Twice a year our NewThing Lead Pastors get together to just to hang out and think strategically about catalyzing a movement of reproducing churches. In May they all came to COMMUNITY in Chicago and we had a lot of fun; but during the fun we talked about just this question: “what will it take to catalyze a movement?” Everyone had their opinions. We even had the input of Alan Hirsch (who has much to say about this topic in his book Forgotten Ways). But it’s been a few weeks since that conversation and it seems that there are at least five components needed to catalyze a movement:
We believe God has a dream of all people finding their way back to Him. That is our dream too! Jesus articulated that dream in Acts 1:8 when he said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Toward that dream we strategically think about impacting 1 billion people. 1 billion is 17% of the world’s population; a tipping point for changing any size group. So, if we can reach 17% of the world, we believe God’s dream for this planet will be fulfilled! For this dream to be fulfilled it will take approximately two million Lead Pastors; two hundred Network Leaders and two thousand Movement Leaders. I know these seem like just big numbers, and somewhat overwhelming – but it always starts with a dream.
Our dream comes from Jesus (Acts 1:8), and our ideology comes from the Apostle Paul. Paul is explaining to a young church planter, Timothy how to accomplish this big dream and he says, “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” (II Timothy 2:2). He explains that the strategy for accomplish Jesus big dream is to start small by continually reproducing. Paul lays out multiple generations of reproduction: 1. Paul – Timothy; 2. Timothy – reliable men; 3. reliable men – others. So the common ideology we share is helping people find their way back to God by reproducing at all levels.
Like Paul, it will be apostolic leaders that will start new communities of Christ Followers and pass along the values that bring about a movement of reproducing churches. There are three primary functions of an Apostolic Leader.
- The Apostolic leader will create and empower others to create new communities of Christ Followers.
- The Apostolic leader will embed the ideology and values of the gospel into these new communities of Christ Followers.
- The Apostolic leader will guard the ideology and values of the gospel in these new communities of Christ Followers.
These communities of Christ Followers will not be merely lifestyle enclaves that exist to further the betterment of the life of the community and their own lives. These communities will be a “communitas” (community with a cause); a coming together of Christ Followers who are willing to trade their life to accomplish the dream of God by following Jesus.
Jesus dream was not about staying in Jerusalem; it was about going to “the ends of the earth.” Paul’s ideology was not about keeping the gospel for yourself, but reproducing it over and over and over again in others. The dream and the ideology demand decentralized reproduction of genuine community led by apostolic leaders.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to catalyze a movement! Leave me a comment and let me know any of your thinking or experiences so we can fulfill God’s dream and help all people find their way back to Him!