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PODCAST 033: Rob Wegner & the Mission of Microchurch

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I (Jeff) believe this to be true: In the future, bigger churches will continue to get bigger; but smaller churches will continue to get smaller. And that may not be a bad thing.

The mega churches will find a way to succeed. Despite recent attendance trends, the church-growth formulas will continue to succeed. There are people who will continue to connect with these larger, physical expressions of church. To reach different people, however, maybe we should be thinking about a different model.

This is where Micro-church comes in. Micro is a discipleship-oriented movement where the church empowers people to be the shepherd, the campus pastor, to lead smaller movements of church. Rather than paying a pastor to be the spiritual overseer for hundreds or thousands of people, the Micro-movement empowers “normal people” to be the volunteer pastor over dozens of people. A model far easier to scale, and most would say the Micro model is closer to the Biblical account of what the church is.

There’s different flavors of the micro model. Through this podcast we talk with churches who are having success with the micro model. So how does Micro complete the ministry of Church Online? How is Micro an effective model for evangelism and discipleship? What are some steps you can take at your church to start a micro movement? Find out in this discussion with Rob Wegner & others here on The Church Digital Podcast.


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ON THE SHOW

Guest: Rob Wegner
KC Underground
Twitter
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Guest: Brian Phipps
Disciples Made
Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn

Guest: Tyler Sansom
First Capital Christian Church / Church Anywhere
Facebook

Guest: Jason Morris, Global Innovations Pastor
Westside Family Church
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // LinkedIn

Host: Jeff Reed
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
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SHOW NOTES

HELP ANOTHER CHURCH. LEAVE A REVIEW.

We know these conversations are out there are hard. Even the best of churches haven't figured out... If this podcast is helping you and your church work through what Church Online is, then help us impact other churches! Take a moment and leave us a brief review!
 
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Feedback on the podcast is vital as well. Leave comments on the podcast, or comment on this post! I'd love to know your thoughts and how we can serve your church better.
 
Love you all! Praying for your Churches and your Ministry Online.
 
Jeff Reed
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
 

TRANSCRIPT

Jeff Reed: 00:00:00 Well, I'll tell you what, hey, we're on Episode 33 of The Church Digital and we've got a special treat for you and I've not even said this publicly, I've never told this story before publicly. So listening audience, you are the first one to hear this. So I was at the Church IT Network conference a couple of weeks ago. I spoke at and helped them coordinate a lot of the breakout sessions and it was a lot of fun and really got to just love on and encourage a lot of the online ministers and online pastors that are out there at the churches doing things week in and week out. One of the sessions that I had, you know, scheduled myself to teach was this idea of merging church online and and micro locations. And if you listen to my podcast, you know that we talk about micro locations all the time, so have a talk, I've written blogs about it, I've written eBooks on it, like that's just, one of my sweet spots.

Jeff Reed: 00:00:46 Then I find out they were very excited to tell me that Rob Wagner was going to be one of the keynote speakers for the conference. Now if you don't know Rob, Rob is part of this underground movement of churches. There is KC Underground, which Rob has been very passionate about working with and helping this, not a service oriented but a discipleship oriented movement of church happening in the Kansas city area, which is actually spawn off other locations. I know Tampa underground is existing and is going very strong and there's even talks of starting to do something here in the Miami area. Oops, maybe I shouldn't have said that. But it's been really fun to see this idea of underground church, of a house church, of a micro location, of a family, getting passionate about reaching into their community on their own and empowering these people to do this, to do this level of discipleship.

Jeff Reed: 00:01:38 And so I was scheduled to talk about house church and micro location, but instead I'm like, I would rather listen to this guy Rob Wagner over here, talk about it. So I'm not going to do my talk because I just want to listen to him. The expert, the guy who's really doing this go into detail. And so it was a phenomenal panel. We had some others on there. Rob was very humble to jump in here and the others as well. But we painted a picture of what it means to move away from a service oriented discipleship structure and instead move towards a discipleship structure where we empower people, where we make disciples, where we empower others in, in sharing their faith and discipling them to a greater understanding of who God is and what God has for them. And I'll tell you at the end, I think the audience had a far greater understanding of how the micro locations worked and how just maybe just possibly the church of today can exist and help build these micro locations around through church online.

Jeff Reed: 00:02:40 So here's what we've got. We had a panel set up, of course, Rob Wagner from KC Underground, mentioned that earlier is there. We brought in Brian Phipps to the conversation. He is with an organization called Disciples Made. It's their discipleship pathway that really ties in with the KC Underground movement and just both of those guys are phenomenal. We brought in Tyler Samson from Church Anywhere, once again, no stranger to this podcast. It seems like every time we're talking micro locations in church online, I'm mentioning Tyler Sanson's name and then we brought in Jason Morris, who also is from the Kansas city area, who has a long history with doing micro locations, especially in context with his church, West Side family. Okay. So I wanna apologize here. The recording of this, the audio quality isn't the best, compared to what we normally have. The fidelity just is off. The main device we're using, long story short, didn't work and so we had to fall back on a backup which didn't have as as crisp recording the content. What we're discussing, the messaging here, honestly, is one of the better podcasts that we've created to date. And so, I present to you Rob Wagner, KC underground. Brian Phipps, Disciples Made. Tyler Sampson, Church Anywhere. Jason Morris, West Side Family and myself, Jeff from The Church Digital, having a conversation, micro locations in church online. Hey everybody. Here you go.

Tyler Samson: 00:03:58 Hi, my name is Tyler Sansom. I worked in a church in Corydon, Indiana called First Capitol Christian Church and we do a ministry called Church Anywhere. 12 seconds.

Jeff Reed: 00:04:04 That was awesome. Well done. Yes, sir.

Brian Phipps: 00:04:08 Brian Phipps have been in Kansas city for about 10 years. Pastor for about 25 years. The last 10 was in Westside family church where I was the Next Steps Pastor, disciple-making structures, developed some structures that got more results than we ever thought. Short version became a thing. Stepped up to do that about a year and a half ago. It's called Disciples Made and we deliver online technology and coaching to implement it well.

Rob Wegner: 00:04:33 I'm Rob Wagner. I was on staff at a church plant in Granger, Indiana, which is near South Bend. Was there for almost 25 years and then about five and half years ago moved here in Kansas city. I was also on staff at Westside Family church with these guys. The last year I've been a part of founding something called the Kansas City Underground, which is a network of missional leaders, disciple makers and micro churches in Kansas city, which we'll talk a little bit more about that later.

Jason Morris: 00:05:04 I'm Jason Morris, Global Innovation Pastor at Westside Family church, overseeing the digital expression of Westside to catalyze church planning movements globally around the world and micro-sites wherever they happen to be.

Jeff Reed: 00:05:20 Awesome. So a lot of what we're talking about, hopefully talking about is how this idea of a church online can connect with and start a micro location or a physical location around. And so there's a difference between a campus, a multisite campus, and then like a micro or a house church or a watch party in through churches around America, the ones that are doing it, like they use different terms of what those smaller locations are. I'd love to maybe just pick apart here a little bit, KC Underground, like what expression of church look like Church Anywhere? What does that micro expression of church, what does it tangibly look like?

Rob Wegner: 00:06:03 For us, when we talked about a micro church, our one sentence definition is it's a extended spiritual family. That's led by ordinary people. The goal is to live in everyday gospel community and they own the mission of Jesus in a particular network or neighborhood. So to break down a little bit for us, a micro church is a missionary endeavor. So we're not like organizing people that already go to churches into groups as like an assimilation stare at a G. usually it's a couple or people partnering as what we call missional team that feel called to a certain context. So sometimes it's a neighborhood, sometimes it might be a people group, like, there's Algerian refugees that are in Olathe, which is about 25 minutes from here.

Rob Wegner: 00:06:46 Like one of our micro churches is among Algerian refugees. We have others that are embedded into the youth rodeo circuit of Kansas, for example, or a travel baseball league. One of them is even become a for profit business. And, so there's different contexts, but you've got, people making new disciples and as you multiply disciples, we believe that's when you have the church and the church at its most fundamental level is extended spiritual family and then the goal is not a meeting. So a lot of times house churches for example, it's people trying to take what is typically done in a weekend service inside of a big box somewhere and they just do it in somebody's living room. Now I'm all for that. But the goal for us is actually a community on mission, living into the Gospel as a community, not meeting weekly.

Rob Wegner: 00:07:37 Are there weekly meetings? Absolutely, but there's so many different touches between the meetings and then they're owning the mission of Jesus in a particular neighborhood or network. So there's a very like fiercely local focus on owning the mission of Jesus. We're in a subdivision called City View Farms. And so our micro church is owning the mission of Jesus in about a two to three block radius of that neighborhood. And our micro churches have that kind of mission specificity because if you're going to actually live like a great missionary, you can't do that very well in multiple contexts. Like you have to kind of pick a primary where you dropped down deep and really live up to missionary rhythms. So that's what our micro churches for us and then we have different rhythms. We have what we call, 2 Out 2 Up 2 In. So 2 Out is about once a month you're getting, one of your outs is going to be some kind of socially inclusive party.

Rob Wegner: 00:08:27 Another one's going to be service oriented. The two up is within your extended spiritual family. You have like an immediate spiritual family that's your missional team that's owning the mission with you. You want to be meeting with them at least twice a month and that's orbiting around a meal, a discovery, Bible study, prayer planning permission. And then two in. And the two in is underneath all these micro churches. We have what we call a hub and the hub is the mission agency that trains the missionaries and the micro churches. So we have seven equipping teams in a hub and those provide all the services needed to launch and sustain and coach and multiply micro churches. So we're saying at least twice a month you want to be connecting with your hub so you're not sort of disconnected sort of cancer cell that's reproducing out there that you're under governance and you're being coached and supported.

Jeff Reed: 00:09:14 Oh yeah. I mean that was pretty rich. Right? That's everybody taking notes on that. But what's interesting, I don't want to like go down this rabbit trail but like there was a really thick strategy there in context of what perception on the outside might actually be. It's very organic. and so it's a really interesting tension of where you've got that hub, you've got, you know, all these infrastructures in this plan in place. There's the six, the ins and the outs and I'll have, I'm glad I got that recorded cause I didn't write into that down. But there is, there is intentionality behind a lot of that, which I would just from the outside man, I really appreciate that.

Rob Wegner: 00:09:50 We were radically committed to like grassroots and kind of organic growth. But like they, you have a garden and you have a tomato plant that's growing and you don't have some kind of structure to hold it up. It'll lay down on the ground and rot out and die. And that's what happens with a lot of organic church stuff. It's like first-generation and then it tends to rot. So we're trying to create a structure to support that organic growth, without controlling it or micromanaging it.

Tyler Samson: 00:10:15 Awesome. So Church Anywhere is an initiative based, micro-sites strategy that we have in our discipleship pathway. so when I say initiative based, we, our goal would be to take someone from an unbeliever all the way to conversion and then from conversion, help them find their purpose that will eventually help people find and follow Jesus. So their purpose could be for, I'll give you a real life example of purpose. One of our extra church anywhere leaders was, she was exposed to some orphans in our area and, fell in love with these orphans. So she felt like her purpose and passion was to go and help these orphans find and follow Jesus, so she has, created a church anywhere location at a local orphanage that has resulted this year in three of those kids finding homes. So they do, like a church service issues with them.

Tyler Samson: 00:11:11 That's the technology piece of it, but we always train our leaders to say that relationships, Trump technology every single time. The main goal is to go out and build relationships. And, at Spire conference, we, one of the keynote speakers mentioned us and we had never thought of us in this context but it makes total sense, he said we were like the dollar general in the churches because we're rural, we like, our main mission is to have people find their purpose and go out and serve underserved people. And so dollar general thrives and most people like Walmart and target because they're serving the underserved and so that's, that's kind of who we are. We want to empower our people to go out and be pastors to the underserved by utilizing technology as the tool to get in that door.

Jeff Reed: 00:11:57 That's awesome. The dollar general right. Jason, how does Westside treat micro?

Jason Morris: 00:12:13 We have two flavors of small, one is our church planting movement that we have internationally and those average 42, so that's relatively small, but we keep it small and reproducing on purpose and that's just full blown church planting movement that gets empowered through a lot of tools technologically that helped them get the job done. One of the coolest things, just so that, you know, just got back from India last week and was at the graduation at the Naglanda group that KC Underground supported in 18 months. Now we have 80 new churches. Wow. And go God. So anyway, it's just that a lot of what we do is partner with other churches too, to create those linkages to people on the ground that are actually getting the work done and to help them to just multiply Jesus everywhere.

Jason Morris: 00:13:17 That's one flavor of micro-site. Another flavor that's really probably more church planting and a house church scenario, but we do a lot of online tools to empower that. And that's primarily global, right? Yes, yes. Globally. One of the neat things is that some of our global partners are now using the same modeling tools that I've used with them to further their efforts. Like F for example, cause you guys know who he is yet was on a motorbike, going into three different countries all the time, rarely ever home. Today I've got video of, it's really cool. He's doing online church planting training with a Facebook group in his language in Thai, you know with the church planners that are in Laos, Myanmar all that kind of stuff. So that kind of stuff, killer, love that guy. So that's the flavor of micro-siting as a church plant movement.

Jason Morris: 00:14:09 The other flavor, which is a little bit in contrast to what you mentioned was taking the, what we do online and giving it freely available to anyone who wanted to use it as a watch party for either online or on site in their neighborhood, wherever they happen to be. We have a microsite in France, we've got one in San Antonio, we've got one in Mexico now. There's a lot of different places that they somehow are connected or associated with Westside that love it so much that they don't have something like that where they ended up moving to or something like that. And so we just tell them, well Hey, we can help you be Westside wherever you are. We call that Westside Anywhere. So we've even, you know, messed around with the idea of instead of calling it my site online, cause online really doesn't mean anything anymore because everybody's online. It meant something a year ago, 10 years ago when that was the differentiating factor. But today online, it doesn't really say much, but if you say Westside Anywhere, then that sparks a little bit of creativity in people to think, Oh, I could have West side in my home or my neighborhood, or what if I'm on the East side? You're always on the Westside of something. So anyway, those are the two flavors of micro-siting that we do.

Jeff Reed: 00:15:29 Awesome. Yeah, so let's hone in a little bit on this idea of, in the global, the micro, the church planning like that. That's awesome. But let's try to keep it in context domestic that may trickle over into international for this. So let's get practical gear, whether online or physical, like let's define what a micro location a microsite is. Who are they? What are they doing? Where are they gonna be? Where, what are some examples of micro locations that are around?

Tyler Samson: 00:15:57 Ours are because it's passion based because it's a, this initiative based, they're all over the spectrum with the possibilities of what it can be. So, for example, there's, there's a lady and her husband who are very, passionate about special needs adults. They realize that the people that are not getting the attention or the workers, so the people that are, are driving these special needs adults around, they're caring for them. And so, while the, especially the adults hang out in one room at their house on Sunday nights, they do church together in the living room with the workers. so that, that's like one example of that a micro location is. So that's empowering to people from our church that that said, our passion is this to become the pastors of house church. Another example of that though is I shared this yesterday with the coolest story ever.

Tyler Samson: 00:16:42 An inmate at one of our locations decided that, after he found Christ, his passion is now to, to reach out to other people that were in his similar situations. So not necessarily just an inmate, but he's a convicted murderer. So they serving 65 years and he's like, guys, I love what you're doing, but, you will never reach the hardcore people in this jail with like praise and worship music in a sermon. And so what he's decided to do with something that he's calling hardcore church and so we helped him learn how to edit videos. So he's creating his own videos. He's using former gang members, testimonies, that kind of thing. and he's recruited like cell leaders. So he's got his own team, working with the Chaplet of the jail and I went on Sunday to be there for him for that service on my way here. And they had like 307 inmates that were not the normal people we minister to in that jail and can't stress that enough. Like that's not not double dipping. There is 300 completely separate inmates. So for us, a micro allegation is empowering a normal person to lead a church. That could be 15 people, it could be 300 people.

Rob Wegner: 00:17:55 I would basically echo your answer for us, a micro church is again, it's a spiritual extended family. It's led by ordinary people. And we wouldn't call it like a microsite per se because again, we see a more as an extended spiritual family, but they would have locations that they're called to. Some examples that I've just mentioned a few minutes ago, one of them, Chad and Elsa Chambers they've embedded into the youth rodeo circuit. These are kids that are, you know, middle school, high school age and every weekend there's a different rodeo and there is about, you know, a couple hundred families that are making this circuit. So they started making disciples in that kind of traveling band of gypsies that follow the rodeo. And, like three weeks ago that two women get baptized, like they're leading people to Christ.

Rob Wegner: 00:18:43 Yeah, it is. It's amazing. And what happens is when they're at the rodeo now, they've had so many people come to faith and they actually have a public service and they'll have, more than a hundred people who show up for that gathered service. But then outside of the rodeo, we also do, we call it discovery Bible studies. So these are, it's a very simple discovery based of way of engaging the Bible. So they'll spin out discovery Bible studies in the hometowns of the people that are a part of this larger micro church as a way to multiply potential new micro churches and other family, the Barns. Their kids are in a travel baseball league and, and then their daughter is in a travel volleyball league that's become kind of the feeder system for their micro church, which is located in Piper, which is a rural community.

Rob Wegner: 00:19:32 And they've grown to where if they throw a party, they'll have a hundred people show up. But within that there's six or seven families that kind of make up the core of the family. For us, a micro church is gonna have, you're going to have the presence of worship, community and mission and you need to have, that, that balance of all three in our mind for it to actually be a church. Like, a guy who is passionate about the homeless, who's like feeding them. And then reading verses and then kind of goes home. That's fantastic. It's not a church though, right? Right. So when you have a community that's built around the person of Jesus, they're practicing community mission and worship. And for us, they also have to be willing to come under some kind of governance. Like for us, it's pretty simple. Jesus is the head of the church. Amen. But then there's also elders and deacons, you know, so when they're connected to the hub, they're connected to a network of micro churches where there is that kind of governance where they're going to experience the headship of Jesus through eldership and so forth.

Jeff Reed: 00:20:41 A lot of what we're talking about that they're very, so positive. You've got six or seven families doing a thing. I'm connected to this sporting. I honestly, I'd never thought of that gathering a hundred people together, but having a core family of six or seven that are controlled have their own, spiritual growth, spiritual development. A lot of times, when talking with, with churches, there is a, there's an underlying negativity, maybe a perception when it comes to a house church, somebody that's kind of controlling their own spirituality or you know, they're so disgruntled with the big C church or a local church expression and you're kind of doing something on their own. What's, what is that tension really like? Like how do you answer some of those concerns or what's your perception of reading of a situation about family who arguably another church would look at it like, well, they're isolating themselves from being part of a larger community instead of doing this together in their own neighborhood.

Rob Wegner: 00:21:37 Okay. For us, I think whenever there's any kind of movement, the first part of the movement is always reactionary. So like missional has been a movement in America for what, 15 years? So I do think, early on there were a lot of people that were angry, and not on justifiably, so. There's probably some legitimate reasons for their anger and a lot of like, spiritual abuse and corruption. And we all can name one leader after another who built their brand around their personality and then it collapsed. And a lot of people have been hurt by that and disillusioned by that. But when I see a lot more of happening right now is actually like mature expressions of missional, like what's happening with Church Anywhere, like the folks that are a part of the Kansas City Underground. many of them discovered this passion for mission in the context of the prevailing model.

Rob Wegner: 00:22:30 Like West side was a fertile environment where they were learning how to become a disciple maker. They were experiencing missionary formation. They were growing as leaders discovering their calling, leading this thing on mission. So when we launched that of Westside, it was actually a really positive experience in that a bunch of people who had been developed this way. Now we're launching out, a new expression of church that isn't just action against the old. It's more like an extension, that in order for it to reach its full potential and needed to break away from the prevailing model. so we, what we do to keep it being from being reactionary or getting toxic is like we have like an orthodoxy, kind of irreducible minimum that everybody agrees to, which is like the Apostle's creed, those on covenant. And then we have 18 values that are part of what it means to be the underground. The hub also provides like support and coaching and governance. We feel like, and I've been in the prevailing model and very successful churches for 25 years, like I feel like we have better eyes on and we're more informed about what's happening in our micro churches on a daily, weekly basis. Then most churches are about what's going on in their small groups. It's true.

Jason Morris: 00:23:46 And there's a, I can second that too. I'm part of Westside and my wife, she is a part of underground, right? Because we have this Westside is great. I often talk about it as it's a kingdom incubator. You know, it allows for expressions of kingdom work to go beyond the four walls of West, you know, disciples made with you. Great example, Underground is great example. The point I'm trying to make is that my wife has been poured into, she told me this, she's like, I feel like I've been poured into more in the past year or two than I have in my entire life before.

Brian Phipps: 00:24:21 That was the last piece I was going to say. He didn't say it this phrase, but what got, what gets elevated to this level and answers your question specifically is the level of soul care they provide to these folks because the folks that step out, if you step out angry, whether you step out angry to plant a church or you step out angry to start a micro church, if you start out angry, you're going to end up shriveled. The antidote to that is meaningful soul care under the governance support of the elders and deacons and you can't, you can't keep going in underground. You'll find your way out.

Rob Wegner: 00:24:55 Yeah. Every new micro church leader goes through a really immersive assessment. Yes. Where we're checking into like how are you with your most important relationships, which your spiritual, emotional health, how are you actually doing financially? And then we do a really deep assessment on their calling. Everything from the GPS assessment we developed to any Inneagram and StrengthFinders and DISC. Every single micro church leader gets like a personalized coaching plan. That's like probably a year's worth of spiritual direction and then we're meeting with them to kind of follow through on that. So all of that kind of stuff keeps it healthy, keeps it on mission and not reactive.

Jason Morris: 00:25:33 And then there's, there's, I think if you're hearing a lot of this, it's like, Whoa, that's a lot. And yes, that is true. And I also believe that because of the way that this is being approached, it is getting close to why you can take an ordinary person. Yeah. And release them into ministry is because of this backup stuff that you guys are doing. One of the prevailing statistics that gets talked about a lot is that the best way to get gospel saturation have more people get baptized. More people come to Jesus is to his new church plants. And I think that that's not necessarily causation, but a correlative stat because I personally believe that the reason why people get saved and people get baptized and more people get saved and baptized in a new church plant is because the church planter was the only one that got really discipled. So if we were to really disciple to this level, everybody, what would happen? That would change the statistic.

Jeff Reed: 00:26:33 Let me, let me interject one thing. Because we've used this word discipled, I don't know, a dozen times in the past 15 minutes. Disciple means a hundred things to 80 different people. So let's assign, let's actually define right now, discipleship means like our usage of using it. Gentlemen, what is exactly discipleship?

Brian Phipps: 00:26:55 Well, I mean I think one of the biggest issues is that disciple-making you're pointing at it lacks definition and it lacks a definition that includes a motivation for people to want to be a part of it. And I believe that Jesus offers the most extraordinary invitation that's filled with motivation to be a disciple of his. It's in John 10:10. It's like, let's leave the stuff that's broken that the thief killed, steal, killed, and destroyed. And let's walk into a fully alive life. Anybody at fully alive already. Anybody like to have a little bit more of that fully alive tomorrow. Yeah. And everybody in the world are saying the same thing. So if, if Jesus has that kind of invitation to be in his disciple, come live fully alive and leave the brokenness of the thief, then what does that look like? And the Holy spirit, I believe, is the source of transformation in our disciples lives. So we ought to ask the question, how does the spirit then practically change the life of a person into a more fully alive life? And to me, yeah, I'm with you. Totally with you. And so, I mean, you look at the scriptures and everything boils down to these two ideas. One is going to bear spiritual fruit in your life. If you're not more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient kind, you know, self-controlled, faithful, whatever the other one is. If you're not that and you can arse Romans, yes, you've missed the point. And we're not helping people cultivate that fruit. But a definition of a disciple is one who's becoming filled with the spirit, evidence of the spirit. And the other part of the Spirit's influence in our life is what the Bible calls spiritual gifts. You know, a lot of people would try to take disciple-making and boil it down. It's not what you're doing a two year becoming more. It's not just what you becoming, it's what you're doing and it's 100% both of those things. And if we really aim at disciple-making around those two things, we call them character for the spirit and then our personal calling, which is largely informed by the gifts of the spirit, but there's more to a personal calling. Well, we found an artist cycle making efforts is when we cultivated fruit and develop gifts that created an impact in the people and then through the people that made people predisposed to doing the kind of activity that these folks are talking about, it's almost like it created a space for a new creativity and new imagination about how they can be priests in their own pulpit.

Brian Phipps: 00:29:26 Whether that serving on the way they have or the Algerian folks or whatever. I mean, the spirit is infinitely creative and how he wants to get people. So definition, character times calling equals impact, motivation. Intrinsically there we were born to people who are in relationship with people. And by the way, we welcome through the spirit. Your relationships get our whole lot better. How many of you would have better relationships with your kids if you were more patient, self-control, kind, gentle about with your spouse. I don't have to go far. Yeah. You want those relationships and Jesus is saying the thief broke them and I've come to fix them. All right? And then he's, everybody's dying for the significance answer in their life. We talk about legacy, we talk about wanting to be, an intimate part of whatever is good in the world. And if you've been given spiritual gifts from having that, the father says, I'll use with my hour to go beyond what you can do on your own to make a difference. Then why not sign up? And by the way, those two deep seated passions of ours to become better people that have a loving relationships and to be people of significance and influence are wired into our it. To see, I tried that over discipleship guy. I tried to go into your world. Stumbled, let me pick myself back up here. Got hard coded into you at your creation. Those two desires. When he said, be fruitful and multiply. What does that take? And I'm gonna see how's it restored through the spirit. And he's also hardwired into the have dominion over my creation. It's right there in the creation mandate. We've fruitful and multiply and have dominion. That's right.

Jeff Reed: 00:31:18 So we're going to go ahead and call the ushers forward.

Tyler Samson: 00:31:23 Okay. I've been here with, please go back. I'm going to bounce off of what you just said to answer this question. So for, for most of you in this room, you're not in the context of something like the underground. So you have a governing body over top of you. Very similar to my situation. We are a church, not like a movement. And so it's significantly harder to talk to the leadership about the negative impacts of doing something like house church. Because if you say, Hey, let's have our people go be the church outside of the building, naturally the building's a lot more empty. And so, cause the church leadership across the country, it looks at that and says like, are you crazy? Like we're not gonna let people not come to the church. Just hit the tension point, right? You hit the tension point.

Tyler Samson: 00:32:00 But here's the shift though. Whenever you empower people to go be like Jesus, that's really attractive. And we've noticed, and it was a shock to us, but like when we got out of the mindset of everything's about us, I have this tattoo, this is not the kingdom of Tyler. It's this constant reminder like, Hey, it's not my kingdom. And so when we got out of the mindset of like, it's all about building this physical building of the people in this church. Our people became so attractive because they're living like Jesus on mission. And on purpose that our physical campus grew as well.

Brian Phipps: 00:32:35 So wait a minute, you're saying, I'm saying if people become more like open handed and generous that God will give more.

Tyler Samson: 00:32:43 Somebody probably taught that at some point. The byproducts we thought w with the negativity was actually a positive byproduct for us. So not only did these micro sites grow, but then our community of believers that were not in micro sites also began to grow because they see, they saw our church and going into the community, which is part of what we're called to do.

Rob Wegner: 00:33:07 Another tension point that's like the numbers on the weekend is awesome. Give to people that are concerned like okay, the giving is going to get just go to the wind. Like our experience in the underground, I have a very, very close friend. He's actually like my spiritual father who planted kind of a traditional model church at the same time as the underground. And if you would compare our giving like our internal giving through the micro churches towards the hub to sustain everything is actually outpacing the giving that's coming in in the weekend services in the traditional model. And he's at the 300 people a weekend. And so that's been an interesting sort of like experiment that we've been sort of running concurrently.

Tyler Samson: 00:33:47 The same logic applies whenever you're living on mission and on purpose. You're becoming a better disciple, which will lead to more generosity total. It all comes full circle there. But we've somehow for a long time like kind of just stopped the, the ball rolling and focused on butts in seats. That's true.

Jeff Reed: 00:34:05 So what are the tensions? Because we live in a world and I put a slide up, USA churches often driven by large buildings and butts in seats. I didn't know he was going to say that. Is there a place for micro sites? So the goal of the people in here is they are doing the large, we need to go from large to small. What tensions is an organization that's used to large going small, what tensions are they going to feel good?

Jason Morris: 00:34:42 Yeah. I can tell you about, okay. On a personal level, I can tell you about the tension in our family. You know, cause I'm a pastor of a large prevailing church with a, you know, an online campus of thousands of people. And my wife really felt like helping out the underground. And so there are two different, and don't get me wrong, underground isn't, I think has been launched from West side. We call it divide and partner. So the expression, in order for it to be what it needed to be at some point when the teenager gets old enough, they need to leave the house. Yeah. They're not, it's not best to keep them posted in the basement. You've got to launch out. And so that's what I feel like, you know, simple church and KC and all that stuff. When we even with disciples made at some point you got to launch it for it to be what God wants it to be because it's not our church, it's Jesus' church. So at the end of the day, the way that things happen is so radically different in the KC Underground context and everything that Maria was used to, it was major whiplash because she had to unlearn so many things in order to be able to even know how to function inside this environment that it took a while.

Rob Wegner: 00:36:03 She kept thinking that I was the lead pastor. We don't have any pastors like everybody who leads at a megachurch is a pastor, right? But we don't have pastors on staff. Right. But probably the first three or four months I had to correct her that I'm not only pastor.

Jason Morris: 00:36:20 That actually surfaces. One of the tensions is the confusion because we tried to have simple church and Casey on the ground coexist inside the big box environment and what we created with a lot of confusion for people because the discipleship pathways were so radically different from one expression to the other. People were just confused and they didn't know what to do and they would, it was, it wasn't working. It wasn't working well.

Brian Phipps: 00:36:49 I can share another tension point as well. When it comes to developing volunteers, you know, everybody has the scramble, even it folks has the scramble to have enough volunteers to carry out the work on a given weekend. Like I was in charge of all the systems for first impressions and small groups and everything else. So we had our own roll call every week and when we started developing our people, we realized that they were, their personal calling actually led them out of our department. You know, and I don't know about what you call it, but that's called customer acquisition. You paid a price to get those people in your department and now you're going to send them off to the worship team or got help with the it team or you know, whatever else.

Brian Phipps: 00:37:35 And I can remember that very first time, they don't, my very first group discipling this way where the guy, it was pretty evident, didn't really care as much about leading small groups as he cared about his microsite, which was a investing in folks that were on the autism scale and they help them find employment and to maintain employment and he's changing the industry and that whole thing now. And I remember that tension point of asking will I let them go into their personal calling out of my space, even if that makes me recruit more. And I answered that question quickly because God graciously gave me a conviction that it's about the people and not about me. Like I need that tattoo, but that wasn't the case all the way around. You know, when it came to opportunity for other folks in other departments to decide, will do I let these people go, then you've got that same tension point while I try to hold on to people or while I released them to this and that became attention. Wow.

Tyler Samson: 00:38:38 Yeah. The only answer I can give you to this, I don't know what else I can say beyond this, but we have brought more gay people into the kingdom and baptize more people at micro-sites this year than we have on site. So that's in my, in grand scale of things that completely destroys that argument in one of my mind. Yeah.

Rob Wegner: 00:39:01 Yeah. I think it's, if your goal is actually gospel saturation, which to me is like every man, woman, boy and girl, being able to see, hear and experience and respond to the gospel. Like the more, what are you calling micro churches or microsites or ministries or whatever ministry is, it's like we're, each time we're increasing the mission mosaic, right? They're like pieces of a mosaic. Yep. And so if we want to actually see the entire Metro Kansas city area, in our case it's like, well we think it's going to take 20,000 micro churches cause that would be about a 100 people for every micro church. And we think a healthy micro church and it's kind of what we call spheres of influence can touch and really be, a gospel presence for about a hundred people. You know what, you can't do that from one location, even if it's core, which is amazing and there's 19,000 people here, but it's still a drop in the bucket.

Rob Wegner: 00:39:58 Right? And if we keep doing and trying to scale out this very expensive model and we're requires buildings and lots of professional staff, it's like we're never going to scale out the gospel saturation. It's too expensive. There aren't enough high level leaders. You can manage the complexities of this thing. But when church is like 20 people in my neighborhood and planning permission is planning the next party and inviting three new neighbors, it's like, okay, millions of people can do that. And if discipleship like, when we create robust experiences, but they're simple for an ordinary person to lead and replicate. Like that's the game change and stuff.

Jeff Reed: 00:40:36 Wow. Yeah. Yep. That's powerful right there. Let me ask this question because when you mentioned the story or when, when Jason mentioned story of his wife and you said there's no lead pastor. I twitched a little bit. I confess. So let's unpack this and let's break it down at a biblical level, what is a challenge? Where does microsite struggle or does it not? Is there anything that a microsite cannot be that the Bible calls us to be?

Rob Wegner: 00:41:20 Here's what I think it, it can easily be less than like, there's okay if, if I had a whiteboard and draw this, like, okay, at this end of the, imagine a funnel, okay. At this end of the funnel, it's widest. I think 100% of God's people are called to be missionaries and disciple makers. That's your birthright as a child of God, then you the funnel gets a little smaller. Within that group there's a smaller number that are able to lead a team of people or a group of people. Are you with me? Yeah. Right. And then within that group of people that can lead a group or a team, there's a smaller number that can lead what I would call a church. And then there's different models of church. If you're leading a micro church, there's tons of people who can lead that. But now if you're going to get to like the prevailing traditional model, now suddenly your funnel is getting like very, very small.

Rob Wegner: 00:42:13 So what I'm saying is if my biblical ecclesiology, like I think the strongest case is the definition I've already given. Like, if you look at what the church was in the new Testament reality, like from the best historical data and also in terms of like just biblical studies, most of the churches and then you test on are probably 20 to 70 people that were an oikos network that was converted basically to a church. And they continued to meet like in their homes and they became like little networks of these home churches in a city. Now when the church could meet, bring everyone together, like they could in Jerusalem, they would, you know. And then Paul rented a hall and brought people together. So I'm all for the public gatherings and we actually have a space for public gatherings even in the underground where we bring micro churches together as kind of a congregation to meet together.

Rob Wegner: 00:43:07 but if you have to get down to like what is the essential ecclesiology? To me it's like, it's a spiritually the spiritual extended family that's led by, what the Bible calls the elders. And Paul didn't set up lead pastors. He set up teams of elders in cities, right? It was a plurality of leadership. And then there's the other layer of deacons that came in with the church of Jerusalem. Those are pretty much the only opposite. So for me, it's not a church. If there's no eldership like to me it's like you're, it's a great Christian group, but if you're not under any eldership somewhere than you've chosen not to really be under the full headship of Jesus. Cause like to me it's like you see elders and deacons. So for it to be a micro church, in my mind, you have to be practicing community, mission and worship.

Rob Wegner: 00:43:58 And we all kind of know the main passages for those great commandment, great commission. Right? But then you also have to have those, offices in place somewhere. Now that doesn't mean every micro church has to have its own circle of elders, right? But over this network of micro churches that are elders providing oversight.

Jeff Reed: 00:44:16 You just alluded to elders, deacons over a network. And I'm just curious, it's not even on my list of questions, but how, what does the network look like compared to like a one off, like what's the, the stability of something of a family doing it versus creating a theologically backed network of house churches that are running? Like, give me a, give me a pros and cons kind of both.

Rob Wegner: 00:44:39 Well, I just think if you're a one off, you're completely vulnerable. It's not going to be sustainable. it's unbiblical as you're not connected to any eldership. The Bible clearly teaches that. The way that we're doing it right now, this first year of the underground, again, we're still an infant. Okay. So, but we decided the first year we're just gonna do like one hub and we're going to support and create multiple networks of micro churches. So we have like one network that's forming in Shawnee and one that's up in Piper and Boehner. And then another one that's forming in Overland park in Olathe. Like we have these networks of micro churches that are forming. So we just started a task force that's gonna do elder training so that like probably in the middle of next year while the elders for each one these networks. And then we'll formalize that and we're going to call them collectives. Okay. So a collective is a network of at least four or five micro churches and they have eldership. They will have, ownership of kind of like sustaining themselves and replicating themselves, all the signs of maturity kind of thing They will choose to gather as much as they want. So the networks might say, we're, we want to meet with all the micro churches once a month. Others might say, you know what, we're going to meet every week and we'll leave that up to the elders in those regions.

Jeff Reed: 00:46:01 So you've been talking about this, you've got this leader, you've got this person in your funnel, you're driving them deeper in and you want them to be the pastor of your house church. You use the term campus pastor for your micro sites. Like, how do you prepare someone, how do you grow someone to the point where they're spiritually mature enough to shepherd, to lead to guy, house church of 30, 50, 100 people?

Tyler Samson: 00:46:28 So we do a a one on one teaching basis. So the first, the first couple that we launched our first two micro-sites with, I trained them for a while, about six months going over a lot of the stuff that we cover in our discipleship groups like routed, things like that spiritual rhythms, spiritual disciplines that they, they're going to need in order to pastor these people. and then from then on out they have served as pretty much the gold standard and the trainers. So whenever we launch a new one, we, we kind of send them to that micro site, to, to like shadow these people for awhile before we launch those out. But there's like, there's no like how many of you guys would the Christian college? Yeah. How many of you really were prepared to do ministry when you got to, you're like, you don't, you don't know how to do ministry until you do ministry. And so, we are comfortable with empowering people to use the gifts God's given them realizing there might be some failures, but the, the, the pros outweigh the cons in that every, every time for us.

Rob Wegner: 00:47:36 Oh, for us we've got like a suite of tools and training that go from informal to formal and our hub basically you've got that personal discovery calling team that helps you discover your calling. Do a kind of a deep dive on your own spiritual, emotional, relational health. You get spiritual direction that's provided. We have a startup coaching team that meets with new potential leaders to help them basically put together their business plan or their new kingdom initiative. We have an ongoing coaching team that helps to optimize the ongoing micro churches. and then, we also, I'll let you go ahead and talk about we have what we content funnel disciple-making environments, which is, is actually kind of an overall of the Tiki three years to go through this training. But like Tyler said, it's on the job training. It's not like you're doing this all beforehand and then when you're finished with this you'll go, it's like, no, you're doing this along the way, so why don't you talk about the ideas.

Brian Phipps: 00:48:32 Alrighty. basically I created a couple of things. Westside was really good at reaching the lost and equally good at losing the found, if that makes sense. We got that. We could get a lot of folks there, but we could help seekers become believers, but we weren't systematically helping believers become followers and followers become influencers. And so it created a couple of experiences to do that. I'll unpack those in just a minute, but at one point I was asked, you can't take the tools, Brian, that you've created into a third world environment where we're doing some of our global global work. So what are the irreducible minimums? And out of that is call them our language for intentional disciple-making environment. And it's really three phrases that summarize in all, well the first one is outcome focused or relentlessly focused on the outcomes and what are the outcomes if you recall, character and calming.

Brian Phipps: 00:49:22 So we're always revisiting how are we doing? Are you more loving and joyful, peaceful? How's the calling going? The development going, not just determining what your gifts are, but your area of passion is and serve in that area of passion with your gifts. So we're relentlessly focused on those two things. So it's outcome focused, it's habit fueled, habit fueled. It's not content fueled. Learning things doesn't make you different. It just helps you realize that gap between where you could be and where you are, which is a problem, right? I can't go to a CrossFit gym, open up their manual and read it and get more fit. But for whatever reason, we've allowed content to kind of remain King, inside the church thinking that if we deliver the information, the practical applications will be made and the outcomes will be accomplished. I think that that's not working.

Brian Phipps: 00:50:18 Okay. The point here here. So it's outcome focused and it's habit fueled. And what's important is to marry the habits to the, I'll, I don't want to go to a CrossFit gym as I can demonstrate without any further investigative research on that, right? But there have been seasons of my life where the, the outcome of a more fit body got me into the gym and will get me back cause it tastes good when you get going. So what if we did tie the spiritual habits to the spiritual outcomes that help you get there and everybody gets it. You know, the other way, if you want the reps, you want the abs, you've got to do the reps and it's the same thing with spiritual formation that suddenly somehow the enemy has tricked us into believing that the habits are about legalism. Like it couldn't be further from the truth.

Brian Phipps: 00:51:12 So outcome focused, habit fueled, and then content flavored. The content is adjusted based upon where they are in their spiritual formation. You don't teach systematic theology to folks that are searching for Jesus, but you don't teach Craig Groeshel's same six week thing for people that are wanting to really grow, if that makes sense. There's content that can serve folks in different areas of formation. So that's our IDE, that's our intentional disciple-making environment. And we have one that's six months long that basically reorients people around the missional rhythms of dependence upon the spirit to actually change in character and it's called Followers Made, folks that have done that and you have to be serving somewhere in Jesus' name. They actually get into these things and it's a high bar, you know, exclusive invitation, limited duration. What are some of the other dynamics that are unusual, about followers?

Rob Wegner: 00:52:10 Th length of it. Most people are shocked. You can get someone to do six months. Yeah. And then everyone in it, it's built on shared leadership. So not only are you learning to be a disciple by the end of it, you're ready to make disciples. And we average 30%, 30% reproduction rate, 30% of the people that go through ours may end up actually making your disciples. Wow. It's crazy.

Brian Phipps: 00:52:33 And another distinctive of it is we encourage groups of up to 12 because Jesus kind of modeled that. And then we break the group, we subdivided the groups into triads and it's all done. All of this same time and our technology that we delivered, we actually are a tech company that depends on tech. We deliver these experiences in a way where you're actually reading the scripture, like you version hit our app, you're actually journaling.

Brian Phipps: 00:52:59 And I will, I believe in an I will statement like, what did I learn and what am I gonna do about it within the app? And you have two other people in the group of 12 of up to 12 that are actually seeing your journals and holding you accountable to them. Wow. So it's not just the frequency of the journaling that you're required to keep up with. It's the actual actions that Jesus led you to in that app. So Followers Made, there's a 10 and a half month leaders made that Optima optimize spiritual influence and spiritual leadership, servant leadership. And then we have one called a missionaries made, which takes those folks that are already mature in Christ either after followers made or after leaders may typically not all the time. that helps people really deep dive into the blessed rhythms where they're fully engaged with their neighbors and, and God is creating spiritual activity in and through them in their area. And then micro church learning community is a 12 month process that helps you actually move from just having that spiritual activity into more organized and trained into the whole system that lends to a network of houses and notes.

Jeff Reed: 00:54:08 So you've got disciples may that's the six month, well that's the initial one, right?

Brian Phipps: 00:54:12 The Disciples made is the umbrella that all four.

Jeff Reed: 00:54:14 So followers made, the six months. Like what percentage of people that are involved in any given house church, micro location go through followers made?

Rob Wegner: 00:54:27 Well, again, we have this big bed to that suite of tools. We have informal tools, which are things like we have a set of like 11 different shapes or symbols that are each around a key area of life. And it's the kind of thing where you can share them in like two minutes with somebody or you can have a two hour conversation about it. Or we have Discovery Bible studies where you can spend six weeks on it. We train all of our micro church leaders and how to use all those tools because they typically end up starting by using these informal tools that we teach people about how to do Discovery Bible study, which is a very simple way of engaging the scripture as a community. That's it bakes in obedience. It bakes in reproduction. so we teach people how to do discovery Bible study, and then we have the Followers made, Leaders made. So we're, again, we're under a year old. We have just launched like one new followers made, one new leaders made, a new missionaries made and a new micro church learning community. So right now there's four of those operating but it's just the first round, like, all previously.

Jeff Reed: 00:55:51 So you've got tools that, you know, cold to hot you, maybe you've got some of the organic two minutes, two hours type of things to get someone who's maybe cold to Christ or cold to the idea and come warm them up into the process and eventually get them in a more rich pipeline of followers. May have been other stuff to roll. Yeah.

Rob Wegner: 00:56:10 Like we would tell people it's probably going to be at least 12 to 24 months before you actually see a really sustainable, extended spiritual family in your community. And that's at the point where you can looking and going, okay, maybe I'll start. Power's made perfect by microchurch. You know what I mean?

Jeff Reed: 00:56:28 And so it's interesting, you've got two different paradigms here and I don't want to tug on the thread too hard, but 12 to 24 months over here with, with followers may, I know Rooted it is probably 10 to 12 weeks and there's obviously strengths and weaknesses in both models and challenges to overcome. But what's interesting is both of them have a, a pathway to go through to create an addition, an intentional disciple model.

Jason Morris: 00:56:54 There is a common denominator with all go for us. It's not, it's their discipleship strategy is not one and done. It's coaching on top of just in time training a little bit.

Audience: 00:57:10 Tyler, did you guys use that to help build leaders up and to prepare them for that? Is that kind of part of that training? Like a two or three minutes?

Tyler Samson: 00:57:18 So initially, no because we, we started church anywhere before we started doing rooted in the church. so we're two and a half years in the church of the Americans. This point, we started rooted about a year and a half ago, so now that's the funnel. before it was like, like I said, the one on one teaching, the one-on-one had come along with me to a hospital call, that kind of deal. but now we have a much better like funnel when we started it. Like nobody else was doing that. So we had no idea what we were doing yesterday. So it was like the wild West where people were shooting whatever, just to see what happens. And that's kinda how we did it. That's how we, we knew we wanted to push our people to be the church. We just didn't have a great strategy to make those discipled leaders yet. and now we do. So we've been doing rooted now for about a year and a half or so.

Rob Wegner: 00:58:13 It's interesting. I just had a conversation with a church leader on unspoken, he's a new thing network leader out there and they use rooted too is the front end of their kind of deception pathway and they're about to adopt missionaries made is like the phase two part like a four months.

Tyler Samson: 00:58:27 As he was saying that, I was like man that can marry together so well. So we piloted the first online rooted group and through that they developed an app where everything was like right on their or you can have community within it. You can read the material, you can stay connected. That kind of deal cause. They'd be a lot of how we did it before was so scattered cause he would need like zoom, Marco polo and Facebook and all that stuff. But now it's all over the place. Yeah.

Brian Phipps: 00:59:03 One of the things that I hope you guys are noticing is that the conversation that we were having about church online five, 10 years ago was about the Sunday surveys, but a lot of the new tools that you're seeing and what people are putting their energy toward is the more important discipleship stuff and tech that we need to make the discipleship work.

Tyler Samson: 00:59:23 The online ministry that we do, the Sunday services, such a small portion of that. Right. That's when I come through this conference. I have to get my mind back around like, okay, we need to focus on the Sunday service. Cause that's been so much of my like week not focusing on the Sunday service and doing ministry in other ways.

Jeff Reed: 00:59:44 Yeah. I don't know. Anyway, that's aside. I don't know that I want to get lost on the Sunday service now. So somebody out there is thinking about doing this, like how do they get started? What do I need to do? They probably didn't have a conversation with leadership. How's that go? Like what next step for somebody out there who's interested in micro locations, what does that look like?

Rob Wegner: 01:00:02 If you're thinking about micro church, Brian Sanders is, he leads the underground network, which is a larger network. We're a part of. He just released a new book. It's called Micro Churches: A Smaller Way. I would read that book, as a leadership team because I think it's the best thing I've seen out there. And then more importantly, I would ask you to think about how you can be a better missionary where God has already sent you. So like when I'm talking about church leaders, I'll walk through the bus rhythms and say, really the best thing you could do is like spend six months actually really trying to live these rhythms deeply in one context and watch what Jesus does in your own life. You know, I would start there.

Tyler Samson: 01:00:43 Yeah. I can't stress enough how it's one thing to talk about doing this type of ministry. In theory. It's another thing to actually, even though I'm the like the facilitator of all of Church Anywhere within our context like it is, it has changed my life. But really we have a 17 year old daughter now because of Church Anywhere and so I can't stress enough that it's like yet you have to be a part of it. You have to allow God to take your colleague and do the same thing. And so start there. So even if you haven't had that conversation with leadership yet and you're still tossing this around, nothing is stopping you from going out and being a missionary in your neighborhood or in a local school system or wherever you're passionate about.

Brian Phipps: 01:01:26 For us, the quick answer does is, you know, we would actually, if you're interested in using disciples maze, more formal tools like we were talking about, we actually encourage you to start small. We don't want to go big. We encourage you to start with one pilot group and let those stories invite other people cause it is a different way that does create tensions over time. And I would invite you to do it more of small with leadership, but I can give you a little poker chip. We have, that's my business card and we've got videos on there that kind of unpack the IDE followers made leaders made that you can share with leadership. If nothing else, just to help turn the dial more in the direction that we've discussed today. Yes sir.

Audience: 01:02:08 My church that came from, and I tried to launch missional communities a couple years back and I've heard all four of you talk about these missional communities, these micro expressions as typically people are focusing a majority of their time and effort being a part of that community. So our, the members of these micro churches also members and largely committed to macro expressions of the church. Are they committing their time and their family specifically to these micro sites?

Tyler Samson: 01:02:36 So ours are our and our micro sites would consider themselves part of First Capitol Christian Church for example. And there's an inmate at Branchville Correctional Facility named Jerry who sends us a $10 check every single month. That gives, he believes he should be tithing to his church. and that's not an uncommon thing for us, so they, they feel part of our family. So it really is like an extension of what we do in the building with us just being the church outside of the building.

Rob Wegner: 01:03:08 Oh, in Kansas City Underground, most of the people on the micro church would see that as their primary church. some of them though are also connected to other congregations. So we have Mike, various partnerships in the city. Like there's a large church in our city called Heartland, probably church about 3000. And they have freed up a staff person to help develop micro church leaders in their congregation. So they see their, their congregation in their churches at the hub, you know, and they want to build out the equipping teams and they're a part of the underground. So right now we're providing all the services for their people while they raise up the first round of micro church leaders. And then over time can build their own equipping teams.

Tyler Samson: 01:03:48 It's a, it has to be a philosophy shift because we consider ourselves, we wouldn't say up, but our church vision has shifted to function in a way of we like our churches and so if, if the leadership can't make that shift, there's going to be some serious tension. and you're going to get into some problems of all these people who are leaving. They're not there, the actual church to do house.

Audience: 01:04:10 Do you feel like though the implementation of this philosophy can fail if you try and have two feet in, you know, both of these camps at the same time that we're going to be our leadership and our vision is going to be up about macro church.

Jeff Reed: 01:04:21 And the thing I love about, first capital in church anywhere is the vision is intimately tied to it. That's what I, yeah, and they are, and they are reaching people that are not coming to the building. And so I think if your audience overlaps, that's where you're going to have problems because your mic, it's the same thing with church online. We're church online is allegedly taking people out of the pews, finding another audience, find the strategy place where it makes sense and allow both to compliment and help each other instead of constantly fighting and conflicting and robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Tyler Samson: 01:04:54 Without that ministry philosophy shift there will be tension.

Jeff Reed: 01:04:57 And so that's, and I know some, I've had conversations with some of you guys who are really considering this. It's a leadership. It's a strategy decision. If you're just rolling dice and launching something without having that strategy buy-in, yeah, it's not gonna work. There's gonna be too much tension. There's gonna be too much. I'm taken away from this. I don't want to give it the attention. If there's some philosophical shifts for this to be done, well, that need to happen and that leadership has that strong volume.

Rob Wegner: 01:05:27 Yeah. I would, my experience having helped two churches transition and that like that I was personally, on the leadership team at, and then I've helped literally hundreds of other churches with this is if, if you're trying to make attractional and missional equal, you can't do it. Attractional, requires a certain strategy. Mission requires a certain strategy. Sometimes they are literally crossed and that's just the reality of it. So you have to decide which is going to be the major and I think you can decide you're the one, you can say we're going to be primarily attractional, but we're going to create some space over here for R and D to do some great missional things. Or you have to say, no, really we're attractional for missional. So now we're going to restructure so that this is the primary and the attractional supports are, which is what I think you guys.

Tyler Samson: 01:06:15 Well the byproduct of making additional is the attractional part of what we do is the, is our people not necessarily like what we put on stage.

Jason Morris: 01:06:25 So they've got still attraction [inaudible] in a way to serve on the weekends and children's ministry and then go launch these missions. There's not enough time, but you can leverage those volunteer positions as incubators for developing people's personal calling. Right. We actually created a measurable on our data sheet for the first impressions team. Like we have 230 volunteers or so at any given time. We add a line item in our measureables every year. How many people did we graduate out to a better step of personal calling like they will, they went from being just people that came to people that served. That's a smaller pool. If there's people that serve, how do we help develop them and influence in that area and disciple them and then disciple them out?

Tyler Samson: 01:07:08 So one of our microsites is in an elementary school and the lady started as, she's a teacher, but she started serving in our church, in the elementary department, like the kids department. But when we released people, two years ago to like go about and be empowered to be the church, like she, we've cultivated this passion within her for elementary kids for years. And so it was natural for her to step into the role of volunteer campus pastor for an elementary campus, about a hundred kids.

Rob Wegner: 01:07:37 I'm fortunate enough to have leadership. The concern is the general attenders and getting the rest of the congregation on board, did you guys have any pushback on that? If you did, how did you go on that?

Tyler Samson: 01:07:54 Yeah, we had some but we shifted, like I said, we shifted our entire vision of the entire church. So you're gonna you're obviously gonna have pushback with that. We knew we would take some lumps, but as people started to see results, and that as a part of the thing we do is we'll videotape baptisms like at the other side, when you start showing that stuff on the weekend, I'm like, Hey, this is so-and-so from two hours away. And these people we sent out to new pastors, just baptize them, check this out. Like people started the way they feel about things pretty quickly.

Brian Phipps: 01:08:30 There's a transition bell curve that saved my soul, Jesus. And then the transition, cause it helps you see, and this is a sociological proven thing that's in businesses. Anytime you bring change into an organization, you've got the innovators, you've got the early adopters, you've got the early majority of the late majority, and then the laggerts and there's percentages of people. And here's what I've learned. It's the stories of the innovators that attract the early adopters as the story of the early adopters that gained the trust of the early majority and so forth. And then the last 16%, the laggards, they never come.

Brian Phipps: 01:09:05 And so there will always be pushed back. There'll always be 16% pushback regardless. Yeah. For as long as you do it until they're gone. And if you disciple, right, you're well beyond that 16% disciple. Right? That's why we actually say start small and let the stories of the first group or two or three. Yeah, start the Lebanon in the flower. You know it just grows over time. So for us that 16% pushback became very quickly outweighed by the like 103% life change compared to in person. But you can Google that bell curve and see those stats and it's so helpful.

Jeff Reed: 01:09:40 We're going to break the podcast right there. Many of you guys are considering this shift to a micro location and having done them it is it a very exciting part of ministry in the the ability that we have to to impact to disciple, to help people grow deeper in their faith, even using online to create a virtual network of discipleship across the country and around the world. Man, it's just awesome. And I pray for churches today and I've been encouraged more and more as more and more churches are realizing that that church online needs to replicate itself in physical areas and are using this idea of the micro model really to kind of start to foster and grow these micro locations all around the country. And so it is happening, it is a model and we will see it continue to grow, in prayerfully succeed.

Jeff Reed: 01:10:29 But this idea of getting leadership onboard is so key. And I just wanted to reiterate here right now with y'all as you're developing these plans, a philosophical shift like a micro location is definitely something that your leadership that your senior pastor, that, that your elders, whatever your structure is that your church, they need to understand and catch the vision of. There are some things in church online where, you know, I've had pastors tell me in the past, I don't care what you're doing Jeff, just go out there and just make it happen. That's awesome. I trust you. And integratively the idea of a micro location is not something that you can just get a free pass on. but in finding that strategy where you can, can reach out and impact people through the micro location, that that isn't impacting your physical campus locations or fine tuning it in such a way that both can coexist.

Jeff Reed: 01:11:19 That's where you're gonna see the physical church is going to understand the most of what church online can give you a where you're not just impacting the, the local areas in your town, but you're expanding your churches reach far beyond the 1520 miles around your building to where God leads you and where the Holy spirit can direct you micro locations. She goes a step further. It takes the lid off of the church and all of a sudden you can see yourself spread in a, in a richer, deeper and further away. And we'd discussed it in many ways and in this podcast why micro locations can help the church. And, there's certainly more that we'll be talking about soon. Well, it's been a great podcast. We've loved being here with you guys. And we'll we look forward to seeing you again soon here at The Church Digital Podcast. Y'all have a good day.

 

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About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Church Online.

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