Recalibrating Church: Clarity is Critical

To focus intentionally on multiplying Jesus’ church, we must understand clearly who and what the church is. Let me propose four steps to explore as we seek such clarity.

Re-calibrate by recognizing we need to run on new rails.

We all work to form systems because systems are key to the formation of a church culture. When we form a church culture of multiplication, then multiplication just happens.

But Todd Bolsinger reminds us that when we face alarming circumstances that drive us to panic, we default to our training. (Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains, p 32) Hence, the system of church formation that we have trained for will become our default response.

Post Covid, whether we want to or not, we must change our default system response. We must run on new rails.

No change is easy and changing our default system of church formation is no exception. Pastors and church leaders often lament to me, “I cannot effect more change than I already have.”

Perhaps large systemic changes are beyond reach. But GSE is not a large systemic change. GSE is a simple process that works well and integrates exceptionally well to place church formation onto a new track.

Currently, NO ONE is trained on these new rails or the need for them, so we default to a less effective system of church formation: the Founding Pastor Model.

Vision USA provides training to help church leaders observe, process, and implement a new simple system of church formation.

To discover your new rails:

  1. Seek out wise men and women who are, by their observable behavior, living what you seek to implement and learn from them.
  2. Engage apostolically wired people and make a place for them because they are gatherers.
  3. Keep Gall’s Law in mind: “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.” (Wiki systems)

Re-calibrate by recognizing we need to redefine church.

As networks and denominations do what they do to start churches, it seems their definition of church grows more and more complicated. When I ask people of the church to define church, they either say nothing or speak about attendance and offering.

We need to begin our discipling work with clarity on this point. You and I ARE the church; we must be CRYSTAL clear on this definition. If I do not know what church is how can I be the church when I go where He sends me?

The Vision USA network uses the 3/5 Focus to define when church begins. The 3/5 Focus bases the definition of church on who I am and what I do, and who I am is always more important than what I do. When who I am is well then what I do is also well.

Theologians generally use three manifestations of who I am to define Jesus’ church:

  1. Great Commission – pick your favorite expression of the five. They all come from the lips of Jesus, and they all say “Go.”
  2. Great Command – Love God with all I have and with all I am. Exalt the Father, spend time with the Father.
  3. Great Command – Love my neighbor. Be led by the Holy Spirit to engage in community.

I love the trinitarian focus on these commands from Jesus. They give clarity to the definition of who the church is.

Theologians have many lists outlining what the church is to do. They derive their lists from the Greek word families that drive the ideas. I prefer the simplicity and clarity of this list:

  1. Worship
  2. Teach all the Bible
  3. Preach/share the gospel
  4. Serve
  5. Be in spiritual community

Re-calibrate by taking more risk, specifically, more spiritual risk.

Failure is not sin; take a faith risk in your ministry; do something outside your norm. Observe what God does in your ministry and in you.

Every decision needs both faith and wisdom at its core. But both cannot be in the lead. Some decisions need to be made in pure faith; other decisions need to be made in pure biblical wisdom. Where Scripture has clearly spoken, I obey in faith. Where Scripture has not spoken directly or clearly, I seek wisdom to make that decision.

Re-calibrate by creating an “all they know” scorecard.

We measure what is important, and these measurements are tools. The most common church scorecards measure attendance and giving: how many people came to church on this day and how much money did they gave?

These are good measurements, but we need so much more. Jesus told us to go into the harvest. How can we measure that? We measure salvation decisions, but how do we measure movement that precedes the decision? How do we measure what our gatherers are doing?

Vision USA works with our partners to develop an “all they know” scorecard: Here is what every person in our church knows. We specifically focus on gatherers. When people are gathered to church, they meet other gathered people and the gatherers that gathered them. They soon conclude that “everyone is doing it,” so they go out and gather others. This is what we want. It’s all they know.


Do you want to know more about church multiplication through GSE? Let’s talk.