The last two days, five of us pastors have attended the Exponential Conference in San Jose, CA. We had a great time of worship, learning, and getting to know each other better. Exponential is a church planting movement committed to producing multiplying leaders and churches. Church Planting is still one of the most effective ways to reach lost people for Christ.
“Nothing else, not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes, will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. – Tim Keller
“On average, 42% of people in a new congregation were previously unchurched.” – Stadiachurchplanting.org
I’ve asked each of our pastors to share one or two “takeaways” they are taking back to their local church.
- Give Permission To Your People. . . I struggle giving permission to my people. I struggle with thinking I can do things in ministry better than my people. I struggle with trusting my people…therefore, the ministry will not grow like God desires. One “takeaway” from this conference is to start being more intentional in giving permission to my people, stop thinking I can do things better, and start trusting that God has gifted my people. As I practice this, I truly believe that God is going to raise up leaders in our church that will advance God’s kingdom as He desires!
Pastor Randy Dewater (East Vancouver Community Church)
- Multiplying Disciples Like Jesus. Much has been said about the idea of discipleship in recent years. But like most things in life, maybe the church has over complicated the marching-orders of our Savior. What if discipleship was far more simple and organic than the latest book, seminar, or curriculum training experience makes it seem. John 3:22 records the profound discipleship method that Jesus used saying, “Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them…” (emphasis added). Jesus practiced discipleship by doing life with His disciples and investing His time with them in order to rub off on them. My one big take away from this conference, discipleship may be as simple as spending time with those under our care.
Pastor Tim Walls (Glenfair Family Church, Portland)
- One Spirit, One body, One hope… Today I sit at Exponential as one of five participants from the Pacific Conference. This is my third event in two weeks, presented by folks from vastly different backgrounds and theological bents. At Exponential we have heard from men and women pastors and planters from across our nation and now Sam Stephens who has over 6700 church planters ministering the Good News throughout India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In each and every one of these contexts and presentations, EVERY speaker issued a clear call to return to and remain true to our first love. Jesus is the answer the world today needs. Programs, methods, seeking excellence, following secular organizational or financial principles: this is not what we have been called to, nor are these things Good News to the world around us. These are good tools but are not Good News! I love hearing God moving among His people, us, the Church. Today, in this generation, I hear His clear call for us to return to our first love, to seek first His Kingdom, proclaiming the Good News of life in His Kingdom, through our lives and our words. This can only come about through time with the King, growing in our intimacy with the Father, standing firm in our identity in Christ, filled by and empowered for this work by Holy Spirit. Lord, may it be so in the PNW, through our tribe, as it is in heaven.
Pastor Mitch Lee (Spacious Grace, Eugene)
- Change the Scorecard. So much talk about how to grow the church focuses on addition and not multiplication. We all know deep down that healthy things grow. But when we measure growth in our church by how many people attend the weekend worship gathering we don’t get an accurate reflection of healthy growth. I heard a statistic recently that said the global church spends on average $762,000 per baptism worldwide! If we want to see healthier growth, we need to shift from addition (adding more people to the service) to multiplication (making disciples who make disciples). We need to shift from addition and accumulation to sending and releasing. The church will see exponential growth when we start developing heroes instead of trying to be the hero ourselves.
Pastor Steve Davis (Glenfair Family Church, Portland)
- Be a hero-maker. Too often I’ve focused on my ministry and success. God wants me to focus on other’s fruitfulness. That’s what a hero-maker does. They do not seek the spotlight but put the spotlight on others. “They invest in others to see the full potential of others released into others.” My primary role as your Superintendent is have a mindset of multiplying and blessing leaders for God’s kingdom and glory.
Supt. Randy (Pacific Conference)
BEFORE YOU GO…
Church planting is one of the priorities of our Conference, yet we still struggle to find planters and mother churches. Please pray for the next steps our Board of Church Planting will be making to see the multiplying church in the Northwest!