The first Practical Multiplication: A Pastor’s Guide to Accelerating Multiplication started off with Ralph Moore explaining how being connected to Exponential liberated him from feeling alone as a Level 5 leader. He’d been planting churches since 1971, but it wasn’t until his most recent plant in Hawaii that he started to realize how differently they had been doing things.
At first he felt out of place because he realized they were doing what few were: Multiplying churches.
We hear about and talk about multiplication in church circles a ton. But the reality is many of us aren’t seeing it happen — at least not as many as would like to see it happen.
Let’s recap the levels we are talking about when it comes to multiplying churches:
- Level 1 = a church in decline
- Level 2 = a church that isn’t changing
- Level 3 = a church that is growing
- Level 4 = a church that is reproducing
- Level 5 = a church that is multiplying – or a movement!
Ralph explained that moving from one level to the next can be difficult. The reason the shift is hard from L3 to L4 is that you can get complacent, and your ego can get in the way. Growing is awesome, and it’s hard work to go from growing to reproducing. However, the hardest shift is from L4 to L5 because it requires giving up control – and many leaders struggle to give that up (to some it even seems irresponsible). But if you will release that need for control, you could see God use people unlike you to take the church to places you will never go!
And what are the most prominent control issues Ralph sees in leaders who want to make the shift to Level 5? Personal insecurity, the need for complex systems, and ego.
Did that just hit you between the eyes like it did me?
If I’m honest, too many times I struggle to give space for the Holy Spirit to work autonomously in the leaders God has entrusted to me. Sometimes it’s out of a desire to be involved or to help. But too often it’s because of my own insecurities, my inability to keep things simple, and ultimately my ego – my need to be known or needed.
The best advice Ralph gave to those who feel called to step into Level 5 leadership was this: Take a deep breath, because it’s scary at first.
I will say that I completely agree. In our own ministry, we began the shift toward multiplication at the beginning of 2020 (you know, pre-COVID days when the idea of only meeting in a home for “church” was still considered crazy).
Earlier this year God initiated the commissioning and sending out of several bi-lingual leaders to start a Spanish-speaking MicroChurch to Latino and Hispanic members of a nearby community who were never going to step foot inside the walls of a church building.
As I have coached them and overseen the ministry, it has been tough for so many reasons – and yet beyond fruitful as well. Because I do not speak Spanish fluently, it immediately taught me the humility of letting go of control. I had to completely trust these more-than-capable leaders to build relationships and lead people that I would never be able to even hold a conversation with (my Spanish is currently that poor). And in trusting God to use them, they have grown that ministry and impacted lives in ways I would have never been able to. I am thankful to learn these lessons, and know it will take many more of them on my journey toward Level 5 leadership.
So Level 5 leadership can be scary, but what’s the most exciting part of it? The feeling of being liberated!
I completely agree with Ralph. It’s lonely feeling like the only way to “do” church is at Level 3 or Level 4 when you feel called to Level 5, but there are so few examples championed. But the more I’ve stepped into it in faith, the more the stories of those who have been Level 5 for years are coming to light.
And I also agree with Ralph, I think there are many Level 5 leaders out there in America right now that are still simply unknown. They’re in the trenches multiplying churches. Maybe you are even one of them.
As we begin to celebrate these multiplication movements, I think more and more will come to light. And the opportunity to learn from those who have been doing it (Ralph Moore) and those who are in the midst of it all (Myron Pierce) is right in front of us.
Watch the replay here from Episode 1 of Practical Multiplication, featuring Ralph Moore and Myron Pierce.
Join Exponential each Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET as Ralph and Myron highlight Level 5 leaders and churches, and spur us on to be liberated to become Level 5 leaders ourselves.