Exponential Wrap-Up

Now that I’m back, here’s a few thoughts from Exponential:

  • I loved the speakers – This guy was definitely my favorite!
  • Whoever thought of having the conference in Orlando is a genius! You can’t beat mid-80s weather in April plus they have Universal and Disney!! (Not that I could afford either of those)
  • Speaking of Orlando, I drove around Orlando the one night and discovered Downtown Disney on the Disney Campus. It’s basically an outdoor ‘mall’. Pretty cool place!!
  • For those of you that followed my blog during the conference, from what I understand, they are going to be podcasting the sessions. I would encourage you to download them when their launched. You can check out more info on that here.
  • The picture in this post is a guy named Bernhard I met that came all the way from Finland just for this conference!
  • I still feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go to this conference. The speakers were amazing & the whole atmosphere was inspiring! If you’re a church planter out there, I’d encourage you to go to Exponential in 2009!

Exponential: Rick Warren – (Final) Plenary Session 5b, “The Challenge”

Rick Warren is…Rick Warren.

The purpose of a wife is not to make you happy, but to make you holy.

“My heroes are bi-vociational pastors…I don’t really hangout with megachurch pastors – I don’t really like megachurch pastors.”

Never compare yourself to someone else.

  1. You’ll always find someone else doing a better job than you, and then you get discouraged.
  2. You’ll always find someone that you’re doing a better job then, and then you’ll get prideful.

God wants you to be you.


  1. Never stop growing personally.
    • Growing churches require growing pastors.
    • You can never bring a church where you’ve not been.
    • You can delegate a lot of things, but you can’t delegate faith in God.
    • The size of your vision will determine the size of your church.
    • Most of us have polaroid vision – the longer we look at it the clearer it gets.
      • God’s not going to tell you everything that’s going to happen tomorrow – you take it one step at a time.
    • How do you grow your church?  See consistent growth?  How does a church see consistent growth for 28 years?
      • You must develop disciples.
    • You can’t do it quick, not if it’s going to be solid.
      • Do you want your church to be a mushroom cloud or an oak tree?
      • We don’t want a crowd, we want an army.
  2. You have to pay attention to your family.
    • You have to love your wife and your kids.
    • You have to take a day off.
      • Keeping the Sabbath was one of the 10 Commandments – it’s on the same level as not murdering and not committing adultery.
      • Don’t call it a ‘Day Off’ because you’ll violate it.  Call it a Sabbath.
      • That means you don’t read your e-mail.  You don’t answer your phone.
    • You have to build your family before you build your church.
      • In between services on a Sunday, I’m in the back playing ‘Tubby, Tubby’ with my grand kids.
      • “If you haven’t noticed there are some people online that don’t like me.  But I have good news – this week I’m no longer the ‘Anti-Christ’, I’m just a false prophet.  Oprah’s now the Anti-Christ!”
    • Are you totally surrendered to the will and purpose of Jesus Christ?
      • If you do this, you will be criticized.
      • Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of his day.
  3. You must develop a kingdom mindset.
    • You have to see that God’s agenda for the world is bigger than just your church, or your network, or your denomination.
    • “I’ve always loved my church.  But the more I mature, the more I love other’s churches.”
    • The competition is not other churches, the competition is the devil.
    • What is God’s agenda?
      • The Kingdom of God
      • The Kingdom of God is wherever Jesus is King.
      • It’s God’s people doing God’s purposes.
      • Every time the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy or the end times, Jesus would change the subject and start talking about evangelism.
      • We should be working toward bringing the Kingdom of God on earth.
  4. You need to focus on building people not the church.
    • If we focus on building people, God will build the church.
    • “A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will build a great church and a great Christian and a great community.”
    • To build people you have to have a system.  It doesn’t just happen.
    • Acts 13:36, “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…”
      • God’s goal is that you serve His purposes in your generation – no one else can.

When it comes to reproducing leaders and churches, it’s time to stop debating and start doing.

For the last few years, the Church has had it’s hands and feet amputated – we’re just a big mouth.

Exponential: Tim Keller – Plenary Session 5, “The Gospel”

The DNA of a reproducing church has to be The Gospel.

  • The Gospel is the power of God.
  • It’s the power of God in written form.
  • We’ve found ourselves in the Christian & Evangelical world that many are unsure of what the Gospel really is.
  • In the synoptic gospels, we see the gospel being tied to the Kingdom of God.  You don’t see this in the Book of John or the writings of Paul.  They talk more about justification & atonement.
    • The Bible teaches that there is one gospel and yet it has several forms.
    • We see this in the teachings of Paul, where Paul says there is one gospel but he says in Galations 2:7 that Paul has the gospel of the uncircumcised and Peter has the gospel of the circumcised.


  • The Tri-Pod of the Gospel
    1. In Jesus Christ, God emptied himself and became a servant as a human.
    2. In Jesus Christ, God substituted himself for us for the atonement of mankind so that they might experience eternal life.
    3. At the end of time, God will come back and restore the new heavens and the new earth.
  • Simply preaching ‘ The Kingdom of God is at hand’ and God wants to restore our world will not change lives.

1. The Upside Down Kingdom

  • Since God emptied himself, there should be a reversal of the values in the church.
    • The church should not be about popularity or prosperity, but about serving the poor and reconciling racial tention.

2. God Substitutes Himself

  • The difference between a Christian and a Pharisee is a Pharisee repents only for their sins, but a Christian repents also for their righteousness.

3. Christianity is a fighting religion.

  • Christians know God hates poverty, hates disease.  And if that’s true, we should fight to change that, to bring about justice and mercy to the world.

Mainline Churches see their community and strive to improve the culture around them, but there’s no life-change.

The Evangelical Church strives to make converts and grow their tribe, but doesn’t improve the culture around them.

  • “Cell multiplication without a purpose is a cancer.”

When preaching…

  • Do we need to emphasize all three points everytime we preach?  No.
  • Rarely do we see all three emphasized in scripture at once.
  • Preach expositionally and don’t stick in one type of text.  Preach through the synoptics, the Book of John and Paul’s writings and you’ll hit the different aspects of the gospel.
    • This will allow you to give a balanced diet of the gospel.
    • You have to have a ‘Go for the Juguler’ way in all three aspects of the gospel.


  • We don’t relate to God as a person on the first floor of a building relates to a person on the second floor.
  • We relate to God as Hamlet does to Shakespeare.  Hamlet’s only way to know Shakespeare is if Shakespeare writes himself into the play.
  • God has more than written himself into the story of this world.  We are His incarnation.


  • If we could grasp the power of the substition of Christ’s death for us, we can face anything.


  • Bringing justice and peace into a world of injustice.  This is the core of what Easter is.  Restoring the death sentence of this earth.

Exponential: Tim Keller – Breakout Session 7, “How to Accomplish the Jesus Mission”

Tim Keller is the Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of numerous books.


The application and facilitation of biblical, spiritual revival.

  • The reason we’re not reproducing churches like we should is because we’re not alive.
  • Being a reproducing churches is what you are, not just what you do.
  • Explosive reproduction happens in revival.




3 Instruments of Revival (We have control over)

1. A recovery of the difference between the gospel and religion.

  • Religion is the attitude that says, “I obey God, therefore I’m accepted.”
    • This person comes to church out of fear.
    • These people are trying to control God.
    • They feel God owes them because they’ve ‘paid their taxes.’
    • Most churches are filled with this type of person.
    •  The gospel says, “I’m accepted by God through the sacrifice of Christ, therefore I obey.”
  • This person comes to church out of desire.
    • These people delight in letting God be God.
    • They can flow with whatever God throws their way.

2. A return to extraordinary, corporate prayer.

  • Barrier-breaking, united prayer.

3. Creativity

  • You never have a revival the same way twice.


3 Aspects of Revival (We have no control over)

1. Nominal church members get converted.

  • When traditional people have never really experience regeneration, understand the difference between religion and the gospel they tell everyone.
  •  This causes numbers of others to come under conviction and to follow.

2. Sleepy Christians wake-up.

  • They understand in their head that Jesus is their Savior, but in their heart they look to human approval, or other things as their functional Savior.
  • Jesus is their intellectual Savior, but not their functional Savior.
  • They begin to sense the reality of Christ on their heart.
  • They begin to make Jesus their functional Savior.

3. Evangelism taking place outside of programs.


6 Balances of Revival (These are partially controllable)

1. A strong emphasis on edifying worship.

  • Worship that makes non-Christians feel welcome but Christians feel uplifted.

2. A strong emphasis on great teaching & preaching.

  • This has to be gospel-oriented.
  • Has to make the truth clear, but also real.

3. A strong emphasis on life-changing community.

  • Life-change takes place amongst those you hang out with.

4. A strong emphasis on evangelism.

  • When revival takes place there is a humility in Christians toward the nonbeliever, but there is also a boldness to share the gospel.

5. A strong passion for justice and the poor.

6. There is cultural engagement.

  • You look at the culture and ask, “How can we make in impact?”
  • Revival makes it impossible to seal off their lives from Christ.


4 Results of Revival (We have no control over)

1. There’s always a luny fringe.

  • There will always be a fringe of people that take things too far.

2. There’s always a backlash.

  • This can take place inside your denomination or your church or even in your culture.

3. There are a lot of churches planted.

4. There is real social healing.


As important as revival is, no revival lasts forever.


We have to be careful not to get too anxious, because ultimately there is only one revival that will bring ultimate healing – it’s called ‘the New Heaven and the New Earth’.

Exponential: Tom Jones & Troy McMahon – Breakout Session 6, “Finding the Funds for Reproduction”

Tom Jones works for Stadia, a church planting organization.
Troy McMahon pastors New Thing Network’s newest church plant, Restore Community Church in Kansas City, MO.

How are churches initially financed?

  1. The Mother Church Concept
  2. The Association Method
    • A group of churches committed to church planting.
    • Each church may not be strong enough on their own, but together they can plant.
    • This sometimes happens through districts, states or on the national level
  3. Denominational church planting
  4. The Network concept
    • Networks are geared specifically toward reproducing.
    • Networks bring different churches together to help plant churches.
  5. Self-Support church planting
    • The church planter funds himself/herself on their own.
      • This is often done where the lead church planter is bi-vocational.
      • The other approach is where the church planter raises their own financial support.
  6. Lay Launch teams
  7. Start-up businesses that will support start-up churches.
  8. Legacy Churches
    • Dying churches closing down and investing their resources into future church plants.
  9. Christian business leaders and wealthy families and individuals.
  10. New churches to tithe-back their offerings from day one.
  11. Reproducing Multi-Site Strategy


  1. Make sure you are clear about your call and vision.  Questions to answer:
    • What do I feel called to do?
    • Where do I feel called to do it?
    • Why there?
    • Why me?
    • When are we going to do that?
    • Who is partnering with us?
    • How much money will it take?
    • How can others partner with us?
    • Does my vision touch people’s hearts.
  2. Start with a team, and then require every member to raise funds.
    • Your network increases the more people you get involved.
    • If members of your team are leaving staff positions at other churches – challenge them to leave well!
  3. Create a quality communication piece and a website that clearly states who you are, what you want to do, and what you want the giver to do.
    • People that will be investing in your church plant are used to seeing results and having options.
    • Ask people/churches for more than you think they can give – stretch them.
  4. Make an exhuastive list of individuals (friends, relatives, classmates, acquaintances), churches and organizations that might support you.
    • Who is in your life that will become passionate about this vision?
    • You would be surprised how many people will support you – all you have to do is ask.
  5. Once you create the list – Work the list!
  6. Ask for continued support (monthly) and one-time gifts.
    • If someone gives once, they will always give again if asked in the proper way toward the rigth project.
  7. Have in mind what you want churches and individuals to give.  Ask for a specific amount, and always ask for mre than you think you will get.
    • Be specific.
    • Ask them for more than you know they are able to give.
  8. Don’t give up.  If someone says ‘no’, ask again and keep asking.
    • No is just No for right now.
  9. When someone says ‘yes’, over communicate your thanks.
  10. Send updates about what is going on.  Communication is everything.
  11. Always ask supporters to come visit.  Always ask them to pray.  Communicate that you don’t just want their money.
  12. People have different pockets for different things.  Be creative in trying to get people to open their pockets.
    • People will want to give to different things – money for: salary, projects, other specific needs.
    • Use auctions to allow people to invest.
    • Make sure you have the ability to receive stocks.
  13. Make a goal to be self-supporting within 2-5 years, and communicate that to supporters.
    • Lay-out this plan.
  14. Haev a good system of receiveing and receipting gifts in a timely and accurate mannery.  Commincate that system to supportes.
  15. Create a fundraising team.
  16. If at all possible allow 6-12 months to raise resources before you go to the field.
  17. Resource/fundraising is rarely about money.  It is almost always about leadership.
  18. The importance of Creating a Reproducing DNA.

Suggested Reading: Church Planting from the Ground Up

Exponential: Dave Ferguson – Plenary Session 4b, “Genuine Community”

  • We are created with the craving and need for community.
    • From the beginning of time, God is about community.
      • From creating community to redeeming community.
    • Rather than church planters we should see ourselves as community builders.
      • Maybe some of the questions we battle with aren’t really all that important.
        • Contemporary vs. Traditional
        • House Church vs. Church Structure

    How do we create a church of community creators?

    1. Every person in our church has to experience community.
      • Can people experience community in your church?
    2. You have to permit people to create community.
    3. You need to challenge people to co-create community.
      • Never create community alone.
    4. You need to celebrate community.
      • Celebrate both big & small.

    The Church should BE the community.

    Exponential: Steve Andrews – Plenary Session 4, “Radical Disciple Making”

    Steve Andrews is the founding pastor of Kensington Community Church and director of Vision 20/20.

    What do we want to be giving our emerging leaders and church planters that have not been given in the past?

    1. Permission to say no.
      • Saying no means you have a crystal clear vision of what you are called to do.
      • Saying no means saying yes to a committed path.
      • New churches falter and die on this principle because they never learn to say no.
    2. Go.
      • The people of a church don’t belong to a pastor, they belong to the work of God.
      • We need to challenge our people to go and follow God.
      • We should always be seeing the greatness in others.
      • Go means you release people.
    3. No ego.
      • We might train people to perform with excellence, but with they lay down their life?
      • Our mission is to transfer the ‘No Ego’ of Jesus and transfer it to our emerging leaders and church planters.
      • We should live open-handed.
      • What are we saving for? Give it all away.
      • We must not only give away everything in our jars, but our jars should also be broken.

    Exponential: Greg Surratt – Breakout Session 5, “Developing a Farm System for Reproduction”

    Greg Surratt is the Lead Pastor of Seacost Church, a multi-site church in North & South Carolina and the founder of the Association of Related Churches (ARC).

    2 Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

    1. Share a great dream.
      • “At the heart of every great group is a shared dream.  All great groups believe that they are on a mission from God, that they could change the world, make a dent in the universe…that belief is what brings teh necessary cohesion and energy to their work.” -Warren Bennis
      • “Vision is one of the least understood – and most overused – terms in the language.  Vision is simply a combination of three basic elements:  (1) an organization’s fundamental reason for existence beyond just making money (often called its mission or purpose); (2) it’s timeless, unchanging core values; and (3) huge and audacious – but ultimately achievable – aspirations for its own future (I like to call these BHAGs, for ‘big hairy audacious goals’).” -Jim Collins 
      • What’s in your heart?  Is your dream big enough that there’s no way you can do it on your own?
    2. Choose the right players.
      • “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” -Jim Collins
      • If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll never know when you find it.
      • Tom Sawyer Leaders:
        • Visionary Leaders – They can see fences that need to be painted.
        • Resourceful Leaders – They aren’t easily discouraged by big paint jobs and limited resources.
          • There’s never enough money.
        • Inspirational Leaders – They can convince a group of friends that paintin fences for free on a Saturday is fun.
        • Delegating Leaders – They get a bigger thrill out of seeing other’s paint than actually doing it themselves.
          • We can’t afford to pay people to do the work of the ministry, we can only pay people to train others to do the work of the ministry.
    3. Build a ministry pipeline.
        • “Winners don’t find successors – they create them.” -Noel Tichy
        • 2 Kings 4:2-4, “Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you?  Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
      • The solution to our problem is probably in our own house.
      • We are usually too quick to say there is nothing in the house.
      • We need to have a pipeline ready so God can provide a leader.
        • Define the pipeline
          • Six Levels of Leadership (More info at nextsteps.org)
            • Leading Yourself
            • Leading Others
            • Leading Leaders
            • Leading Departments
            • Leading Campuses
            • Leading Churches
        • Develop the Process
        • Identify where the players are in the pipeline.
        • Help each player take their next step.
    4. Empower them to do ministry.
    5. Review their progress.
      • Reward them
      • Re-assign them
      • Release them

    Ministry begins with a dream and God fills in the blanks.

    Exponential: Dave Ferguson & Alan Hirsch – Breakout Session 4, “Organizing for Reproduction”

    Dave Ferguson is the senior pastor of Community Christian Church & the president of the Exponential Conference.
    Alan Hirsch is the co-founder of Shapevine & wrote the book, The Forgotten Ways.



    1. Church Planting
      • Church Plants grow 23x faster
      • 10x the number of conversions
    2. Multi-Site
      • In 1990, there were 10 Multi-Site Churches
      • in 1998, there were 100 Multi-Site Churches
      • In 2004, there were about 1500 Multi-Site Churches
      • 1 out of 4 megachurches are multi-site
      • 7 of the 10 fastest growing churches are multi-site
      • 9 of the 10 largest churches are multi-site
    3. Missional/Incarnational
      • Winning is no longer seen as just larger size, but reproduction is now seen as winning.


    1. Making a shift from church growth to being a missional movement.
      • You value the new more than the old.
      • You value the edge more than the center.
      • You value the lost more than the found.
      • You value the going more than the staying.
    2. From ministry managers to spiritual entrepreneurs.
    3. Making a shift from being Reactive to Proactive
      • It’s not about 80% full
      • It’s about artist and leader readiness – with the need to reproduce, we must produce more and better leaders & artists.
    4. Moving from Addition to Multiplication


    1. There is movement.
    2. There is a Structure Network
      • The is no center/authority is decentralized
      • Each component has the same DNA and is able to reproduce the whole.
      • Spider vs. Starfish
        • Just like a starfish, each aspect of a movement should be able to reproduce.

    Exponential: Jon Ferguson & Dave Dummitt – Breakout Session 3, “Creating the Culture of a Reproducing Church”

    The wireless here has been hit or miss. I’ll keep posting as often as I have a signal.

    Jon Ferguson is the Director of the New Thing Network.
    Dave Dummitt is the Pastor of 2|42 Community Church in Brighton, MI.


    A Reproducing Church Begins with Day One

    • Prelaunch Activity
      • Investing in your initial team the idea that this church will reproduce.
    • Initial Language
      • Use ‘Cell’ Groups – Cells reproduce.
      • Using the word ‘Campus’ in the name communicates there will be more.
    • Leadership Development
      • Leadership Pipeline
        • Volunteer/Artists
        • Apprentice Leaders
        • Leaders
        • Coaches
        • Staff
      • We need a permission giving culture.
    • Create a year-one jump start.
      • Look for opportunities to start a second service.
      • Allow small groups to grow larger to create urgency for reproduction within those in the group.

    Three Activities That Reproducing Churches Do

    1. A Reproducing Church Anticipates the Future
        • Where are we going?
      • Anticipate where is God at work.
        • Where might God be dreaming?
      • Anticipate Talent
        • Doing Annual Talent Reviews
          • Who is your apprentice?
          • Who do you want to apprentice you?
        • This helps keep your leadership pipeline full.
    2. A Reproducing Church Celebrates the Present
      • Celebrate New Leaders/Artists
      • Celebrate New Life/Baptisms
      • Celebrate Network Wins
      • Celebrate Failure
        • Celebrating failure is really celebrating risk-taking.
      • Celebrate Innovation
    3. A Reproducing Church Evaluates the Past
      • Things to Track:
        • Number of Christ Followers – Measures spiritual depth. (Attendance at Services & Small Groups)
        • Number of Leaders – Measures small groups potential.
        • Number of Artists – Measures large group potential.
        • Number of Small Groups – Measures care & community.
        • Number of Congregations (Services) – Measures stewardship of facilities.
        • Number of Campuses – Measures community impact.

    Do you want to be a church that reproduces or a reproducing church?

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