If you have any interest in the multi-site church you need to read the Multi-Site Church Road Trip! If you are thinking about going multi-site or considering adding more sites or want to know what the future of the multi-site church - this book is a must read. I consider all three authors: Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird friends; but that is not why I'm saying to read this book. I'm encouraging you to read it because this book contains the latest and best information available on the multi-site church movement.
Since I know the three guys who wrote this book and I lead a church with nine (soon to be eleven) sites I was happy to answer a few questions they had for me about the multi-site church movement. So here are their questions and my answers:
Q: In the book we describe the leadership structure at Community Christian. How important is structure to the success of a church using a multi-site strategy?
A: Our experience at Community and through our NewThing churches is that there are structural shifts when going to two sites; when going to a fourth site and when going to a tenth site. Because of this we are finding that a lot of churches are going to two sites; not very many churches with three sites and there are a whole lot that are going to four sites and more. Why? I think it has to do with structure. Some churches that go to two sites do not think about structure and find it overwhelming and complicated and stop reproducing sites. While there are other churches that think through the structural changes that need to be made and continue to reproduce to three sites, four sites and beyond.
Q: Community Christian does a great job of both planting churches and launching campuses. How do you distinguish between a church planter and a campus pastor?
A: We really believe the same qualities need to be in place for a campus pastor or church planter. We want them to be entrepreneurial, have a leadership gift and comfortable relating to all people (churched and un-churched) in their context. All our NewThing churches are looking to train one leadership resident per site to apprentice and become a campus pastor or church planter.
Q: You and Jon seem to do an amazing job of leading together. What advice would you give to church leaders who are considering employing family members in their ministry?
A: They key to family working together is much like any staff working together: good character, great chemistry and genuine competency. However, (and I’m sure Geoff Surratt will agree with me) it takes a very special and humble leader to allow their brother to be the lead pastor. Jon (like Geoff at Seacoast) could easily be the lead pastor at this Community or any other church; but instead he uses his extraordinary leadership gifts without getting all the kudos that come with being the lead pastor. I have more respect for Jon, than any other church leader I know.
Q: You have been a leader from the very beginning of the multi-site revolution in America. What do you see next on the horizon for multi-site in American churches?
A: I love this question! In fact, Jon and I just finished our next book, Exponential: How You and Your Friends can Start a Missional Church Movement and we talk about this. So here is what I see on the horizon:
Q: In your book The Big Idea you describe how every ministry at Community is on the same page. How does the Big Idea work in a multi-site environment?
A: It was going to multiple sites that caused us to be intentional about implementing the Big Idea. It was our conclusion that having every campus on the same Big Idea would bring alignment to our vision and mission. Practically speaking here is how it works: we plan our Big Idea series a year in advance. Thirteen weeks in advance of the celebration service the teaching team develops and writes a Big Idea “graph” which is a one page summary that gives clear direction and scriptural content. Ten weeks in advance the teaching team plans the whole message in that series and gives writing assignments. The following week, nine weeks in advance our creative arts team plans the creative elements such as video, sketches, music, interactive moments, etc… to better accomplish the Big Idea. This same process is done for all our large group and small groups fro adults, students and kids. It is awesome!
You may have noticed that I have not been posting nearly as frequently over the last month. The reason is that Jon and I have spent almost every free moment (except for a vacation last week - which was great!) working on a new book. We are about 80% of the way done and we are both really pumped about it. This is a book for anyone who loves the mission of Jesus and wants to see it accomplished where they live. Very practical and I think inspirational. The working title is "The Reproducing Church: How You & Your Friends Can Start A Movement.
Today I have a meeting today with Chris Fann and Ryan Pazdur of Zondervan to talk about marketing the book. They asked me to start brainstorming ways to get the word out about this new book. So, I thought I would see if you could help. Leave me a comment with your thoughts or answering these questions: How would you market a new book? What creative ideas have you seen for getting the word out about a book? Are there ways that you would like to help us?
Thanks for stopping by the blog tour for Shawn Wood’s new book, 200 Pomegranates And An Audience Of ONE! This book is a refreshing reminder of why we serve and worship the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul whether anyone else ever notices. I love the way Shawn is humble and authentic and shares the lessons he has learned from Huram, the Old Testament expert craftsman as well as the stories of the everyday worshipers of God in his own life. Thanks, Shawn! You’ll definitely want to read this book if you want to use your talent to do something great for God.
Let’s get to know Shawn a little better and why he wrote this book…check out his answers below:
Q. Why do you like Chicago better than Charleston, SC?
A. Dave, what I really hate about Charleston is all the 70 degree weather in the winter, the completely ridiculous three-mile commute that I have to Seacoast and really I mean how many times can you go to the beach a week before it gets old. I need some below zero arctic blasts in my life. My blood is just too thin. But on a serious note I do really like visiting Chicago (especially Naperville) in the fall before all that cold stuff comes.
Q. What prompted you to write this book referencing a little known Bible character, Huram?
A. I actually heard a message in the early 1990’s preached on the “lily work” and “pomegranates” that were carved into the tops of the columns at Solomon’s temple. It was one of those messages that just stuck like a good bowl of cheese grits. I have always had a bent towards the arts through music, design and building and my dad is a metal artisan so it just seemed to resonate with me. Then one day it hit me, this guys carved this stuff not as “art” but as worship. Art is usually viewed by people, but this stuff was thirty something feet in the air and no one would see it. I realized at that moment that we all have something to carve towards an audience of one. I did think that pomegranates look a little like corn too and I really like corn.
Q. What do you hope readers of your book will get out of it as they read it?
A. I believe that we have been sold a bill of goods that says “we can be anything we want to be”. That is just not true. But we can be everything that God wants us to be. If we will find our purpose right where God has planted us and make our lives worship towards God as an act of carving pomegranates we will change the world. My hope is that people will realize that God is not waiting on them to become something they are not so they can do things they were never called to do, but that instead they will be the artist God has created them to be and do the things that they were uniquely created to do. This will mean as parents we see the impact we have on our children as a canvas before you, primed to be painted like a the masterpiece God wants them to be. As leaders we will see the people we work with not just as people but pieces of clay that when molded together will create a monument to who God is and as a artist we will see that our gifts, though seemingly distant from the story of God are in fact not just footnotes in his story but cover art for his novel called YOU. If after that happens you do something of great value that can be appreciated by others, I will be a happy author. But I have to say this quote already made my day: "I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. Then I laughed and cried some more." --Shawn’s Mom
Thanks and keep up the great work, Shawn! If you would like to join me in hosting a blog tour with Shawn – just shoot him an e-mail at email@example.com and maybe he will stop by
For the last couple weeks I have been working on a book proposal for a book that I plan to finish up before summer. Then today I spent about an hour on a conference call talking to a couple publishers about a new line of books and what they are looking for before they agree to publish a book. I learned a few things.
Last year Jon, Eric and I were fortunate enough to be able to publish our first book, The BIG IDEA. We were able to work with a couple of terrific publishers: Zondervan and Leadership Network. Coming out of that rookie experience we learned a few things about publishing, what publishers are looking for, etc.
So if you are interested in getting published or you have some ideas that you would like to share with the rest of the world in a book here are three of the things I believe publishers are looking for before they say "yes" to publishing.
CONTENT - The number one thing that a publisher is looking for is great content. You have to have a big idea that you want to share and the world wants to hear. When it comes to publishing content is still king. If you don't have good content you will not get published.
INFLUENCE - Publishers are also looking for people who have influence. If you have a following this is a signal to a publisher that you have a ready-made market for your content.
DEMAND - If there is a pent up demand for the book you want to publish that is also a factor. If the publisher believes that the timing is right for the book you want to publish that will be important in the decision to publish your book.
A couple months ago Kary Oberbrunner contacted me and asked if I would be willing to be a part of his blog tour for his soon to be released book, The Fine Line. Only knowing Kary from a distance I couldn’t think of a good reason to say “no” and since one of my motto’s is “lead with a yes”, I told him “yes”. But I’m really glad I did!
The Fine Line looks to be a very thoughtful, well-written and important book for our time. Kary reminds us, “Every generation must answer the most basic ethical question of the Christian faith, ‘What does it mean to be in the world, but not of it?’” This is The Fine Line. Kary explains, “...Our difference from the world, not our similarity to it sets us apart. But even though Christ followers are called to be different, we’re also called to transform the world. Here lies the tension. We can’t be so far removed from the world that we lose contact, and we can’t be so much like the world that we’re no different from it...”
If you want to get more info on Kary and his soon to be released book, there is lots of great stuff out there that deserves a look:
I'm looking forward to the release of The Fine Line and the impact that is is going to make for this generation.
Craig Groeschel has a terrific new book out titled, It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It.
I remember after we wrote The BIG IDEA I was walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago and I got a call on my cell; it was Craig. He had just finished reading the manuscript for our book and he called just to tell me how much he loved it and went on to say several encouraging things. He didn't have to do that. I tell you that to let you know the following: not only is Craig a great leader and a gifted author but he is also a terrific guy who really loves Jesus. When I got a chance to host Craig here as a part of his blog tour I was glad to say yes. So below is my question for Craig about his book, IT and after that is his answer.
QUESTION: Craig, I love how you challenged us by saying, “if you don’t have ‘IT,’ you shouldn’t sleep until you get ‘IT’ and to fall in love with Jesus again.” What if the general consensus is that most of the staff has IT, and some sites have IT, but we want EVERYONE and EVERY SITE to have IT? What do you do to foster the “IT” factor within your staff and at all your sites?
ANSWER: Dave, that’s a really great question. Before I try to answer, I want you to know how much you and CCC have inspired me. Your leadership and ministry is off-the-charts awesome. Thanks for writing The Big Idea! I loved it, and I recommend it often.
You said you want everyone at every site to have IT. (I’m guessing you’re talking about your staff members.) Honestly, I don’t think we’ve ever succeeded at having 100% of our staff totally broken and constantly falling more in love with Jesus and His mission. This might totally disillusioned a lot of people, but it’s true. With a large staff, it’s so easy for several—or many—of us to get distracted, neglecting the disciplines and devotions that keep us close to Christ.
Here’s what we try to do consistently:
I hope some of these help. I’d love to hear from your blog community some of their experiences. Thanks for your friendship!
I just got my advanced copy of Bob Roberts The Multiplying Church and it's a must read for church planters and those of us passionate about being a reproducing church. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Bob, his wisdom and his passion for church planting. Bob asked me to endorse his book and here is what I said "The Multiplying Church teaches us new math by using age-old formulas to accomplish the mission of Jesus. Bob Roberts writes with the wisdom of an experienced church planter and the perspective of a man who has a global influence. If you are tired of attrition and want more than simple addition, then read, learn, and become a multiplying church!" The book comes out March 1st, so get your copy now!
I've been a friend and a fan of Vince Antonucci ever since he started Forefront Church in Virginia Beach. So, when I found out that he was going to write a book I was really excited for him. When the copy arrived and he asked me to write an endorsement I was a hoping it would be good. And it is! It's real good!
Here is the endorsement I wrote that appears on the cover: “In I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt my good friend Vince Antonucci tells my absolute favorite story of someone finding their way back to God…his own story. It’s amazing! It’s funny! It’s a total God-thing! As Vince tells us his own story he also challenges us to live a life more authentically and fully following Christ. This is a book that will entertain you, inspire you and help you experience everything God has for you. Read it and share it with a friend.”
When my pre-release copy of “I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt came in the mail I was getting ready to leave with Sue for a short vacation. So, I handed the book to my wife and told her, "read this book, you will love it". She really liked it saying it was "different than any other Christian book...real...and funny!" I agree.
Just landed in San Diego for the National Outreach Convention. It is going to be pretty quick for me. I have a dinner tonight, a workshop in the morning a couple connections I'm making in between and then I'm back on a plane headed to Chicago.
If you are here, come to my workshop on the BIG IDEA. Or better yet - come to the book signing. Seriously, they asked me to do a book signing which I have a hunch is really a cruel joke because nobody is going to show up. Now you might think this is me trying to be self-deprecating, but it's not! They had a book signing for us at the Catalyst Conference and Jon and I stood at a table and one guy showed up to have us sign his copy of The Big Idea. And I think he really just came up to talk to us and we started signing the book before he knew what happened. Meanwhile Leonard Sweet is right next to us and he has a line full of people waiting for him to sign his book. Funny. Oh well. Probably good for me.
Did I mention it is not sunny in San Diego? Ugh.
And by the way - plane rides are great places to get work done. I edited a powerpoint presentation, worked on my workshop talk and wrote two articles for different publications while flying from Chicago to San Diego. That is awesome.
I finally finished up The Starfish and the Spider while on vacation...and it is terrific! I highly recommend it. For anyone who is interested in catalyzing a movement; seeing something grow beyond yourself or just better understanding the power of decentralization - this book is a must! The subtitle oversells the "leaderless" part but I still like it: "The Unstoppable Power Of Leaderless Organizations".
The title refers to the central metaphor of the book comparing a starfish and a spider: while a starfish and a spider have similar shapes, their internal structure is dramatically different. A decapitated spider inevitably dies, while a starfish can regenerate itself from a single amputated leg. In the same way, decentralized organizations are made up of many smaller units capable of operating, growing and multiplying independently of each other, making it very difficult for a rival force to control or defeat them.
In the Starfish and the Spider they give seven principles of decentralization. Below I have listed these seven principles with some brief commentary. Think about your church and/or the movement or denomination of which you are a part as you review theses principles:
So, tell me what you think about your church, movement or denomination of which you are a part after reviewing theses principles.
I'm a little overdue in updating my book list so here are three that I'm recommending. None of these books would fall into the category of Christian or spiritual, but I enjoyed each of them for different reasons.
I'm still finishing up "The Starfish and the Spider", but I'm totally into it. The Starfish and the Spider argues that organizations fall into two categories: traditional “spiders,” which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary “starfish,” which rely on the power of peer relationships. If you cut off a spider’s leg, it’s crippled; if you cut off its head, it dies. But if you cut off a starfish’s leg it grows a new one, and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. The subtitle, "the unstoppable power of a leaderless organization" isn't inaccurate. The examples of the organizations, movements and tribes do have leaders, but not a single leader. This book has a lot of application for anyone who is interested in reproducing multiple church sites or a movement of new churches.
"Monster" is what the prosecutor called 16-year-old Steve Harmon for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store owner. It holds you in complete suspense till the very last page and beyond. Monster is brilliantly written as though you are reading the diary of someone who is imprisoned and working on a potential screenplay. My daughter Amy recommended this because "Dad, you only read stuff about leadership". She is right. I need to read more stuff outside of my usual genre of church, spirituality, management, leadership, etc. Monster is definitely worth the read.
And now back to more of the usual stuff. "The Brand Gap" is a great quick read that gives a tutorial on brand strategy and management. You and your organization do have a brand. The question is whether or not you will be intentional about what you do with that brand. The brand is your voice and how others perceive you.
Today we started our ninth NewThing Multi-Site Practicum and the ninth practicum in a row that has sold out! We have about 25 great church teams that are here at Community Christian Church and will leave with their own step-by-step strategy for how to go multi-site within the next year in their context.
I got to spend a little time with John Jackson who is here with his team from Carson Valley Christian Center. What a great guy! He basically made an appointment with me just to encourage me and affirm what we are doing through NewThing and express his excitement about The BIG IDEA book that is coming out. I should meet with him more often!
And I loved hanging out with the guys (Shawn, David, Casey & Chad) from Mountain Lake Community Church, who are also the guys behind ChurchPlanters.com. They totally get it when it comes to being a reproducing church...I can't wait to see how they apply this multi-site stuff. They will be brilliant. They are doing a church planting conference, Church Planting Redone on February 26th & 27th and have asked me to do a main session. I'm really looking forward to it!
Tomorrow will be awesome as we see all these teams bring to completion their own multi-site strategy. If you are interested in bringing a team to a NewThing Multi-Site Practicum, the next one is in Falls Church, Virginia March 8th & 9th.
Jon Ferguson, Eric and I had a great conference call with the gang from Zondervan and Leadership Network. The book we are writing, The BIG IDEA is being published by Zondervan and is a part of the Leadership Network Innovation Series. The BIG IDEA is the third out of nine books to be published in this series. The two previous books are The Multi-Site Church Revolution and Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Both of these books are outstanding books!
The conference call was to discuss the marketing strategy of the book. And I have to say I was totally impressed! Mike Cooke and the crew at Zondervan and Greg Ligon and his team at Leadership Network are connected with everyone. So, I think when this book is finally released at the end of January lots of people will know about it.
Jon, Eric and I will be connecting with some of you to see if we can get bloggers to post a review and get the word out in the coming months. We are trying to work it out so we can give away copies of the book to people who will post a review of The BIG IDEA. If you got other ideas about how to get the word out - let me know. Since this is the first book that any of us have written this whole experience is pretty cool.
Mark Batterson, a friend of mine and the Lead Pastor at National Community Church in Washington, D.C. (and a guy who is from Naperville!) is releasing his very first book today - In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Order it. You will learn how to unleash the lion chaser within you! In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is inspired by one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in the Bible: Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. (II Samuel 23:20-21) Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn't chase. You will regret the risks not taken, the opportunities not seized, and the dreams not pursued. Stopping running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.
If you check out Mark's book on Amazon.com, notice that Amazon recommends if you buy In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day that you also buy The BIG IDEA. Kinda cool. In fact they show an interesting stat that says that 11% of the people that bought Mark's book also pre-ordered our book, The BIG IDEA.
We just finished the interior design for our new book - The BIG IDEA: Focus the Message, Multiply the Impact. A few things have really surprised me in this whole process of writing a book. First, it cracks me up that the book is already for sale on Amazon.com since we are still finishing some editing. I'm sure that every book is written and marketed this way - I just didn't know. Secondly, it's funny that the book is currently #127,297 on the bestseller list. (Hey, yesterday it was in the 300,000's...I have no idea why that happened and what that really means??) Finally I'm really suprised how much input Zondervan has let us have in the whole design of the book. We came up with the idea for the book cover and we have also been very involved in the design, re-design and re-re-design of the interior look of the book, It has been great to work with Zondervan. (Kudos to Paul Engle and Brian Phipps!). The book will be available in February 2007...but if you want to order one now, you can check it out here - The BIG IDEA: Focus the Message, Multiply the Impact.
I just finished up working on the galley proofs of The BIG IDEA. I really have no idea what "galley proofs" are but that is what Zondervan called it when they sent the book back to me to do some more editing. I guess "galley proofs" is just the edited manuscript put in a generic form so it can be proofread. I got this edit done (and by I, I'm referring to Pat and myself) and sent back to Zondervan; so it's getting closer to being finished.
Why did Jon, Eric and myself write this book? Because nothing is more dangerous than a single compelling idea that is lived out and nothing is more harmless than lots of little ideas never applied. By creatively communicating one BIG IDEA every week your church will transform people into genuine Christ followers who live out the mission of Jesus. Less is more!
Eric Bramlett was doing a some cyber surfing and found that the book, The BIG IDEA that he, Jon Ferguson and myself are writing is now available on-line. Wow, we had now idea. And to my knowledge we have not sold our first copy, yet. So, if you want to be the first to order the book click here: The BIG IDEA: Focus the Message, Multiply the Impact.
Here is the quick synopsis of The BIG IDEA book: Nothing is more dangerous than a single compelling idea that is lived out and nothing is more harmless than lots of little ideas never applied. By creatively communicating one BIG IDEA every week your church will transform people into genuine Christ followers who live out the mission of Jesus. Less is more!
It kind of cracks me up that the book is available on-line since we are still finishing it. However, I am really excited about making available all that we have learned about creatively communicating one BIG IDEA to all ages in multiple sites.
Here is what Jen Pedley from 242 Community, a NewThing church said about how the BIG IDEA impacted her ability to follow Jesus: "The Big Idea was the first time in my life that God’s word applied to my everyday, ordinary life. It helped me in a practical, meet you where you are and don’t worry, I’ll still love you, way. No one had ever spoken so clearly about what it meant to be a Christ-follower. Big Idea teaching touches on so many basic truths that, even though I had gone to churches my whole life, I had never really heard it before. When you put God’s word into where people are at today……whew…..I was blown away. I still am.”
I just got a copy of Thriving Churches in the 21st Century by Dan Reeves and Gary McIntosh. I haven't had a chance to read it from cover to cover, but it was kind of cool that Community Christian Church was one of the eight case studies in the book. Here are a couple of the flattering excerpts that describe CCC:
"...they've worked as a team who are clear about their vision and passionate about it's implementation. They understand who they are and what they are about. They have established their DNA, and many others are drawn to the clarity of their mission and the attractiveness of their teams..."
"The team under Dave's leadership has a high-speed mapping process that is as unobtrusive as breathing. They assess, then accelerate, assess again, and then accelerate even more..."
In the case study, Dan Reeves also made a few really encouraging and kind comments about my leadership and potential leadership. Thanks Dan! Dan is one of a handful of people that God has really used in my life. Dan was the guy who first introduced me to Wayne Cordiero, Erwin McManus and others. Getting to know those kinds of leaders has really accelerated my own leadership. I don't know anyone who is better at getting people connected than Dan Reeves. For that reason alone I'm grateful to Dan. So, I'm anxious to dig into this book and hear what he has to say about his take on Thriving Churches in the 21st Century.
Quick book recommendation: And You Call Yourself A Christian by Robert Lupton. It was given to me by Kirsten Strand a Community Christian Church staff member who oversees our Community 4:12 Ministry and this quick 93 page read is well worth it. Lupton makes the point that what seems like kindness can actually debilitate. He draws on his 34 years of front line urban ministry experience and explains how to engage in responsible compassion. The best stuff was his explanation about how he and his ministry shifted their focus from personal betterment to personal development, then from community betterment to community development. If you are interested in getting the book I don't think you will find it on Amazon.com, so click here.