Few things excite me as much as seeing the Church be obedient to Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples and multiply. I get excited when I hear about anything with the potential to advance our “4 to 10 mission”—to see the multiplication needle move from less than 4 percent of U.S. churches ever reproducing to a tipping point of greater than 10 percent.
That’s why I’m super pumped about the emerging conversation centering on the viability of the micro-church. This new season has the potential to produce a fresh wind in the American Church. Actually, it’s a conversation Exponential predicted over 7 years ago when we published the 2010 report “A Micro Manifesto.” In it, we took a forward look at where we saw the U.S. Church heading in the coming decade (from 2010 to 2020). What we forecasted then is starting to gain critical momentum as we’re now seeing the natural progression of the “mega-focused” church to the “multi-focused” church to the next era of the “micro-focused” church.
This new season has the potential to produce a fresh wind in the American Church.
Over the last few months as I’ve met and talked with church multiplication leaders, I’ve noticed a common thread running through many of their stories: the viral impact of micro expressions of church. Multipliers like Hope Chapel and the Underground Network are already doing micro-church. And as I write this, many of the churches that fill the spots on the largest, fastest growing, and most innovative church lists are shaping the conversation for this next micro-focused season.
Of course, no opportunity comes without its own set of challenges. While we have the potential to identify new wineskins and start boutique or custom churches that focus on carrying the fullness of Jesus into every crack and cranny of society, we could also potentially hijack this opportunity. If we opt for a franchise model that draws people to smaller, centralized gathering locations, essentially we’re just finding new ways of accumulating and gathering people instead of releasing and sending them out to multiply disciples and churches.
Essentially we’re just finding new ways of accumulating and gathering people instead of releasing and sending them out to multiply disciples and churches.
Still, micro-church (boutique or franchise model) gives me reason to be optimistic. As the micro-church movement goes into full swing in the coming years, I’m convinced we’ll see more Level 3 churches move to Level 4 (reproducing), and as churches start to wrestle with the boutique model, I believe we’ll see some new pathways for Level 5 multiplication. It’s an exciting time!
To help you and your team discern the path forward for you and your church in this next season of church growth, we’ve put together a white paper, “The Emerging Micro-Church Era: Addition, Reproduction or Multiplication? 10 Questions to Consider.” You’ll get a comprehensive look at this burgeoning movement and more importantly, specific questions to guide your decision-making process as you consider if or how your church will engage. We’ve also included the paper we wrote back in 2010, “A Micro Manifesto.” The white paper is being issued as a FREE eBook in pdf, ePub and mobi (Kindle) formats.
I believe this is a significant and vital conversation for the Church in the United States. As we look toward Jesus’ vision for His Church (Acts 1:8), the emerging micro-church era offers real hope for multiplying His witnesses “to the ends of the earth.”
The future is bright!
Pumped about “4-10” advancement,