Sunday, January 6, 2008

Church Multiplication

As I related to you last fall, my plan in 2008 is to begin meeting with area pastors to ask them to consider joining us to compose a LEAD team. This is a team of churches that would share responsibility and resources for multiplying churches in Jackson County. Due to the holidays and the short week, I've not been able to get started yet, but my intent is to start setting up appointments this week. The elders and I have developed a list of about 20 different churches that we want to contact. We're hoping that in the end at least 4-5 will respond positively with a commitment to join us.

You'll be hearing a lot about the vision in coming weeks. The State of the Church Address is at the end of January (1/27), followed by the all-church annual Meeting & Celebration (2/9 at 6:30pm). I'll also be writing in this space quite a bit as the vision progresses. I would covet your prayers during this crucial time of gathering partners. If you would like to join the Prayer Posse and receive my weekly prayer email, please send me an email, and I'll add you to my list!

After I've finished meeting with the pastors on my list, Tom Blaylock, the Director of Church Multiplication for the UB denomination, will come and lead an informational meeting for the area pastors who have expressed interest (this will probably take place in March). He'll explain what a LEAD team looks like, what it does, how it works, etc., and he'll answer any questions that the pastors have. He'll also invite them to come to the first LEAD team meeting to check it out. If they come back to the second one, then they're committing to be in it for the long haul. After two years, if a LEAD team does the work it's supposed to, the result should be a new local congregation in Jackson County.

In April, the denomination is paying to send me to a 4-day church multiplication conference in Orlando, Florida, called "Exponential." (If you're going to learn about God, it ought to be near a beach somewhere--that's my motto!) This conference is built around II Timothy 2:2: "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." This is the inspired advice of the apostle Paul to his protege, Timothy--that is, God's word in the mouth of an experienced church planting coach to a young church planter. This verse contains the necessary DNA for reproducing churches:

  • Apostolic Vision
  • Radical Disciple-Making
  • Genuine Community
  • Missional Impulse
  • The Gospel

Each of the main sessions will center on one of these five necessary components for healthy church multiplication. In addition, there are numerous break-out sessions, where we can each individually choose specific aspects of church planting to focus on and learn about, depending on what we feel would be most helpful for us.

This is a great honor for me, and for our church. But more than that, it is a continued affirmation of God's blessing and direction for us, as he equips, enables, and empowers those whom he calls. He will give us everything we need to do it! I am confident that there will be much for me to learn, and I hope to pass on as much to you as I can. I am grateful that the denomination is investing considerable resources to help us accomplish the vision that God has given us to reach the 100,000 people in Jackson County with no church family through church multiplication.

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