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“Exponential Conference” Day 2 Blog


Main Session 2

(Neil Cole)  “Exponential growth starts small but builds to rapid momentum in time.”

(Neil Cole) “Movements are most vulnerable in the beginning.  Why? The seduction of addition. 2. Corrupted DNA and 3. Leadership dependency issues”

“We have to enter in and challenge the structures that are ungodly”

Note: You can hear some of the lessons today shared this great video: 10 Easy Steps to Move from a Movement to a Monument

(Rob Wagner)

I really enjoyed much of what Rob had to share.  He talked about the “three lenses” that they are seeing the church through:  Church Growth, Incarnational Ministry, and Multiplicative Church Planting.  He felt that where these three lenses converge is where the sweet spot (my word not his) of the church is.  He spent much of his time addressing all that God was doing through incarnational ministry and multiplying churches in India.  When he spoke of these things you could tell his soul was alive.  Much about the “church growth” lens did not seem very exciting to him, yet he still saw them becoming a multi-site campus church.   My observation is that for most of the people at this conference there seems to be this desire to hold onto the attractional model of church.  I pray that this desire is has been placed there by the Lord.  I can certainly understand this desire because I’ve wrestled with it for six years now.  I’m thankful that I’ve been able to let desire go.


Workshop 3: George Patterson

Movement Killer:  failing to make the primary objective obedience to Jesus’ commands

3 Types of groups of people to focus on:

1.     Seekers – Levi, Cornelius

2.     Seeders – only group that can sustain multiplication

3.     Feeders – Job is to say out of the way of groups 1 and 2, to mentor seeders and stay behind seeders.

Usually the feeder groups are gluttons and swallow up 1 and 2.

2 Tim 2:2 – Paul > Tim > Men > Others

We can trust the Holy Spirit to preserve the message. We know this or else there would not be any churches left.

Mentoring is how you sustain Godly multiplication


Main Session 3

Michael Frost – Missed much of this talk but what I did hear was challenging.  Another common theme of the conference was communicated here.  Incarnational ministry means living among the people and not leaving.  He noted how the American culture and church do not encourage this:  We live here, go to school here, take a church job here, move to plant a church in yet another place, etc.  He noted the need to be able to say to our community,  “We are not leaving! We are with you come Hell or high water.”

Reggie McNeal –

“Don’t plant ‘a church’ plant ‘the church’”

“What we celebrate gets done”

“We need to change our language and our scorecard.”

Spoke about the need to move away from building attractional “towers”—away from a horizontal approach to church planting and to a linear approach that sees the Church infiltrate every area of society.

“We are not the destination.  The Kingdom is!”

LINE OF THE WEEK:  “What if Jesus was telling the truth in John 10:10 and not just making up scripture?”


Workshop 4:  Hirsch and Cole “Missional Communities”


X > M > E  (Christology > Missiology > Ecclesiology)

Because of this, we must allow for different expressions of the church depending on the culture.  The forms are always changing and this is OK and good (which is a big difference between us and the Muslims).  If we don’t allow this flexibility then our ecclesiology becomes hardwired.  “Jesus then becomes and idolization of our own sense of self…He becomes domesticated.”

Christ dictates the mission and the mission dictates the church.  When we loose sight of this fact then we end up having churches that become idols

“Missiology should inform who we are”

“We are rediscovering that missions is not something that we do.”

“God is missional.  He sent the Son into the world (Jesus was a missionary!).  He sent the Spirit (The spirit was a missionary).  And he is sending us now (we are missionaries!).”

“’Sentness’/missions produces the church” (not the other way around!)

“The eternal purposes of God determine who we are”

“We don’t know what it will look like until we get there”

“With Paul, you see different expressions of the church in different towns (Ephesus and Athens). “

“Missions is not a doctrine of the church but a doctrine of God.”


Often times our definition of “church” leaves out Jesus.  If you can define church without Jesus the you can likely do church without Jesus…and many have.”

Church = “the presence of Jesus among his people called out as a spiritual family to pursuer is mission on this planet”

The emphasis here was on the church as a family.  This helps us to understand a bit more what must be present for a “church” to exist.  A meeting like the one we were in for the workshop would not constitute a family because we really didn’t know each other like a family would.  Likewise Neil and his two friends that meet for a Life Transformation Group would not constitute a church because there are no females present.

“Children don’t interrupt family they interrupt the Holy service.”

Two biggest ideas that are going to fall next:  Clergy/Laity and Sacred/Secular

Hirsch – “everyone gets to play”


Main Session 4

At this point I was pretty tired of taking notes, but I did manage to jot a few things down.

Notes for Ed Stetzer’s entire talk on the Mission of God will be posted shortly here:

(Ed) “If you talk more about your church than about the Cross then you are not proclaiming the Gospel.”

Panel Discussion Comments:

“This changes everything about how we define and do church.  It is not and can not be just a little tweak”

“We leaders have to go out and be one of them”

Matt Carter

Eph. 4:16 – “When will the body grow? When each part of The Body is working properly”  (this is why the church isn’t growing in America.  We allow only for the professionals to work).

Why the attractional model alone will not impact the churchlessness of America:

1.     What if we started 1000 mega churches in the next 10 years?  Wouldn’t that do it?  No!  We did that the last ten years (1200) and total church attendance has went down.

2.     Wrestlessness in the Pews.  18-30 year olds will not be involved with church like our parents were.  They want to actually be apart of the ministry.

3.     We realized that even if we were to go to the trouble (multi-site expansion, hire staff, etc.) to attract 3000 new people to our church that our city of Austin would not be impacted that much.  However, if we could ask 3000 to leave it could!

“You have to train people to feed themselves”

“Train them like missionaries”

Second Best Line of the Conference So Far:  “The power that raised Jesus from the grave is passing out your bulletins”

Coming tomorrow (or maybe the next day)…

  • Final notes
  • My take-a-ways
  • Story about how Rick Warren personally served me a piece of Humble Pie.

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