Are You Planting a Multiplying Church?

Exponential co-founders Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson offer nine best practices to adapt and model.

Rethinking Multiplication

A church committed to multiplication will demonstrate the following types of behaviors:

1. Multiplying churches have a scorecard that is as focused on starting new churches as it is on adding new members.

2. Multiplying churches give their first fruits to church planting, including at least the first 10 percent of their tithes and offerings.

3. Multiplying church leaders have a specific vision and strategy for multiplication, including accountability measures for monitoring progress.

4. Multiplying churches value raising up and deploying leaders to plant churches. This includes an intern/residency program for developing and deploying church planting leaders and team members.

5. Multiplying churches send church planters on an ongoing and regular basis to plant new churches.

6. Multiplying churches value new churches over mortgage debt. They plant their first church before taking on mortgage debt, and they commit additional financial resources (beyond a tithe) as a percentage of mortgage debt (taking on new mortgage debt is matched by committing a higher percentage of the budget to church planting). Multiplying churches take proactive actions to ensure mortgage debt will not constrain church planting support.

7. Multiplying churches value new churches over new sites. They plant their first church before adding their first site. They commit to plant five or more churches for each new site they add. Multiplying churches understand that multisite is a strategy that can adversely impact multiplication strategies.

8. Multiplying churches value “sending” staff and leaders to plant churches. They send their first planter before accumulating their first three staff members and continue to send a percentage of staff members to plant churches.

9. Multiplying churches inspire, encourage and challenge church members to participate in church planting, both financially and by being part of church planting teams. Multiplying churches continually affirm those who go.

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We realize these are tough practices for any church, much less a church plant, but if you want to lead a church that values multiplication, we believe (and continue to see) that beginning to pursue these practices is necessary and vital to eventually becoming a Level 5 multiplying church.

As you pursue healthy kingdom growth, you have the opportunity to change the scorecard and elevate the value of multiplication in your church and in so doing raise the bar in your church for what it means to follow Jesus. Instead of creating cultural Christians, what would it look like to birth new Christians who grew in their faith? What would it look like in your church and the world at large if we were producing modern-day disciples—those who were so devoted to Jesus that they left their ordinary lives to follow him and eventually died for spreading the gospel? What would it look like to produce disciples who understood the importance of multiplying the church and embraced the practices to get them there?

It’s up to courageous leaders like you who will embrace values and strategies that produce these kinds of followers, and then equip, challenge and release them to go. We can’t help but think that our churches and our world would look tremendously different if the disciples we made actually took the Great Commission to head and heart.

Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson are co-founders of Exponential. To read more from them on multiplication, download their new free eBook Becoming a Level 5 Multiplying Church at