When I restarted a church in 1969, I shared the following mission statement: “Every member a minister.” In 1982 the statement changed to “Every person a minister.” In 1990 the statement changed again to “Every person a missionary.”
When I left that church in 1993, 80 percent of the people were involved in some form of small group or personal ministry. I thought at the time we have achieved our dream. But now I learn that we stopped before the finish line. All of the missionaries we sent out stayed in our church. Oh, we took the church into the community in a variety of ways but we always came back to “our” church. Therein lies the problem.
I thought like a pastor, not a missionary or an apostle. Had I thought like a missionary or apostle, we would have sent people to plant new churches and to do multiple sites. But we didn’t.
The world today doesn’t need more pastors; it needs more missionaries and apostles. Western Christianity is at a vulnerable place in history. Despite what some statisticians say, Christianity is losing ground. Even in most of the megachurches we are barely staying even, while the population continues to expand and grow older. Soon we will approach a mesa – if we all continue to think like pastors.
But here is the good news: more and more people are beginning to ask apostolic questions. More and more churches are beginning to look at everyone in their flock as missionaries who will go out to plant churches and lead multi-sites. We just may be on the verge of a new day in Western Christianity. But we must be diligent.
I see this diligence in the people at Exponential and the movement they are trying to start. They call it “Becoming a Level Five Multiplying Church.” A Level Five church is one that is totally dedicated to multiplication rather than accumulation.
They have the ball rolling; now it is up to the rest of us to keep it rolling. Go to www.exponential.org and sign up for either the East or West event. Our group will be there waiting for you. It’s an event you can’t afford to miss.
One more thing. In January 2016, a new tool will become available on their site. This tool is in the form of a survey that will let you know what level of church you are in at the moment. When it is up, I’ll let you know.
Until then, have a great 2016 by doing your part to expand the Kingdom of God.
Question: How have you benefited from Exponential’s ministry in the past? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.