Mercy Road, part 3
One of the cool things about the Exponential Learning Communities is that there is a common teacher across the three seminars, and a facilitator, and you also hear from the pastor/teams at the host churches. Our “teacher” through the Multipliers Learning Community was Ralph Moore. He has several good books: Let Go of the Ring; Multiplying Your Church; Starting A New Church; Making Disciples. Our facilitator was Bill Couchenour, a great on-fire layman with a passion to make disciples. The host church was Mercy Road a multi-campus church in Indianapolis. Their pastor Josh shared some great stuff with us.
The church was founded in 2011. They did not intend to get big, but they did—4000 on Sundays. They started with intention to be apostolic in terms of planting new churches, which they have done. It’s why they grow! They launch satellite churches that stay part of the home church until they are self-sufficient and then they are spun off.
They suggest that you have some people without a church on your launch team so they can help you be a church that meets people where they are, helps people who feel far from God to come back to Him through Jesus Christ.
50% of the money that comes into the church goes out. Think about that.
The staff does not run or start programs. Lay people do that. The staff is there to provide the worship opportunity and to help people start the ministry God has placed on their hearts! This is a huge shift away from the staff is there to make stuff happen for you when you come to church, to the church members are there to reach out to people through their own gifts!
Josh, the pastor, had a great story about how hard it really is to plant and have a commitment to multiplying: everyone wants to see the Red Sea part, but no one wants to be on the edge of the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army hot on your heels.
We have to be up front about that. It’s hard. That Level 3 magnet is always ready to call you back to the good old days when the church was full and you weren’t sending people out to some other place to start something new. It’s tough to have to ask: do you have the guts for your church to be a disciple-making, multiplying community? Do I want God’s thing or my thing?
And then there was this crucial piece: THE GOAL HAS TO BE MAKE DISCIPLES, NOT GROW THE CHURCH.