My story of change & why?


September 22, 2020

Change – over the last ten or so years I’ve changed. Which is good. None of us stay the same for long and we change in all sorts of ways.

Well I’m no exception, in fact, I think I would have brushed me off if I had talked about these things fifteen years ago. I realize I take a risk but here’s my story of huge change…

Someone wrote to me who has known me for decades and said after reading my last Blog Post, “It’s so interesting to see you write this … it’s certainly very different to the Ps Nick I remember when discussing attendance numbers and church stats for the year – “The graph must always go up!” I remember you saying this multiple times!” Another said, “My, how you have changed since the church growth days…”

The changes all began about 10 years ago. Karen and I moved to Amsterdam to ignite new networks of churches. I discovered there were thousands of towns and villages in the South of Holland, France, Spain, Belgium that had no community of faith active in it.

I began to realize that if we plant churches as we always have, we may be adding churches but we certainly wouldn’t be multiplying them. For example, finding a group of at least 20 people to begin the church (many towns didn’t have Christians in them) and a suitable building plus the finances needed, the nations in Europe would not be touched.

I pastored a large church and was always pushing for bigger numbers every year. That’s what I kept telling our church too. My heart was in the right place – it was about reaching people in the city who needed to know Jesus. But on reflection with a large church I found there was so much attention, time and resources that went into keeping things going - like attendance numbers, buildings, cash and programs. Lots of effort went into events. Which were great by the way. We had many small groups. Yet a huge amount of our energy and time went into the Sunday services.  

Now I wonder, what if the priority had been focusing on the small instead of the big? I wonder if we had kept on multiplying churches and not been so concerned with bigger and bigger numbers. I remember thinking the larger the church becomes, we can’t plant churches, for we need every person involved in ministry in this church. Whilst it was good, I don’t think it was great.

The Mindset Changes Summed up:

  • I began to see that we would not be able to multiply churches and that is what I felt my mandate was from God. I am absolutely more convinced than ever we need to plant churches that plant churches.
  • Making disciples was also sorely lacking. In fact, I used to say publically, “If you are leading or involved in a small group, attending a church meeting and serving in some capacity in church, that’s discipleship!” I realized, that’s not discipleship, that’s the result of discipleship! It’s not wrong, but it certainly is not discipleship. It was about ABCPP – Attendance numbers, Buildings, Cash and Programs and Performance.
  • The sending out component wasn’t strong. Jesus sent out the disciples and they changed their world. I’m ashamed to say I wanted to gather but not be so much involved in the sending out of people who could have multiplied networks of churches.
  • Small is the new big. Micro churches multiply faster and easier. The planting of churches and leading a church is less complicated, Also making disciples is less complicated and it’s easier to multiply.
  • Christianity and church seems to have got very complicated, especially in the West. It’s not easy but it’s not complicated as I was led to think. Summing up what is church has been an interesting exercise.

We live and learn.

And hopefully we are open enough to learn and big enough to change! I look back and I’m certainly not beating myself up as it was all part of the learning and change process. That, got me to where I am today.

More details of the above and the how to’s are It’s all in my latest book; “How to Multiply Churches”. Special price for September only!!

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