Churches must network together, here’s why

It was Paul Hiebert who first proposed that the bounded set and centered sets could help us identify who is and who is not a Christian. (See Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories Hiebert 1978.)

While the debate around bounded set and centered set is appropriate for conversion, I think this language can help our conversation about movement as well.

The big challenge for us in the Western Church is that we haven’t seen movement in a long time.

Why not?

Continue reading “Churches must network together, here’s why”

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.) 

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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?

I am Ready to Find a Leadership Resident But I Don’t Know Where to Start!

So you’re convinced that a leadership resident is necessary for you to start a movement of reproducing churches. Good–I am glad. Because you’re right. findaresident

Most planters I talk to get really excited about the idea of a leadership resident joining their team. But then most admit they don’t even know where to start looking.

The truth is, residents are not going to just show up on your door. (Some will–but most wont.) You’re going to need to connect with others and find them.

Recruiting a resident comes down to networking and meeting with residency prospects.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find a leadership resident:

  1. Have you clarified exactly what a residency will look like for you and your team? Have you received coaching and input from others who already train residents? Can you articulate your vision and process for a resident clearly?
  2. Are you communicating externally? Are you telling others (church planters, pastors etc.) that you’re looking for a resident. Are you tapping your relational networks and letting them know you’re looking?
  3. Are you communicating internally? Are you casting vision to potential leaders within your organization that you are looking for a resident?
  4. Are you praying?
  5. Are you making space in your schedule to meet with potential residents? Does finding a resident get space on your calendar or not?
  6. Are you pursuing residents you have connected with? Are you following up with prospects that have expressed an interest in residency and making time to meet with them? Or are you letting others meet with them?
  7. Are you asking others (staff, network partners, etc.) to help you connect with new residents through their relational networks.
  8. Are you talking to current leadership residents to find out who they might know?
  9. Are you attending conferences like Exponential and others to build relationships with potential residents.
  10. Are you offering basic assessments to residents to help them understand how they’re wired and whether they might be a good fit for you and your team.

If you’re interested in a leadership residency with my tribe, NewThing, hit me up. I’d love to talk to you.

So what about you? How do you start recruiting leadership residents. What has worked for you that can help the rest of us.

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