Multiplying when you’re not mega: Intentional strategy

So you’re about to plant a church, or you’ve already planted one some time ago, and there is a passion or self-inflicted pressure inside of you to be a sending-multiplying church. That is a great desire to have, but how in the world are you supposed to focus on that while you’re still trying to fill up your seats, raise up support and build up your own team?

Recently I spent some time with Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, a megachurch in Plano, Texas. As he spoke about leading a megachurch, he made this statement, “We must focus less on being mega in size and focus more on being mega in heart.” Even though Pastor Graham wasn’t talking about church planting specifically, it resonated with me, as a church planter, wanting to be a sending-multiplying church that isn’t mega. It reminded me that it doesn’t matter how mega our church plants get. It matters how mega our church planting hearts get as lead planters that actually want to be church planting churches.

Here are three simple things that have helped Mile City and myself, as the lead pastor, stay the course in multiplying, without being mega:

Intentional heart check

We have to be intentional about checking our hearts. I love how J.D. Greear, Lead Pastor of Summit Church, reminds us in his book Gaining By Losing that being a sending church is very painful and will always be stretching. That is so true, because we send out our best — people we love and pennies we need that we’d love to persuade to stay around to help build and protect our home base. There will always be a temptation to just focus solely on building our own church vision, instead of also helping build other church’s visions. God reminds me often that this is His church, His people, and He will move and use them however He sees fit. He’s got the whole thing rigged, and I don’t want to get in the way of what He is going to do. For pastors like myself, who have had a sending church, I’ve found it helpful to lean into those experiences as inspiration to be an even better sending church pastor. No matter how good or bad your experience was, learn from it. I love how David Dummit, one of my sending churches, said it: “When you focus on the there, God will take care of the here.” May we strive to have mega multiplying hearts.

Intentional language check

Language is key. We have to be intentional about checking our language. No matter how passionate about multiplying we are as leaders, it is pointless if we don’t also get our existing communities passionate about multiplying. From vision nights, preview services, small groups, services, team huddles and so on, we must speak a sending-multiplying language. At Mile City, we promote church planting almost every week, on and off stage, celebrating the wins of church plants we are supporting individually and collectively through the Send Network. We want to inspire people to get involved in multiplication with their time, talents, and treasure. As we know, change can be difficult in a community, so the more we prepare and speak sending language in the DNA of our culture, the more we’ve seen people get on board and involved with multiplication.

Intentional 1 check

We have to be intentional about staying focused on the “1.” One of the things I love about multiplication is that no matter how many times you multiply the number one by one, it always equals one: 1x1x1x1x1 = 1. I truly believe that the more we focus our churches on going after the 1, the more our churches will get behind the vision of being a multiplying church. In Luke 15, Jesus told three different stories to make one clear point. God sent His son to go after the 1. The heart of Jesus was to leave the 99 and go after the 1. The more we, as pastors, inspire our churches to use the power of their imaginations to go after the 1 intentionally, the more passionate and desperate they will be in getting behind the vision of being a sending-multiplying church. Keep your eyes open, because the people in your community who get excited about reaching the 1 have the tendency to be key sending candidates.

Published June 25, 2018