Creating a Culture of Multiplication – Ongoing Training for Trainers – Interview with Willy Rice and Jeremy Westbrook (Part 1)

Dr. William Rice is the Lead Pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Rice is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, with a B.A. degree (1985) and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a M.Div. (1990) and a D.Min. (1996). Willy is married to Cheryl (Baker). She is a graduate of Samford University and they have three children, Amanda, Anna and Stephen, and three grandchildren.

Dr. Jeremy Westbrook served on staff at Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his M.Div. from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a D. Min. from Southern Seminary. He was founding pastor of Living Hope Church, a church plant 35 miles north of Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, Living Hope sent out its first two missionaries and planted LifeSpring Church in Worthington, Ohio, a larger suburb 10 miles north of Columbus. He is now Senior Associate Pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida, and is focused on helping Dr. Rice lead Calvary to plant 150 churches in the next 10 years.

Before you listen to the podcast, take a simple self-assessment. Give yourself a score on a scale of 1-10, 10 being high.

___ I have crafted a compelling strategic narrative that communicates how God has taught me to make sure my local church becomes a multiplying church.

___ As a part of my training, I have developed specific times and techniques that encourage church planters to set God-sized goals for multiplication.

___ The church planters I train have learned how to cast a kingdom vision that is larger than their own local church plant.

___ Total

Where did you score highest? Lowest? What does this score tell you about your ability to help the planters you are training to create a culture of multiplication? What steps might you take to help your planters better create a culture of multiplication?

Now, listen to the podcast with Willy Rice and Jeremy Westbrook. Afterwards, answer the following questions.

Dr. Rice tells the story about an experience he had at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that resulted in him asking himself this question: “What are you going to do that is going to matter 150 years from now? If I give my life to just helping one big church get bigger—one great church get marginally better—there is no guarantee that in 150 years that is going to be paying dividends. The truth is, as hard as it is for us to realize, there is no guarantee that any one institution we may be stewarding is going to be there 10-20 years after we’re gone. I walked away from that [experience] believing that the greatest thing we can give our lives to is multiplication. Multiply as many gospel-preaching, gospel-multiplying churches as you can. That’s the way to have dividends long into the future. And that’s what I want to give my life to.” What is an experience you had that has led you to a similar conclusion and it changed the trajectory of your entire ministry toward multiplication? Would you take the time to put that experience in the form of a strategic narrative so you’re ready to articulate your convictions about multiplication?

Calvary Church’s vision is simple, but God-sized. “Calvary’s vision is to help plant 150 churches over the next 10 years among our neighbors and the nations.” This vision was what attracted a high-capacity leader like Jeremy Westbrook to join Dr. Rice’s staff. He said, “If an SBC powerhouse, legacy church like Calvary can turn the ship from addition to multiplication, what kind of ripple impact could that have in our denomination?” As you think about training church planters, what needs to change in their vision for multiplication that would help them to attract other visionary leaders to their cause? How might you help them make those vision changes to be more God-sized?

Dr. Rice mentioned three key ingredients to help change a church culture from addition to multiplication.

  1. Move your leadership culture to be proactive, not reactive when it comes to church planting.
  2. Make multiplication a major emphasis in your church through some kind of a church-wide vision campaign.
  3. Crucify what remains of a “church growth philosophy,” so you can re-define what winning looks like: Sending is actually winning.

Which of these is the greatest threat to the church planters you are training? What questions might you ask to help your planters develop strategies that will lead to planting healthy multiplication centers?

After listening to this podcast, what is God saying to you about how you might create a great culture for multiplication in your own church? What is God saying to you about how you can help planters become more kingdom-minded multipliers? What are your next steps? When will you start? Who will help you?

Learn more about the vision of Calvary Church here: You can follow Dr. Rice on Twitter at @willyrice and you can follow Dr. Westbrook on Twitter at @jeremywestbrook.

Published March 29, 2019