Ralph Moore, pastor of Hope Chapel in Honolulu, is a 70-year-old, humble hippie who is planting the third Hope Chapel in Hawaii. Ralph is responsible, directly or indirectly, for more than 1,000 church plants. I was struck by his humble, straightforward way of sharing both himself and what he has learned.

Here is what I learned from my interview with this great man.

Lesson One: Too much control and not enough passion is deadly.

I asked Ralph what was the key to his planting success: He responded, “The key to our multiplication is to have a simple, decentralized plan and a red-hot passion for the Great Commission. We just let it happen, and we are passionate about church multiplication.” Moore left the Foursquare Church because they wanted too much control over how things were done.

Lesson Two: Church planting isn’t the issue.

While I talked to Ralph, he offered this timely reminder: “It’s not how many churches you plant, it’s how many of the churches you plant, plant churches that plant. Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach planted 30 churches that resulted in more than 1000 churches.” 

Lesson Three: It takes time to prepare a planter.

I asked Ralph how they choose their planters. His response was insightful. We wait 5-7 years before we send someone out to plant a church. If a person starts three small groups (they call them mini-churches), we are going to look at them as a potential church planter. These small groups reflect each week on the sermon around some soul-searching questions, much like those of Wesley’s class meetings. We always ask, “What did the Holy Spirit say to you this week?”

Lesson Four: Small groups are the best incubators of church planters.

Ralph told me, “Everything centers around our mini-churches and our ability to foster discipleship and raise up planters.”

Lesson Six: The church planting movement can’t wait on formal education for its planters.

I asked Ralph if all of his planters had formal theological training. He responded, “All of our direct plants come out of our church with people who have had no formal theological training.”

Lesson Seven: Too much emphasis on megachurches hurts the church planting movement.

When asked about why multiplication is happening all over the world except the U.S. Ralph quickly responded, “The U.S. puts too much emphasis on megachurches. This takes time away from discipleship. It costs a lot of money to be mega.”

Question: How have you seen these questions in action? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.