The Final Basecamp Before the Summit | Dave Browning

The values you need to gain and release to move forward

Dave Browning

Churches moving from 4 to 4+ always have a vision larger than growing their local church.

Years ago, I decided that I no longer wanted to be part of a great church ministry. Instead, I wanted to be part of a great church movement! You could now describe that journey with Christ the King as becoming a Level 5 church.

For us, the move from Level 4 to 4+ (what I call the final base camp before the Level 5 summit) involved a significant question and decision: Are our sites a means of further addition or the beginning of multiplication? As your sites become stepping-stones toward unlimited replication (a great movement), you’ll progress from Level 4 (reproducing) to 4+ (a more aggressive and vibrant version of Level 4). We’ve learned that at this staging area are some values a pastor and church must both acquire and release:

To Acquire:

  • Complete Kingdom-mindedness. At 4+, you’re forced to come to grips with deeper heart issues like ego and motives. Are you building your kingdom or God’s Kingdom? Churches moving from 4 to 4+ always have a vision larger than growing their local church. They see their church through a Kingdom lens rather than seeing the Kingdom through the lens of their local church.

Are you trying to get everyone to come to your church, or are you trying to get His church to everyone? Now’s the time to go “all in” for the much, much bigger story.

  • Great faith (in people). As a Level 4 church, we no doubt had faith in God to grow and expand. Now came the greater test. Would we trust people? At Level 3 and 4, a church typically becomes more professional. Do you believe that everyone in your church is a movement maker and that a church can advance with amateurs? In many parts of the world, that’s the only choice.
  • A permission-giving culture. If you believe in what God can do through ordinary people, you must empower them to carry out their ministry with minimal obstacles and maximum freedom. You might have to retrain the church to become fluent in these four words: “Yes, sure. You bet.”

To Release:

  • High control. At 4+, control ends up being an “elephant in the room.” Higher levels of control may have prompted growth at Levels 3 and 4. But what got us here won’t get us there. At Level 5, decision-making and innovation will happen at the edges, not just at the center. To prepare for the summit, we must give up any controlling behaviors even when people don’t do things the way you’d do them.

Will you be okay if Jesus’ church is a grand and glorious mess?

  • The old Churches typically measure success by attendance and finances. But at Level 4+ and 5, sending capacity eclipses seating capacity. The old scorecard has to go. The new scorecard includes multiplication activities such as the number of churches planted; number of church planters trained; percentage of income allocated to church planting; and number of leaders deployed. Are you okay if attendance and giving go down as long as the number of souls in God’s Kingdom rises?
  • Excessive rules and regulations. Plain and simple, a movement has to “move.” At 4+, we weeded the policy manual and eliminated restrictions. We chose fewer, but better, regulations. What will be “loose,” and what will be “tight” in this organization? Now is the time to become very clear about the essentials and non-essentials of the story. Now is the time to jettison needless weight and double down on what’s non-negotiable.

The first-century Church of Acts 2 was an organic, relational movement instead of an institutional, attractional ministry. If we get ready, our Church of the future may very well look like the Church of the past.


Dave Browning is a visionary minimalist and the founder of Christ the King Community Church, International (CTK). His passion is to see the church grow organically and exponentially through relationships, transforming the spiritual landscape. He continues to lead the multi-location church comprised of hundreds of small groups worldwide, with worship centers strategically located in every community.

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