“The past informs our current reality, and our current reality informs our future” – Todd Wilson
When the Exponential team revealed the 2016 Becoming Five theme, we knew it would not be enough to just talk about “becoming a level five multiplying church.” We knew we needed to do something more and offer specific resources focusing on healthy Kingdom multiplication.
In September 2015, Exponential released the book Becoming a Level 5 Multiplying Church by Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson to introduce five multiplication cultures of churches and the core tensions that churches must identify and navigate to multiply.
A New FREE Resource for Multiplying Your Church
Now in 2016, Exponential debuts a new FREE resource for church leaders called the Becoming 5 Assessment Tool. Already, a growing number of national networks, denominations and church planting ministries are encouraging their tribes to complete the assessment—the first of its kind to give churches a good read on how they’re doing with becoming a church that grows by multiplying itself (multiplication growth)—and not just adding attendees (addition growth).
We’ve made the process simple. Register for a free account at becomingfive.org, answer the multiple-choice questions at your convenience (about 30 minutes to compete) and then review your results. Based on your responses, the assessment provides you with your church’s multiplication profile (Levels 1-5) and multiplication pattern.
Multiplication profiles are based on the five cultures of multiplication that Exponential has identified and studied, consulting with numerous church planting leaders:
Level 1 (subtraction, survival or scarcity mode)
Level 2 (plateaued, survival and tension between scarcity and growth)
Level 3 (growing by addition but not multiplication)
Level 4 (reproducing)
Level 5 (multiplying, releasing and sending)
The multiplication pattern church leaders receive along with their profile offers a snapshot of where their church has been, where they currently are, and where they’d like to go. Most churches will test into seven core patterns: aspiring, advancing, breakout, reproducing, addition, survivor and recovery. For example, a 1-1-5 score reflects an “aspiring” pattern representing a church that has Level 1 behaviors in the past (1) and present (1), but aspires to be a Level 5 church in the coming years (5). A 3-4-5 “reproducing” pattern represents steady progress toward Level 5.
“The past informs our current reality, and our current reality informs our future,” explains Exponential Director Todd Wilson. “We need each of these three dimensions to more fully characterize our church’s multiplication culture. Our hope is that this framework will help create a new vocabulary, as well as new resources, to equip churches to move beyond Level 3 to become Level 4 and 5 multiplying churches.”
To ensure the credibility of the tool, the online assessment has gone through rigorous evaluation, analysis and testing, including early review from a team of national leaders, followed by a survey evaluation with 75 other leaders, investment in a professional developer of assessment tools, and beta testing.
A few things to note:
- The initial version of the assessment tool is contextualized for U.S. churches, but some international contexts may also benefit. The tool can be easily adapted in the future to include additional international contexts.
- Becoming 5 focuses only on a church’s sending capacity and is not intended to evaluate a church’s capacity to make disciples. A second assessment tool for measuring churches’ discipleship capacity is forthcoming.
“Discipleship has to be at the core of multiplication,” says Exponential Director Todd Wilson, “but just because you put it at the core doesn’t mean your church is multiplying. Jesus spent three years building 12 disciples that were able to spring into action and build His church.”
A Desperate Situation
Why is Exponential putting so much time, resources and energy into challenging and equipping churches to multiply? Why is it not just enough to grow churches large and keep adding to our numbers? For the comprehensive answer, check out the book Becoming a Level 5 Multiplying Church. But bottom line, multiplication is Jesus’ operating system for reaching the world. If you’re a leader with a large church, you know that your church alone—no matter how many people you add—cannot reach your city, let alone the world. Throughout Scripture, God calls us to go, to move and to multiply.
Current research indicates that approximately 80 percent of churches in the United States (approximately 330,000) are at Levels 1 and 2 (subtracting or plateaued), with 20 percent at Levels 3-4, and virtually 0% at Level 5. Of the 20 percent of churches that are adding, an estimated less than 4 percent are reproducing at Level 4.
Moving beyond the 4 percent requires every church leader to look candidly at how we’re doing with multiplication, identify the tensions that are keeping us from Levels 4 and 5, and then develop a plan to wrestle with these tensions and move forward.
Jesus’ Great Commission to His disciples will only be carried out through the multiplication of His church.
Note: Ministry leaders can link to the Becoming 5 Assessment Tool on their websites. For more information, click here.
Becoming Five is the theme of Exponential East and Exponential West 2016. Don’t miss the largest gatherings of church planting leaders in the world as they discuss what it takes to become a level five multiplying church.