The fourth way the Holy Spirit might lead a church to be involved with DMM is through a “transition” to a singular DMM focus. Instead of having two visions you’re running alongside one another, like with “hybrid,” you decide to make DMM the primary vision. While you may continue to do many of the things you’ve done before, like weekend services, you leverage everything in the church to help accomplish the primary vision of catalyzing a movement in your city/region.
I wrote an entire book on this fourth way the Holy Spirit might lead a church called “From Megachurch to Multiplication.” I’d encourage you to grab a copy to hear more of the details involved with this “transition.”
In this post, I’ll stay big picture & try to help you understand how the “transition” to a singular DMM vision looked for us.
We definitely didn’t “choose” this approach, in the sense of looking at all the options and picking one. We felt the Holy Spirit lead us to this approach. That’s why I’ve encouraged you to do the same. The Holy Spirit is better at choosing than we are.
When I try to describe “how we got here” to people that ask, my first response is usually, “About two years ago, our staff went from praying once a week to praying every day and through the night on Sunday night (inspired by movements around the world). We increased the amount we prayed by about 10x. Through spending hours and hours in prayer, we believe the Spirit led us step by step to the point we’re at now.” That’s truly our best explanation. While we can come up with many reasons why we think he led us this way, the main reason we “transitioned” is because we were trying to have “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying to our church” (Revelation 2:11).
The “transition” approach involves leveraging everything in your church to support the new vision of DMM. That includes weekends, kids ministry, student ministry, small groups, and everything else. In fact, after we made the big announcement at our 10 Year Anniversary about our vision change, I led our staff through the process of evaluating everything we were doing & asking, “How can we leverage _______ to help us accomplish the DMM vision to see 1,000,000 disciples made in the next 10 years?” I told our church the week after the 10 Year Anniversary that things were likely going to change as we asked that question.
A big difference between “transition” and “hybrid” is that with “transition,” DMM affects everything in the church. Whereas with “hybrid,” it may only affect one area or a few areas of the church.
“Transition” makes DMM the main vision and everything is leveraged to support it. With “hybrid,” DMM is an additional vision that will run alongside the current vision. Both are great and the Holy Spirit will show you which, if either, is best for your church.
I’ll share some of the changes we made to leverage the various areas of our church for DMM.
The most noticeable change would’ve been the changes we made to our weekend gathering. I’ve written a whole blog post about how we changed it called Leverage, so I won’t repeat all of that here. But the summary is that we started focusing much more on prayer, testimony and training as a means of raising up disciple-makers & church platers that would work with us to see 1,000,000 disciples made in the next 10 years. We cast vision each weekend for people to go through the DMM training and begin to pray about being a part of this vision with us. Whereas a “hybrid” strategy would leave the weekend and some of the other ministries alone, the “transition” strategy touches everything in the church. Everything is leveraged to help accomplish the vision. We felt like clear focus and a singular vision was key to aiming for 1,000,000 disciples in 10 years.
Another change we made was in our children’s ministry. We had been using the Orange curriculum for kids but made the change to teach them the 7-Question DBS Process and use it on Sunday mornings. They would go through the same passage we were going through in the main service and come up with a way God wanted them to obey the passage and someone God wanted them to share with. We loved the fact that parents & children would be able to discuss what they “discovered” at church & how God wanted them to apply it to their lives.
In our youth ministry, our youth leaders identified some key “on fire” students to begin the DMM training with. They called this their “catalyst group.” As they finished the training, the students began to strategize about how to reach their entire school, and ultimately, all of the students in this region. They began praying together for the tens of thousands of students in this region & started making the effort to start groups in their school. See the Unlikely People post for a cool story about this. The youth gatherings underwent a major change as well, much like our weekends. Instead of the typical youth gathering with games, food, cool band and engaging message, they began to focus on praying together when they gathered. They also started going out into different neighborhoods to prayer walk & knock on doors & pray for people. It was definitely a 180 degree shift from what they had been doing. It was such a privilege around this time to have my daughter become old enough to join the youth group and I could tell this new direction was having an impact on her life. It was amazing to me that my daughter was being trained to become a disciple-maker and not just a youth group attendee.
This transition dramatically impacted every area of our church. It began to feel like we were positioning every area & ministry to multiply disciples & churches to reach the 1,000,000.
And while I loved the way we did things in our first 10 years, I loved these new leveraged ministries even more. The worship services, youth ministry, children’s ministry, and other ministries were always great, but now they felt even more impactful. I began to see how God could use our laser-focused new vision to raise up many disciple-makers.
Like with hybrid, a transition like this is not for the faint of heart. There will be a cost. A big one. Not everyone will like the new approach. Some people may look for another church. Others may resist the vision. That’s ok, though. Our responsibility is to listen to the Holy Spirit and do whatever he says.
As you can tell, the commitment required to do this on the part of the pastor is huge. I’d venture to say that few pastors will be able to do this unless they are a founding pastor or have been in the church long enough to get significant leadership & congregational buy-in. I believe one of the reasons I was able to lead our church in this direction is because I was a founding pastor & have a Board of Elders who are willing to risk everything for Jesus. While there have been challenges along the way, it’s been totally worth it. The things we’ve seen God do in this transition have blown away everything I’ve seen in my ministry to this point. And we feel like we’re just getting started.
To learn even more about this, I’d encourage you to pick up our book & read the entire story. Even if the Spirit doesn’t lead you in this direction, perhaps you’ll be encouraged by our journey toward movement! And if the Spirit does lead you in this direction, you’ll know that you have a friend for the journey.
Part 6 – Relaunch