Sunday, February 24, 2008

Church-Planting Movements Need Four Things to be Successful

  1. A Common Ideology - Our mission is the "Great Commission." This movement was built on that mission. Have we remained a movement, or have we become institutionalized? Do we still have a vision for reproductive? Has every pastor been challenged to be about the biblical (2 Timothy 2:2) vision of reproducing? Have we truly focused on reproducing: Leaders (it takes leaders to reproduce small groups), Artists (it takes artists to reproduce large gatherings), small groups, congregations (celebration services), campuses, and churches? Do we provide equipping and accountability to reproduce? While the church must be about helping people find their way back to God and developing Christ-followers who celebrate, connect, and contribute, what will draw us together and move us forward is our vision for reproducing.
  2. Apostolic Leadership - I had a seminary professor very hip on this idea. I claim no expertise on defining or identifying contemporary apostolic leadership, but I do know what Scripture teaches. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . .” Apostolic leadership is at the heart of new movements of God. Movements require the kind of leadership that is willing to pick up and start all over again ... again and again, the kind of leadership that values the edge over the center, the new over the established. It’s the kind of leadership that inspires people to do what only God can do through them. I know it is not easy, believe me. Not all old established churches are willing to make the transition. But, we are praying and seeking God for those kind of leaders.
  3. A Reproducing Network - In order to accomplish this New Testament mandate, the church structure may have to become more of a network. In other words, strong churches helping weak churches, large churches reproducing themselves by starting a new mission in the next town and mothering that new mission or those new missions for the long term - a cluster of churches led by the mother church. These clusters would be led by lead pastors from churches that have a history of reproducing as well as a vision for continuing to reproduce. These networks might follow basic principles of small group multiplication. Each Apostolic Network Leader would identify an apprentice who he equips and eventually releases to launch a new network. These networks also provide peer coaching, the opportunity and accountability for reproducing congregations, campuses, and new churches.
  4. Regular Gatherings - Leaders must gather more often. It may not be an expensive gathering, but leaders must reconnect. These gatherings must be a great opportunity to be reminded of why we’re in this together, what God is up to, and how we can continue to catalyze this movement of reproducing churches. These gatherings must provide the relational glue that holds us together and gives everyone a glimpse of what God is doing and how each of us is contributing to something much more that we ever imagined possible.

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