How did church planting/multiplication get seeded in your heart?
When I first entered ministry, the thought process was “the bigger the better”. Grow your ministry, grow your church and the emphasis was that the size of your church measures the success of your ministry.
I began to see a transition during the first decade of the 2000’s from increasing size to increasing health, from quantity to quality, from following a recipe to being relevant, from impact to effectiveness, and from thinking of the church not as an elephant but as a nest of mice.
It was these ideas that drove me to thinking of church growth, church reproduction in a fresh way.
What kind of mindsets did you have to get past to get you and your church to multiply?
Simply put, I had to get past the bigger is better model; big building (which we built), big events (which we do) and big Sundays (which we have). It’s not that they’re wrong, I just came to the conclusion that a shift was needed. A shift to connection, community and calling. These are three keys to next generation success.
We are living in an epidemic of loneliness.
Mother Teresa said the number one problem in the world is not starvation, its loneliness. You can be around people all day, and still feel lonely. Your Instagram can be full of hearts and comments … but that’s not connection.
We’ve got contacts and communities, friends and followers. We like and unlike, friend and unfriend; sharing anything on our mind with everyone, but we share nothing of our heart with anyone. In the depths of our hearts, what we all really desire is true community. We’ve made the mistake of thinking that it happens automatically; that no effort is involved, but it needs to be created and it must be experienced. It’s messy and it’s awkward and it costs. There are risks and certain tensions that must be overcome if we are to emerge as the truest measure of who God wants us to be.
This is our calling. This is what led us to Western University.
What was the process that led you to plant at Western University?
We are less than 5km from the Western University grounds where over 30,000 students attend from September to April, many of them from other countries. Those students were not coming to us, and no one was going to them, so we decided to put ourselves where they are, where they live, where they study and, where they spend their weekends … at the on-campus pub.
How important is it to you to have the younger generation on the front edge of church multiplication? And why?
Next generation leadership is key to our fellowship’s strength and success. As the “boomers” continue to age, our success will not be measured by the size of our buildings, or ministries, but will instead be validated by the lives of those who will take us into 2050.
What would you say to other lead pastors to persuade them to plant new churches?
Identify where God’s Spirit is at work and partner with the Spirit’s activity. Thatis the foundation to Kingdom work.
Then, step out with courage, faith and trust. I believe you will find that God has always been waiting; waiting for us to step out and do something.
I believe this: His desire to build His Kingdom is greater than our biggest fears or doubts.As lead pastors we know that that kind of statement makes for great preaching, but maybe it would do us some good to make it our best practice as well.