I had lunch today with Aaron Thomas of Community of Faith in Houston. Sounds like an an amazing church – after only three years they are already 1200 in attendance and are interested in going multi-site. Gotta love it. Well, Aaron and his wife were in Chicago for a Willow Creek Association Conference and he contacted me to talk about multi-site church stuff. (Being so close to Willow Creek kind of reminds of when of when I was a kid and we lived just a half a block from the White Hen Pantry store. During the summer, every kid in town would walk to White Hen to buy candy/pop/baseball cards and in the journey had to walk past my house. I would just hangout in my driveway playing basketball and people on their way to and from White Hen would stop and play a few games of basketball with me. In the same way I get to meet a lot of cool church leaders on their way to and from Willow Creek too. I digress…) He asked some great questions and we had a good talk. Our conversation reminded me that being a reproducing church is very simple, just not easy. These are the top two tasks of a reproducing church.
TASK #1 of a REPRODUCING CHURCH: Develop More and Better Leaders. A reproducing church will reproduce at every level: small group, ministry teams, celebration services, campuses, churches and even networks. At the core of reproducing any of those is the task of developing more and better leaders. It is through more and better leaders (of small groups and teams) that we are able to provide care, nurture and a missional challenge for every person in our church. These leaders that I’m describing are the people who pastor approximately 10 people at a time. If you want to reproduce a service or a site – you have to reproduce more and better leaders. If you do not reproduce leaders you will create something that in the words of Carl George “has an adolescent infrastructure and will soon collapse”.
TASK #2 of a REPRODUCING CHURCH: Develop More and Better Artists. If we need more and better leaders for our small groups and teams, then we need more and better artists for our large groups. If we want to reproduce a celebration service, site or church then it will require more and better musicians, vocalists, teachers (yes, I believe we are artists!), actors, producers, sound and lighting technicians, graphic artists and more. Churches that want to reproduce in a rapid fashion will not just rely on a “birds of a feather flock together” philosophy to recruit more artists. And churches that are serious about reproduction will not just simply rely on paying professional artists to do a gig at one of their weekend services. Central to the reproducing church is an intention and plan for developing more and better artists.
This is simple, but not easy. If you want to become a reproducing church the top two tasks are reproducing more and better leaders & more and better artists.