Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Inspiring a Movement

Without getting into the difference between a movement and a church or denomination, the most exciting times of my life in ministry were when the movement I was in caught on fire with passion, vision, and inspiration.

What does it take to inspire a movement?

During my years of pastoring, I tried to take the church leadership on a retreat each year to just hang out and think strategically about our vision, mission, goals, objectives, and review our direction. We always had a lot of fun; but during the fun we talked a lot about this question: "What will it take to inspire our movement?" Everyone had their opinions.

Now that I am working with local churches abroad, and some movements, I ponder the same question. How do we inspire a movement?

Out of my experience and work with various church leadership teams, emerged at least five components.

SHARED DREAM - God has a dream for all people to find their way back to Him. That should be our dream too! Jesus articulated that dream in Acts 1:8 when he said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." What if we began to dream and strategically think about impacting 1 billion people. 1 billion is 17% of the world’s population. 17% is an almost magical number because it is a tipping point for changing any size group. So, if we can reach 17% of the world, we believe God’s dream for this planet will be fulfilled! For this dream to be fulfilled it will take millions of new church planters; at least two hundred thousand network leaders and a couple thousand movement leaders. I know these seem like just big numbers, and somewhat overwhelming – but it always starts with a dream.

COMMON IDEOLOGY - Our dream comes from Jesus (Acts 1:8), and our ideology comes from the Apostle Paul. Paul is explaining to a young church planter, Timothy how to accomplish this big dream and he says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (II Timothy 2:2). He explains that the strategy to accomplish Jesus' big dream is to start small and continually reproduce. Paul lays out multiple generations of reproduction: 1st generation: Paul to Timothy. 2nd generation: Timothy to reliable men. 3rd generation: reliable men to others. So the common ideology we share is helping people find their way back to God by reproducing at all levels.

APOSTOLIC LEADERSHIP - Like Paul, it will be apostolic leaders that will start new communities of Christ followers and pass along the values that bring about a movement of reproducing churches. There are three primary functions of an apostolic leader. The apostolic leader will create and empower others to create new communities of Christ followers. The apostolic leader will embed the ideology and values of the gospel into these new communities of Christ followers. The apostolic leader will guard the ideology and values of the gospel in these new communities of Christ followers.

GENUINE COMMUNITY - These communities of Christ followers will not be merely lifestyle enclaves that exist to further the betterment of the life of the community and their own lives. These communities will be “communitas” (community with a cause); a coming together of Christ followers who are willing to trade their life to accomplish the dream of God by following Jesus.

DECENTRALIZED REPRODUCTION - Jesus' dream was not about staying in Jerusalem; it was about going to “the ends of the earth." Paul’s ideology was not about keeping the gospel for yourself, but reproducing it over and over and over again in others. The dream and the ideology demand decentralized reproduction of genuine community led by apostolic leaders.

[Based on an article by Dave Ferguson]