Prototyping Churches

By Cailey Morgan

I was recently listening to the Thom Rainer Leadership Podcast. Their guest was Jimmy Scroggins, a pastor from Florida who tells the story of his church, which moved from a mega-church mentality, rebooting into a neighbourhood-centric church and eventually planting into a network of these smaller local congregations.

His story caught me, partially because of his attitude toward success. He had stopped worrying about how big or how fast the church was growing, and how fantastic their facilities were, and started thinking in terms of reaching everyone in their city.

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In our Western Canadian context, as much as we’d all agree that our churches want to reach everyone, my guess is that we find most of our growth through lateral movement–that is, Christians moving to our church. We don’t see a high ratio of people coming to faith, and when they do, they have often come from a background that was already familiar with Christianity, or saw the Church in a favourable light.

Prototyping
Jimmy Scroggins’ outlook on the church is that it should look like the neighbourhood. They have diversified into smaller neighbourhood congregations in order to reach the specific type of people that live in each community. This type of multiplication also has the added benefit of being accessible to various types of leaders and removes the pressure of having to conform to certain expectations of what church should be. As he says, anyone can do it:

“Just start. Start with one. You can’t sit around waiting for everything to line up, and get your whole plan together. I am a big believer in prototyping–and anybody can do it.”

We’re doing a decent job at reaching some people with our present forms of church and evangelism, and I celebrate the vibrancy we are seeing in so many of our congregations across the CBWC. But to reach the unchurched and the totally unreached in our neighbourhoods, something’s going to have to change (check out Mike Frost’s brief video on this topic).

Our Turn
Would you be willing to consider participating in some R&D, initiating a “prototype” in your area? Think about your neighbourhood. What does is look like? What does it need? What does it have to offer the greater community? Who isn’t being reached?

And what about your existing church? What do your people have to offer? Who can you train into leadership? What other congregations in the area could you partner with to offer something new to a demographic or neighbourhood that isn’t presently being reached?

“Start something, and try it! If it doesn’t work the way you want, tweak it or change it, or try something different. But every pastor in every neighbourhood–rural, urban, suburban, ex-urban–everybody can be training leaders and trying to figure out how can we start new congregations to reach new populations of people in our area that are not being reached.”

Shannon, Joell and I really do believe that every church is called to and capable of multiplication in some form. That’s why we’re here to pray for, evoke, resource, and support you on that journey to health and growth. Talk to us today!

Find us at The Gathering this weekend in Calgary to chat about what could be next for you and your congregation. We’ll have some resources for you, and would love to collect some stories of life and growth in your area that we can share here on the blog.

Communication and Engagement

by Cailey Morgan

One of our goals for the coming year is to build our network by connecting with the following people:

  • Potential church planters and church communities working toward multiplication from within the CBWC.
  • Potential church planters from within the greater Western Canada context.
  • Potential new affiliations: church communities who do not yet belong to a family of churches.

In order to help us reach these goals, we’re participating in several local networking events. Last week,  Joell took part in the Missions Conference at Millar Seminary. Next weekend, January 27-29, Shannon and I are hosting a booth at MissionsFest Vancouver. Come find us in booth A06 if you’re in the neighbourhood!

In preparation for sharing our story and our dreams at these events, we put together some promotional cards to help explain 4 ways that individuals, small groups, and churches can engage with Church Planting. Since many of you, our readers, are part of the CBWC family and have some kind of interest in our ministry, we’d really covet your feedback on these cards, and your opinions on how these methods of engagement could work or would need to be adapted for your context.

So here are the engagement cards in their entirety for your perusal. Please read through these cards with a hopeful, prayerful and critical eye, and contact us with your thoughts and ideas of how you and your congregation could engage, and of ways to improve how we communicate. Email me at cmorgan@cbwc.ca or leave a response on WordPress.

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Belong Front Page

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Bolster Front Page

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Initiate Front Page

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Multiply Front Page

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Back Page

Thanks for your engagement!

Small Group Multiplication: A Priority?

 

by Cailey Morgan

Thom Rainer, in this helpful blog post and podcast on small groups, suggests that “One of the primary purposes of a small group should be to multiply itself.” He then gives 9 steps toward that multiplication of a small group.

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Canaan Life Spring Baptist Church’s Women’s Group

While small groups may look different or even have different purposes in different contexts, we do wholeheartedly agree that if churches are to grow as a living organism, every level of church life needs to be reproducible–individual life transformation, group transformation, church-wide transformation and eventually city transformation.

Small groups are one of the best incubators for leadership development because they provide consistent, low-risk opportunities to serve and lead in a context of accountability and trust. But leaders in training can fail to reach their potential if the small group never multiplies because they don’t get the opportunity to step out and lead their own group.

What does group multiplication look like in your context? Are Rainer’s tips helpful for where your church wants to head? Share your thoughts here on this blog or email me at cmorgan@cbwc.ca.

 

 

When does church life begin?

by Joell Haugan, Heartland Church Planting Director

When does life begin? The current furor over Planned Parenthood in the US has reopened the abortion debate around the globe. One question that often is avoided is “when does life begin”? When is a fetus a baby…. a person.

CC Sharealike J.K. CaliffIn Church Planting we often ask a similar question. When is a new group of believers that is purposely meeting as a church a church? We have wrestled with this and haven’t solved the philosophical question but we have formalized some steps that bring a group into fellowship with our group of Baptist churches here in the West.

  1. Connection: If a group is already established we meet them and get to know one another. They meet us (the CBWC). It’s kinda like a first date.
  2. Preparation: Leaders interview each other. We introduce them to the larger family. We draw up a plan whereby we work together to plan for where this new group is heading. If there is a pastor, we get them on track with the CBWC.
  3. Assessment: A ministry plan is implemented. A bit of time goes by. More people meet with more people and the ball keeps rolling.
  4. Affirmation: The CBWC officially recognizes the group as a “church plant in process”
  5. Provincial registration: charity paperwork which may happen earlier in the process
  6. Federal registration: ditto.
  7. CBWC Acceptance: I guess this would be the birth. The congregation officially joins the CBWC family as a full fledged member.

Now, the reality is this church has been a church for a long time before step seven. And, as you know, where two or three are gathered in His name, Christ is present…so…sorry, no hard and firm answers about when church life begins here. However, we have a plan to get from conception to birth and the new life that is brought into the CBWC is a wonderful blessing!

Have questions about the process or want to take the first steps towards multiplication? Shoot me an email at jhaugan@cbwc.ca.

 

What Could Multiplication Look Like?

by Cailey Morgan

Church planting and church multiplication can mean many things to many people. Over the next months, we plan to highlight several multiplication styles in hopes that we can each consider our own contexts and be spurred towards growth.

Since I have grown up in, and still participate in, a CBWC Church Plant called Southside Community Church, I thought I would share some of the nuts and bolts of how we operate. I’m sharing so that you will be encouraged by our story, and that you will in turn share your way of doing things so we can all learn from each other.

What Could Multiplication Look Like? Example 1: Congregations Comprising Mission Groups

At Southside, the values of life in proximity and multiplication are very important. We believe that all can take part in church planting, and that small multiplication in a place has a big impact.

Burnaby Sign by waferboardWe began in Edmonds, a high-density, high-diversity neighbourhood in South Burnaby in the early 90s with a small group. Each person in that group had opportunities to develop as a leader, so that when the group grew large enough to become two small groups, there were new leaders ready to lead the multiplied groups.

We organize our small groups, called Mission Groups, based on geography of where each member lives. They begin as groups of 6-10, and once they reach 12-16 are readied for multiplication. We are called Mission Groups because, while meeting in a home is often part of what we do, and Bible study is a crucial part of our formation, our groups exist for the purpose of following God on His mission in our neighbourhoods.

This pattern of group multiplication continued until we had several groups in Burnaby, but also a group commuting across the bridge from Surrey. As it became difficult for the people from Surrey to spend time in their own neighbourhoods–since they were constantly joining the Burnaby residents in serving that community–it became clear that it was time to not just multiply small groups, but congregations.

Some families were already living in the North Surrey neighbourhood we planned to multiply into, and other core folks moved from Burnaby across the river to bolster the leadership and development of the new congregation. This cluster of mission groups became the Robson Park Congregation.

In the following years, we repeated the pattern into the Willoughby area of Langley and into Forest Grove, a community in North Burnaby. These two centres operated as distinct congregations for over a decade, but at this point each are acting as a single Mission Group until they are ready to multiply into multiple groups, again forming a congregation.

These days in Edmonds, since so many people in our congregation live within walking distance, sometimes families who live less than a mile from each other end up in different Mission Groups! Most recently, there have been a cluster of young families from our congregation settling into the Uptown area of New Westminster, the city bordering Burnaby to the south. For the past year, all of these people have been in a burgeoning Mission Group together with the Burnaby residents living closest to New West.

burnaby and new west signs CC WakasuiAfter a time of discernment and apprenticeship, a couple from Uptown stepped forward to lead a New Westminster group and we were able to multiply.

Now, this new Uptown group can concentrate on the people God has placed immediately around them in their neighbourhood, while still joining Edmonds to celebrate God’s goodness in our Sunday gatherings.

When my Mission Group multiplied, I said that it felt like “breaking up,” because it’s not easy to leave the comfort of familiar faces. We have grown close to the people we’ve been serving side-by-side with, and it feels strange to not have them there when we gather in homes on Wednesday evenings, or as we prayer walk our streets and parks, or at the BBQ for our neighbour’s birthday.

But rather than separating because a relationship went sour, multiplication is closer to the thrill of seeing your kids move out to start their own families with their spouses. How beautiful that the feet of Jesus are now walking down twice as many streets! Our friends are now free to give and accept hospitality on their block, and there is room for new believers in my living room once again.

There you have it: an overview of what church planting and multiplication means to us at Southside Community Church. But different contexts and leaders lead to different formats. What about you? What does multiplication look like for your congregation? What models have you seen in other churches?

Please email me at cmorgan@cbwc.ca so we can work together on sharing more multiplication methods.

Rick Glasspell Reviews Church Transfusion

Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically—from the Inside Out Written by Neil Cole & Phil Helfer, published by Jossey-Bass, © 2012. Reviewed by Rick Glasspell, Pastor of Family Ministries, Heights Baptist Church, Medicine Hat.

Rick Glaspell

Rick Glaspell

Having begun my post-secondary studies within the business world, I tend to look at churches with a penchant towards an organizational bent; in fact, while going through seminary, I learned that dealing with a church is much like dealing with a company. But, over the past five or so years, the Lord has gradually been changing my mindset on this, and Church Transfusion obliterates the ideas that would place Christ’s Church within the box of bureaucracy.

Although I did not agree with every point which Neil and Phil offer, and a lot of their points offer up a litany of other questions which could be posited, I understood their heart and yearning to reach people with the Gospel of Christ, and was often shaking my head in agreement and writing, “Amen!” in the columns.

This book comes on the heels of other books which Neil has written (part of Leadership Network), such as Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, and Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church, and these two books are mentioned quite a bit, so reading them prior to Church Transfusion could be beneficial, but it is not required.

Their main point is this: church cannot continue the way that it is going right now!

Specifically, the structure and the bureaucracy and the inward looking of the Church cannot continue. The Church must flip the paradigm 180° and stop being complacent about the Gospel! We were commanded to go out and make disciples, and that is the heart of this book. As long as we feel safe and secure within the walls of our churches, we will rarely reach people for Christ; a radical shift must come into our thinking (but is it actually that radical?)!

The book speaks to leaders within the churches (elders, deacons, and those who are interested in change). Their belief is that many of our churches are dying, and that, maybe, we should let them die, or at least let them get to the point of needing a transfusion. In transfusing “Christ’s DNA” (D—Divine Truth, N—Nurturing Relationships, A—Apostolic Mission) into the church, Neil and Phil tell us that it is going to be a difficult challenge to become missional in practice, that people will leave the church, that friends will become enemies, that leaders will be spoken against, often maligned, and that those who work to institute these changes could get deeply hurt.

Although there can be valleys, it is worthwhile to continue on the path to become obedient children of Christ, because we are to love Him more than we love ourselves.

Stories are interwoven throughout the pages to help explain the ideas, which is helpful. As Mark mentioned in his book review of Viral Churches, the concept of disciple multiplication (not addition) popped up many times, although any addition is a good thing.

The guys kept mentioning that it is our task to share the Gospel, and let God work, in His time. His time may be different than our time; in fact, God may work a whole lot faster than what our preconditioned ideas would lead us to be comfortable with. And the idea of multiplication suggests that God will grow His Church faster than what we can necessarily handle, but that we should let it as God directs it, not as we would like to keep it under the bureaucratic inklings of the local church.

Neil and Phil want the churches to be healthy, and so do we. This would be an excellent resource to read through and discuss, and if your church is going through a difficult time right now, or you are beginning a new church venture, it would be worthwhile to think through the ideas posed within these pages and be a unified group working together to share God’s love to your community.

If your church is progressing well and reaching people with the Gospel, Church Transfusion would still be good to read, as it can help to encourage the leaders to continue to move forward and possibly provide some additional ideas to show love to your community.

Do you agree with Rick’s assessment? Comment here to join the conversation!

Book Review: Viral Churches

Review by Mark Archibald of Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird’s Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

Mark Archibald
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Ed and Warren say it well: “This book can be summarized in two words: multiply everything.”

Whether church planting or serving in an established church, so much of what we try to do happens by addition. Add a new ministry. Add a staff member. Plant a new church.

Viral Churches challenges you to abandon the complex math of addition and instead take on the simple math of multiplication. Do everything with the intent of that church (ministry, leader, small group) being multiplied.

Though specific to people involved in church planting, this book has much to teach established churches about the value of multiplication and church planting. Established churches are encouraged to invest in planting churches as this benefits the “sending” church as much as the planted church.

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Viral Churches challenges us to be in the practice of giving away and sending leaders, resources, church members instead of holding tightly to what we already have in hopes we don’t lose our leaders, resources and church members.

The material is based on years of study of church plants in North America and around the world. It is fueled by accurate information, discredits half-truths about church planting, and inspires you be part of the movement of leading people to Christ via planting churches. A variety of currently used models of multiplication in church planting provide practical, attainable examples.

This book challenged me to think in terms of multiplication as I train leaders and volunteers, encourage small groups within our church, and partner with church plants both inside and outside of the CBWC family.

Mark Archibald
Pastor of Spiritual Formation
First Baptist Church, Lethbridge

Mark Archibald

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? DO YOU AGREE WITH Mark’s ANALYSIS? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON stetzer’s BOOK, THIS REVIEW, OR OTHER RESOURCES THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN THIS CHURCH PLANTING DISCUSSION BY COMMENTING ON THE BLOG OR EMAILING CMORGAN@CBWC.CA.

Good Reads

by Cailey Morgan

I’ve been trying to find some books that might be a help to our CBWC church plants and encourage those considering a new work. However, neighbourhood mission and church multiplication are extremely context-bound, making it always a struggle to offer models and frameworks that would help everyone.

6365101775_3eef9a5c39_zThat being said, we can always learn from the examples and ideas of others. JR Woodward of the V3 Church Planting movement has compiled a list of his top ten books on church planting, and I’ll list them here.

But what do you think? Can you provide feedback on any of these books? Or what other voices should be part of this conversation?

Click here for Woodward’s full post which includes commentary on each work selected.

Check back next week to find out how to get a church planting book for free!

Church Multiplication

What is a church multiplication movement? Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird say this in Viral Church:

We define a Church Multiplication Movement is as follows: a rapid multiplication of churches where a movement grows through multiplication by 50 percent in the number of churches in a given year to the third generation. For example, if they are 100 one year, they are at least 150 the next, and that growth is accounted for mostly by new converts, not transfers. Finally, this kind of growth continues to the third generation.

Here are some intriguing numbers from www.scatterus.wordpress.com

In the past 24 hours:

  • In Communist China, 37,500 people became followers of Jesus.

  • In Hindu India, 27,200 people became followers of Jesus.

  • In sub-Saharan Africa 17,000 people became followers of Jesus

While Christianity is bursting at the seams in Asia and Africa that is not the case in North America, or for that matter in much of the “developed” western world. In Latin America, one new church is planted every eight minutes. We must learn how to co-operate, collaborate and contextualize the strategies used in the “missions field” to re-reach the West. The strategies being used in the two-thirds world focus on rapid church multiplication movements. We need to start thinking not just in terms of planting individual churches, but rather what can be done to start a multiplying movement.

The principle of encouraging multiplication movements is a core value that drives the mission of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada – Church Planting Resource Team  we are committed to prayer, planning, partnering, promoting, planting and celebrating together with our church plants and existing churches as they multiply new congregations across the West.

Ed Stetzer has researched and written a valuable series on the subject of what church multiplication looks like (Viral Churches: Thinking about Church Multiplication Movements in the West) www.edstetzer.com/2012/02/viral-churches-thinking-about.html and his book “Viral Churches” is a strong voice in the ongoing conversation.

 Tom Lavigne, @tomlavigne1 (Twitter) CBWC Director of Church Planting