Last week I was at the Exponential Conference. I heard a bunch of stuff from a myriad of speakers. But the thing that I liked the most. The comment that struck me as vividly profound was a simple statement made during introductory comments by each member of a panel.
There were four leaders who were currently leading reproducing churches. Three of them had planted their church and established multiplication as an aspect of their DNA. One, Derek Duncan, had only been at his church since 2004. The church he pastors is East 91st Christian Church in Indianapolis. This one church recently planted its fiftieth (50) church!
Here is what he said that I have mused on since it slipped from his lips. He said, "I came to a reproducing church."
Do you realize what a HUGE statement that is? It is pregnant with rich reality. When he came to the church its mission would not change. They reproduce! It was not the vision of the previous pastor. It was not something only a few connected with and it faded over time. It was not a seasonal venture. It did not have the character of a summer romance. The need to reproduce had been so deeply etched in the ethos of this community that a new pastor would not be called who might want to change it.
The pastor was called to add to the venture, but there would be no new vision, no retracing steps, no having to catch the heart of God for what is next. They were a reproducing lot and Derek was simply called to take that heart to a new level.
I loved it! I can speak from experience of times my personality and passion has driven the agenda for an organization. But once I was gone they reverted back to what they were before my arrival. Not E91st! They know what they are and call leaders to move them forward in their ministry.
I am more convinced that I will never be sure the movement of missional multiplication that I currently have a role in leading is genuinely a movement until I am gone. When that time comes and it continues on, then satisfaction can be taken in having been a part of something truly Kingdom worthy!