The following is an article I wrote for an upcoming issue of Willow News of the Willow Creek Assocation. I had 400 words to describe what I believe is next for the church in North America and to hype the National New Church Conference (which everyone needs to attend!). So, for you regular blog readers, you get this before it is published. Lucky! (insert voice of Napoleon Dynamite)
What is next? A new expression of church that is not defined by a denominational label, a particular model, size or even its’ unique theology. These churches are now among the most influential churches and increasingly the churches that we hear from on major platforms. These churches are relentlessly committed to being both incarnational and missional and are reproducing themselves wherever God gives the opportunity. What is next? The reproducing church.
The Reproducing Church Is about Culture, not Size.
The multi-site church has become the buzz word, but it’s really just one expression of the reproducing church. The reproducing church is seeing growth, development and reproduction at all levels; whether it has to do with reproducing leaders and artists at a micro level, or reproducing congregations, campuses, churches and even whole networks. It’s not merely about being a mega church or getting huge. If smaller churches have the right ethos and a missional culture, they will reproduce. There is a new breed of church planters that no longer simply ask, “How can I plant a church, grow it and make a big impact?” Instead these young leaders are asking, “How can I plant a church, grow it and make a big impact in multiple locations?” It’s about taking who you are, regardless of size and reproducing the ethos of your church to accomplish the Jesus mission.
The Reproducing Church is about a new set of Values, not new Strategies.
By continually starting new things reproducing churches are always on the edge. Reproducing churches like it on the edge; because that is where innovation occurs. As a result of living outside the safety of the familiar a new set of missional values are emerging. Reproducing churches value the edge more than the center. The value is on the new more than the existing. The value becomes the lost and not the just the found. And I’m totally fine with that, as I would think Jesus might be. The Reproducing Church – this is what’s next!
Want to discover more about what’s next? Then don’t miss the National New Church Conference. This will be the largest gathering of church planters and church planting organizations learning together, networking and preparing for a reproducing church planting movement that will change the world!