Asking Kingdom Questions
Our team just returned from Exponential West. The gathering of over 1,000 like-minded leaders was full of contagious energy. It’s hard to put into words seeing 100s of leaders come forward in the closing session to be prayed over and sent to plant multiplying churches. I’ve heard from numerous leaders that joined us in Southern California who sense an optimism for the Church. I had numerous conversations with attendees who are leaning into the future of the church and new and exciting opportunities. What an amazing time in history to be involved in starting new churches and dreaming about the future!!!
I like how my friend Peyton Jones said it when I asked him to share about his conference experience. Peyton was energized by what he experienced.
Peyton is a church-planting strategist with NAMB, an author, editor of churchplantermagazine.com, and a self-described serial church planter. If you weren’t at Exponential West, Peyton helps capture the experience you missed:
Call it a buzz. Call it a vibe. Exponential West was buzzing last week. Something was in the air this year that’s hard to put into words, but it was definitely tangibly felt. When it comes to answering the questions the American Church needs to be asking, Exponential has been hitting the nail squarely on the head.
This year’s focus was on Dreaming Big—thinking beyond addition and your church or church plant to contemplate the question: What would a movement of multiplication look like? You could say that going to Exponential West the last few years has been like following a conversation on a logical pathway to obtain relevant answers to that question. Along the way, Exponential has focused on discipleship as the key to sparking that first-century flame that could set the 21st century ablaze. Next year’s theme, “HeroMaker,” personally fires me up because the shift from hero to hero maker is the key to discipleship, which ultimately is the key to multiplication (Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8).
Throughout the week, Level 5 multiplier Ralph Moore repeatedly affirmed that connection. Ralph opened up some of the pre-conferences and extended main sessions with some simple discipleship principles that have led to a repeat of first-century results. Ralph isn’t just talking about multiplication; he’s modeling it and inspiring others. His movement, Hope Chapel, has ties to more than 2,400 churches worldwide that were planted successively and exponentially through multiple generations of disciple making. The testimony of action gives an authority to the voice.
But I imagine it wasn’t just Ralph’s voice I was hearing this week. It was the voice of the Spirit, who was given to us for this very thing—to assist us in multiplying to the ends of the earth … exponentially.
Peyton is expressing what I believe a number of leaders are feeling as they align their multiplication dream with God’s dream and join the “4-10 mission.” More leaders are intentionally making decisions that will move the needle from less than 4 percent of churches ever reproducing to a tipping point of greater than 10 percent.
2017 Dream Big and 2018 HeroMaker
Throughout Exponential West, numerous and diverse voices (John Ortberg, Danielle Strickland, Wayne Cordeiro, Ed Stetzer and more) that unpacked our “Dream Big” theme and challenged us to pursue the big dream God has uniquely called and equipped us to follow. I’m still thinking about Efrem Smith’s question: “What does Kingdom dreaming look like in a world where tragedy runs rampant?”
Efrem challenged leaders: “In the midst of brokenness and horrific events, we have to dream so that we can be transformers, reconcilers and agents of gospel change.”
And the words of Kenyan multiplication leader Muriithi Wanjau (he’s leading a growing movement of churches across 10 nations) should give all of us pause:
“Don’t make the mistake of challenging your people to live for something that’s too small,” he said, “when God has called them to be dangerous agents of Kingdom transformation.”
To check out the week’s insights and highlights, click here.
As Peyton mentioned, we’re continuing the multiplication conversation in 2018 with our theme: “HeroMaker: Daring to Lead a Multiplying Church.” We’re looking at the kind of leader it takes to dream big and lead a Level 5 multiplying church. If you’re planning on or thinking about being with us in 2018, there’s no better time to register and get in on the cheapest rate. We’ll be in Orlando for Exponential 2018 February 26-March 1.
If you missed Exponential West or if you made it there and want to take back everything you learned to your church and team, I encourage you to get the 2017 Digital Access Pass, featuring all of the main sessions from both Exponential East and Exponential West 2017.
Of course you can still experience Exponential 2017 live! The Dream Big fall tour is still going, with our next stop in the San Francisco Bay Area (Oct. 25-26), followed by Chicago (Nov. 7-8) and Houston (Nov. 29-30). The regional events feature all five main sessions but are only two days, making it extremely affordable to take your whole team. Your team gets not only the live experience but also the opportunity to connect with other leaders who are walking through some of the same challenges and asking some of the same questions they are. After a conference, leaders always tell me that the face-to-face connection and conversations are worth the investment alone.
We have made it a priority to do whatever we can (including working with awesome sponsors to subsidize conference costs) to facilitate this kind of live encounter for anyone who dares to think beyond their kingdom and dream about a movement of multiplication in their community, city and world.
I hope to see you at one of our Dream Big stops this fall and Exponential 2018 HeroMaker in 2018.
A fellow Kingdom dreamer,