Since the release of our book, From Megachurch to Multiplication, we’ve had the privilege of training hundreds of pastors from across the country, and even some from around the world. One thing I constantly see pastors wrestling with is how to implement DMM in their churches.
As we’re going through the training, I can see the wheels beginning to spin as pastors consider what this might look like in their context.
Do they leave the church alone & just do this DMM-thing on the side? Do they implement some of the principles in their church? Do they take their church through a major transition? Do they just move on from their church & do this somewhere else?
It’s almost always the case that very early in the training I start to get these questions from the pastors. I’ve found myself responding in a similar way each time, so I decided to put together a Google Doc called “Church Commitment Continuum” to present some ideas for what implementing DMM might look like in various churches (I’ll share it at the end of this series of posts so I can explain it first).
I want to spend the next 5 blog posts discussing the various ways the Spirit might lead a pastor/church to implement DMM.
Let me say this at the outset. I repeat this over and over again to pastors and I feel like it’s worth repeating again here. The absolute most important thing for you to do is listen to the Spirit and do whatever he tells you to do. We shouldn’t look at a continuum like this and pick the commitment level we like best. We shouldn’t bring our team together and take a vote. We shouldn’t pick a commitment level because it seems easiest. We shouldn’t pick one just because it seems hardest. We should do EXACTLY what the Spirit tells us to do.
And you know the good news?
The Spirit still speaks to churches! He’ll show you what to do!
I constantly refer pastors to Revelation 2-3 where Jesus speaks directly to 7 churches. And there’s one thing Jesus says to each church that I think we also need to hear & obey today. Can you remember what he repeated to every single church? I’m going to repeat it here as many times as Jesus did just so you see the emphasis.
In Revelation 2:8-11, after giving John a message to the church in Smyrna, Jesus said: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Rev 2:11).
In Revelation 2:12-17, after giving John a message to the church in Pergamum, Jesus said: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Rev 2:17).
In Revelation 2:18-29, after giving John a message to the church in Thyatira, Jesus said: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Rev 2:29).
In Revelation 3:7-13, after giving John a message to the church in Philadelphia, Jesus said: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Rev 3:13).
In Revelation 3:14-22, after giving John a message to the church in Laodicea, Jesus said: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Rev 3:22).
Don’t you think if Jesus had this same encouragement for ALL 7 churches that it would also apply to our churches as well? Shouldn’t we take this very seriously? I think so!
Pastors, we have ears to hear! So what should we do? We must LISTEN to the Spirit and UNDERSTAND what he is saying to the church we pastor! The Spirit still speaks! Are we listening? Do we understand what he wants us to do? We are not the ultimate leaders of our church. The Spirit leads us and the elders/deacons/congregation to do what HE wants us to do!
Do you know what the Spirit is saying to your church?
Sometimes I think we don’t know exactly what we’re supposed to be doing because we’re trying to figure it out on our own rather than hearing from the Spirit, understanding him, and then doing exactly what he says.
As you begin to process what DMM might look like in your church, you need to LISTEN to the Spirit! It’s so much better to hear from him & do what he wants us to do rather than just doing whatever we think is best or easiest.
As I begin to share some of the ways a church might engage with DMM, know that you shouldn’t read each of these & just pick the one you like best. Spend time in prayer. Listen to the Spirit. Ask him what he wants you to do. And what he wants you to do may not even be on this list. Just do exactly what he says. This list just represents some of the ways that other churches have responded to the DMM vision.
I want you to be encouraged that the Spirit will speak to you and your leadership if you have ears to hear what he is wanting to tell you.
Can I be honest, though?
I think sometimes we don’t hear the Spirit too clearly because the leadership of our church is not spending much time together in prayer. When you look at many of these churches in movements overseas, they make the American church look prayerless and lukewarm. That includes my church. When I read some of these accounts about how they pray and fast together, it makes ME feel prayerless and lukewarm. No wonder they hear so clearly from the Spirit as to what they’re supposed to do! They spend a TON of time listening to him!
Do you & the leadership of your church spend a lot of time listening to the Spirit? If you do, he’ll speak to you & you’ll know exactly what you should do. I find that so encouraging!
Start praying today, “Holy Spirit, what do you want us to do? We are listening! And when we hear you, we will obey!”
I must warn you, though. That’s a dangerous prayer. Here’s why. Usually what the Holy Spirit will lead you to do requires faith, courage, and boldness. In my own life, when I’ve prayed a prayer like that, it never seemed to lead me where I felt comfortable, safe, and secure. Quite the opposite. Often what the Holy Spirit would tell me to do felt risky, unsafe, and very uncomfortable. In other words, I’d have to have faith to go through with it.
But this shouldn’t surprise us, right? Living by faith is the essence of the Christian life. It just feels like in America sometimes we try to resist a life of faith. The American dream is basically the opposite of a life of faith. The American dream tries to provide you with security, safety, stability, and comfort. A life of following Jesus often feels like the opposite of that. It feels like… well, living by faith. Exactly.
My guess is that what the Holy Spirit will tell you to do with DMM is probably not what you would’ve picked. It probably won’t be the safe, easy, comfortable option. It will probably be the option that will require faith. That’s why it’s best that you don’t pick. Let the Holy Spirit pick & then follow him. His plans for your your life & your church are better than yours.
Part 2 – Bless