This book centers on the idea of how to start a missional church, which is being more of the norm for new churches. The first chapter talks about how the dream of a missional church starts with you. The Ferguson boys (I know it sounds like a Southern Gospel group or a Tag-Team from TNA) wrote about how they got the idea for their church. They did not share there story just to boast in what God has done in their church, but to share the leadership lessons they have learned as they started this church. The next two chapters deal with the path of leadership and getting apprentices (not the way Donald Trump does it) to follow the dream. The rest of the book deals with the idea of reproducing. Reproducing leaders, artists (I loved the chapter on artist because we need them and their gifts to promote the gospel), groups, missional teams, and sites (hint: Multi-site like Mars Hill Church and Lifechurch). Basically it was this whole idea of being a reproducing church.This book was good for church leaders to read but we should not think that everyone is called to start a church and/or a multi-campus church.
The brothers Ferguson have given the church a book with the singular aim of demonstrating as the sub-title states: How you and your friends can start a missional church movement.The book is divided into four parts as the authors broaden the intended sphere of influence as a movement grows according to Acts 1:8.Movements Start with 1 The authors claim a new paradigm is needed to reach the ends of the earth and requires a three-fold vision.The plan is to reproduce leaders and is based on Christ's calling and sending disciples in Mark 3:13-15.The authors move on to explain the necessity of apprentices with a big dream. Big dreams (like going to the ends of the earth with the gospel) are stimulating and contagious.Reproducing Tribes of 10-100 The focus of this section is reproducing small groups and implementing coaches to help the group leaders effectively lead. The biblical basis given is Acts 2:42-47.The authors are correct to point out the strengths of this group size. The 3 C's can be easily practiced and the body edified. For certain, new groups are somewhat stilted and not have the free flowing of spiritual gifts and expression. Connections are easy enough, but celebration and contribution need to be built up. As a group matures, these areas level out.I wondered why the authors bothered to continue writing about larger groups. Obviously, they had tapped into and described the most effective unit of measure for a local church.Also, it is apparent that the authors understand worship to be only singing led by a polished band singing pop-church material so the congregation can sing and raise their hands and not think about what the lyrics are.Reproducing communities of 100-1,000 This section is dedicated to setting up multi-site churches. And since multi-site is the current wave in evangelical circles, it must be worthwhile. Here the book fails miserably.
Ah, math days. You remember...add, subtract, multiply, divide, trig, calculus, geometry, and exponents? You don't remember exponents? Well, by one definition, they are 'shorthand for repeated multiplication of the same thing by itself.' They're used in economics, biology, physics and chemistry. And churches should strive for exponential growth as well. That's the premise of Dave and Jon Ferguson's book Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement.They share stories from their own experiences as church planters, injecting real-world experiences and examples, insights they have learned and applied through their church (Community Christian Church in the Chicago area) and network of church plants (New Thing), biblical principles, and humor to challenge us to think exponentially about growth, church plants and reproducing. The way they divide the book into sections that start small (Movements begin with 1) and grow progressively bigger and more visionary (all the way to Reproducing Movements of 10,000s) makes for an easy read whether already ingrained in church planting or merely curious.They begin with a challenge that it begins with you, the reader, and a vision from God. They progress through chapters on leadership and apprenticeship, into the remaining chapters having to do with reproducing in various ways (leaders, artists, groups, sites, churches, networks, movement, etc.). Along the way, they share their stories, and the principles they have learned and applied in their own setting and taught and trained others to use as well.The results speak for themselves...Community Christian Church and its network are models of reproduction and they live out the principles shared in these pages. They end challenging the reader, that wherever he or she is along the process, it's time to get moving and doing what God has called, and a reminder that it can be done, and you can be the one to see it happen, so get out there and do it.