I don’t mean literally. Really! Who would blow up a church literally? Don’t answer that. Let me explain where I’m coming from. I just recently attended the Exponential church planter’s conference in Newport Beach. If you already know this then you read my last blog post. Good for you, you are a fine judge of quality blogging material. The Exponential conference was something special. One thing I learned was that church planting is really taking off. The other thing I learned is that our future pastors will be wearing skinny jeans and sporting gigantic beards. (Millenials, I love you but your kids will tease you incessantly about the whole skinny jeans thing.)
A quiet revolution is happening. The next generation of pastors believe in church planting and being a missionary to their own country. This means that megachurches will not be the big thing they used to be. This group believes and preaches small, quickly multiplying churches. How small? I’m glad you asked. Your church splits and plants another church once it has reached a total of 100-150 attenders. Talk about keeping the foot on the gas. Their argument is solid: large megachurches grow the body of Christ incrementally whereas church plants grow it exponentially (thus the conference name). It may be millenials that bring about the next Great Awakening. That is a crazy thought. I am into crazy thoughts. Read the title for crying out loud!
I attended a fantastic seminar put on by 100movements.com. They talked about some very practical things related to church planting and being a multiplying church. In particular, what stood out was the concept of being lean. They were causing us to re-evaluate just what is necessary to have a church. Let’s ask the question: “What is necessary to have a church?” Do you need a building or could you meet in a park? Do you need a full time pastor or could you exist with a part time speaking pastor? Do you need a full on praise band with sound equipment and a mixing board with projectors to display lyrics? What do you really need?
The house church movement has exploded across China. Chinese believers are the largest body of believers in the world. This house church movement is happening underground because the communist government is no fan of the Church. These churches are stripped down to almost nothing. They consist of someone’s house, and a body of believers and probably a secret handshake (that last part is just conjecture). This body of believers is quite small. Many of them don’t even have a pastor. This house church movement is what the first century church was like. In both cases, the church exploded and changed the world.
Here is where I get my title. It’s not the explosive growth of the church that I am talking about. I am really thinking of what it would take to make a church built off of the megachurch model (make the church as big as you can) and turn it into the church planter model. It means you have to blow it up. You have to take some of it and break it off into a church plant here, then take another part of it and break it off into a church plant there and so on and so on and so on. This sounds risky. Indeed. It is taking all of your chips and putting them on the table for the next roll of the dice. You either win big or lose big. You can see then what a big step of faith these young pastors are making.