You are probably familiar with a Level 1 church.  It is a church bent on survival.  In 1988 I began a long and arduous journey with Historic First Church in Phoenix, AZ.  The only way out of the dismal decline, from my perspective, was to plant a new and vibrant church with the intent of revitalizing the parent church.  To work within the denominational polity we were led to plant a church within a church – aka “venue”.  Some 25+ years later that new congregation has evolved into an urban, multi-ethnic community of faith call Urban Connect relocated in the revitalized warehouse district.  Lot’s to report from that experience but for now, this Level 1 church serves as a good example of a church that has taken the leap to become a Level 4 church – read more below.

Previously, I introduced the book “Becoming a Level FIVE Multiplying Church Field Guide” (by Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson with Alan Hirsch) and five levels of church multiplication as follows:

  1. The primary characterization of Level 1 churches are “subtraction, scarcity, and survival.”
  2. The primary characterization of Level 2 churches are “tension, scarcity, survival, and growth.”
  3. The primary characterization of Level 3 churches are “addition, growth and accumulation.”
  4. The primary characterization of Level 4 churches are “discontent, new scorecards and reproducing at all levels.”
  5. The primary characterization of Level 5 churches are “multiplying, releasing and sending.”

I found the book with the self-assessment helpful to determine where congregations are on the multiplication continuum. Read “Becoming a Level FIVE Multiplying Church Field Guide” and administer the self-assessment to determine where you are on the multiplication continuum.  Here are a few questions to help a Level 1 church reflect and move forward, based on a self-assessment the authors created:

  • Are we content being a Level 1 church?
  • What options do we have to grow and reproduce?
  • What level can we, by God’s grace, realistically become?
  • What steps can we take to get from here to there?
  • What steps will we take?

In the upcoming blogs I will take a closer look at the 5 Levels of Multiplication to illustrate the characteristics above with questions to coach your team to the next level.


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