Friday, June 11, 2010

‘Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement’ by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson – Book Review and Giveaway

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In my readings over the last several months, two of the most passionate Christ followers that I have encountered are Dave and Jon Ferguson. I thought their first book, ‘The Big Idea’ was terrific (you can read my review here). So when I knew they had a new book coming out, I wanted to be one of the first to read it; they made it happen!  That book is ‘Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement.’

Here are the biographies of the two authors of ‘Exponential’:

Dave Ferguson is a spiritual entrepreneur and the lead pastor of Community Christian Church, an innovative multisite missional church with eleven locations in Chicago. Dave is the movement leader for NewThing, an international network of reproducing churches. He is also the coauthor of The Big Idea. Check out the latest from Dave on his blog or follow his everyday adventures on Twitter.

Jon Ferguson is the cofounding pastor of Community Christian Church. He serves as teaching pastor and leads the team of executive staff champions for adults, student, children’s, and creative arts ministries across all CCC locations. Jon is the cofounder and movement architect of NewThing. He also serves on the boards of the Exponential Network and Stadia East. Jon previously coauthored The Big Idea with Dave Ferguson.

Here are the brothers talking about their new book:

The gentlemen summarize their aim in the Introduction:

If we want to solve Jesus’ mission problem of going to “Jerusalem…Judea… Samaria…to the ends of the earth,” we are going to have to find a new kind of math and a new way to count that results in rapid reproduction. That new math is exponential. The new way to count is by counting on you and your friends to start a missional church movement.
Let’s get movin’! (p. 14)

Dave and Jon break their book down into four parts:

1.   Movements Start with 1
2.   Reproducing Tribes of 10-100
3.   Reproducing Communities of 100-1,000
4.   Reproducing Movements of 10,000s

In Chapter 1, “You: The Beginning of a Movement,” Dave explains how a friend of his, Larry, gave 
him the encouragement he needed when they talked about Dave’s dream of starting churches all over the Chicagoland area – “You can do it” – and how that phrase applies to all of us:

I don’t know if anyone has ever had those words to you before. If not, let me be the first: “You can do it.” Yes, I’m talking to you. Yes, you – the one holding this book in your hands, the one reading the words on this page. I want you to hear this and believe that as sure as the day you were born, God has birthed within you a dream.
You may even have a hunch about that dream. Or maybe you are still searching and have yet to discover it. Perhaps, like me, you’ve tucked the dream away for the last several years and have not had the courage to say it out loud. You haven’t talked about it with anyone. It might even seem a little foolish to you. Regardless of where you are right now, I want you to hear these words again: “You can do it.” If it were possible for me to sit across the table from you right now and speak to you face-to-face, I would love for you to hear these words personally spoken over your life. (p. 20)

After this affirmation, Dave explains that they came up with a mission statement for their church:

It took us only an afternoon to figure out a three-phase vision that we are still trying to accomplish, but it took us more than a year to settle on a phrase that best expresses our mission. It was about eighteen months into the life of Community that Jon and I heard Lyman Coleman retell the story of the prodigal son. With great conviction, he reminded us that we are all prodigals and that there are many prodigals in our communities who have yet to find their way back to the Father. Listening to Lyman share his passion for prodigals made our hearts beat fast, and we were convinced that we had found our mission statement: “Helping people find their way back to God.” (p. 22)

The gentlemen came up with Five Reproducing Principles They’ve Learned (pp. 24-29):

1.   Reproducing requires everyone to have an apprentice.
2.   Reproducing is proactive, not reactive.
3.   Reproducing is not about size; it’s about leadership readiness.
4.   Reproducing isn’t about our kingdom; it’s about God’s Kingdom.
5.   Reproducing happens on the edge and at the center.

They reflect on where God has taken them and look to where He will be taking them in the future:

We are just starting to recognize where God has taken us and are starting to put each of these specific reproducing principles to work as we grow into a missional movement. Looking back, I’m amazed to see what God has done with a small group of friends from college who had a dream of helping people find their way back to him. And as I look ahead to the future, I see the outlines of a movement that has the unlimited potential of exponential reproduction. (p. 29)

Jesus gave them the model for leadership development which they employ:

Notice how Jesus began training his leaders by calling the twelve apostles: “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – and they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:13-15):

·         Apprentice selection: Jesus picked people “he wanted” (v. 13). Jesus’ selection for apprenticeship was a relational process; he selected people he wanted around him.
·         Apprentice expectation: Jesus “designat[ed] them apostles” (v. 14). Apostle means “sent one.” Jesus was clear from the beginning that his expectation of an apprentice was they would be sent out on mission.
·         Apprentice preparation: Jesus’ disciples were “with him” (v. 14). The primary means of training and developing these world changers was life-on-life relationships. Being with Jesus was their preparation.
·         Apprentice graduation: Jesus concluded their apprenticeship by “send[ing] them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (vv. 14-15). The apprenticeship concluded when they could do what Jesus did. (p. 33)

One of the most difficult aspects that a church leader contends with is having enough artists (I see it regularly, being on the Technical Arts team at my church). Dave and Jon came up with Five Factors for Reproducing Artists:

1.   Think 30 Percent: that’s the percentage of people in your church who could be engaged in the arts… The best estimate is that about 30 percent of your people have some background in the arts, and they have the potential to be engaged, using those gifts and skills in ministry.
2.   Say, “We Need Artists” – Keep in mind that while you want to have a high standard of excellence in the arts, artists need to be told that they are needed!
3.   Insist That Your Artists Recruit Other Artists – Our artists know that they are responsible to keep their ears open for potential artists at all times.
4.   Follow Up Fast – I encourage every person in the arts to follow up no later than the day after a new artist expresses interest.
5.   Let Pagans Play – Since we encourage people at all stages of spiritual growth to use their art for God, we have lots of artists who are recruited by other artists and begin doing their art at our church before they become Christ followers. We’re not only okay with that; we encourage it. (pp. 81-83)

Those are some great suggestions which, if implemented, should go a long way to fill those holes.
Small Groups are important in their church model. In the groups, the focus is to develop 3C Christ followers, as adapted from Acts 2:42-47):

1.   Celebrate (God-Us) – the group that formed the very first community of Christ followers was a celebrating community. Acts 2:46-47 (NLT) says, “They worshipped together…each day,” and then goes on to describe how they chose to worship and celebrate: “[They] shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God.”
2.   Connect (Church-Us) – the first church community was unequivocally and tightly connected to one another and to God. They were so connected that the Bible says they were together daily: “Every day they continued to meet together” (Acts 2:46).
3.   Contribute (World-Us) – Acts 2:44 says that the members of the first church community “shared everything they had” (NLT). Verse 45 says, “They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds” (NLT). (pp. 93-94)
The gentlemen also provide a great bit of detail on how to develop multisite churches and how to plant churches. Being that they have experience in both areas, they know whereof they speak!
At the end of the book, the gentlemen summarize:

Once again, let me tell you: you can do it. The missional movement that Jesus dreamed of was meant to be spread by you and your friends. It will mean some huge shifts in your life, your ministry, your time, your future. You will have to love going more than staying. You will need to have a bias for risk, living on the edge rather than staying in the safety of the center. You will soon develop a burden for the lost that you just don’t have for the found. If you are ready and willing to make these shifts, you are ready to start moving! (p. 206)

Again, I really learned a lot from the Ferguson brothers! I am so impressed with the fact that these gentlemen are guided by the Holy Spirit. So many ministries/churches seem to be man-made; this movement is led by the Spirit. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless the ministries that He has entrusted to them, and pray that this book will be impactful for many people!

You can order the book here.

This book is published by Zondervan and was generously provided to me by Zondervan and Dave and Jon Ferguson for review and giveaway purposes.

I have a copy of this book that I would love to send along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me what your thoughts are on this book and its message, and how you think you could personally use these ideas.  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Friday, June 25, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Saturday, June 26, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!


LaTawnia said...

Hi Andrea! What a wonderful review! I am most certainly interested in this book and the message it has. I know the Lord has given me the gifts of teaching and a shepherd's heart. When I read their mission statement it absolutely spoke to me. I would use this book to learn more about missional churches and what the Lord would have me to do.

I am following you everywhere!

Thank you.


Ann Lee Miller said...

My husband is a church planter, and one of my sons is in seminary preparing to church plant. I think they would love to read this book!

Ann Lee Miller

Wanda said...

Thanks for sharing this review Andrea. We definitely need more Spirit led movements in our churches so that we may fulfill the mission of Christ effectively. I believe this would be a great resource to the leadership team in my church.

lotus82 said...

I definately think that it would help me to be more proactive....not reactive.


lotus82 said...

I follow you on twitter.


lotus82 said...

I already follow you on GFC


lotus82 said...

I am also already friends with you on facebook (Stephanie Christmann)


heidi330 said...

I follow you on Twitter

heidi330 said...

I follow you on google


heidi330 said...

This sounds like a great book for my church to read also, I would like to read it to, we need to get our youth to help more and maybe this would help us with ways to get things started.
Thank you both for all the help this book can bring to so many groups and churches and just one person who reads this and follows.
Many Blessings,



heidi330 said...

I am facebook follower


heidi330 said...

follow the networked blog follower




Linda said...

WHERE do you find such great books!?! This sounds terrific.

Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow you on Twitter.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow you on FB.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow on GFC.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by! Linda, I have my ways! This is a really helpful book.

Andrew Rogers said...

Thanks for such a thorough review, Andrea! It's so helpful!

Andrea Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Schultz said...

Andrew -

You're welcome. Hope lots of people read this book which contains the vision given to the Ferguson brothers by the Holy Spirit!

Blessings -


Steve Capell said...

I agree with that 30% of our churches have art talent. The wife and I our both artist and we know many other friends that are artist. I really enjoyed your review.


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