Larry and Deb Walkemeyer’s Journey to Multiplication


Episode 4 is part of Exponential’s podcast series, “My Journey to Multiplication.” For previous episodes of the series, visit Exponential’s podcast page:

  • E01: Bob Roberts’s Journey to Multiplication
  • E02: Keith Ferguson’s Journey to Multiplication
  • E03: Brett Andrews’s Journey to Multiplication

Larry and Deb Walkemeyer

In Episode 4, Deb and Larry Walkemeyer share their journey toward becoming a level five multiplying church. The Walkemeyers joined Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, California over 20 years ago, and they’ve planted 19 churches since that time. Joining them for this episode are JR Rushik and Bob Combs. Deb partnered with Bob Combs of Metro Community Development in Compton, California to start an urban garden that has taken ground for the gospel in the city. They use gardens for growing food and for making disciples. JR Rushik planted the third church out of Light & Life. It’s called Storehouse Church, which Rushik continues to pastor and out of which he now plants churches in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. In addition, Light & Life has extended their church planting efforts beyond the United States and into the world through foreign church planting.

In this episode, Deb and Larry share their experiences planting churches, along with valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way.

“Becoming Five” is this year’s theme. Exponential is hosting regional conferences in Washington DC and Chicago for the first time ever this year. Use the promotional code “PODCAST” to receive a 10 percent discount on these regional conferences.

Deb and Larry Walkemeyer’s Journey Toward Multiplication

What was the biggest challenge in this journey for you?

Larry Walkemeyer: “There have been a lot of challenges. When we’re raising up people on staff and then sending them out as planters, it’s creating continual vacancies that have to be readjusted for. As large as that is, because we’re continually casting this value and this vision, our volunteer leadership–our Sunday school teachers, our small group leaders, our small group coaches–they’re fired up about church planting. Somebody raises up that they think, Oh, I could go with this guy, he’s going to Carson, he’s going to Paramount–I live over there. And suddenly, you’ve got 40 percent of your best leaders going out the door because this is the vision you cast. So the staff is like, They just took your best leaders. No, no–you gave your best leaders.”

Deb Walkemeyer: “Because of an aggressive vision with plants coming just from the mom church, it’s hard to find healthy leaders. People see this vision and get excited–I want to go!–because it’s been an opportunity for those who have sat in the pews for years to feel like I could contribute to something greater and be a part and make a difference in a church plant and be on the front lines, which is great. But the problem is that people who are not that healthy get excited thinking, I could go and I could lead over there, and we have to really work and retool constantly leadership development and how do we continue to filter through the people that are not quite healthy.

Larry: “How can we help them heal so they don’t bring their disfunction or disease to that new plant that they want to go with or that they want to lead?”

Deb and Bob’s garden is featured in the film Can You Dig This. You can also see more about the garden here.

Larry has released two eBooks on multiplication through Exponential – Flow: Unleashing a River of Multiplication in Your Church, City and World and Play Thuno: The World Changing Multiplication Game.