Signs of church planting movements in Germany

Something wonderful and beautiful is going on in Germany from a Kingdom perspective.

After talking with several German leaders in recent days, I sense new churches are going to be planted all over that country. And this is going to have tremendous impact on Europe and maybe the world. 

Here are some of my observations/notes from my  conversations with these leaders:

  1. Germany plays a significant role in Europe. As Germany goes, so goes Europe. Whatever is happening there will spill-over to other countries. #Kingdomwin
  2. Many German churches work globally. This means they are well versed with church planting methodologies from other cultures and contexts.
  3. There is a renewed sense of solidarity around MISSION. This is right and good for it will permit leaders the opportunity to work together to plant more churches. Denominations and doctrine are important. But we need to be able to find the opportunities to partner rather than those issues that divide us.
  4. These leaders are praying for Germany – together – and inviting others to join them.
  5. Young German leaders are emerging. We have been joined by a number of German leadership residents at Community. They want to start movements of reproducing churches. There is a new generation of leaders in Germany and they’re dreaming BIG dreams.
  6. German leaders are asking themselves THE KEY QUESTION: what do we need to do differently to multiply churches?
  7. German networks have great systems and training tracks for church planters. (Does anyone want to dispute the fact that Germans are great engineers.) Once the ‘what’ comes into focus, they will bring all of this to bear.
  8. German churches are well resourced. No church is rich, but German churches exist in the German economy, one of the best in Europe.
  9. Conferences are bringing leaders together. German leaders are gathering together.
  10. German leaders believe something is happening! They just need to be encouraged to dream and affirmed that they can do it.

Look, I am an American and I am making all of these observations from the United States so what do I know. I am planning to travel to Germany early next year to see for myself. But in the meantime, I can’t help but be inspired by what I am hearing.

Do me a favor and pray for Germany right now!

And if you want to find out how you can partner with NewThing please contact us.

Exciting news – Alan Hirsch, NewThing Movement Mentor

Ok I am excited!

I am really, really excited to have the incomparable Alan Hirsch join our NewThing team as our Movement Mentor.

Alan is a gift to the church and has a unique calling. He will continue in his roles with 100 movements and Forge, two outstanding organizations. In addition, he will now be speaking into NewThing and for that I am grateful.

Alan is the premiere thought leader on movement and church multiplication. His books have influenced so many of us to see the church as movement and shift paradigms to achieve it. His best known work, The Forgotten Ways is seminal and remains a clarion call for the church to embrace it’s true apostolic calling.

Some of the first books I read about movement were Alan’s. Much of his thinking has influenced me and challenged me. Later on I had the privilege of studying under him at Wheaton College.  I consider him a personal mentor and a dear friend and can’t wait to learn more from him.

Specifically, Alan will mentor our NewThing leaders about movement and help us start new networks through our Leading a Reproducing Network training. This will fuel our efforts get after the Jesus Mission by catalyzing more church planting all over the world.

Alan writes:

It’s exciting for me to announce that I am taking up a more formal role with the leadership of LARN and beyond that in the work of NewThing Network. In my opinion, NewThing is one of the healthiest and fastest growing multiplication movements in Western contexts. I genuinely love the team of big hearted and big vision leaders that together form the leadership of the movement. I have been working with them since close to its inception around ten years ago. I have written a book with Dave Ferguson and have directly and indirectly contributed to the vigor of the burgeoning network. It will be a joy to contribute even more directly in the future.

Can you tell, I am really excited to have him as part of our team!

If you’re ready to jump in with us, please contact NewThing here.

CLICK HERE for more about Alan Hirsch.
CLICK HERE for more about our LARN Training.

It’s Going to Be Risky, Get Used to It

Planting a church is good. Planting several churches is even better. But planting a movement is best.

It won’t be easy to plant a movement. (But you knew that.) One thing I do know is that to plant a movement you will need to take risks…lots of them.

Yet, we tend to avoid risk. We take the safe route. We take the tried and true route. We avoid betting big. (I wonder what this indicates about out trust in God but that’s another story.)

I really believe the bigger your dream the better the likelihood in achieving some of it.

Yes, you might fail, but why not fail BIG?

World changers know that to achieve BIG results will require BIG RISK. I once read Mark Zuckerberg (you know the guy who started Facebook) saying:

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

To start any thing new is going to entail a certain amount of risk. Get comfortable with it.

What is the risk you need to take today to impact tomorrow?

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You Can’t Get to Level 5 on Your Own

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to participate in conversations with leaders about the ‘Becoming a Level 5 Assessment.’ (Take the Assessment HERE.) 

Becoming Level 5

For several days, we talked about what a Level 5 church even looks like and how we can get there. The dialogue was fruitful and robust and I was grateful to be part of it.

As I’ve reflected on that meeting, I came to the conclusion that no one church will achieve level 5.

It will take networking and collaboration to get to Level 5.

So you’re up to speed, the BL5 assessment ranks churches into levels:

1 – Declining
2 – Plateaued
3 – Growing
4 – Reproducing
5 – Movement

According to the assessment so far…

  • Approximately 80% of churches in North American are Level 1 and 2
  • Approximately 16% are Level 3.
  • Approximately 4% are Level 4.
  • There are no level 5 churches in North America according to the assessment. (This might be a slight exaggeration as there may be one or two but that’s still up for debate.)

That’s right, zero Level 5 churches.

I suspect most of you want to be level 5? I am sure most of would agree that getting to Level 5 would be a good thing!

Now, to be honest, it’s a challenge to even describe a Level 5 ‘church.’

Here is rough sketch:

  • Full expression of APEST
  • Simple systems
  • Kingdom focus
  • Oikos – Communitas as the primary relational platform
  • Functioning on new economic models
  • Collaborative
  • “FAMILY” ethos
  • Repeatable rhythms
  • Core DNA is simple and transferable
  • Spontaneous development occurs
  • Planned inefficiencies
  • A focus on future growth
  • Risky
  • Biased toward releasing
  • Openness to new tech. and new things
  • Decentralized

I suspect that Level 4 (Growing) and Level 4 churches (reproducing churches) can only get to Level 5 as they network with other churches to plant the seeds of level 5 churches. In this way, Level 3 and Level 4 seed Level 5 movements.

There will be some challenges for us to do this.

One of the challenges is our ‘go-it-alone’ attitude. We tend to want to do everything ourselves, train leaders, plant churches, gather our own networks, centralize the funding, put our brand on it. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with this. I celebrate any effort to plant more churches, sites, and missional communities.

It just won’t get you to Level 5.

We can’t achieve the Jesus Mission on our own. We will need to work together to do it. We’re going to need to work with each other. We will need to network and collaborate in new and in significant ways.

I am not sure what that’s going to look like…yet. But I am confident we can do it.

At NewThing we are committed to doing our part to make it happen.

I am excited about the work Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson have done in writing the eBook, Becoming a Level 5. It’s going to change the conversation about multiplication, especially in North America.

Read it. And take the assessment.

Then ask yourself, how you and your church can be part of a network of churches that will seed level 5 movements. Together, we really can achieve the Jesus Mission.

What are your thoughts? Where have you seen churches collaborating with other churches to achieve more for the Kingdom?

What You Plant is What You Get

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. –T.E. Lawrence

What are you planting? DreamBigI think it’s an important questions.

Because you’ll get what you plant.

Are you planting a church? Great. We need new healthy churches.

Maybe you’re going to plant a couple of churches. Even better. In the economy of Kingdom, I suspect more is better.

But is that it?

I mean church planting is all well and good.

But what if you tried to plant a movements of churches?

Maybe we need to stop calling it church planting. Maybe we need to call it movement planting.

See, as Director of the NewThing Network I have the wonderful privilege of working side by side church planters who desire to plant big–real big. Their enthusiasm and audacity for the Kingdom is infectious. Talk to most of them and they’ll tell you they’re trying to plant movements of churches. I think it’s awesome.

You know why? Because big dreams are always infectious.

See, knowing what you want to plant makes all of the difference in the world. All I am suggesting is that you dream big Kingdom dreams and challenge yourself to plant big.

What you plant is what you get. If you plant a church, you’ll get a church. But if you plant a movement you might just get a movement. And that would be cool. Really cool.

So go ahead–I dare you. Don’t just plant a church–plant a movement.

What about you? I’d love to know what you’re planting? 

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