5 Tensions in Becoming a Movement-Making Church
Churches that are dedicated to reproducing will experience several ongoing tensions. You can't experience movement without feeling tension. Here are five of the most common pain points for churches that are focused on multiplying:
1. Proximity: Here vs. There
Churches will constantly be drawn to return to the "here." But churches that are focused on multiplying need to have their eyes set on "there." To create a movement of multiplication, church planters will live in this tension of having a vision for "there" while simultaneously drawn to stay "here."
2. Priority: Grow vs. Send
Leaders can sometimes be tempted to slow down the growth process when they realize they’re not even getting their first location(s) right. To overcome the tension that a feeling of incompetency can bring, shift the focus from growing to sending. Instead of spending your energy primarily on optimizing processes and people, make sending a priority. In what ways are you growing leaders to send out? Do you have excellence in your leadership development program? As you cultivate a leadership pipeline, you’ll naturally shift into a position to grow, without making growth the goal in itself.
3. Place: Build vs. Plant
Lyle Schaller once said, “The most overlooked aspect of church development is place.” Place matters, and buildings can help. But they can be a huge hindrance, too. The fact of the matter is that church buildings cost money; it takes time to raise money for them, and they require money to maintain. Buildings can also force us to stay focused on here instead of there. Will you put more time into your multiplication strategy or your church facility strategy? Think about the role facilities will play in your strategy for multiplication.
4. Provision: Financial Security vs. Financial Uncertainty
Key givers want to know the ROI on church planting. They can persuade leaders to stay focused on the exclusive needs of the main church and thwart the vision for multiplication. Unless your core conviction is on multiplying, you’ll be snagged by the desire for financial security. Decide what percentage of the church budget will be spent on church planting this year, and then cast the vision for why your church invests in multiplication. One small movement like this can create movement making.
5. Personal Plan: Relax vs. Risk
Are you building a system that allows you to coast and relax, or are you still taking risks? At age 40 and older, leaders often have ministry experience, access to resources, and relationships to tap. Is this the time to relax, or is it time to leverage all of this capital for the Kingdom?
Dave Ferguson is co-founder of NewThing and lead pastor at Community Christian Church-Yellow Box in Naperville, Illinois. For more tips, tools, and training for church planters, download the free resource, NewThing Toolbox, co-created by Aspen Group and NewThing Network.
About Dave Ferguson
Dave Ferguson is an award-winning author, founding and lead pastor of Chicago’s Community Christian Church, a missional multisite community considered one of the most influential churches in America. Dave also provides visionary leadership for NewThing an international church-planting movement and is president of the Exponential Conference. Learn more about Dave at: daveferguson.org