Four Fields

How to find churches that are ready to multiply

Troy Cooper & Steve Addison

Troy Cooper & Steve Addison

Recently I spoke to Troy Cooper about how he finds churches that are ready to become mobilisation centres for multiplying disciples and churches.

Troy: We’re looking for three things:

  1. They are broken for lostness.
  2. Do they have any kind of God-sized vision that’s beyond themselves? At West Palm Beach it was 100 new churches. At Cedar Ridge Tulsa it was 1,000 new disciples.
  3. Humility—they are actually wanting to learn.

We’re not trying to sell what we’re doing or convince people you should be doing this. We’re looking for where God is working. When we find a pastor that’s broken for lostness, hungry to learn, then we can come in as catalysts, serve them like crazy through training and coaching, and praying for them like crazy.

We spend time making sure the leadership understands what our 30,000 foot view is. The lead pastor has to sign off on this. Or at least be aware of what’s going on and back it. We need to communicate to them what our strategy is—the Four Fields—so they can see where this is going. 

I’ve found that there’s usually three entry points in a church, where they’re itching for training:

  • One is disciple-making—they’re usually exploring different evangelism and discipleship tools that are totally unrelated to one another.
  • The second is church planting—hey we’re interested in planting churches—and they’ll typically outsource this to somebody.
  • The third one is missions mobilization; they’ve got a heart to mobilize people to the nations and they’re usually looking to outsource that too.

When I look at the Bible and see what happened in the book of Acts, if you start with disciple-making, it leads to church planting, which leads to missions mobilisation. That’s what I love about the Four Fields process: we equip people to make disciples, who gather to form healthy churches to mobilise disciple-making church planting missionaries. 

West Palm Beach wanted to plant 100 churches. So we went in to talk about church planting but we immediately went back to let’s talk about how to make disciples. Because how you make disciples impacts how you plant churches. They are making disciples and they starting new churches. Their vision is to start 16 churches from their existing churches. They’ve got third and fourth generation churches being started this year. A year and a half ago they didn’t have a missions department. Now they’ve got a full-time staff guy and a missions team and they’re pursuing unreached, unengaged people groups in Central and South America.

We had one church that said we want to mobilize missionaries to the nations. OK, so we’ll come in and talk to you about how to mobilize the right kind of missionary. So we go bring them back to disciple-making and church planting so we can send catalysts.

We figure out where they are and what their need is for training. We’ve learned to be patient with the process. Letting the lead pastor and elders see that we come to serve and that we’re willing to go at the pace of the Holy Spirit through their leadership.

Thanks to Janet for the transcript. There’s more to come…

Meanwhile visit Troy’s blog, he’s putting out some good stuff.

Nathan Shank talks us through the Four Fields [video]

 

Nathan Shank talks us through his Four Fields training. Nathan’s work, plus some Eckhard Schnabel, was the basis for my Movements Diamond in What Jesus Started backed up with a little Eckhardt Schnabel.

You can download the manual here.

Four Fields Troubleshooting: 4. Church Formation

Four Fields  church formation

We’re looking at how to troubleshoot each of the Four Fields of a church planting movement.

Field 4: Key Questions

  • Are the ordinances (Baptism and Lord’s Supper) in place in new churches?
  • Are local leaders stepping forward? Being empowered?

Reproducing Discipleship truths/Vision casting:

Church planting is the reset button in the Kingdom of God. When a church functions rightly, everything needed for accountability, resourcing, vision and encouragement for sending is built into each generation – Acts 2:38-47; 13:1-5.

In Field 1, start with the end in mind of church formation. Church is not the place you go, it is who we are. Help people understand “what is church?” Help people be church. Help people identify and covet together as church. Weekly, coach people through the nine elements of a healthy church.

Everyone has to be part of two churches for multiplication to occur.

Don’t allow outside teachers who are not familiar with multiplication principles and practices to lead the group; protect new believers from wolves.

Define leadership qualification with Scripture (1 Tim 3; Titus 1), don’t let our preferences define leaders.

Early on, you may need to share leadership/gifts among networks of small “acorn" churches until leadership is raised up in local churches (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Diagnostic Questions: 9 Key Elements of Healthy Church (Acts 2:38-47).

  • Are people sharing the Gospel?
  • Are others coming to faith?
  • Are people being baptized?
  • Are we meeting regularly?
  • Are we studying the Word of God?
  • Are we praying regularly?
  • Have we taken the Lord’s Supper together?
  • Are we worshiping together?
  • Are we giving sacrificially?
  • Has this group committed and coveted together to be a church?
  • Have we identified caring, committed leaders?

To find out more about the Four Fields download Nathan’s training material and listen in to my interviews with Nathan in South Asia and Jeff Sundell and Friends.

Next: Troubleshooting Reproducing Leadership

Four Fields Troubleshooting: 4. Church Formation

Four Fields  church formation

We’re looking at how to troubleshoot each of the Four Fields of a church planting movement.

Field 4: Key Questions

  • Are the ordinances (Baptism and Lord’s Supper) in place in new churches?
  • Are local leaders stepping forward? Being empowered?

Reproducing Discipleship truths/Vision casting:

Church planting is the reset button in the Kingdom of God. When a church functions rightly, everything needed for accountability, resourcing, vision and encouragement for sending is built into each generation – Acts 2:38-47; 13:1-5.

In Field 1, start with the end in mind of church formation. Church is not the place you go, it is who we are. Help people understand “what is church?” Help people be church. Help people identify and covet together as church. Weekly, coach people through the nine elements of a healthy church.

Everyone has to be part of two churches for multiplication to occur.

Don’t allow outside teachers who are not familiar with multiplication principles and practices to lead the group; protect new believers from wolves.

Define leadership qualification with Scripture (1 Tim 3; Titus 1), don’t let our preferences define leaders.

Early on, you may need to share leadership/gifts among networks of small “acorn" churches until leadership is raised up in local churches (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Diagnostic Questions: 9 Key Elements of Healthy Church (Acts 2:38-47).

  • Are people sharing the Gospel?
  • Are others coming to faith?
  • Are people being baptized?
  • Are we meeting regularly?
  • Are we studying the Word of God?
  • Are we praying regularly?
  • Have we taken the Lord’s Supper together?
  • Are we worshiping together?
  • Are we giving sacrificially?
  • Has this group committed and coveted together to be a church?
  • Have we identified caring, committed leaders?

To find out more about the Four Fields download Nathan’s training material and listen in to my interviews with Nathan in South Asia and Jeff Sundell and Friends.

Next: Troubleshooting Reproducing Leadership