by Carter Moss
It’s not about me. You probably knew that already, but it’s one of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn in leading the Montgomery Campus plant at Community Christian Church. It’s not about me. Many of us grew up in a church where it actually was all about the lead pastor—everything ran through and from him. (Makes me wonder if that’s part of the reason why the average church size in America is still around 70 people—maybe because that’s the most amount of people one person can adequately care for?)
Fortunately this concept has been modeled well for me. It didn’t take me long to realize that our lead pastor (Dave Ferguson), who started this 12-campus multi-site church and has authored several books, would walk into my campus and encounter lots of people who had no idea who even was…. and he’s perfectly OK with that. He knows it’s not about him.
Now this is not some attempt at false-humility, nor am I trying to down-play the role of leaders—I am a huge believer in the value of leadership. It’s absolutely essential. However, I have learned that one of the most valuable things we can do as church planters and lead pastors is to reproduce ourselves, to empower others, and to give away leadership.
I’ve had the opportunity to reproduce myself three different times into apprentice campus pastors, as we’ve now reproduced five new campuses/churches out of our little 400-member campus. It’s definitely been the harder road. We’re constantly in “re-building mode,” as we send off musicians, leaders, and contributors (and friends!) and then need to recruit more…. bu it’s so worth it, and God re-builds us every time.
I like to remind our people that the result of us intentionally giving away leadership and reproducing ourselves is that we now are helping over 1200 people every single week find their way back to God through the locations we’ve helped launch over these last 7 years. (Then I ask them how long they think it would’ve taken to reach 1200 people in our small suburb, in our small building, with only my leadership.)
This is not just some new idea for church growth either–it’s been God’s plan all along. Jesus’ mission was always meant to be a reproducing one, focused on investing in others, as He calls us to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:18) and “…be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And Paul is a planter who understood this. I love how he casted vision to his apprentice Timothy for four generations of leadership reproduction: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Tim 2:2)
One of our most important tasks as leaders and planters is to constantly be looking for those “reliable people” whom we can apprentice, develop, and release into mission. Living this out will extend your legacy far beyond what you imagined, will make your role a lot more fun, and most importantly, will help further the Jesus Mission to the ends of the earth!