Hybrid


Part 1 – Church Involvement Continuum
Part 2 – Bless
Part 3 – Release

The third way the Holy Spirit might lead a church to be involved with DMM is through a hybrid approach. One of my friends and mentors, Roy Moran, wrote a whole book on this topic called Spent Matches. I highly recommend you buy and read it. It’s fantastic!

He borrows the hybrid analogy from the car industry where some cars have both an electric motor & a gas engine. He compares DMM to the electric motor and the traditional church model to the gas engine. Both run under the same hood and work together to boost performance and even create better fuel economy.

The hybrid approach to DMM allows you to keep doing what you’ve been doing and add an additional DMM track in your church that you publicly promote and invite people to join. Whereas the last 2 blog posts talked more about a private approach to DMM, things become more public with hybrid.

According to Roy, the hybrid approach can take different forms. In his book he talks about how his church has different small group tracks, one for those inside the church, and one geared for those outside the church (using DMM principles). I was talking to him just the other night and he talked about another church that was using a hybrid approach by implementing DMM in their college ministry but not with everyone else. 

Hybrid simply means that you are publicly integrating DMM principles into some part of your church while everything else remains the same. It’s like adding an electric motor to a car already running on a gas engine.

In Spent Matches, Roy writes, “The hybrid car became a metaphor for Shoal Creek [Community Church]. On one side is the old attraction model—gas engine—inviting people each week to come discover a life they’ve always wanted. On the other side a gospel planting model—electric engine—that equips people to move into their neighborhoods, workplaces, and relational networks with the life-changing truth of Jesus. On one side, we ask people to invite their friends aggressively; on the other, we train people not to mention Shoal Creek unless asked. On the one side, we have a group structure that organizes virtual strangers into small, biblically functioning communities. On the other, we exploit natural, relational connections to plant the gospel in obedience-focused groups.”

Roy talks about how their “gas engine” strategy (aka “the old attractional model”) was working well at his church but they came to realize it would not be able to reach the 300,000+ in their area with the gospel. The new “electric engine” strategy, namely DMM, could reach those 300,000+ and beyond. Roy has admitted that putting the two together has not been an easy task and has said they are seemingly opposite and even contradictory in nature, which poses its own set of challenges. 

While a hybrid strategy may initially sound preferable to some because it sounds like the best of both worlds, it’s not for the faint of heart. Even Roy acknowledges that there will almost assuredly be a cost to implement it. But, for some, this may be how the Holy Spirit leads your church to be involved in DMM.  Like we’ve said in previous posts, make sure you let the Holy Spirit choose for you rather than deciding what’s most convenient or what you or your church may like the best.

When I’m explaining to pastors these various ways a church can be involved in DMM, I tell them that with the hybrid approach and the next two ways I’ll mention, you’ll have to count a cost. This post and the next two posts will require sacrifice, courage, and faith to implement. Don’t let that dissuade you though. Often what the Lord calls us to do requires sacrifice, courage, and faith.

Experience Life started out pursuing DMM in this hybrid sense. We believed it would allow us to keep doing what we had been doing and add DMM principles to it. Our first major change was with our small groups, called LifeTransformation Groups (LTGs). Prior to DMM our small groups would focus on applying what was in the previous weekend message, or they would go through a series of studies we gave them, or they may focus on a particular passage of Scripture together. Once we began to integrate DMM principles into our church, we immediately transitioned our small groups to a discovery approach. We trained all of our leaders in the 7-Question Discovery Bible Study (DBS) process and began to use that tool as the foundation of all of our small groups. We even began an initiative called “Lead Your Group” where we challenged people to start new groups among their lost family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors that probably wouldn’t ever attend a church. We told them that they already had natural groups they were in, and that perhaps God would lead them to capitalize on those natural groupings to make disciples. We had specific trainings on how to “Lead Your Group” that many people went through and we saw quite a few groups started this way completely outside of our church.

In addition to this, our Missions Mobilization team was focused on using movement principles to reach the internationals at our local university. They would strategically move into apartment complexes that were saturated with internationals and begin to gain access, look for persons of peace, and start DGs with the ones who were interested. Anyone who was going through our mobilization process would also be trained in these practices and would go with them. Many of our staff went through their training process to familiarize ourselves with these practices and we began “going out among the lost” aiming to “see groups start” as well.

At this point, we didn’t change the overall direction of our church and kept our weekend gathering & other programming pretty much the same. The weekend gathering, youth ministry, kids ministry, and most of our other ministries were still attractional in nature but our small groups and missions areas were focused on implementing DMM principles.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit will lead you and your church to implement a hybrid approach like Roy’s church did & ours did as well.

When it comes to the commitment of the Senior Pastor and leadership of the church, this involvement level definitely requires more buy-in than the other two we’ve mentioned. With Bless & Release, the pastor didn’t really need to get congregational buy-in since those approaches were more underground. With Hybrid, the leadership of the church & the congregation will likely need to get on board. DMM has now become a public focus of the church & not just a private blessing & praying or “releasing” of workers. 

And you can imagine that when you add an “electric motor” to a car that has been used to only a “gas engine” for decades, that can create some friction. People may not like it. Some may think it’s going to overrun what they’ve grown accustomed to and prefer. Others may think it will unintentionally create two tiers of Christians, those on fire for making disciples & those who aren’t.

Like I said, there will be a cost.

Don’t let the cost scare you, though. If this is the direction the Holy Spirit is leading you to go, you need to count the cost & go for it. Trust that the Lord will be with you & will guide you through the process. 

What’s great about the hybrid is that now the church has publicly become committed to DMM & more people can get involved. DMM is now officially  inside the church and positively affecting certain areas/ministries of the church. And chances are those areas will become more outward focused and more intent on making disciples among lost people, which is awesome!

Pursuing the hybrid builds on the other two ways to get involved also. It allows you to bless & pray for movement work in your area. It allows you to release radicals that want to be sent from the church to do this exclusively. And it involves the entire church in the process by implementing DMM principles into various ministries in the church. 

If you haven’t already, take a minute to buy Roy’s book and start reading through it. Whether the Holy Spirit leads you to pursue the hybrid or not, you’ll be challenged & encouraged by reading the story of Shoal Creek’s journey into DMM.

Part 4 – Transition