By Doug Talley
One of my goals when I first came to Indiana Ministries as State Pastor was to accelerate the multiplication of churches by implementing the following shift: From Indiana Ministries planting churches while most congregations watched to congregations owning the responsibility for planting churches while Indiana Ministries provides support and resourcing.
Full disclosure: There have always been some congregations in Indiana that were involved in church planting/multiplication. But it was usually a one and done or a two-time adventure for the church. I knew that if the Church of God in Indiana was going to plant churches that multiplied disciples, then more churches would have to be repeatedly involved.
Tom Planck has said that Exponential is the most effective way to install a church planting/multiplication culture in a group of people. I agree. So I was really excited when Exponential began having regional gatherings in 2016. One of the venues was Chicagoland. Each year I’ve bought blocks of tickets for the annual Chicago regional and invited pastors to go with me at Indiana Ministries’ expense. As pastors got excited about church planting/multiplication, some began buying their own blocks of tickets and inviting their lay leaders and staff to attend with them. As a result, over the last five Regionals Indiana has had at least 175 pastors, church staffs, and lay leaders attend!
In November 2021 Indiana had 45 people attend Exponential Chicago! (We almost maxed out the banquet room at Giordano’s on the evening of the first day.) This included 12 lay leaders and staff from LaGrange First Church of God and 14 from County Line Church (Auburn). I asked each pastor to briefly share their experience.
“We were able to take 12 from LaGrange First Church. They were motivated to reproduce themselves exponentially. Everyone from our church went in with a partner representing a ministry within the church. We wanted to create a space where they can start a culture (not a program) of reproducing themselves.
Before going to the conference, everyone read Hero Maker and met to discuss the book’s concepts. Following the conference we will work through another book (Banding Together) with our ministry partners.” – Pastor Ben Stuckey
“Each time I attend Exponential Chicago, I’m always inspired and think of even more people I wish I would have brought along with me. This year County Line Church brought 14. Most were staff, but one was a key congregational member who is passionate about church multiplication.
What I like about Exponential is that, while there is an underlying emphasis on church multiplication, each session is applicable to everyday life and each person’s ministry. When I asked staff after the event if they wanted to attend next year, the response was unanimous to return. Rarely have we found a conference where everyone finds value. I would encourage every pastor to attend and take at least a few others in order to grow your team.” – Pastor Stu Kruse
Make plans now to attend Exponential Chicago 2022 on November 8-9. Click HERE for more information. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have or assist you with registration.