There’s a new movement underfoot in the West that just might stem the tide of Western Christianity’s decline. Although it’s too soon to share the details (that will be done next year in a book from Exponential), what I can tell you now is that it will turn the value system of most Western pastors upside down. It is the first totally new, biblical church innovation in my lifetime. I would liken it to Asbury and Coke’s brilliant deployment of circuit riders in the late 1700’s.
My first introduction to the kind of church this new movement is about came in the late 1990’s at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. But at the time, the church was an anomaly. I saw it once and not again until recently.
But now that seems like it’s about to change. Last year (2015) I spent time with a group of planters and executives of church planting groups that could revolutionize the U. S. Church and get Western Christianity back on a biblical path to Kingdom growth instead of our present consumer-oriented form of church.
Surely I have whetted your appetite by now. So let me simply share what I can share at the moment.
80-90% of the churches in the West are simply trying to survive. Their primary passion is to meet the budget and keep their pastor with little to no interest in what is going on around them. 10-19% of Western churches are showing some kind of growth, either by addition or by reproducing themselves. Their scorecard is growth by addition and reproduction. Whereas most churches would aspire to such growth, it’s still not the kind of Kingdom growth needed to transform a continent.
But there is a small handful of churches now, like the one I experienced in the late 1990’s, that have moved beyond growth by simply adding or reproducing to growth by multiplication. These churches are setting the pace for a revolution in the way Christian churches function.
What makes these churches unique is that everything they do is designed to help them multiply their Kingdom capacity. They are not just about making disciples; they are about making disciples who will go and make disciples who will make more disciples, and so on. They are not about planting churches; they are about planting churches that will plant other churches. They are not about leadership development; they are about making biblical disciples. They don’t pander to consumers; they develop biblical disciples who live in obedience to Jesus Christ. They don’t focus on how many people attend their church; they focus on how many people they can give away.
I will never forget a conversation I had with Wayne Cordeiro, then lead pastor of New Hope. We were having dinner when he said, “Bill, we have stopped planting churches.” In shock I asked. “Why?” He responded, “Because we have given away all of our leaders and we need to replace them before planting.” That’s the kind of attitude that will revive biblical Christianity in the West.
I hope this is enough of a teaser to convince you to get a copy of Level 5 Churches. It could possibly be the most important book published in your lifetime. If you get the book, be prepared to begin the ride of your life. More to come on this subject soon.
Question: What methods could you use to move from simply adding members to truly multiplying your church? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.