Brothers Dave and Jon Ferguson have teamed up to write this book about their experience in leading a missional church movement. It is also the first book in the Exponential Series which is written by pastors in the Exponential Network of churches. I will be reviewing the second volume, AND, in coming days.
It is amazing to read of their passion for the church and the excitement which launched them on this journey of seeing such increasing multiplication. The stories told reflect their mission to bring people back to God. This book details the beginning of their church movement and its increase to a network of churches with tens of thousands of members. The book is divided into four parts which reflect this growth: Movements start with 1, Reproducing tribes of 10-100, Reproducing Communities of 100-1000, and Reproducing movements of 10,000s. They move from a single location to a multi-site model and finally form networks of churches in relationship.
Much of the book is devoted to the practical details of managing a church and branching out into multi-site. They explain how to select and train leaders, usually from within. It’s not clear what role formal biblical education plays in this as they seem to prefer on-the-job training. I know some have criticised the book for focussing on the nuts and bolts of method rather than on the spiritual aspects. However, it is obvious that the authors believe in the spiritual disciplines and the work of Holy Spirit in creating this movement.
My only criticism would be that they have a low theology of worship. They believe (rightly so) that church should have excellence in music, however this means that non-Christians are invited to participate in the worship band during Sunday morning worship. Positively, they relate how some musicians have become Christians in this way. Personally I feel that this undermines the nature of worship which is Jesus’ body worshiping its God. Worship is not just a musical experience but a spiritual experience, and one that non-members cannot enter into. I would be interested to know how the Fergusons reconcile this issue.
If you are interested in creating a multi-site church – read this book! If you are currently leading a church that cannot grow any larger – read this book and see if going multi-site would help you. Many churches in the Vancouver area have gone multi-site or are looking into it. It’s an exciting new model of church ministry that allows us to expand his Kingdom while remaining in community.