Is It Time for an Operating System Upgrade?

Level 5 multiplication requires us to stop adding and initiate a new system for multiplication

November 3, 2016


“Our systems are built around addition. We have to stop doing addition practices to do multiplication ones. You can’t just slowly evolve into a multiplication strategy. We have to stop to do it differently.”

In this podcast from Exponential 2016, author Neil Cole draws from his book, Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church, to focus on the subtle and not so subtle differences in church addition and multiplication. While Church 1.0 was the early Church in Acts, Church 2.0 reflects the operating system we’ve been using since Constantine in 312 AD. Cole advocates an upgrade to Church 3.0 and details several of the shifts necessary for real change.

In this excerpt, Cole explains why multiplication requires us to change our current operating system.

“Everyone wants multiplication, but there’s a price to be paid. Jesus said, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’ (John 12:24). “If we want to multiply, we need to let the old system pass so that new things can come. We can’t mix up addition and multiplication. It’s too important. They are different processes. And we can’t be so content with addition that we never move to multiplication.”

Other podcast takeaways:

-The three shifts we need to make to upgrade to Church 3.0

-Specific ways to determine if your church is adding or multiplying addition

-Why the old system must die to usher in a new system of multiplication and movement

-Methods and models that are not multiplication

-Characteristics of multiplying churches

-Why and how we derail the multiplication process in the beginning stages of a church

-Advantages and disadvantages of decentralized and centralized systems

-Why your leadership development (farm system) must begin with non-Christians

-What Scripture tells us about the size of people groupings and their various strengths (e.g., a group of two to three is most necessary for life change )

-Why leaders should never give their hearts to the multitudes

-What Cole says is the secret to multiplication


*At Exponential East and throughout 2017 we’ll continue the multiplication conversation.


Neil Cole is an experienced church planter, author and international speaker. He is a key catalyst in the global organic church movement and is also a founder of Church Multiplication Associates (CMA), which has helped to start tens of thousands of churches in 50 states and 50+ nations in only 16 years.

Neil is also an international speaker and has authored Organic Church, Cultivating a Life For God, TruthQuest, Ordinary Hero, Organic Leadership, Church 3.0, Journeys to Significance, Primal Fire, One Thing and co-authored Church Transfusion, with Phil Helfer, Raising Leaders for the Harvest, and Beyond Church Planting with Dr. Robert Logan, and Organic Church Planters’ Greenhouse with Paul Kaak.

He lives in Long Beach, California with his wife Dana. Together they have three grown children Heather, Erin and Zach.

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