There's a board at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay that lists just some of the churches that have been planted out of that church. How do they do it?
Ralph Moore uses a baseball image to describe the difference between success and failure. Success requires:
1. A willingness to learn from mistakes. 2. Lots of chances to swing the bat.
MiniChurch gives future leaders a chance to swing the bat in a low risk environment.
The MiniChurch pastors training meetings provide both theological and practical training for current and future leadership. Some their current leaders have gone through more than 60 books while training with our pastoral staff. The cadre of MiniChurch pastors and their apprentices is the talent pool they search when hiring paid staff.
Ralph contends that of those who enter traditional theological training, only a small percentage make through graduation and survive more than two years of pastoral ministry.
He believes that theological education is best applied while a person is actively engaged in ministry. Education cannot create a leader. It can only augment and improve one. How do we know if someone is a leader? Watch and see if anyone is following them.
Unfortunately, theological education, in its current form creates barriers to entry into ministry. Hope Chapel combines learning ministry assignments and mentoring to grow hundreds of leaders of whom over 90% have remained in the ministry.
Mel Isara became a Christian through Ralph Moore. He became a MiniChurch pastor and began multiplying other groups. He caught the vision for church planting and planted his first church in 2001. Six months into the plant he stood up in front of the congregation and told them he was leaving in two years time and introduced the man he was training to be their pastor.
His second church plant was in a tough neighbourhood. The very first week Mel told the church he would be the laziest pastor they had ever met because he was going to equip them to do the ministry. He also announced he would be leaving in two and a half years and introduced Junior as their future pastor.
Junior was a former alcoholic and drug addict who Mel had been equipping for the last four years. Junior had already multiplied five MiniChurches and was ready to become a pastor.
In March 2005 Mel Isara fulfilled his promise to hand the church over to Junior and left to plant a third church in Pearl City, Hawaii.
Here's a Quicktime clip that tells the story of Mel and Junior.
Ralph Moore believes in â€œsimple churchâ€â€”it has to be simple and it has to reproduce.
At the heart of Hope Chapel's strategy of reproducing disciples, leaders and churches is the â€œMiniChurchâ€. Ralph intentionally name his small groups MiniChurches and their leaders â€œundershepherdsâ€. The MiniChurch is the primary place of pastoral care and disciple-making.
MiniChurches meet weekly to review the message from the weekend services. The format is simple and reproducible:
Headâ€”what did you learn?
Heartâ€”what did God say to you?
Handsâ€”what will you do?
MiniChurch is the building block for the local church and the farm system for future leaders.
2. Leadership farm
Faithful group members who are making a contribution to the lives of others are recruited as apprentice leaders and provided with training. Faithful apprentices become MiniChurch pastors.
MiniChurch pastors who are effective in multiplying groups and leaders are invited into the â€œPastor Factoryâ€. They meet weekly to read through books on leadership and theology. The learning environment is relational and simple.
The focus again is on Head (what did you learn from the reading?) Heart (how did God speak to you?) and Hands (what will you do?).
The Pastor Factory is the fishing pool for future pastoral staff at the mother church and future church planters to be sent out.
The learning continues once a leader has completed the Pastor factory. Hope Chapel leaders are all expected to be life long learners and trainers of others.
Resource: How to Start a MiniChurch
Actually, Terry doesn't do much at all- except spot, grow, develop and empower the leaders who are planting those churches - Chinese, Iranian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Malaysian, Spanish and Russian.
You can find out how he does it on the next1000 website.
Ralph Moore was 25 years old when he planted the first Hope Chapel in Manhattan Beach, California. It was 1972. He had no guaranteed income, a car with 154,000 miles on the clock, a wife and infant son. He had short hair and wore a three piece suit at a time where everyone else had long hair and ragged clothes.
The church began with just enough people to fill a Volkswagen Beettle. Soon after it has grown to twenty including several bikers, a marine corporal, a newborn baby and a topless dancer. By the time they had 125 people, this new church hds planted its first daughter church.
Since then Ralph has seen over 700 churches, small and large, started in North America, and the Asia-Pacific region including Australia.
In 1983 Ralph moved to Hawaii to plant a church. The new church began under a tree at a beach park. By 2000 Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay had grown to 1,600 people and planted 60 churches.
All we know how to do is make disciples but now we have 700 churches.
There is a scarcity of dynamic church planting movements in the Western world. That's why Ralph Moore and the Hope Chapel movement got my attention. Not only have they planted around 700 churches in since 1972, but many of those churches are now themselves parents, grandparents, great grandparents and even great great grandparents of new churches.
If Ralph Moore had planted a church in Hawaii that grew to 10,000 people he'd be world famous. Instead he planted a church that multiplies churches that together amount to 70,000 people.
Hope Chapel church planters are not seminary graduates but disciples, many of whom have come to faith through the movement and grown into leadership in the local church.
Last month I traveled to Hawaii for a six-day Church Multiplication Practicum with Ralph Moore and the Hope Chapel movement. That's me above second from the left with Ralph Moore on my right surrounded by some disreputable leaders from Australia and New Zealand.
Over the next few posts I'll be tell you what I learnt about church planting movements. . .