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Strategic Christian Leadership

The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

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Multility: Keep it Cellular, Part 4 (Strategic Christian Leadership Episode 74)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 74. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Jeremiah 23:1 which says, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.”

Our quote for this episode is from Spencer W. Kimball, who said, “Jesus said several times, “Come, follow me.” His was a program of “do what I do,” rather than “do what I say.” His innate brilliance would have permitted him to put on a dazzling display, but that would have left his followers far behind. He walked and worked with those he was to serve. His was not a long-distance leadership. He was not afraid of close friendships; he was not afraid that proximity to him would disappoint his followers. The leaven of true leadership cannot lift others unless we are with and serve those to be led.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.

Our topic today is part 7 of “Chapter 4: Multility: Keep it Cellular” from “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning. He continues as follows:

Scale and Reciprocity

Bigness and fame go together like peanut butter and jelly. They have to. Small systems can be conversational and egalitarian. Large systems must revert to a broadcast paradigm. Broadcast television is the perfect embodiment of the one-way nature of fame, but megachurches are also of that ilk. People know you, but you don’t know them. Sociologist Clay Shirky describes fame as “an extreme imbalance between inbound and outbound attention. Two things are required to create this inequity: scale and reciprocity. To be famous, you need to receive a minimal amount of attention from an audience of at least thousands.”

Arguably the most influential American Christian leader of modern times has been Billy Graham. Billy came on the scene in the 1960s, as modern broadcast methods were hitting their stride. He was able to capitalize on the state of the culture at that time. Broadcasting was en vogue (stadium events, television, etc.). The leadership model was the “great man” model. It was fitting for Billy to leverage the elements of the culture that were available to him. Billy has certainly been successful utilizing the broadcast model. Megachurches have piggybacked on this model in the past couple decades. They are regional. They are massive. The theory: the bigger the building, the more people you can reach. The megachurch mirrors the big-box retailer. The Deliberately Simple church mirrors a restaurant chain.

Pat McGovern said, “How can you create a small-company environment and still continue to grow and prosper? The answer is the network corporation, and the facilitator is technology. Technology breaks down barriers that block facilitator is technology. Technology breaks down barriers that block the door to the next generation corporate environment. Networked computers, sophisticated but affordable communications capabilities, and strategic use of information systems suddenly create a myriad of possibilities.”

If the next generation of evangelists is to be successful, we will need to leverage the technologies and mentalities that are available to us, such as the internet and clusters.

PLURALITY OF MINISTRIES

At CTK we want to encourage multility at every level. One application of multility is to the ministries in which a church may engage. For instance, we prefer the word ministries (plural) instead of ministry (singular). This allows for diversity and innovation and multiplies the opportunities we have to reach out. So we don’t have a women’s ministry; we have women’s ministries. We don’t have a youth ministry; we have youth ministries, etc. We don’t imagine that any one ministry can meet the needs.

While there are a limited number of programs that a Deliberately Simple church may initiate, there are an unlimited number of ministries that individuals may initiate. While corporate programs are discouraged, individual ministries are encouraged.

Ministries Instead of Programs

Deliberate Simplicity makes a distinction between a program and a ministry. The difference between the two is that programs are centralized, corporate, top-down, singular, and perpetual. Ministries are decentralized, individual, bottom-up, plural, and temporary.

An example of a church program might be a midweek children’s program. The program is centralized, in that everyone comes to the church to participate. The program is corporate, because it is sponsored and directed by the church organization. It is top-down, in that the impetus for the program comes from the pastor or staff. It is singular, because it is the only program of its kind that the church backs. It is perpetual, since the program has been going for years and will likely continue to do so.

On the other hand, imagine an after-school girls’ group that meets midweek. The program is decentralized, as the group does not necessarily need to meet at a church facility. It is personal, because the initiation and facilitation of the group has come from a mother of one of the girls. It is bottom-up, since the idea for this ministry did not come from the church’s leadership. It is plural, because many of these groups could conceivably meet in various homes. It is temporary, since the ministry will no longer exist if the parents who lead it choose to discontinue.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Developing a Biblical Mission, Part 10 (Strategic Christian Leadership, Episode 73)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 73. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Philippians 2:3 which says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Our quote for this episode is from Peter Drucker, who said, “Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.

Our topic today is part 10 of “Chapter 4: Developing a Biblical Mission: What We Are Supposed to be Doing” from “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs. He continues as follows:

Shared versus Unshared

Some churches have consciously developed and articulated a mission statement, but most have not. Once the church has articulated such a statement, it may discover that some or even many of its people do not share the same mission. They lack mission alignment. People join churches for different reasons, and as stated above, many bring their own personal mission with them, which dictates their reasons for joining.

A shared ministry mission is essential to the church’s effectiveness. Unshared ministry missions lead to disunity and hold potential for disaster, pulling people apart, not together. Therefore it is most important that a church address this issue with its congregants. I suggest that a good time and place to do this is when a person joins the church. It is my conviction that every church should have a new members class where it orients its new people to its values, mission, vision, and strategy as well as other matters such as doctrine. The idea is to get as many people as possible on the same page at the very beginning of their church experience to achieve maximum ministry effectiveness.

Correct versus Incorrect

While most or all churches have a ministry mission, it may not be the correct mission. My experience is that most churches fall into this category. More than two thousand years ago, the Savior predetermined and gave the church its biblical mission. It is the Great Commission—to make (evangelize) and mature (edify) believers. A church that pursues any other mission is pursuing the wrong mission, no matter how noble it may be. For example, the mission of some teaching churches is to preach the Bible. The mission of some worship-oriented churches is to worship God. And some churches’ mission, often but not always smaller churches, is fellowship. Do not misunderstand what I am saying. These are all good things that are found in the Bible, but they, by themselves, are not the Great Commission! They may lead to the Great Commission but are not the totality of it.

Therefore it is imperative that once a church discovers its mission, it ask itself, Is our mission the correct mission? Is it the Great Commission? If the answer is fuzzy or an outright no, the church will need to change its mission from whatever it is to what the Savior has determined that it be—the Great Commission. To continue to pursue the wrong or incorrect mission is a violation of Scripture and disobedience to God’s will for the church.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Inspiration: How Humility Lifts Those Around Us, Part 1 (Strategic Christian Leadership #72)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 72. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is 2 Chronicles 1:10-12 which says, “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?”

Our quote for this episode is from John F. Kennedy, who said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.

Our topic today is part 1 of “Inspiration: How Humility Lifts Those Around Us” from “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. He continues as follows:

I used to suppose that highlighting achievements and status is a key to inspiring those who look up to us. There is a real truth here. Most people like to have heroes. Most appreciate being led (well). So there is, as the former head of Australian Special Forces Jim Wallace puts it, “a natural momentum in favour of the leader.” Watching Brian Robson, former captain of Manchester United, inspired me to train most afternoons after school. Listening to U2 and watching them perform live numerous times was a powerful motivator to take up a musical career. Reading the books and listening to the lectures of Paul Barnett, a local Australian scholar, was one of the reasons I turned to historical studies. Inspiration does come from those whose achievement we greatly admire. I don’t dispute that greatness encourages greatness.

But these statements are inadequate on their own. I have come to believe that achievement and status alone are not where true inspiration is found. It is when our heroes are humble that they most inspire.

To offer a small personal example: four years ago my daughter took up netball, a hugely popular sport in Commonwealth countries that looks like a cross between basketball and European handball. One day during my daughter’s first season I happened to be in the same Qantas airport lounge as the Australian netball team, fresh from a game against New Zealand. I ripped out a piece of paper, reminded myself they would never see this fawning father again and nervously approached the team, including the famous Liz Ellis, the most capped player in Australian history who captained the country to victory at the 2007 World Championships. I told them my Sophie had just started playing the game and asked for autographs. The response was wonderful. They quickly set me at ease, introduced me around the other players and filled the page with signatures and a little message of encouragement.

When I arrived home Sophie loved it. The page was quickly framed and hung on her bedroom wall. It was inspiring, not just for me as an eager Saturday morning spectator but also for her. Sophie is now—and I’m afraid there’s no humble way to put this—quite a little star in her own right, playing in the State representative competition. Of course, it would be stretching things to draw a straight line between Liz Ellis’s signature four years ago and Sophie’s quick movement up the netball grades. But this seemingly minor kindness from Sophie’s sporting heroes did cause a lift in her feeling for the game.

True greatness is marked by a thousand small courtesies like this. The inspiration of heroes and leaders is only enhanced by their willingness to take an interest in others and to talk about things other than their achievements. I note in passing that one of Liz Ellis’s two “people most admired”, according to her website, is Sir Edmund Hillary. I wonder if it was his famously humble attitude as much as his conquest of Everest that has inspired Ellis herself.

As I mentioned in chapter 1, in recent years business leaders are emphasizing the same thing: humility in leadership seems to have a marked positive influence on individuals and organizations. Jim Collins’s famous “Level 5 Leader” is a truly odd beast. Level 4 leadership is what we normally associate with big-time executives. This “effective leader”, Collins says, “catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision stimulating higher performance standards.”

But all eleven companies that managed to outperform the market by three times over a fifteen-year period—the good-to-great companies—were led by a different individual (and culture) entirely. The Level 5 Executive “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”2 In interview after interview, Collins says, the humble character of these steely-willed leaders was clear, not just in their interactions with Collins’s research team but, perhaps more importantly, in the research team’s discussions with employees. Independently of each other and in different ways, workers close to the executive would report how he was unassuming or always courteous or asked questions of others or put the firm’s interests above their own. Humility, in other words.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Multility: Keep it Cellular, Part 6 (Strategic Christian Leadership Episode #71)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 71. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Jeremiah 23:1 which says, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.”

Our quote for this episode is from Roy T. Bennett, who said, “Good leaders have vision and inspire others to help them turn vision into reality. Great leaders create more leaders, not followers. Great leaders have vision, share vision, and inspire others to create their own.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.

Our topic today is part 6 of “Chapter 4: Multility: Keep it Cellular” from “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning. He continues as follows:

Paul recognized a vision for his life and ministry, a vision that released energy and focus. He said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. In other words, Paul says, “I have a goal … to win the prize.” Some might think that the prize is heaven. But the prize isn’t heaven. The prize relates to heaven, but the prize is here and now. In an earlier verse, Paul says in effect, “I haven’t attained it yet … that’s why I’m pressing on.” The sense is that he’ll attain it not in the next life but in this one. The sense is that he’s in the locker room at halftime and the game’s not over yet. This contest is still to be decided on the field, and he’s giving himself a pep talk: “Go out there and reach that goal and win that prize!”

For a Deliberately Simple church, the prize is to see the propagation of Christ’s kingdom through the multiplication of small groups and worship centers. The reward is a church that spreads like wildfire. The trophy is large numbers of lost people coming to salvation.

One of the key questions any growth-oriented leader must answer is, “If we are successful in fulfilling our mission, and we effectively reach out, how will we be able to accommodate growing numbers of converts?” Answers to this question could run down two tracks: bigger or more. We either find a bigger container to hold more people or find more containers to hold more people. That is, if a church were to grow from one hundred to one thousand people, structurally it could look two different ways.

Success, as it is defined by most of Christianity, is counter to reproduction. But in a Deliberately Simple church, we don’t think bigger is necessarily better. We think more is better. “Is it better to be big or small?” James O’Toole asks. “Obviously, it is best to be both at the same time.”Other social organizations have found benefit in self-imposed size limitations, with replication and relationship. Bill Gross is one of the leaders of a Hutterite community outside of Spokane, Washington. He explains the natural process that starts to take place when people begin to become strangers to each other: “What happens when you get that big is that the group starts, just on its own, to form a sort of clan. You get two or three groups within the larger group. That is something you really try to prevent, and when it happens it is a good time to branch out.” Bill Gore, founder of the company that makes Gore-Tex, is committed to multility for his workforce. He limits the size of his plants to not more than 150 employees (a size he feels is optimum for a sense of family). To insure this size, he limits the parking lot size to 150 cars. He knows it is time to build a new plant when employees start parking on the grass.

Over the years, military planners have arrived at a rule of thumb which dictates that functional fighting units cannot be substantially larger than two hundred soldiers. When they get larger than that, people become strangers to each other. You have to impose more hierarchies, rules and regulations, and formal measures to try to command loyalty and cohesion. When fighting units are smaller than that, orders can be implemented and unruly behavior controlled informally, on the basis of personal interaction. Some ministries of the church, such as small group ministries, have leveraged the principle of multility for quite a while. Small group proponents have said for years that the fastest way for a church to begin growing by 10 percent annually is to break the church into groups of ten and have every small group reach out to one new person each year. In other words, on a micro instead of macro scale, more people get involved in the mission. Deliberate Simplicity contends that in the same way, distributed growth works on a churchwide level. Through multiple services and sites, a church is able to distribute the responsibility for outreach. For instance, by having three services, if each service reaches out to ten new people this year, the church will grow by thirty, and yet ten new people is really very attainable for each of the services. And by having ten locations, if each grows by thirty people over the next year, the church grows by nearly three hundred people. Growing by three hundred people a year might seem like a challenge for a church that meets in one place at one time. The growth model of McDonald’s is more instead of bigger. McDonald’s replicates itself at a certain size as many times as necessary to serve a population center. In a major city, there may be dozens or even hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants. It’s even possible for there to be two just down the street from each other. McDonald’s has found an optimum size for their objectives. Instead of thinking bigger to accommodate more people, they think more.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Developing a Biblical Mission, Part 10 (Strategic Christian Leadership Episode 70)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 70. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Proverbs 3:5 which says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Our quote for this episode is from Peter Drucker, who said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 10 of “Chapter 4: Developing a Biblical Mission: What We Are Supposed to be Doing” from “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs. He continues as follows:

Various Kinds of Missions

When we cover the ministry’s core values in chapter 6, you will discover that there are various kinds of values: conscious and unconscious, shared and unshared, and so forth. Most of those same categories hold true for the church’s mission. Five of them are given here.

Conscious versus Unconscious

Most churches have a mission whether or not they know or can verbalize it. As I say in the chapter on values, your actual values will drive or take you somewhere. This is also true of the mission. The ministry ship is moving toward some ministry port, and this is the church’s mission. The church, however, may not realize this or be aware of where its mission is taking it. Thus it needs to move the mission from an unconscious to a conscious level so that it can know what its mission is. It must discover and articulate its actual mission.

The way to accomplish this is to look at the church’s values and determine where they are taking the church. When consulting with a church, I list its core values on a whiteboard and ask the SLT where these values have taken them. The answer is the church’s ministry mission. Next, I ask the team to articulate that mission in a written statement so they can hold it and work with it at a conscious level.

Personal versus Organizational

While the church as a whole has a mission, whether they know it or not, most individuals have a mission in mind for the church as well. The first is the organizational or congregational mission, and the second is a personal mission. Most personal missions are formed early in life. Often mission formation takes place in the church when people come to faith. They may have embraced the church’s mission as their own. Or it may have occurred later when the person was involved in a church or ministry that was vibrant for Christ. Regardless of the circumstances, the mission has marked them for life, and they bring this mission with them to their current church and will use it to judge all churches.

The same is true for the pastor of a church and his staff. Most have a personal ministry mission that they bring with them when the church hires them. Some may not be aware of their personal mission.

I encourage every church to address this issue. People must know that their personal missions may be in conflict with the church’s mission and that the latter must prevail, or the church will attempt to move in many different directions at the same time, pulling apart rather than together. I will say more about how to do this in the following section. Concerning a senior pastor and any staff, the church must work with them and attempt to discover what those personal missions are before inviting these people to pastor and minister to the church. And to maximize your ministry placement, those of you who are pastors and staff must consider whether your mission and that of the church agree.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

The Textbook on Persuasion, Part 6 (Strategic Christian Leadership #69)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 69. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is 1 Corinthians 12:12 which says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Our quote for this episode is from Beth Revis, who said, “A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 6 of “The Textbook on Persuasion” from “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. He continues as follows:

Professor Richard Bauckham of the University of St Andrew’s, Scotland (recently moved to Cambridge), is a pure polymath, comfortable in eight languages (a few of them modern), author of more than thirty books and competent in adjunct fields of historical enquiry that, I am ashamed to say, I hadn’t even heard of before reading his works (onomastics, for instance—the study of ancient names, their distribution, derivation and social significance). When our crew arrived at the beautiful St Mary’s College, where his office was, we were taken aback by Bauckham’s offer of tea and coffee for the entire crew. It’s a small thing perhaps, but other than Hengel, it was the only offer of refreshments we received during the filming.

What’s more, after Bauckham took our orders—tea, white with one; coffee, black, and so on—he disappeared for some minutes. We thought it was to arrange the order, but he returned with a tray, having made them all himself. He handed them out to the members of the crew and then sat down for one of the most erudite interviews of the documentary. At one level, this was a simple human courtesy—nothing to make a big deal of. But it was not common, and there is something beautiful about someone at the top of their field choosing to treat you more like guests than filmmakers looking for a big name interview.

The effect of meeting Hengel and Bauckham was completely unexpected. Months later as I was working on an academic project, I reached over to the bookshelf to consult Hengel on some contentious detail and I found myself strangely persuaded by his viewpoint. Yes, this was largely because of the cogency of the argument (the logos), but if I’m honest, it had also to do with my experience with the man. His thoughts on a complicated topic were more compelling to me than those of others, including some of the other scholars I met and interviewed.

I had exactly the same experience days later reaching for Richard Bauckham’s recent tome. In it he offers a controversial argument about the way ancient people preserved important traditions by memory rather than in writing (this is called “oral tradition”). I have to admit I found myself more readily convinced by his case than that of other equally credentialed dons. Again, I don’t think it is simply because I had met the man, as I have not noticed the same “background credulity” toward all of the scholars I met during the filming. Only when reflecting on Aristotle’s ideas about character and persuasion did I become fully aware of the “bias” I had toward agreeing with Hengel and Bauckham. The effect comes not simply from meeting them; it derives from my impression of these two senior academics as thoughtful, caring, humble human beings—“good-hearted”, in Aristotle’s language.

In Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, former White House speech writer William Safire tells of a certain fifth-century BC Athenian orator named Pericles. I haven’t bothered to verify the story, partly because I don’t want to know if it’s false, but apparently Pericles, (pe-ri-kleez) a renowned speaker in his own right, once compared himself to the great lawyer and statesman Demosthenes (de-mos-theenz). “When Pericles (pe-ri-kleez) speaks,” he said of himself, “the people say, ‘How well he speaks’. But when Demosthenes (de-mos-theenz) speaks, the people say, ‘Let us march!’ ”

Real persuasion is invisible in its artistry; it just moves people. My contention in this chapter is simple. Whether in the military, business, sports or academia, humility is part of what moves people. It is not the only factor, of course—and you’ll be glad to know I have managed to find things to disagree with in the writings of Hengel and Bauckham—but humility in the leader does exert a powerful, if intangible, influence on those you lead. This is not rocket science. When people trust us, they tend to believe what we say, and few are considered more trustworthy than those who choose to use their power for the good of others above themselves.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Strategic Christian Leadership Podcast, Episode 68

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 68. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Matthew 7:12 which says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Our quote for this episode is from Dolly Parton. She said, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 5 of “Chapter 4: Multility: Keep it Cellular” from “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning. He continues as follows:

My positive notions of multility were reinforced in Sunday school when I came to realize that the New Testament church did not meet in a church building. In fact, they did not meet in one place at all, but instead gathered in private homes (“house to house”) and public spaces (“the temple courts”). With childlike wonder, I dreamed of what might happen if a church were to try that again.

After accepting Christ at an early age, I began preparing for the ministry. Throughout my teen years, the model of success I observed was the megachurch. This was in the midseventies, when churches of one thousand to two thousand or more people began to spring up across the country. As I drank at the well of “bigger is better,” I quickly lost my childhood fantasies of a church meeting in small groups and gathering in public places. In Bible college and seminary I investigated church growth theory in earnest. Following completion of seminary, I pastored two denominational churches and quickly started to climb the ladder of success.

In my first full-time pastorate, as the church was growing rapidly around me, there was also a growing discontent within me. I was working harder and harder, with diminishing returns. Attendance and expectations were growing, but I was not. The church was program driven. The pressure was intense. In quiet moments I flashed back to the simple ideas I had of the church as a child. Eventually the disconnect between my childhood dream and my adult reality grew to a point of personal crisis.

In the early nineties I made a radical proposal to the traditional church I was pastoring. I suggested that we drop the denominational name of the church and prepare to launch a second location in a town ten minutes to the north. It was clearly a watershed, make-or-break proposal. Truly, we would be putting everything at risk for the cause. The stakes were high, especially for the stakeholders. For such a significant change, the constitution of the church called for a two-thirds positive vote of the membership. I pushed hard, but the system pushed back. When the moment of truth arrived (we needed a two-thirds vote), it failed to pass by one vote. It was the death of a vision. Intense discouragement set in. I left that church, and the ministry for that matter, about a year later.

Eventually I found myself on the back row of Christ the King Community Church in Bellingham, Washington, a church that has taken some significant steps in small group and multicampus ministry. It has given me the freedom to press the model even further through church planting. I can see now that this is God’s plan for my life.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Developing a Biblical Mission, Part 4 (Strategic Christian Leadership #67)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 67. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Proverbs 29:2 which says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Our quote for this episode is from Roy T. Bennett. She said, “Great leaders create more leaders, not followers.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 9 of “Chapter 4: Developing a Biblical Mission: What We Are Supposed to be Doing” from “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs. He continues as follows:

A MISSION IS A STATEMENT

The fourth element of the definition says that a mission is a statement. The church must articulate and communicate its mission edict to the congregation. This takes the form of a statement, both verbal and written. Christ expressed the Great Commission in a verbal statement, and Matthew recorded it as a written statement. Mission developers would be wise to express their thoughts not only verbally but also in writing. This forces them to think and express themselves clearly. If they cannot write it, then they probably do not yet have a clear, articulate mission. Also, the mission will not have the authority to be a leadership statement until you can write it down.

A MISSION IS WHAT THE MINISTRY IS SUPPOSED TO BE DOING

The final element of the definition focuses on the functional question, What are we supposed to be doing? As we just discovered, more than two thousand years ago, Christ predetermined the church’s mission: “Make disciples.” This is his mission mandate. This is what the church is supposed to be doing. This is God’s will for your church, which raises the question, Can your church be in God’s will if it is not obeying the mandate? Research indicates that far too many North American churches have drifted away from or missed entirely Christ’s Great Commission mandate.

Good questions for a candidating pastor to ask of a church are,

What is this church’s mission?

What is it supposed to be doing?

I use these and three similar questions as diagnostic questions when I consult with churches on their mission. Pastors would serve their churches well if they too asked these questions. Here are the four questions to use:

What is this church supposed to be doing?

What is this church doing?

Why are you not doing what you are supposed to be doing?

What will it take for you to change and do what you are supposed to be doing?

The first question causes leaders to think biblically. They must ask what the Scriptures teach about the church’s mission mandate. The second question assumes that the ministry has missed Christ’s directive (a reasonably safe assumption). If you are not making disciples, then what are you doing? Some churches function as Christian retirement centers; others are evangelistic ministries; and others are mini-seminaries. The third question is very convicting. The room will get silent on this one. The last question is the most difficult and important because the answer reflects the church’s willingness to obey Christ and ultimately exert an influence in the community.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

The Textbook on Persuasion, Part 5 (Strategic Christian Leadership #66)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 66. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is 2 Timothy 2:24 which says, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,”

Our quote for this episode is from Margaret Thatcher. She said, “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 5 of “The Textbook on Persuasion” from “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. He continues as follows:

Jay’s final statement is the modern equivalent of Aristotle’s insistence that character is almost the controlling factor in effective communication.

I found this principle working on me when I was involved in a historical documentary for Australian television a few years ago. I had the opportunity to interview about a dozen international experts on ancient Judaism, the life of Christ, the Dead Sea Scrolls, first-century Rome, archaeology and so on. It was a dream come true. At one point the producer described me as “a kid in a candy shop”! All of the scholars were at the top of their respective fields—full professors in leading universities—but some carried themselves more like low-level researchers than renowned authorities. Two stood out.

Martin Hengel was professor (later, professor emeritus) of New Testament and early Judaism at Germany’s prestigious University of Tübingen from 1972 until his death in July 2009. The author of dozens of important monographs and literally hundreds of technical articles, Professor Hengel was the scholar’s scholar, as comfortable in the classical sources of Greece and Rome as he was in the many and varied writings of Jewish and Christian antiquity. Few experts can expect to write something others will describe as “landmark”, but Hengel was a one-man landscape producing standard works in various areas of history.

I had the privilege of conducting what was perhaps Hengel’s last full-scale television interview. When the film crew and I met him in his flat overlooking the Neckar River in central Tübingen, I was struck by several things. First, his enormous private library was described by his academic colleague Peter Stuhlmacher, whom we interviewed later that day, as “perhaps the finest private collection in Europe.” Actually, his “flat” was two spacious, interconnected three-bedroom apartments, one for him and the warmly hospitable Frau Hengel and one for books—at least four large rooms filled to overflowing with scholarly tomes written in German, English, French and Italian, as well as all of the relevant primary sources in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Greek and Latin. During the interview I couldn’t help gazing around the room and noticing the countless slips of paper peering out of so many of the items on the shelves. These books had been analysed and absorbed, not just consulted and displayed. I left his home feeling slightly fraudulent as a scholar.

Most of all, I was also deeply impressed by Hengel’s humility. He really seemed as interested in each of us—a junior historian, cameraman, sound guy, director, producer—as we were in him. As we enjoyed coffee and Brezel following the formalities, Herr and Frau Hengel peppered us with questions about our work, our families, life in Australia and the various other scholars we knew. It is a special kind of person who has so much to give and yet prefers to find out about others. I have since learned from other scholars around the world that the Hengels were known in Tübingen for their Friday evening discussions in the home with groups of eager students. These would often run until midnight. Hospitality, friendship and scholarship always went together in Hengel’s life. Meeting Martin Hengel had a peculiar effect on me, but before I describe it let me offer my second example.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Multility: Keep it Cellular, Part 4 (Strategic Christian Leadership #65)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 65. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is Colossians 3:23-25 which says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

Our quote for this episode is from Robert Louis Stevenson. He said, “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 4 of “Chapter 4: Multility: Keep it Cellular” from “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning. He continues as follows:

Multility contends that more is better than bigger. Multility is growth by cell division, the replicating model of organic systems. Organic systems are implicitly self-sustaining and reproducible. They multiply through germination, reproduction, and mitosis. Can the church grow that way?

I was first intrigued with multility as a child. A new fast-food restaurant came to my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. There were big yellow arches out front. They had a clown named Ronald. But what startled me most was the sign. Right from the start, they had a reader board that said, “40 million served.” I remember thinking, “Wow, how did they do that?” My parents filled me in: “Son, they are a chain, which means that they have restaurants in lots of different places. That’s how they did that.” I thought that was a cool idea. Evidently, McDonald’s was faced with a choice when they reached capacity: either build a bigger restaurant to serve more people or build more restaurants to serve more people. They went the more restaurant route. The rest, as they say, is history (they are now approaching 100 billion served).

Of course, banks, grocery stores, hospitals, and universities have also taken a multisite strategy, with good effect. In his book Discontinuity and Hope, church consultant Lyle Schaller describes the possibilities for a church to expand into multiple locations. He contrasts a longtime resident showing an old friend around town in 1965 and 2002.

1965: “That’s the First National Bank at the corner of Main and Washington, and directly across from it is First Church, where we have been members since we moved here thirty years ago. The college is four blocks to the east up on the hill, our hospital is about a half mile to the west, and our doctor has his office in that building over there.”

2002: “That’s the First National Bank, but I haven’t been there for years. We do all our banking at a branch supermarket where we buy groceries. We’re members of First Church, but we go to their east-side campus, which is within walking distance of our house. We have one congregation, one staff, one budget, and one treasury, but three meeting places — a small one on the north side of town, the big one out where we live, and the old building downtown here. The old college up on the hill is now a university. This is their main campus, but they also offer classes at three other locations. We’re members of an HMO that has doctors in five locations, but my primary-care physician is in a branch about a mile from where we live. Her office is next to a branch of the main hospital, so I’ve never been in the main hospital except to visit a couple of friends. Our older daughter is enrolled in a theological school out in California, but she is able to take all her classes on the east-side campus of First Church. That enables her to live with us and saves her a lot of money. We also look after her two children while she’s in class or in the library.”

Of all the entities that could benefit from multiple locations, I believe the church should be first in line.

————

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.