The  Crossing  Story

by Jerry  Harris

Shifted:  The  Crossing  Story   Copyright  (c)  2012  by    Jerry  Harris   ISBN:    978-­‐0-­‐9886453-­‐1-­‐8   Distributed  via  Exponential  Resources   Exponential  is  a  growing  movement  of  leaders  committed  to  the  multiplication  of  healthy  new   churches.  Exponential  Resources  spotlights and spreads actionable principles, ideas and solutions for the accelerated multiplication of healthy, reproducing faith communities.  For  more  information,  visit   All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  book  may  be  reproduced  in  any  manner  whatsoever  without  prior  written   permission  from  the  publisher,  except  where  noted  in  the  text  and  in  the  case  of  brief  quotations  embodied  in   critical  articles  and  reviews.   This  book  is  manufactured  in  the  United  States.




Shifted: The Crossing Story is just one example of a church embracing discipleship then incorporating it into new launches. there are churches that have been planted. . it stands to reason that the healthier existing churches are. are all unique but capturing and adapting ideas from other churches has been a tremendous benefit to us. Since so much church planting is accomplished from cooperation of existing churches. staffs. and leaderships. like people. have grown.The Purpose of this E-book While Exponential and other organizations concentrate their efforts and attention on the mechanics and nuances of church planting. I wrote this for all those leaders who need the tools to turn the ship instead of the plans to build one. Existing churches have a completely different set of circumstances to face in order to embrace discipleship. We have grown from a small church of 200 to 5500 in 7 locations and planted 2 others as well. budgets. and are thriving are all around us. They have buildings. Churches. I hope our story helps you. The trick is empowering the existing church to make the necessary changes to be healthy. the more new churches are launched. Remember that this is our journey.

anything new was both interesting and unsettling. That is when I came into this church's story.. targeting. However. We began looking to our purpose rather than any tradition. technology. fundraising. bringing both losses and gains. Like most churches. Although it was a late late bloomer in the church growth movement.. It starts as a pretty common story. but because I was the replacement in the transition of their previous pastor because of a moral scandal.a desire to do something more significant in God's Kingdom. in the 90's. Services and ministries were conventional. The Crossing was a church riding the elevator between 100-300 in size over it's quarter-century life. I think it might help to get a snapshot of who we are. Blackebyʼs Experiencing God completely changed my understanding of how to know and do the will of God. A lot of that depended on the personality and charisma of it's pastor and his ability to move Christians from other churches into his fold.that they would have an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. and remodeling. I had been heavily influenced by two books I had just read: Experiencing God and The Purpose Driven Church.kind of stuck in the model of the 1950's. The lessons taught inside them began shaping my vision for this wounded church. a desire began to form to make a bigger difference. As pastoral changes occurred.. .. the church tried to catch on to the tail end of the growth wave by exploring some new approaches in music. and staffing. The influence of The Purpose Driven Church coupled with the leadershipʼs desire to do something significant for the Kingdom in the community opened all sorts of doors to marketing.. Like most changes in a traditional church setting.. That book formed a clear vision in me to set as a goal for every person that we would interact with. inside the local leadership. worship change. marketing. not because I represented anything bigger or more significant. the number on the attendance board would fluctuate..not exactly the best environment for growth or change.Introduction: The Crossing Story Before I discuss the shifts we made toward relational discipleship as a church. living and working in step with the Holy Spirit..

000! Both communities were similar in the sense that they were micropolitan and economically depressed. We had plenty of jumping on points for people to get involved. The evangelism quotient was very high with over 2/3ʼs of our decisions being first-time and not transfer growth..ministries. small groups. In the midst of this growth and success.The joining of those two concepts in a church environment that invited change was transformative. In the same time that the Crossing had grown to 2000. micropolitan city of 40. another micropolitan community 60 miles away. Even though we didnʼt have a single member or contact there. unprecedented in Quincy.000 and then approaching 2. We had benchmarked Lifechurch. it opened as the largest church in its community. The success we experienced in Macomb spurred us to open more campuses. While we had grown quickly and wide regionally. This was the spot on the timeline that the need for relational discipleship came into view.000. Idaho in 1998. The Crossing was growing larger than any local church had seen. Our first location was Macomb. Within a few years. The Crossing began to grow exponentially. At the same time of our spiritual depth dilemma. there was an ever increasing understanding in our leadership that it was not producing the personal commitment to Christ over the long term.. even internationally. That encouraged me to . IL. Real Life Ministries had grown to 8. our growth had opened some doors to me to network with other leaders of large churches normally reserved for leaders in more metropolitan areas. Jim and Aaron Couch had planted a church in Post Falls. non-growing... It was then that we turned our attention to reproducing using and saw an opportunity to extend our reach regionally. Our growth was so far from the norm that churches began to call us a cult or soft on biblical truth. Other churches saw our growth but would not even attempt to duplicate it because of their resistance to the necessary changes. there was a huge blind spot gradually coming into view.000 saturated with 85 churches. the same year I came to Quincy. over 1. This was particularly interesting knowing that it was happening in a rather just wasnʼt translating into the spiritual depth we wanted to see.. special groups. It was through that networking that I heard about and met Jim Putman..

It was something very different from the conventional small group programming I had seen in the past. Jim credited the key to their growth to be discipleship in relationship. “Is our church going in the right direction? If not. The questions are. it drove the discipleship point home. For me. I didnʼt see any other good reason that the church should grow so exponentially outside of their approach to discipleship. A visit to their campus reinforced the fact that it was their focus. as so many other ministry areas needed work as I compared them to the Crossing. .believe that at least some of their approach could be transferable. how do you turn the ship? What are the right steps and in what order should they be taken? Where are the snags in the journey?" It all begins with asking the right question. This was the beginning of the shift that this ebook is really about.

. if you are involved in “Y” ministries. Many people who had attended church for years. giving. this is what I saw. As long as I preached great sermons and as long as people kept making decisions. Looking back.or even .and what could be wrong with that? Numbers are objective tools to give us a clear picture to measure where we are. How many people made decisions? What was the offering amount? Most of the answers I was looking for had a number involved. and if you give “Z” dollars. and serving. I could consider that fulfilling the great commission. Matthewʼs testimony of our marching orders in the 28th chapter commissions us to make disciples. That willingness to give time and talent coupled with a decent measure of ability was critical to maturity. X+Y+Z = level of discipleship. After experiencing the method used to create and reproduce disciples at Real Life. How wrong I was! My Bible college taught the centrality of preaching the Word and so church attendance to listen and respond to that preaching was central.. My church experience emphasized evangelism evidenced by public decisions and baptisms so the number of decisions was key. Finally. the church reflected it.. As I scanned the congregation that I ministered to. and given for years were still very immature. you have the proper variables for your equation. Measuring discipleship was for me and I believe for many today a compilation of these numbers. Since I measured discipleship this way. served for years. ”Are we making disciples?”. Many had never reproduced their faith in even a single person. my eyes were opened to a huge blind spot in our seeming successful church. If you have been a member for “X” years.. That definition however was really not the one I had been looking for up to that point... a great evidence of real spiritual growth is seen in financial giving. Give these variables actual numbers and you have your answer.or so I thought.Shift #1 Asking The Right Question The question is. My questions sounded more like asking how many were at church the previous week. I am amazed at how little I understood the meaning of the word “disciple” and how necessary that knowledge was in order to understand the question. There were always lots of church programs that needed volunteers to run them.

The result is our spectacular emphasis on numbers of converts. Many had never grown in their relationship to Jesus experiencing the sting and joy of real sacrifice. spent large chunks of time with them. being changed by Christ ?(. watching over them so that they could reproduce in others what He had produced in them.” There are three criteria that help define discipleship in this divine statement. How did Jesus make disciples? First. I really didnʼt know how to mobilize a church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. What a revolutionary look at the simple truth of Jesus method! As great as it is to share the life changing message of our Savior. Many of them had never shared their faith even once.” (MPE pp.” Most of the evangelistic efforts of the church begin with the multitudes under the assumption that the church is qualified to preserve what good is done. candidates for baptism. Looking back.) This is the question I honestly wasnʼt asking myself or confronting others with until this point. If we look out on the faces of our congregations. and success. The best I was providing was an environment for them to figure it out for themselves... let alone the preservation and continuation of the work.and I will make you).fishers of men. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.. 29-30) That is a powerful editorial of the state of even todayʼs most successful and highly esteemed churches. He selected them.).. I wish someone would have shared a copy of Robert Colemanʼs little book Master Plan of Evangelism early in my ministry. and more members for the church.. Did it . and set them apart and empowered them for ministry. and living life on mission for Christ ?(. experience.. He gave them specific assignments. with little or no genuine concern manifested toward the establishment of these souls in the love and the power of God. He lived His life as a consistent demonstration before them. how many actual disciples do we see? How many are personally convinced that they are disciples but are sorely mistaken? How many of them believe this fallacy because of the bar we have set before them? Real Life chose Matthew 4:19 as their definition of discipleship seeing Jesus calling His own disciples. has it ever occurred to us that His method of sharing it is just as divine? Coleman wrote of todayʼs church. Many had become highly sophisticated consumers but consumers none the less.attempted it. Am I genuinely following Christ? (follow me. “Are we making disciples?” The difficult truth for me was that with all my education.

but the daily example of how He lived and invested into His precious disciples? So the 1st shift that we are confronted with is whether or not we are committed to make disciples on Jesusʼ At the time. knowing that this is the best way that we can love God and one another. For me. I had constructed my ministry from the examples I admired from a distance. Really it is a question of which generation we are living for.. I began to realize why this concept was so hard for me to see. I started thinking how common my story was. When the question is asked. it may have looked like a failure. “Seen this way. asking the right question meant embarking out into an undiscovered country like a pioneer and asking a church of 2300 to ask the same question with me. Had I done what He commissioned me to do or did I recreate it in a way that made it work better for me? Was my life and ministry a reflection of not only the message Jesus taught.” (MPE pp. and wondering if when He questioned me about what I had done with what He had given me. especially if it involves drastic changes to your personal ministry approach or the status quo of the local church. wondering how many people out there never had that spiritual mentor following Jesusʼ example. but these men took the message of Christ to the ends of the earth reproducing themselves over and over. I remember placing myself inside the pages of Scripture. if I could show Him multitudes of fickle fans or smaller group of fully committed followers. No one had ever discipled me! I grew up in a Christian home but my parents were only as intentional as parents normally are. We must decide where we want our ministry to count—in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Even Bible college was little more than an exchange of knowledge without anyone taking the interest to specifically coach me. though. The challenge was to turn a big ship that already had a full head of steam. specifically the parable of the talents.what will be the primary question that our lives and ministries will seek to answer? Coleman described it this way. 32) Asking the right question can yield some answers that are hard to accept. . taking me to church and maintaining a Godly home. it becomes a big decision in the ministry.. So there I was and here we are. what is the answer? The answer for me was that we were not intentionally and effectively making disciples at The Crossing.

I was finally asking the right question and getting the painful answer. The next shift would be my response. It felt more like an indictment than an understanding. . it was more by accident than on purpose.While it had happened to some degree.

It was amazing to me that even with all of my lack of intention..and so the bottom line was it wasn't going to be mine. recognition of error and the correction that follows it. They are seen in reversals of direction. These are moments when I realize a new truth about me or Jesus that requires change in me. form. there have been countless more on the journey. Since the church is the body of Christ. and another group of pastors at our primary location. its character should cast the same reflection. I was convinced that the status quo or success measured in worldly metrics wasn't God's way or the best way. I needed to be the coach who . As a pastor.Shift #2 Conversion I know that this term is usually reserved for that moment when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord but I have come to realize that my life is actually made up with lots of conversions of different sizes. Conversions are not tweaks or adjustments. The first thing I noticed was that all the raw material for these discipling relationships was already around me. or function. a group of lead pastors who headed up the various locations of the Crossing. Conversion is necessary. Instead of concentrating on being the greatest player on the field. it stands to reason that I would want to do Jesusʼ things Jesusʼ way. Conversion begins in the character and then the shape that our lives and/or ministries take and then how we function in those new forms reflect that new character. those changes extend beyond me into the church as God uses me as a catalyst for change. Since being a Christian is reflecting the character of Christ. God had already placed me in key relationships that only needed to move from ignorance to intentionality. I think thatʼs a great definition. Conversion meant that I needed to see my influence in a new way. I had a group of ten elders who oversaw the church as a whole. The dictionary defines conversion as a change in character. While there certainly was a first. If I wanted the church to change. The level of commitment needed to start a movement and change a world isn't going to be found in a crowd of consumers but it can be found in a congregation of the committed. I also had a small group that I led with my wife with 3 other couples. I had to change first.

I needed to select them. I would be endlessly cleaning up messes and stomping out brushfires. I often feel resistance supported from the pride they have in their perceived success. I needed to live a life that was a consistent demonstration of Jesusʼ example before them. It feeds our insecurities and gives us confidence to lead. This was definitely a conversion to me. As I've talked to other successful leaders who ask about our story. I had lots of ways to defend my position. The unknown can be very intimidating.. these kinds of radical changes could not only hinder my present success but even reverse it! Isn't this really just another one of those latest flavors labelled with an appropriate buzzword?".. Conversion is the road less travelled. I was used to getting all the affirmation from being the best player.prepared the players and provided places for them to play.. I can remember pushing back on these changes reminding myself and others that we were already one of the fastest growing churches in the country. Like Jesus. but like Robert Frostʼs poem. then set them apart and empower them for their ministry.I really don't think it is even possible outside of it. we're proud of it. I needed to teach them how to reproduce this in others. Conversion requires humility."Why should I change my whole approach to doing ministry when the things I'm doing now seem to be working just fine? Besides that. Let's face it. I wondered if my ministry would become more janitorial than ministerial. Deeper still was the quiet insecurity of giving up things that I would rather keep for myself. They're thinking. preparing them for areas of ministry that fit their gifts and passions. I needed to reorder my ministry to spend large chunks of time with them. something God had already provided in large part. it can make all the difference. What if I was so successful that I worked myself out of a job? These were some of the hurdles of my conversion. A major change of course could make it look like I was just experimenting with the direction of the church and using the congregation as test subjects. Perceived success can be very limiting. There is a pride that flows out of it that keeps us from recognizing and responding to our need for change.if we have enjoyed success.. Its hard to admit to ourselves that maybe all this time. Jesus had . Sharing those opportunities and giving ministry away scared me.

If true conversion is happening in our church. or the congregation.. this conversion is just a continuation of our first. Christians like to be seen as committed but operate as a consumer. why should people follow us now? In many ways. My blind spot would certainly be thereʼs as well. or the leaders. leaders. this is exactly what we are calling for others to do. and giving. even if it contributes to their Iack of effectiveness or even their death. we have a new passion and vision. Conversion means change. . disarm them. How I chose to communicate this new direction would be absolutely critical to its success. If I hadn't seen the difference between the sum of these parts and real discipleship. Leading conversional change is some pretty heavy lifting. Our strategy was to get people in. But conversional change can be just as lethal. Just because I have a compulsion to convert doesn't mean that it will be shared by staff. the Great Discipler and when we return from our knees. We had a great building. That was certainly the case for me. awesome worship.certainly the best in the area. relevant messages. the staff. We know that as a practical matter. If we have been leading in the wrong direction up to this point. Conversion made making disciples in relational environments my vision and I could not see preaching about having an intimate personal relationship with Jesus outside of it. It will definitely be uncomfortable! The trick is making people uncomfortable at a rate they can tolerate. The Crossing at this time was a church based on attraction. Why should it be any different after we've been Christians a while or placed in leadership? We place this like all other things. Consumerism is precisely the reason why more traditional churches resist change. decisions. at the foot of our Master. neither would the church.. The challenge before me was to lead a major change of direction in a church that perceived itself highly successful already. and the best programming. and then let the Word and the Spirit do the heavy lifting. Accepting Christ means that the former way of life was the wrong way and following Jesus and His Word is the right one.something else in mind. It worked! At least it did for attendance.

program. it gets a lot easier to find one. it can be very powerful. its not much more than drawing a crowd and just like in Jesus' time. so traditional churches who point at larger churches accusing them of being too shallow are really no different. we didn't have to give up on attraction. Not only does attraction draw consumers. People consume tradition just like innovation. Smart churches can attract consumers. he doesn't need to complain. the practice of drawing through attraction has a relatively short shelf life. As a matter of fact. Sophisticated consumers are hard to hold and attraction for a church . The consumer is at the center of his own universe. he just votes with his feet. If he doesn't like something or feels neglected. but only a church bent on making disciples can turn consumers into the committed. One minute they're shouting "Hosanna!" and the next they're yelling "Crucify!". Today's churches are full of consumers and mega-churches don't have a corner on the market. design. Attracting consumers isn't a bad thing. Without relational discipleship. It's naive then to expect him to act in a way that is contrary to his nature. We hire. It's the same for a new Hollywood blockbuster or a new shopping mall. After the place is open awhile.Shift #3 Communication So how do I communicate this new vision without throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water? The first thing I realized was that in order to be intentional about making disciples in relational environments. The missing piece in many churches today is a specific intentional pathway to committed discipleship. but its effectiveness is short-lived. crowds come and go. Why? Because attraction appeals to the consumer and consumers are fickle. it's just incomplete unless it is used as a springboard to a committed Christian life. Tradition appeals to a particular consumer in the same way. When a new restaurant comes to town it can be pretty hard to get a seat. build. In the short term. and market with the consumer in mind. We really shouldn't be surprised if our church people act like consumers if we have intentionally sought to attract them through what we offer. it just hadn't done a good job helping people to get to the place that Jesus had commissioned us to bring them. they went hand in hand! Attraction was serving us well by bringing people in the front door. worship.

so that meant we could still be an attractive church.leader can be an endless pursuit for the next great thing. Communicating this new direction of relational discipleship with integrity of heart required more than conversion. wanting desperately to hold the crowd. of Israel his inheritance. Okay.. and want to be satisfied with something new. youʼre getting pretty close to all you need for a roaring fire.. Some pastors.lead with skillful hands out of integrity of heart.  The most effective ideas communicated are the ones that people consider their own and when a ..  Passion is emotional. It attaches itself to your own identity and it becomes self-defining. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart. have chased this rabbit into shock tactics and moral compromise.” Integrity of heart  That's what I needed to do and who I needed to be.  When conviction is doused with passion. Passion is what validates the investment into your conviction and when you communicate from it.. Passion is preoccupying. bored with required conviction and conviction expresses itself in passion. you might wonder whether or not a conversion has taken place. itʼs hard to talk about it without inflection in your voice or getting caught in hyperbole. The listener gets caught up in the power and passion of the conviction. Passion is what holds your commitment to something when logic and reason fail you.  Your mind is running constantly back to it. people are moved to either follow or disconnect.  Like a ship going through the water. No matter what we do. With skillful hands he led them.but how could I emphasize that making disciples was really the point? One of my favorite Bible verses of church leadership is Psalm 78:71-72: “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens From tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob. it creates a wake that people get caught up in.  It takes an effort to think about something else. If you arenʼt passionate about your conviction. Making disciples is a better way and it's Jesus' way but it's not the easy way. eventually consumers are going to get used to it.  Passion is personal.  Passion is powerful...

and disappoint.  In the long term. key positions will be established. Jim Collins discusses the downward spiral that leads once successful businesses to capitulation and death. Like a terminal cancer patient.  Letting the focus rest on the leader is ultimately and invariably destructive.  Concentrating on relational discipleship puts the focus on God where it belongs. a church isn't going anywhere and even with a leader. they are pretty far gone.   It will mean moving away from the place where you are and this is almost never easy. Change is best served in healthy times. but careful examination reveals a long line of small corrections. why fix it?  By the time many churches find the stomach to change. How The Mighty Fall.  Driving even on a straight road requires constant corrections at the wheel.   Policies and structures will be adjusted or abandoned.”  Without a leader. Convicted leaders face an uphill battle even in healthy environments and movement in the direction of change is seldom comfortable.  His research shows that in an effort to reverse the fall. most of us .  Leaders are humans and humans canʼt help but make mistakes. but a great leader gets people to focus on the relational discipleship itself. be inconsistent.conviction is communicated effectively. and others will be replaced or removed. However. by the time they do it. companies make sweeping changes. In his great little book. Churches that center on relational discipleship are going to be much healthier than those that center on the personality of a leader. “Leadership is taking people to a place they would have never have gone to by themselves. they are over leveraged in the opposite direction and not healthy enough to manage the massive adjustments. Any change is best accomplished in smaller increments. I know this sounds like a contradiction because a conviction is personal.  It may seem that youʼre going straight. its still looking at turbulent waters when it comes to change. but the institutional inertia and the success of years gone by prompt existing leaders to consider that if it isnʼt broken. But what about the "skillful hands"? Skillful Hands I once heard a great quote from an army general who said. people are drawn to the it and not just the leader. this gets far more traction for the church and for the kingdom of God. By contrast. they are willing to grasp for life with experimental treatments.

They saw that it was a shared conviction of the staff. I took them with me to see what I had seen. If the change is more important than the primary leader. Now relational discipleship wasn't just my conviction. I began with my top staff. and prayer. I had already been using a teaching strategy I had developed some time before to help the staff and leadership understand how The Crossing would seek to build spiritual maturity in people. Relational discipleship provided the dynamic piece to complete that model. the church.have been distracted while driving only to be frantically forced into a major correction and a very dangerous situation. Big change divided up into lots of smaller. I asked them to pray. circumstances. Communication of deep change needs to begin at the top. The last thing a leader should do is to start communication from the pulpit. My prayers had done nothing but confirm my conviction and now the church was starting to move in unity from the top down. Now the conviction to change was shared by all the leadership in unity. We discussed the cost of the changes. New ideas began to come to light as we imagined together how relational discipleship would look in our context. it was ours! Next. The circumstances put me alongside people who were further down the discipleship road than I was to teach me. I gave them Coleman's book to read. put them in proximity to those who were actually walking relational discipleship out. brought Jim Putman and some of his staff in to speak with them and ask questions. I remembered how Henry Blackeby had taught in Experiencing God that God speaks through His Word. more manageable adjustments is a healthy strategy for churches. . They could feel the weight of my conviction as I shared what I had experienced. They saw what I saw and more! My understanding began to expand in the soil of collaboration. then the more leaders that own it and carry it to the congregation. and then debriefing them on their thoughts. I shared with our eldership. This is how I would communicate how relational discipleship and attraction would work together to make mature followers of Jesus Christ. All of those came together to further my resolve in moving this way. It was obvious from the Word that this was Jesus' method and the substance of His commission to the church. they would embrace it. We began to strategize on promoting relational discipleship in attractive ways to our congregation so that instead of resisting. I called it "The Dot". the better.

it appeared to be just another small group program but a more careful look showed something else entirely. Small groups work when they are relational environments where this intentional leadership and coaching can happen. people donʼt like others in their group and want to move or quit going all together.  Getting people to lead them or host them has always been hard. .   When I first saw relational discipleship in action.Shift #4 The Message Relational Discipleship.  The attractional model alone reduces potential players to spectators or fans coming out to watch the professionals play. watching him do it again and again. Since Iʼve always considered myself to be an evangelist.   An intentional leader is someone who has made it his business to reproduce disciples for Jesus. a relational environment. and a reproducible process. In fact.   Compare this to a coach interacting with a player in practice.What is it? Relational discipleship is not a small group program but it was hard for me to see that. its not a program at all. and adjusting and readjusting until the player is able to reproduce what the coach wants.  Churches committed to relational discipleship are full of potential intentional leaders both inside and outside the church who have never been coached to coach.. Parents know that larger class sizes at school are never preferable because individual attention is critical for teachers to know the progress of their students.. correcting him. small groups have always been more of a necessary chore than a great opportunity to me.  New people are not invited in and the group wonʼt establish new leaders and new groups.  Many successful groups might tend to want to be exclusive.  It was making disciples using a balance of three things: an intentional leader.   A relational environment is one that allows the kind of individual attention to take place so that meaningful one-on-one dialogue can happen between a group member and a coach.  It has always been difficult to get them going and even harder to keep them going.  He does this more by watching and listening than by teaching.  You are constantly required to police whatever book or study theyʼre going through.  Often.

 A typical comment might be made about the story of Jesus washing Judasʼ feet.  If they are. and getting a bead on the stage of his group member.  It divides spiritual maturity into 4 stages: 1) infant 2) child. The dialogue requires it to be relational.  His intention is figuring out where they are in order to move .   The process of relational discipleship was revolutionary to me.  There will be some in the “infant” stage that will be far more effective in later stages than many already there. reproducing what has been done in him and looking strategically at how to move individuals under his coaching forward.  That canʼt happen in a preaching environment.   His small group is a place where he puts what he is learning into the context of his ministry and his intentional leader is looking for ways to move him into a coaching role. Someone at the “infant” stage may or may not be a Christian. As the person explores the comment on a deeper and more personal level. and 4) parent.  The leader is being intentional.   Coaching happens by listening to the questions and comments in the group and then driving the question or comment deeper into the person who gives it. “We all need to figure out ways to wash the feet of others. listening.  Having some sort of metric to track spiritual growth has been elusive in the church. they are only attending as a spectator. the coach is watching.  Someone at the “child” stage is involved in a relational environment (small group) and is starting the process of being coached by that groupʼs intentional leader. how does that hit you in the context of your divorce?”  (Parent stage)  The answers the coach hears will let him know what stage his people are in.”  (Young adult stage)  Or he might say. Notice that the word “stage” is used and not “level”.  The reason is because people need to be valued no matter which stage they are in.A reproducible process means that what the intentional leader is doing is designed to be reproduced in the follower. “I would never wash that jerkʼs feet!” (Infant stage) He might answer. 3) young adult.  We tend to put lots of options in front of a congregation and hope they find something that fits them that they can grow in. “It is so awesome that Jesus washed his feet!”  (Child stage) He might say.   Someone at the “young adult” stage is putting what he is learning to work in ministry.   Someone at the “parent” stage has become the intentional leader. “George. The group member might say. It is a means of coaching that makes the process of discipleship measurable.

The problem was that while "The Dot" helped us to pinpoint where we were. and that is critical. It helped us to communicate what we were shooting for as we moved people forward after being attracted to our church.  Every church has a target. the intimacy level is rising and the coach is getting a great read of the phase of each group member. “When have you ever felt betrayed?  How did you respond to it?  How do feel about your response?” When one group member starts getting transparent.  The coach would drive the comment back into the group member with something like. . This is how "The Dot" works: Whether we mean to or we do it by accident.  Who gets the most money?  Look at the use of the building.  Now find an age range of about 5 years with 2 and 1/2 years on either side of the dot. That is the sweet spot. every church puts out a product that is more effective to at least some subset of people. It had already helped our people to be less change resistant and willing to try new things. as they have to go wherever their parents drive them. All of that strategy is great but how does a leader insert it into the DNA of an already living and growing church without killing it? Relational Discipleship as a Maturity Strategy We already had what I thought was a maturity strategy at The Crossing.  It may not be intentional.  Who gets the most space?  Look at the style of the building and itʼs furniture.   Look at the style of your music and worship.  That is your dot. you will know whom you are targeting.   Now look at who is sitting in the seats.  Who is attracted to it?  Look at the church budget. The exercise is important in an existing church because it gives a clear view where changes need to be targeted. it really didn't give us a specific process to use when it would be most effective.them forward. What is their average age?  When you put all that together. where communication will be most effective.  Is it antique?  Does it have colors popular in the 1970ʼs?  Your church will tell you whom you are targeting.   Before long. and whether or not the shifts will be accepted.  Donʼt figure in children under 13. as traditions tend to take on a life of their own but itʼs there just the same. I called it "The Dot". it gives the whole group freedom to open up.  Look back at the “infant” stage answer.

Focusing on the dot was the Crossing's first step in a winning strategy.  This is the place when our hearts are the most open. they are getting into the dot.. Our problem wasn't either establishing or widening our sweet spot. The Crossing's sweet spot has always been pretty wide. then our whole organization would need to be aligned to that from the top down. Look a little closer at the dynamic. It happens on both sides of the dot and the better we are at it. If we were going to understand our "win" was making disciples in relational environments.  You are getting the maximum impact for your work. weʼre the most teachable. there is a greater sense of unity that comes from alignment with the staff to meet the shared goals of growth in numbers and growth in maturity. everything is becoming more and more relevant. it was using it most effectively to make disciples.  Maturing Christians let personal wants take a back seat to whatever is most effective to get people through the sweet spot. The focus on discipleship does not take away from the attractional emphasis.view . values..  While weʼre there.   Further.  They donʼt leave because a new set of selfless priorities has replaced the set that attracted them. and a Christian world. the wider that sweet spot becomes. The missing piece was what we were going to do in that time of maximum effectiveness. prayer. and discipleship traits like worship. the reproducible process of discipleship transitions them from self-focused to others-focused. ministry.  As people approach the age range where the dot is.The Sweet Spot The sweet spot is that space of time where relational discipleship and attraction come together. and Bible study really revs up. especially since we have very little in the area of sacred cows or church traditions. The conversion to relational discipleship and the communication of that message was exactly the strategy we needed to communicate in that highly fertile space of time. growing. and training to make it stick. enhances it!  This focus closes the back door of the church and as people move through “The Dot”. It gives us more time to implement and reinforce discipleship through motivation.  Those 5 or so years are absolutely critical to discipleship. the church has to establish proper priorities.  The result is a healthy.  As things begin making more and more sense for the person. and unified body. deepening.

 Thatʼs a sobering thought but nonetheless very important to understand.  Weʼre making a difference thatʼs going to outlive us. youʼll continue to be effective with that age group of people.  It goes beyond what weʼre doing to answer the question of why. They get involved by committing to be part of the solution by discovering their shape in ministry and putting it into practice.  If the church can apply pressure to the higher side of the dot by focusing the target downward. in 25 years it will only be relevant to the people in the cemetery.  Our goal is to stop the dot from moving at all or to reverse it.  Now weʼre not looking at a church an inch deep and a mile wide.  In the dot.  Itʼs a critical time because before long. time wonʼt slow down but the dot will. weʼre moving out of it. people learn how important people without an intimate.  We incorporate our gifts into the rest of the body as we join together to reach into the lives of those hearts coming into full bloom. Unless you have figured out how to make the sun stand still. we have traded in our own needs for the “bigger yes” of seeing the effectiveness of the church and our own ministry on those coming up.  Itʼs mortal. time will continue to march on relentlessly.  If the church continues doing the same thing.   . If you want to do ministry the same way you have been.  They develop disciplines to value spiritual change in others more than personal comfort. Many churches wonder why they are getting older and smaller or why the struggle attracting younger people.  But what about people on the older side of the dot? Are they neglected? If the church has done its job.  How close are they to dying?  Letʼs say 80. we know better than to be self-centered.  We canʼt stop the march of time in our own the hearts of targeted people.  If your dot is 55.   The dot is bound to time as long as we continue to be most relevant to the same people. The only way to change this is to change the target.  The goal is that by the time the church is becoming less personally relevant to us.  Itʼs not about us anymore. personal relationship with Jesus really are to Him. the dot will move with it.  When we know “why” it gives substance to our purpose.   I canʼt overemphasize just how important it is to communicate this philosophy to the leaders and congregation. Relational discipleship can also help the church become immortal.  When we look hard at it.   This is the reason.  As time marches on.  That is a simple definition of Christian maturity. there really isnʼt a problem. it means that your church has 25 years to live.

How do we get the dot to stop moving?  You canʼt stop time…but you can stop the dot.  The way to do it is by focusing downward. spend more money and expend more energy in programming in that direction.  It means we have to embrace new forms of technology. Using the strategy of relational discipleship maximizes the churches effectiveness at the most critical time and redirects older. the church has set itself up for immortality.  If the dot isnʼt moving.   This forces the church to look at the changing culture and adapt to it.  There is no need to compromise doctrine or vision. more mature believers onto the field as players instead of sophisticated consumers. not the ones already there. hire younger staff members. new styles of music and worship. even though there are people in the church getting older.  Coupled with an outward focus. there is a steady stream of the 80% who are unchurched coming into a relationship with Christ being attracted by the relevance defined by the dot.  When outward and downward focuses are coupled together.  We must continually look to be the most relevant to the people who are approaching where your dot presently is. just the means and methods of how they are delivered.  It keeps you stretching downward to adjust to new ways to be relevant. the church isnʼt getting older. .

relational alignment. While the idea has captured the church at large in theory. filling their calendars with programs and processes all designed to bring people into a lasting relationship with God and each other without realizing that the staff and leadership are not in relationship let alone alignment. very few churches are effectively walking it out and the Crossing was no exception. and organizationally in order to be effective.. If the church.alignment. alignment was the next critical step in our disciple-shift. For relational discipleship to happen. or staff is going to come into alignment.. theologically. For those of you wondering. Our alignment process focused in these most critical areas.. philosophically. The reason I can see it is because it had to be pointed out to me. The response by the one being critiqued is only to repeat each observation back to the satisfaction of the one speaking . Tom Rainer and Eric Geiger opened the eyes of the church to something much more critical than a new buzzword. the practical reality and implementation of true alignment has remained elusive for many churches. leadership.Shift #5 Alignment In their book Simple Church. there has to be a context of alignment. it needs to begin with me (the senior pastor). starting with the leadership.. it's an exercise where everyone has permission to speak out two praiseworthy things about everyone at the table and one issue where work is needed. Alignment in our relationships (relational) I wonder how many churches are attempting to change the world for Christ. Concepts taught but not modeled are hypocritical and no one wants to follow a hypocrite. My experience in coming alongside church leaders has revealed a huge blind spot in many churches. The concept caught the attention of cutting edge churches and leaders sought to implement the strategy. I will never forget sitting around the table with my executive team organizing and leading a "two for one". one person at a time. Relational alignment with my key leaders was my first step. For the Crossing. Even though the books flew off the shelves. Leadership needed to be aligned relationally.

In that moment they become real and when they are repeated back accurately. The negatives stung but I could see the validity of the areas that needed work. it was my responsibility to lead by example. It's not easy. they were valid to them. Since I was the leader of this group of leaders. The experience was a little disturbing but highly enlightening as it exposed areas in my life and leadership that needed to be addressed as well as showing me where I was truly admired and respected. It's amazing what happens when thoughts or feelings are spoken into existence honestly and face to face. then repeated their hurt feelings back to them. If our mission is based on loving God and each other. it's something we have to fight for. I wrote the words down wanting to repeat them back accurately. In one meeting. The exercise should be done with a coach in the room to keep the exercise on track. I was amazed at what was shared with me and used what I had learned in the two for one to move the relationship forward. It was amazing how well they saw me. explaining. some big stuff was being thrown out that had really limited us as a group. there can be no real alignment. rationalizing. At first. much of it connected to me. Even though many of their presuppositions were wrong. excusing. My acceptance and appreciation of their words prompted a greater boldness in them to speak honestly and transparently. the other participants were cautious. Before long. . I listened in silence until they were through. I listened as a committed couple shared their hurt and pain. but through the process of alignment I learned that relationship is something we can't just expect. how can we expect to see it in our people if we are unwilling to do it ourselves. Many of the praises and concerns needed attention and it started to become apparent just how far out of alignment we were. wondering if I could even receive the criticism. People may have worked together for years but have conveniently avoided any real relationship and without relationship. feeling that they had been misunderstood. I thanked them for their honesty and then apologized for the pain.followed by a polite "thank -you". There is no defending. Both the one giving and receiving the two for one have to look directly at each other. I wonder how many leaders of churches would have the guts to do this exercise with their key players. or rescuing allowed. the one who shared the opinion has genuinely been heard. maybe for the first time.

We had clear expectations for potential leaders and encouragements for new believers . Relational alignment pays big dividends for a church leader. the congregation. Real love is communicated through ascribing value and that comes through hearing to the satisfaction of the people around us. the Crossing had a doctrinal statement. and an introductory 101 style of class. but it does mean that their viewpoint is valuable and it has legitimately been heard. a mission statement. and others fixated on growth or debt. Alignment in our understanding (theological) Like most churches.Speaking the issues into existence. some focused on missions. I had written or changed most of them myself. and then fighting for the relationship changed the entire dynamic. The leadership needed to be crystal clear on both. a list of core values. We had a membership and leadership and bylaws. kind of like our play book. There had been no serious discussion or collaboration in their creation so many were operating on a whole host of assumptions that created a lot of confusion. some who had experienced Spiritual gifts. being fully heard. there was a great deal of peace in it. and those who were checking us out. and there was little sense of what issues we would all die on the hill together for. It would have been hard to get the same answers out of any two of them. and in complete unity as we communicated with our teams. It was a great exercise and when we were through. It doesnʼt mean that they necessarily get their way. These were among many concerns that were pretty vague. What do I have to do to be a member? What do you believe about baptism? Is there a literal hell? What roles can women have in this church? Why are there so many different bibles? Are you Spirit filled? There were leaders who leaned reformed. There were also a host of issues that weren't considered doctrinal ( heaven or hell issues) but more unity statements. Those are statements that are clear expressions of how we choose to conduct ourselves as a church by our best understanding of scripture. Itʼs far easier for our players to be in alignment when they know their leader is hearing them. What we didn't have was theological and philosophical alignment.

Our statement came in two parts: The doctrinal statement and the unity statement. Our mission describes how we are to accomplish that. We stood together. personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We see no better was to love God or each other. Our next project was to clearly communicate or vision. Now we would all teach the same material and convey an aligned approach setting expectations for church members and leaders. It was designed to elevate the value of unity and liberty while clearly setting expectations on our approach to minimize misunderstanding. problems were all addressed and remedied before we faced the congregation.and members. We also tackled our process of developing leaders and elders. we want to make disciples who have an intimate. While this was very important to use for good congregational understanding. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. it was even more important for the leaders. to love God and each other with all we are and have. It then became clear that we needed to be in alignment across our campuses in communicating these statements to our congregations. . The place where we stood was solid and there was plenty room for everyone to stand together. This exercise strengthened the basis of our relationships. Our highest level leaders collaborated to make the document. Since the leaders collaborated on the statements. They were the scriptural truths that formed the foundation of our faith and were considered absolutely essential for our salvation and our fellowship. Each campus had their own 101 style of introductory class. Our unity statements were interpretations of scripture that were open for debate but reflected our viewpoints for the purpose of being undivided. Taken from Matthew 28:18-20. our mission. Our process is taken from Matthew 4:19. Creating clear boundaries helped to clarify if a player was getting out of bounds and threatening our unity. All of our key leaders agreed to these statements. The result of this theological alignment was focus and intentionality. It forced the tough questions of whether or not each player was willing to stand in alignment theologically. setting clear metrics for each role. the common ground that we stood on and represented to the world.” We seek to attract followers who can be changed by Christ in relational environments by intentional leaders who can then join Christʼs and our shared mission. and our process. Our vision was taken from Matthew 22:37-40. The doctrinal statement spoke our core beliefs.

we had grown as a primarily attractional church. Jesus used attraction through His teaching and His miracles to pull together huge crowds. We just started putting that into action using properly prepared relational leaders in those environments. we developed a new membership class to create a common understanding of our theology and unity. As I already shared. Before we understood the critical nature of relational discipleship. Out of that crowd. Philosophical alignment travels from the top down but eventually everyone needs to be on the same page. we had to become serious in the development of a pathway from fan to follower. It was out of those crowds that discipleship formed. Philosophical alignment removes so many potential pitfalls from misunderstanding. and challenging as many people as possible. We had already said that real change happens best in small groups. they would submit to the discipleship of these leaders and then become leaders themselves on mission for Christ fulfilling Jesusʼ Matthew 4:19 method. Philosophical alignment also creates a platform for setting and measuring expectations in our staff and other leaders. We used our worship services as primarily attraction events designed to introduce people to Jesus or to witness what Christ followers look like. uplifting. we recognized that our concentration on attraction wasnʼt wrong. We concentrated on breaking down barriers. we zeroed in on Matthew 4:19 for our approach. replacing them with a sure footing of common cause. We incorporated Jesus own method of leading learners in relatively small relational environments. They would concentrate on reproducing this process over and over. The same class was used to explain our approach to ministry and our expectations of both members and leaders.Alignment in our approach (philosophical) As I touched on briefly in the creation of our statements. As we pursued our desire to follow Jesus method of discipleship in relationship. We were very intentional about getting people through the front door and in the seats. it was just incomplete. Clear expectations have a huge impact on . As people were being changed by Christ. disarming. Like in Kyle Idlemanʼs book Not A Fan. we needed to call out for real Christ followers. This teaching became something we wanted everyone who called the Crossing home to go through.

The pastor may feel a growing resentment from a player only to find that the playerʼs expectation for relationship was much more involved. There are plenty of potential negatives that go along with this kind of growth. drifting will continue. Alignment in our structure (organizational) Our organizational alignment is very specific to our organization. With 7 campuses and literally hundreds of ministries. I understand that many of those reading this operate in a single location but the values expressed in our organization are a reflection of when we were a single location. That statement may mean two completely different things to the pastor and those he said it to. We however have always sought to be a flat organization. More attention might be paid to a particular bottom line rather than relationships and communication. These values have found their highest levels of effectiveness within the pursuit of relational discipleship. Resentment can form without clarity on expectations.intentionality.they can be completely unrealistic causing big problems in relationship without even being noticed. It should become clear to them in a relatively short amount of time whether or not their strategy is producing the win they are looking for and the leader is expecting. place a high value on leadership. Without a path to get there. and push vertical opportunity. Organizational structure could become . “Wins” however are not enough. Clear communication can make the strategy the problem and not necessarily the person. Players need to map out specific measurable ways that their “win” is achieved. Good strategies also create the wins that can be celebrated and used to encourage even higher expectations. Maybe the pastor feels that a monthly meeting is sufficient but the expectation of the player was twice a week. There is a tendency to become more corporate or departmentalized creating a colder. more detached staff and ministry. The leader is responsible to cast vision so that the player can articulate the “wins” in his ministry area. It may be that the senior pastor says he wants to be in relationship with his key team. Many key players are not succeeding because clear expectations havenʼt been set causing their ministry to drift. The Crossing has become a fairly complex organization.. Expectations are funny things. A good leader listens well to his players and then asks what the player means when they state expectations.. reflect core values.

That. While constant evaluation and change of organizational alignment is critical to the health and growth of the church. Every month. once again. sharing. Value #1 The organization stays flat. Flatter models spread out key relationships and give lots more people places to play.. and problem solve. Because of this nature of change. Everyone being heard and valued helps them in accepting and adjusting to necessary changes. There is a tendency to build structures vertically like skyscrapers rather than a flatter. it is also potentially frustrating to staff. Why? Even though the pentagon was damaged and lives were lost. we pull the entire staff together for worship. growth will stop. philosophical. organizational alignment needs lots of communication and re-communication. Apply that idea to the church. Each week I video chat with all the campus pastors doing the same thing. Another issue is that while theological. Relational discipleship flourishes in an environment of high communication and transparency. leaders.fuzzy with people answering to more than one supervisor or just choosing the one they want to listen to. and relational alignment should stay relatively static over time. the structure itself stood strong and was rebuilt. I’m writing this on September 12th and reflecting on the 9/11 attack. Structures constructed vertically might look imposing but in fact they are susceptible to higher risk. Our organizational structure reflects certain values that stay static even as the structure itself changes. more spread out model. This is one reason why The Crossing believes so strongly in multi-site. organizational alignment is something that is constantly changing. We all remember the visual image of the towers coming down in New York.lots of meetings! Each week. We know that another plane hit the pentagon but it doesn’t evoke the same image. Vertical organizations can fall if a key player fails but flatter organizations spread the weight out so that it is less vulnerable. cast vision. They actually reduce exposure to risk. . If it doesn’t change with growth. is a reflection of relational discipleship. encouragement. The Crossing has meetings. each campus pastor pulls everyone on his team in to share.. Organizations that get large can lose sight of the value of each player on the team. celebration. and players who feel like the goal posts keep moving. and a meal.

Getting a good understanding of this happens in the context of a strong relationship. We learned pretty early that the leadership of each campus-based ministry needed to flow through the campus pastor as opposed to a ministry leader. The top of our organization is called the executive team. or volunteers in a young or smaller church. Having both ministry leaders and campus pastors created a two boss scenario that wasn't sustainable.. I believe every church structure should reflect the image of Christ and His discipleship example. Value #3 Our structure reflects our core values. It is my first priority of relational discipleship as i seek to shape them into the vibrant leaders God intended for them to be. We value relationships so our structure is defined by it. Value #4 Structure is flat but potential is vertical. relational discipleship is how that investment is made. Campus pastors then become the linchpins of the organization. there has to be close proximity to a leader. In order to be a good follower. Each staff member reproduces it in their volunteers. At the Crossing. reproduce this relationship in their individual staffs. building relationship with their staffs doing ministry side by side. money. This is my favorite part of ministry. There . These leaders in turn. Our church structure then becomes an example for the expectations we set in the discipleship of every member.Value #2 The organization silo’s under campus pastors instead of ministries. Relational discipleship is best exampled in leadership so we spend a substantial amount of time. or ministry leaders in a single site church. and energy on it. In his book Good to Great.and the most fruitful evidenced in the multiplication of fruit. Multi-site ministry leaders operate primarily in a resourcing capacity and only function as leaders as they communicate through the campus pastor. Jim Collins writes about getting people in the right seat on the bus. A flat structure means that there is a place for every opinion to be voiced and valued. we have recognized the value of moving people from right seat to right seat. It is primarily comprised of our 7 campus pastors. Discipleship especially flows through staff hierarchy and trust is earned by example and learned visually.. Whether investing in campus pastors like I do.

exploring where talents and gifts connect with the church's needs. . The system lets people move fairly freely within the structure. Some of our best success stories have come from this vertical a sense of equality even in the midst of hierarchy. This vertical movement and the backfilling that comes after it is key to making our system work.

We teach practical skills to manage a variety of challenges that arise in relational environments. connecting the leaders with a mentor who is committed to having an intentional relationship with them is critical. The training covers how to prepare for a group. helping potential leaders to learn how . co-facilitator and an apprentice facilitator. We also do some vision casting about the importance of relational discipleship and the vision for what God wants to do through it. Also. This gives prospective leaders a much greater understanding of their role and a much higher sense of being equipped to lead. The key to the training is what happens after the training is completed. This process has to start with the training of leaders. The entire training is accomplished in a small group format. how to manage typical challenges in relationship like over-talking. The participants are encouraged to work and improve upon the various skills and concepts that were covered in their training. and keeping discussion moving and interesting. going through all the intentional things that were going on in the modeling of the small group and talking about the importance of each. The training uses small groups as a platform on which to build ideas and discussions. Once leaders have completed the training. but most of the concepts are applicable to any ministry context. We then debrief. crisis situation management. The training is designed to get leaders to think much more intentionally. We begin by simply building a model a small group using biblical story telling as a method. We limit the number of participants to around 10. We go over several basic ground rules setting expectations and begin to speak the environment into existence. it's time for them to put their skills to work.Shift # 6 Empowerment With the defining of the direction of discipleship and the alignment of the organization. it's time to actually do the work of making disciples in relational environments. Even this happens in the environment of relational discipleship as the small group leader is in relationship with a small groups pastor. Groups are typically led by a training team consisting of a lead facilitator. under-talking. The training is designed to equip leaders to make disciples in relational environments.

They learn how to share their personal testimony and how to navigate that relationship to and through conversion. Before long. and how to empower him to start a new group through branching. This all happens under the active authority of the leader being in relational discipleship himself. learning while leading. Small group leader training happens in a discipleship context and not only develops a disciple but creates a discipler. We teach listening skills and develop them in ways to look below the surface. Intentional leader development always includes how to open doors to relationship with people outside the church. It automatically creates a pipeline for future volunteer and paid staff leaders with the thorough vetting that comes through intentional relational discipleship. There are truly exponential opportunities in the reproduction of leadership through this model. We show them how to have an intentional relationship with a non-believer and how to handle the conversation when it shifts to God. promoting the biblical concept of those in the Body caring for one another. surrender. We teach how to rightly apply scripture into practical realities like sin. discovering motivations for issues and problems in their lives. These leaders learn how to chase the strays and how to restore them back into relationship. and accepting God's truth. designed to take people think through problems and issues. People have the opportunity to achieve their highest potential in bearing fruit for the Kingdom. to encourage. Where Are We Now? . and to celebrate wins. always with a leader to answer questions. Our leaders develop as shepherds who provide pastoral care for those they lead. The small group becomes its own engine for producing a reproducing disciples and leaders through apprenticeship and branching. caring for a small flock and raising up new leaders learning the same skills in an active environment. cast vision into him. These skills operating in real time begin to change both the intentional leader and the ones learning and following into real players in the Kingdom. regular church people are beginning to look a lot like shepherds. We train our disciplers on how to choose an apprentice.

To get serious about relational discipleship. hook up with Relational Discipleship Network. financial giving.I know that we are moving in the right direction and every day we are getting better at doing it! I can honestly say that relational discipleship does not hinder growth.. and enhances it! I can also say that it produces a pipeline of dedicated leaders. I'm sure that God is moving in many churches to discover the necessity of real relational discipleship. A church focused on attraction becomes shallow and irresponsible to new believers while failing to mature anyone beyond sophisticated consumers.. but I can say this for sure. numbers of branched groups.thecrossing.. The healthiest church focuses on both attraction and discipleship without neglecting either.. a network of churches helping each other to walk out intentional relational discipleship in their churches and the world.The first thing that needs to be clear is that we haven't figured all this out. check out www.. volunteerism. numbers of apprentices. To get a clearer picture of The Crossing. one person and one church at a Put them together and the church begins to look the way that Jesus intended it. A church focused exclusively on discipleship misses evangelism and stagnates in growth becoming inwardly focused and self serving. Now we can measure numbers of existing relational environments.attendance. and true worship from the heart are all aspects of Christian maturity and that maturity is grown in the greenhouse of discipleship. both volunteer and staff. that will take kingdom ground like never before! I can also say that creates a much healthier work and ministry environment! There was a time that the Crossing had basically 3 main measurements of perceived success. ratios to overall attendance. numbers of trained leaders. . decisions. and so forth. I believe that consistency of attendance.

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