table. We encourage you to led your emerging leaders actually lead. The classroom should lead to the playground. Ask yourself, “What can they do before they are fully ready?” Will you allow to lead small groups, preach or start new things?

5. SIMPLE, RELATIONAL, REPEATABLE How will you know if your pipeline is working? Easy, does it reproduce itself. It will if it’s simple, relational & repeatable. Simple — Give them something they can imitate so that they can innovate with it. Keep it simple! Relational — All of our learning is done in community. Repeatable — When your leaders begin to replicate your training in others, you know that it has worked.

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NEW Network in Michigan | Tom Elenbaas

  /  Carla Vaca.

Sometimes you just know when you’re home. That’s what I felt when Harbor Churches became a part of NewThing. Before attending a NewThing gathering, I often tell staff who are attending for the first time, “These are our people.” Inevitably, after the gathering, I hear something in return: “Hey Tom; that was great. These are our kind of people.” Like I said, sometimes you just know when you’re home.
One of the most important things in the American church today is being a part of communities of like-minded people who share the same passions, drives, and values. When you’re giving your life for something, it’s important to be around other people who are giving their lives for the same things. Helping people find their way back to God… now that’s worth giving your life for – together.
So, one of the things I love most about NewThing is the ongoing passion and commitment to the real work of seeing people’s lives changed because of a transformative relationship with God.  And not only that, I love that NewThing is thinking both macro and micro. When one person comes to Jesus, all of heaven rejoices, so we begin to imagine together what would happen if we locked arms and created capacity – churches planting churches, networks of churches, movements of churches, and global partnerships. I love that at NewThing we never forget the importance of one person finding their way back to God while also dreaming of ways to help as many people as possible find their way.
Although I’ve been learning from the Fergusons', Community Christian, and now NewThing for many years, Harbor Churches has now been in a network with NewThing for about 3 years, and we have been blessed. We are learning more every day and are humbled to be a part of new things God is doing not only here in North America, but also around the globe. We’ve been challenged by peer accountability, resourced with best practices, and encouraged to take risks for the gospel. We’ve developed new relationships with people in churches as close as Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, and Kansas City and as far away as the Philippines, Scotland, Norway, and Nicaragua. Whether it’s at Exponential, the Yellow Box, at BB Kings, or over a video call it feels like gathering with family and being at home with people who care about the same thing – seeing people come to Jesus.
Relationships matter. Reproduction matters. Residencies matter. And resources matter. We became a part of NewThing because we knew it would stretch us in the right directions, and that has proven true time and time again. Sometimes you just know when you’re home.

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