LARN Update | Steve Williamson

  /  Carla Vaca.

Leading a Reproducing Network (LARN) is a premier coaching opportunity for leaders of influence interested in starting and leading a reproducing network of churches. 

The goal of the training is to help leaders start new, reproducing networks of churches. To do this, we want to help you grow in your understanding of movements while providing you practical insights on how to lead one. 

NewThing provides content while working alongside each church to create a specific Action Plan for its context.

Being a part of LARN over this past year was a catalyzing experience for our team. The Ferguson brothers have a gift for holding together the theoretical/big picture inone hand, and the nitty gritty practical in the other. We came away with entire models for multiplication that were transformative for us. We also came away with goal-oriented, measurable processes that helped us move from dreaming about multiplication to accomplishing it. LARN created the space for our team to dream outside the whirlwind of living Sunday to Sunday, it provided examples of those who are further down the road then us, and gave us monthly accountability and training -- all of this was extremely valuable. And as no small bonus, we developed Gospel friendships with Kingdom-minded partners on a national and international level.

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Reproducing Networks | Chris Hankins

  /  Carla Vaca.

In 2009, I (Chris Hankins) did a one year New Thing Leadership Residency at Lifepointe Church, a reproducing New Thing Church in Raleigh, before we planted The Point Church in September, 2010. NewThing  is a catalyst for movements of reproducing churches around the world. My NewThing Leadership Residency was a crucial component in preparing me to plant a new church and even more importantly, it instilled a heart for reproducing into our church’s DNA. New Thing also provided me with key relationships with other churches who had already caught the vision for reproducing to be a “Church Planting Church” and were doing it more quickly than I had ever dreamed. I met multiple New Thing church pastors who were reproducing their second location after only two years and it showed us that rapid reproduction was not only a great dream but also possible!

It was through our residency and relationships within NewThing that God gave us the God sized vision to plant 30 Point Churches in the Triangle area of NC within our first 15 years. We shared this vision of reproducing with our launch team before we ever had our first worship service. The Point Church’s first experience in reproducing came when we were only 18 months old and sent out 50 of our core people as missionaries to the town of Apex, NC and we have never looked back. Currently we have planted or replanted 7 churches (5 English & 2 Spanish) in the last 6 years and we have leadership residents in place to plant 3 more in the next 18 months.

Also, from the beginning of The Point Church, we have been a part of a NewThing Network of churches. After a few years of being involved in this network, my Network Leader, Donnie Williams began apprenticing me as a Network Leader and in June 2015, I was invited to attend Network Leader Training with New Thing to start a brand-new network of reproducing churches in NC.

We began holding our first Network Meetings in the beginning of 2016 and at our last network meeting in November 2016 we had 13 pastors present and 5 churches who have officially joined our local network and committed to working together to reproduce churches across NC. Our local network is also currently supporting 3 new church plants that will all launch in the next 3 months through prayer, finances, coaching, and sending people. Finally, I have identified a leader from one of the other NewThing Churches to be my network leader apprentice and take over leading our existing network so that I can start a second network in 2017.

Below are 8 practical steps that I recently shared at Exponential Regional in Washington, DC ( to help you to start and reproduce your own network of reproducing churches.

1. Be Connected – If you want to start a network of reproducing churches the best place to start is by getting connected. It was through being in a network of reproducing churches that I first caught the bug to start a network of reproducing churches. If you aren’t in a network, I suggest you get in a network. Go to find a network near you!

2. Be Apprenticed – If you are interested in leading a network of reproducing churches talk with your Network Leader about being apprenticing you to lead a new network. If you can’t

find a network to be apprenticed in, another option is to go through a LARN (leading a reproducing network) cohort. Leading a Reproducing Network (LARN) is a premier coaching opportunity for leaders of influence interested in starting and leading a reproducing network of churches. Find out more at

3. Be Launched – The next step is to take the plunge and start your own network. It might sound simple but New Thing gave me a title and permission. Having my former Network Leader coaching me and the training and approval of New Thing gave me the confidence to step out in faith to start something new.

4. Be a Dreamer – If you weren’t a little bit of a dreamer you probably wouldn’t be thinking about starting a new network of reproducing churches in the first place. However, one thing that I have found to be important is to have a clear dream to invite people to be a part of. For example, our network is a part of a movement of networks in North Carolina seeking to plant 100 churches in 10 years. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and pastors are not different!

5. Be Relational – During my Network Leader Training, New Thing Movement Leader, Dan Southerland ( shared his decision to tithe his time to building their reproducing network in Kansas City and the difference it had made. Inspired by his example and with the blessing of our directional elders, I made the decision to spend 4 hours of my 40-hour work week investing in area pastors and helping them catch the dream of being a church planting church. Nothing has made a bigger difference in building our reproducing network than intentionally spending face to face time with area pastors each week. Also, don’t forget to devote yourself to prayer with the time you set aside. Pray weekly for the pastors you are building relationships with and the churches they lead!

6. Be a Doer – Most church planters are naturally high D leaders. They are driven and task oriented. Nothing drives me crazier than getting together in a group with no purpose and no task to accomplish. While having, a vision is important, it is also just as important to take some quick action to put flesh on the vision. For example, in our first year our network partnered with three new church planters with prayer, finances, people, and coaching. We were not able to give a lot of money or send a ton of people but it showed that were not all talk. By making the decision to reproduce quickly, we showed that our network was going to actually be about reproducing! Each month at our gathering we intentionally have a church planter share their vision for their new church so that we keep our reproducing focus clear and give churches plenty of opportunities to partner in reproducing.

7. Be a Trainer – The vision for our Carolina Movement is to plant 100 churches in our area in 10 years. A vision like this will be impossible unless we get a bunch of churches involved in reproducing. It would simply be impossible for me to be relational and invest in that many pastors, churches, and church planters. However, if we had 20 network leaders investing in 5 other reproducing church leaders then this goal would be easily achievable! Therefore, from the beginning of our network I have been praying for, identifying, and investing in a network leader apprentice. My goal is that within the next year he will go through Network Leader Training and be fully equipped to lead his own Newthing Reproducing Network.

8. Be a Releaser – Once your network leader apprentice is fully trained, it is time to fully bless and release them to lead their own reproducing network. In our situation, I will likely step aside and allow my apprentice to lead our current network so that I can in turn start a new network in a different area. Once your apprentice is released to lead a network it is important to continue to make sure they are being coached and invested in either by yourself or your movement leader. 

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Catalyst Communities | Tom McGehee

  /  Carla Vaca.

Collaboration is a concept, a network is a structure, and a movement is result.

Many pastors today are talking about movements, and many churches and ministries today are participating in, or trying to operate through networks. However, success will only be achieved if they understand and fully embrace real collaboration. Collaboration is not connection, nor is it coordination, nor even cooperation. Each of those concepts focus on the addition of elements, where real collaboration results in multiplication. Simply put, collaboration is the ability of multiple entities to do more together than any one of them could achieve by themselves.

Networks are a structure that enables collaboration for two main reasons:

First, a network’s strength is in the sum of its parts, not any individual part. Success is shared by all and conversely If any part of a network suffers the entire network's ability is downgraded.
Second, networks are poly-centric and based upon “centered set” thinking rather than “bounded set” thinking. Centered set thinking establishes a core set of values, principles or agreements, and allows a multitude of expressions as long as they align with the core thinking. Bounded sets create specific limits that define operational and organizational models, and even culture. Bounded sets grow by replication within a standard pattern (consider a fast food franchise), whereas centered sets grow through innovation in a similar direction. 

If you desire real collaboration and greater impact through network participation, there are several questions you should consider:

How well do you collaborate internally? If your church operates in silos, or only though programs, then trying to operate differently with another church or organization outside your church will never really fit. It will always have to be treated differently, be seen as additional effort, and take additional time to manage. Churches, like any organization, each have their own culture. I’m not talking about theology or denomination, but rather the way things get done. Working with other organizations (like members of a network) may seem like a good strategy, but if it doesn’t fit with the operating culture of your church it won’t work. Remember the old saying “culture eats strategy for lunch”?

How do you measure success? Collaboration is about the multiplied power of the whole, not just the increase of each of its parts. Many today talk of “Kingdom impact”. But, do the metrics you use measure impact of the whole, or mostly of yourself? Metrics are the most powerful behavior lever. ‘You get what you measure” as the saying goes.
How do you define risk? If collaboration multiplies impact, then it also has an associated collective risk.

What is the view of time? There is an African saying “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

How you answer these questions may help you understand how well your church is positioned for collaboration. This can be difficult for many churches due to their current operating model or culture. For example, the traditional US mega-church is the antithesis of collaboration. It is focused on its own impact through its own growth, and in its own way. It is a “one stop shop”
for all things pertaining to evangelism and Christian growth.

By definition a movement incorporates both the concept of collaboration and a network structure. Movements multiply impact and develop in a non-centralized way. So, if you want to see movement, you need to be comfortable in operating within a network structure, and that requires that you both understand and embrace true collaboration.

NewThing is a great example of a centered set network with a truly global vision. As such they are very well positioned to help create church planting movements. For over two decades I have worked with organizations to provide a process of collaboration to help them achieve greater results. Through partnership with NewThing, we have created “Catalyst Communities”, a scalable collaborative approach to help launch networks that lead to movements.

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NewThing Partnering with Compassion

  /  Carla Vaca.

Compassion plants new churches across the globe by partnering with U.S. church planting networks and denominations and with indigenous networks abroad.

We work directly with an established local church partner that is implementing Compassion’s program. When the church has the vision and capacity to plant a daughter church, it will serve as a mentor and guide for the new church staff.

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The Unseen Power of Relationships | Dave Ferguson

  /  Carla Vaca.

I loved coaching my boy’s baseball teams. One of my favorite seasons was when I was the assistant coach to my friend Red. He loved coaching baseball, and he did a great job. Red had been doing it for over twenty years. But Red had another love in addition to baseball. Birds. Oftentimes he would stop a practice and say, “Hey, boys, do you see that bird over there? It’s a common grackle.” Or he would point out a flock of Canada geese, make us all listen to them, and then tell us some interesting fact. I learned a lot about baseball, birds and relationships from my Coach Red.

One interesting fact I learned from Coach Red was why geese fly in a V-formation. Have you ever noticed that V? God had a good reason for including that as part of their instinctual behavior. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the other birds behind them. Scientists tell us that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock is able to fly much farther than they could on their own, at least 71 percent more compared to a single bird. By moving together they created an unseen power.

What Coach Red was describing was the unseen power of relationships. Just like geese, when leaders come together and move in a common direction, there is an unseen power at work that allows them to get more done with less work than if they’d tried going it alone.

Now, if we were to ask one of these geese flying in a V-formation, “What is it that you are doing that has led you to fly so fast with such ease?” The goose might say, “I just flap my wings really hard.” And that would certainly be true. But what the goose might not be aware of is the invisible relational dynamic at work among the larger flock—the hidden power that allows him to fly farther as he travels with other geese in a unified formation.

Over the years I have seen this same kind of unseen power in the networks of NewThing. When leaders come together and move in the same direction the unseen power of God’s Spirit is at work. They are able to start more churches, raise more money, and attract higher caliber leaders than they ever could on their own. Like geese flying in a V-formation they are experiencing the added blessing of a larger movement of relationships. Being a part of a network within NewThing allows us to get where God is leading us more quickly and easily than we could on our own. Jesus explained it this way, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).  

That is the unseen power of relationships.

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New Church Plant | David Washington

  /  Carla Vaca.

On September 11, 2016 we officially launched our weekly worship services for Kingdom Covenant Church in Chicago. We launched from Curtis School of Excellence located in the Roseland Community on the far South Side of Chicago. It has been a two year process preparing to serve a very under resourced community. We chose to launch on September 11th because we believe our community is in a state of emergency. The message for the service came from Amos 9:11 (nine one one). Where God through the prophet Amos speaks about restoring His people so that they could possess Edom with its Gentiles (those who were outside of God's covenant people). We believe God is restoring the church to be missional and reach those who are far away. This is what our church is all about, allowing God to restore us and in turn use us to restore the world around us. Through the service, prayers,and support of many believers we launched with an attendance of 167 and saw four people come to the altar to give their lives to Jesus Christ. What an awesome start to the work God has called us to! 

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