The 3-Step Formula for Multiplication

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  2 Timothy 2:2

What qualifies someone to teach others? Advanced biblical training?  Theological degrees? Titles?

Anyone can teach.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13

One of the major reasons why we are not seeing multiplication in our churches is because we are teaching people to do what we think they need to do instead of what we ourselves are doing.

STEP 1: Figure Out What You Are Doing

Recently, in an effort to equip our preachers to write sermon series, I had to sit down and figure out the process I followed to write sermon series.  Something I had been doing for years needed to be translated so that someone else could do what I had been doing.  That is, if I wanted to share the wealth.

STEP 2: Name It

Put down the process in terms that someone can understand.

STEP 3: Share It

Give it away.  Paul tells young Timothy to “entrust it” to reliable people.  Let others try.  Show them what you wrote down.  Better yet, show them, let them watch you.  Then, let them try, and you watch.

Here’s the thing I’m learning about multiplication:  everything can be taught using this 3-step Formula.

Here’s a rapid-fire-off-the-top-of-my-head list:  Managing finances (at church and at home), praying out loud, having a “quiet time”, engaging in conversations with strangers, riding a bike, choosing healthy foods at the grocery store, exercising, setting the table (at church and at home), cleaning up after dinner (at church and at home), reading the Bible, preaching, teaching, running a backyard VBS, video editing, worship leading, being able to recognize how God is working, prayer walking, serving in the community, sales, cooking…

Now, an assignment:  Name one area in your leadership (at church or at home) today that you would like to give away/ share with someone else.  Once you’ve identified it, try out the three step formula.

1) Figure out what you are doing.

2) Name it.

3) Share it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Dangers of Unaligned Small Groups

The first time I encountered this issue was in a church consultation nearly twenty years ago. I asked the pastor to tell me what was being taught in the church’s small groups. He seemed to be nonplused in his response: “I have no idea.”  I was taken aback.

I tried a different approach. “Tell me,” I said, “how the church decides what will be taught in the small groups.” Again, I was unprepared for his response: “The church leaders have no input into what small groups teach,” he said. “We let every class decide on its own. We don’t want to be like dictators telling them what they have to do. They decide according to what’s best in their own eyes.”

So, I continued, “I guess you let anybody teach or preach anything from the pulpit on Sunday mornings?”

“Of course not,” he said with some indignation. “We are very strict about the Sunday morning preaching. If I’m not teaching, then we have someone who is closely aligned to where we are going and what we believe.”

He did not get my attempt to connect the approach of the small groups with that of the Sunday morning teaching and preaching. How can you be so concerned about one and so nonchalant about the other?

Over the years I have been surprised to find out how many church leaders have a laissez faire attitude about what is being taught in small groups and Sunday school classes. Allow me to share five dangers of this unaligned, “anything goes” approach.

  1. Because preaching is held to a higher standard, the perception becomes that the small group teaching is just not that important. The reality is that most small groups or Sunday school classes spend more time in their groups than the time they take to listen to a sermon.
  2. The vision of the church could be distracted or derailed. When the preaching and small group teaching are not aligned, the small groups can become alternative little churches with their own vision and priorities. Unfortunately, I have seen this reality a number of times.
  3. It opens the door for heretical teaching. I know of one church that gave no thought to the content of the teaching in the small groups. They would soon discover that one group was studying a book that denied the deity of Christ.
  4. It takes away from the unity of the church. The preaching is headed in one direction. The small group teaching is headed in another direction, or multiple directions. There is no unity in what the church is learning or how the members are growing spiritually.
  5. It does not allow for strategic teaching. Indeed, the contrary may be true. The teaching in the small groups can negate the strategic intent of the preaching plan of the pastor.

Leaders in churches need not be autocratic in their desire to get small group teaching aligned with the ministry of the church. It can and should be a mutually agreed upon goal to move people toward greater maturity in Christ with clear and known material.

Indeed many churches are now moving to a uniform curriculum across all ages in all small groups and Sunday school classes. I see this development as a healthy trend. The leaders are making a statement that what is taught in every group is vitally important for the spiritual health of the members and for the church as a whole.

How does your church decide what is taught in its small groups or Sunday school classes? How would you evaluate its effectiveness?

Read more from Thom here.


Would you like to learn more about small groups and/or a disciplemaking process? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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COMMENTS

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Bishop Q — 11/10/15 12:26 am

Excellent insights. I have experienced the heretical teachings in small groups debacle. It nearly split the church!

pastorwillrice — 12/30/14 8:21 am

Great piece Thom! I have found it really challenging in the mainline church to try and move to a uniform curriculum. There is much resistance to changing the culture and it as seen as "telling us what to do." I think it is possible, it is just a long process of negotiation and an attempt to get people to see the value. I have seen new church starts have a great advantage here. If they begin with unity in their small group teaching, it can become part of their DNA.

Ralph Graves — 12/23/14 1:41 pm

Having planted 8 years ago, I've kind of shy'ed away from small groups. I might add to these 5 reasons a 6th reason. "Cliques" will form quickly in the body. And that's another headache altogether. God Bless.

Ro'i Steiner — 08/14/13 12:16 pm

You didn't define what "unaligned" is. Small groups can be totally aligned , and need to be, with their church doctrinally and still talk about and emphasize anything they choose. Having a group that meets to talk about business , lets say, can be aligned with the church doctrinally but not discuss the last sermon. Would you say that a group like this is "unaligned" ?

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Every Leader’s 3-Step Formula for Multiplication

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.  2 Timothy 2:2

What qualifies someone to teach others?

Advanced biblical training?   Theological degrees?  Titles?

Anyone can teach.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  Acts 4:13

One of the major reasons why we are not seeing multiplication in our churches is because we are teaching people to do what we think they need to do instead of what we ourselves are doing.

3-step Formula for Multiplication

> Figure Out What You Are Doing

Recently, in an effort to equip our preachers to write sermon series, I had to sit down and figure out the process I followed to write sermon series.  Something I had been doing for years needed to be translated so that someone else could do what I had been doing.  That is, if I wanted to share the wealth.

> Name It

Put down the process in terms that someone can understand.

> Share It

Give it away.  Paul tells young Timothy to “entrust it” to reliable people.  Let others try.  Show them what you wrote down.  Better yet, show them, let them watch you.  Then, let them try, and you watch.

Here’s the thing I’m learning about multiplication:  everything can be taught using this 3-step Formula.

Here’s a rapid-fire-off-the-top-of-my-head list:

  • Managing finances (at church and at home)
  • Praying out loud, having a “quiet time”
  • Engaging in conversations with strangers
  • Riding a bike
  • Choosing healthy foods at the grocery store
  • Exercising
  • Setting the table (at church and at home)
  • Cleaning up after dinner (at church and at home)
  • Reading the Bible
  • Preaching
  • Teaching
  • Running a backyard VBS
  • Video editing
  • Worship leading
  • Being able to recognize how God is working
  • Prayer walking
  • Serving in the community
  • Sales
  • Cooking…

Here’s an assignment:  Name one area in your leadership (at church or at home) today that you would like to give away/ share with someone else.

Once you’ve identified it, try out the three step formula.  

1) Figure out what you are doing.  

2) Name it.  

3) Share it.

> Read more from Jeff.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Importance of Movement in Your Ministry

Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Movement is about flow. It is about assimilation.

Movement is what causes a person to go to the next step.

Movement is the most difficult simple church element to understand; therefore, an illustration is in order.

In a relay race the most important part of the race are the handoffs. Four runners are on the same team, and each runner’s speed is crucial but not nearly as crucial as the handoffs. Relay races are won or lost at the handoffs.

Sometimes the teams with the best runners lose, and teams with the best handoffs win. You have seen it. A team is out in the lead, and then someone drops the baton during a handoff. And the team loses.

The handoffs are that important.

Movement is about the handoffs. Movement is what happens in between the programs. Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment. How a church moves someone from a worship service to a small group is movement. How a church is designed to move a person from being an observer to being a contributor is movement.

Sadly, most churches are like poor relay teams. Instead of caring about the handoffs, they are preoccupied with the programs. They pay little attention to how people are moved to greater levels of commitment. They ignore what happens between the programs.

Simple churches pay attention to the handoffs. They have grasped the truth that assimilation effectiveness is more important than programmatic effectiveness. They know that as the flow of a process increases, so does the potential that people will progress through it. Simple church leaders design a ministry process where the programs are placed as tools along the process.

Vibrant churches have a simple process that produces movement, a process that facilitates the handoffs. The programs in these churches are tools used to promote movement. The leaders focus on what happens in between the programs as much as they do the programs.

Research confirms that movement is an essential design element in a simple church. According to the data, vibrant and growing churches have already recognized the importance of movement.

Winning teams excel in the handoffs, and so do simple churches. They are experts in designing a simple process that produces movement.

To implement the movement element, church leaders must take a fresh look at the weekly church calendar and the regularly scheduled programs. All programs must be placed in sequential order along the ministry process. This is what creates movement in a ministry process.

Read more from Eric here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Distill It Down to the Smallest Pattern

My friend is excellent at taking the complex and making it simple.  I love having her on the team because she really makes it possible to replicate.

The simpler anything is, the easier it is to repeat.  The more complex, the more difficult to pass it on.

In Chapter 11 of their book, “Missional Moves:  15 Tectonic Shifts that Transform Churches, Communities, and the World”  Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder put it this way:

“The simpler and more easily repeatable a fractal is, the harder the system is to break or destroy.”

“The more sophisticated and complex a fractal is, the harder it is to replicate, the easier it is to mutate, and the easier it is to destroy.”

What’s a fractal?  Wegner and Magruder define it this way:  “A fractal is the smallest repeatable pattern of any given system.”

It’s hard for me to think of anything that I do now naturally that didn’t begin with some simple, repeatable actions that were within my grasp to do.  Even overwhelming, “stretch me” kind of challenges began with a simple, repeatable step.

There is no movement without reproduction.  And there is no reproduction without small repeatable patterns.

In the Chapter on Adaptive Methods in Steve Addison’s book, “Movements that Change the World” Steve writes, “As the Word became flesh, Jesus fully entered into our world.  He chose to communicate and minister in ways that matched his context and were easily picked up by his disciples.  His message was profound but simple.  It was easily transmitted, shaped, and passed on by his disciples.”

He states that Adpative Methods are:

  • Sustainable-Able to reproduce without external funding
  • Flexible-Can be modified as the context changes
  • Transferable-Easily passed on to new disciples
  • Simple-Only the essentials are included
  • Functional-Effective for the purpose they were intended
  • Scaleable-Capable of multiplying without distortion
  • Reproducing-Spreads rapidly from person to person, network to network

Consider these:

Begin with prayer

Listen

Eat

Serve

Story

  • Don Everts and Doug Schaupp in their book “I Once Was Lost” articulate 5 things you should invite your friends to repeat over and over again in your discipling relationships:

Get them praying.

Get them reading Scripture.

Get them serving.

Get them to share their story.

Get them to live in community.

  • Greg Finke, the founder of Dwelling 114, encourages 5 questions as sort of a weekly check-in with those we are living in community with:

Where have you seen God this week?

What has God been teaching you in His Word?

What discussions are you having with those who are far from God?

What good can we do around here?

How can we lift each other up in prayer?

  • In our missional communities (lifeGroups) at the Church we use 4 W’s to help us:

Welcome-we share our lives with each other around food and fellowship.

Worship-we experience the presence of God and experiment with different ways of responding.

Word-the Scripture holds a sacred, central place in our gatherings.

Witness-we consider how we might bless our community and engage our friends who are far from God (impact lists).

Notice any similarities?

One of the main reasons why we are not seeing the multiplication of new believers and discipling relationships in the church in America is because we have allowed our ministries to become so complex that only a few can truly participate.  We have not done the hard work of distilling down our systems to the smallest repeatable pattern.

In my work with Auxano we call this effort of intentional integration a “Duplicatable Process”.  Anything in ministry you hope to reproduce must be broken down into simple repeatable patterns (fractals).  Only then, will there be any movement.

So, spend time considering such things.  Watch Jesus.  Discuss and discern with your leaders. Engage and employ a strategic outsider like Auxano.  Ask God for clarity.  Decide and synthesize your language.  Live it with joy to the glory of God.  And, as you do, invite others to join you and imitate you.

Read more from Jeff here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Your Church Should Think Twice Before Going Multi-Site

The multi-site revolution is the biggest thing to happen to the broader church movement in my almost 20 years of ministry. I’ve personally been involved in the launch of 12 campuses—working on 2 more as we speak!—and I’ve coached a bunch of other leaders through the process.I’ve written a lot on the multi-site movement and I’m genuinely a fan of this approach to multiplication.

However, you might want to think twice before attempting this approach to multiplication at your church. Avoid going multi-site if the following applies to your church:

  • You want to spur growth. // Going multi-site takes whatever is presently happening at your church and magnifies it. If your church is in decline, going multi-site won’t turn that around … it will probably push it further into decline. Take time to uncover why your church isn’t growing and focus on that before making the step towards multi-site. First nail it … then scale it.
  • Empty seats at prime time. // When was the last time your “prime time” service was packed to the roof? A building bursting with people provides the relational dynamics needed when casting vision for launching your services. Years ago, I heard an early multi-site pioneer say that if you didn’t have 7 weekend services at your original campus, you shouldn’t go multi-site. Although that is extreme, the core idea is correct. If you don’t have full services, it’s difficult to convince people to head to a new location.
  • Fuzziness on why people invite friends. // When launching your first campus, you’ll need to decide what to export to the new location. If there isn’t organizational clarity on what is most important, it will be difficult to make that transition smoothly. It doesn’t matter as much what leaders think needs to be exported—it matters what people in the church think is great about your church. Work hard to replicate that well.
  • Leaders who don’t build systems. // There are some church leaders who look down on documentation and repeatable processes because they see them as less spiritual. Those leaders have a harder time making the transition to multi-site because the entire ministry is built on systems. You need people in your leadership who can care for people through structuring a nurturing environment and not just by meeting one on one with people. Leaders need to be able to scale their influence through building a systematic approach to ministry
  • Ego-driven leaders. // If you are the sort of leader who needs to get credit for everything that happens, don’t go multi-site. If you are the sort of leader who needs every team to look to you for direction and answers, multi-site is not for you. One of the great paradoxes of multi-site is that it is often criticized because it elevates a few leaders over a larger number of communities. My experience is that leaders who thrive in multi-site are people who can empower, defer and encourage a wide variety of leaders. They give up control to allow their ministry to multiply. Think hard before you make this step: Are you willing to draw in other leaders and release the ministry over to them?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why churches should avoid going multi-site! Join the discussion in the comments section below.

> Read more from Rich.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Group Friendliness is More Important Than You Realize

I work with dozens of churches each year as I work with their leadership teams about small groups, spiritual growth and transformational leadership. Often I am contacted and asked some variation of this question: “Bill, can you help us build/grow our small group ministry?”

Before I answer yes, no or maybe, I engage in a conversation, asking lots of questions and getting to know the current state of the church. As it relates to group life, I discover that churches fall into four categories:

  • Group-focused
  • Group-proficient
  • Group-wary
  • Group-hostile

You might be wondering why a “group-hostile” church would even ask me to help them build groups. Reality is, they do not see themselves as group hostile, but I do. So allow me to unpack each of these and see where your church is these days.

Group-focused: In this church groups play a central role is spiritual formation and providing a sense of connection or belonging (I won’t get too caught up in terminology at this point). Church members and regular attendees are very aware groups exist and usually know how to get involved in one. Even most visitors will have some exposure to the idea. It is part of the philosophy of ministry, part of the DNA, regardless of the level of actual participation. There is dedicated staff and core volunteer support, with a mandate to grow groups or various kinds so people can have a variety of experiences in community.

Group-proficient: This church views groups as helpful, knows what they look like and how to lead them, and sees them as a vital option for people (along with classes, serving and other growth environments or experiences.) Groups are advertised, are peppered throughout the church, and usually have some kind of staff or key volunteer support. Group life may not lie at the center of the church strategy for making disciples, but groups are nonetheless close to that center and many members will be in them (or were in them) at some point.

Group-wary: Such churches are exploring group life but are not sure where groups fit in, whether they will create tension or competition with other ministries, if they will be too “psychology” focused, or will create a life of their own and become little islands separate from the larger body. There is a sense that groups work, but fear that they might cause more problems than they are worth.

Group-hostile: A church that is “hostile” toward group life – yet still asks me to help – is usually a church that 1) is still recovering years after a really bad group experience, 2) cannot imagine a small group without an intense bible-study focus, has virtually no culture/value of community life anywhere in the church, 4) does not believe in any kind of official church meetings off campus, and/or 5) has senior leadership that is highly controlling or has a fear-based theology, ignoring the priesthood of all believers.

To be clear, ANY of these four can experience varying levels of group friendliness. Even a “group-focused” church may tolerate only certain kinds of groups and be quite averse to others. Some have a one-size-fits-all approach, and your ideas may not fit. Or, despite the prevalence of group life, there is little structure, vision, resourcing or training to support the effort. As a result, groups flounder, new people cannot connect, or a kind of elitist mentality develops among the already connected.

And, at the other extreme, a “group-hostile” church might be more “group-friendly” than first appears. I have often found that there are groups everywhere in almost any church – people just don’t see them as such, because they have a pre-conceived notion of what constitutes a small group. In other words, there is no small group “program” (about which there may be fear or hesitancy to launch), but people are “grouping” without much resistance. (To be sure, some churches think small groups are part of some Satanic ritual, and definitely DO NOT invite me to help!).

Here 5 ways for any church to increase its group-friendliness.

1)     Create a culture for community. Teach the value of relational, spiritual growth as vital to the church. Offer groups as a way to experience this.

2)     Support the effort. Provide staff (or quality volunteers), ample financial resources, training, communication and times for celebrating transformation of lives though groups.

3)     Encourage “communal” experimentation. (Ok, I am not talking about something some of you did in California in the late 70’s.) Allow a variety of groups to form of various sizes and formats, and study them. See what works, how participants are growing, what processes are helpful, what kind of leadership is needed, how and where they can meet, and so on. As friend Heather Zempel reminds us, “Everything is an Experiment!”

4)     Get personally involved. Launch a new kind of group yourself group. No need for a big announcement and banners in the hallways. Get a few people together around you – you should lead the early efforts.

5)     Be patient with resistance. As I often tell leadership teams I work with, “Building this ministry takes a thousand cups of coffee.” Sometimes this only grows one conversation, one prayer, one leader, one member, one meeting at a time. Not every ministry looks like the church in Acts 2 on the first day. Ask most church planters, especially in multicultural settings, about perseverance!

So where is your church? What needs to happen for you to become more group friendly?

Read more from Bill here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Donahue

Bill’s vision is: “Resourcing life-changing leaders for world-changing influence.” Leaders and their teams need a clear personal vision and a transformational team strategy. This requires work in 3 key areas: Maximize Leadership Capacity, Sharpen Mission Clarity & Build Transformational Community. Bill has leadership experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arena. After working for P&G in New York and PNC Corp. in Philadelphia, Bill was Director of Leader Development & Group Life for the Willow Creek Church & Association where he created leadership strategies and events for over 10,000 leaders on 6 continents in over 30 countries.

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What’s Your Disciple Making Plan for 2014?

Making Disciples Is Hard

Making disciples is the call of every believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, I dare say for most of us, it has been permitted to accept a version of Christianity both personally and corporately where disciple making is virtually non-existent. Disciple making Christians should not be considered the “hard core” version of Christians or the “elite forces” of the church militant. The fact that such attributions exist reveal how non-normative disciple-making has become.

For many of us, it could be that we are simply not well taught or well trained in the words and ways of Jesus. No doubt, that is an issue. But for all of us, disciple-making is just plain hard. It’s hard because we have years of non-disciple making habits in us like inertia that need to be moved by Christ’s call of living on mission. It’s hard because we have rarely seen it modeled well before us and therefore disciple making is turned into a program or function rather than a way of life. It’s hard because we have to evaluate our lives in light of the mission and make disciple making a priority, and that can be a very painful and challenging process.

That is why I believe you and I need to have a disciple-making plan for our lives. Yes we need to pray. Yes we need to study and learn. But we also need a personal plan and process that we embrace in order to orient our lives around making, maturing, mobilizing, and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ. It simply cannot be tangential or accidental or on the periphery of your life. It cannot be relegated to a small compartment of your life or canned program. To make disciples, you need to be “all in.”

Putting Together a Plan

Before we can begin to put together a plan, there are questions we must set before us throughout the process, questions like:

  • What needs to change in my daily/weekly priorities?
  • What needs to change in my thinking/perspective?
  • What needs to change in my lifestyle/rhythms of life?
  • What do I need to say no to in order to say yes to making disciples?

In putting together a plan, the easiest way to begin is by asking and answering the who-what-when-where–so what questions…

>> WHO – who are the people you are personally going to invest your life in? How many relationships do you have in your life that have disciple making built into them? How many non-Christians do you know and are building a relationship with?

>> WHAT – what will be your objectives or goals? What are you seeking to impart to others? What will it take to see someone develop into a disciple-making disciple?

>> WHEN – when will you find time to make disciples? What kind of margin to you have in your time management efforts? When will you schedule time to meet regularly with the people you are investing in?

>> WHERE – where will you make disciples? In your neighborhood (first place)? In your school or workplace (second place)? In the rhythms of community life and culture centers (third places)?

>> HOW – how are you going to work this out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? What is your strategy for making disciples? Maturing disciples? How are you being trained to do this? How are you going to train others through your life, example, influence, and instruction?

>> SO WHAT – so what if I don’t make disciples? What kind of accountability and encouragement do I have in this process? What kind of measurements of progress and growth? What kind of accessibility do others have to my life to help me keep my motivations and attitudes Christ-centered and kingdom-focused?

These are the kinds of questions we must be asking ourselves if we are going to take serious the call to disciple making. If you are thinking about putting a plan together, please do let me know. I’m working on mine now and hope to share it soon. As I’ve said earlier, it is tempting to shoot for targets that are much easier to hit, but it does not matter if the targets are nowhere near the heart of God. Making disciples has great kingdom consequence! Let’s stumble forward together in the hard, messy, and glorious work of making disciples of Jesus!

Read more from Timmy here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timmy Brister

In the “real world,” I am the founder and president of Gospel Systems, Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on creating and sustaining delivery systems for the advancement of the gospel around the world. In 2010, I started a delivery system called PLNTD – a network for church planting and revitalization focusing on resourcing, relational community, residencies in local churches, and regional networks. In 2012, I started an international delivery system call The Haiti Collective which focuses on equipping indigenous churches through church partnerships in order to care for orphans, make disciples, train leaders, and plant churches in Haiti. In addition to serving as the executive director of these organizations, I have served for 12 years in pastoral ministry with churches in Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida. My passion is to see healthy, growing churches take ownership of the Great Commission to the end that disciples are making disciples, leaders are developed and deployed, and churches are planting churches here and around the world. This is the driving passion of my life and prayer that God would be so glorified in making His name great in our generation.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
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Clarity Process

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Duplicatable Process

For a leader, the maxim is true: it’s not about what you can do, but what you can duplicate. At some point your vision must transcend your skills and be deposited into the basic reproducible habits of the entire congregation.

There are three processes to start thinking about about: (1) How do people move through your strategy? (2) How do your people do the work of evangelism? (3) How does your church body multiply itself?

First, remember that programs don’t attract people; people attract people.

As the leader you want to lubricate the gears of this process. This means motivating people to do whatever it takes to help others move through your strategy. It’s like building a customer service impulse into every heart and hand that calls your church home. Churches talk all the time about assimilation as an important function. Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage your vision generally, and your strategy specifically, to make assimilation a function of culture through micro steps that everyone can take.

Second, give your people reproducible steps, skills, tools, and processes for them to become evangelists.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about formulaic approaches. What we are talking about is more in line with the eloquent plea of authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch in The Shaping of Things to Come: “We yearn for something richer and more complex, more dangerous. The one-size-fits-all to church mission and evangelism must be abandoned. Fewer and fewer churches seem to be developing evangelistic ministries specifically contextualized to the geographic area or subculture in which they are living.” These words are apt, remind us that knowing our local predicament is essential in creatively, yet thoughtfully, engaging our culture.

Third, you must decide how you duplicate.

One of the values of the missional church is healthy orientation toward kingdom growth over the necessary growth of one local church. On the basis of your Kingdom Concept and your Vision Frame, you must decide what size is best, what timing is best, and what kind of multiplication is best.

There are many questions to ask about the duplication process, making it critically important that the process be tied to the vision.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

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Five Multiplication Resources for Your Church

Each month, in conjunction with the Creature of the Word book that I wrote with Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson, we list questions and action items for church leadership teams to consider on the Facebook page. We recently listed some of our top resources on multiplication. Here are several that have impacted me:

The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman
In this classic work, Coleman shows how Jesus called disciples to Himself, invested in them, and commissioned them to serve the world. The book is a great reminder and practical tool for personal multiplication.

Center Church, Tim Keller
Redeemer Presbyterian Church, led by Pastor Tim Keller, has effectively multiplied and planted churches that are impacting cities. Center Church is a comprehensive look at the gospel-driven theology and philosophy that drive their multiplication efforts.

Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper
When considering a global missions/multiplication strategy, one must look at Piper’s work and the call to pursue different people groups—not only more people—with the gospel.

My next two books are from the business world, and while they were not written for the people of God, they are helpful in thinking through the strategic nature of multiplication.

The Leadership Pipeline, Ram Charan
A church leader would want to read this book through the lens of leadership development and multiplying leaders in a local context. A helpful question while reading the book would be “What is the pathway of development in our church?”

The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber
A church leader that is considering multiple campuses or launching churches with supporting systems (back-office support) could benefit from nuggets of insight on how to build scalable structures and systems for expansion.

Any resources that you would add to the list?

Read more from Eric here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.