'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.