First of all, I should say the Exponential Conference was great. Loved it in 2010. 2011 was even better. The main sessions were very good. Francis Chan. The usual assortment of representatives from Australia and the UK (Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost, Mike Breen, etc.). Matt Chandler closing. Got to hear TWO Eric Bramlett introductions (this one of Matt Chandler…very funny). What’s not to like.
Great breakouts, too. Caught a really good one with Mike Breen and Alex Absalom (co-authors of Launching Missional Communities: A Fieldguide). Sat in a very good session with Will Mancini (the author of Church Unique and founder of Auxano). Always challenging to catch one from Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (the Tangible Kingdom and Tangible Kingdom Primer guys).
Had tons of really good hallway conversations. Seriously, I ran into many, many of the leading thought leaders. Wish you’d been along.
But…you know what my main takeaway was? Many of the key players think core-to-crowd will get the job done. Don’t get me wrong. I love ‘em. They’re some of my best friends in ministry and I really do love them. But they think you can start with the core and work outwards.
Guess what? I don’t believe for a minute that’s how it happens. Love the notion of a missional community. Convicted by the thought that 60% of adults are unreachable by the attractional model. Absolutely certain that the core-to crowd approach leaves untapped the massive potential at crowd’s edge.
On the last day I found myself talking with a senior pastor, the founding pastor of a church of about 1100. After he told me they were thinking they were closing in on the 15% tipping point mentioned by several speakers at Exponential as the stage where you were just about to get traction I said something like this:
What if you took into consideration that the 600 unconnected folks at crowd’s edge…who consider your church to be their church…would tell you that 8, 9, or even all 10 of their best friends, have never been to your church?
What if you could come up with a topic that they’d be open to inviting their friends over to talk about (i.e., relationships, purpose, parenting, marriage, hope, etc.)? And what if you could find a way to help 10% of the folks on the edges of your congregation actually invite their friends over to their house?
Here’s the kicker: What do you think is the easiest way to connect the largest number of unconnected folks from the 60% to a Christ-follower? Start heading down the missional community path? Or leverage the potential of crowd’s edge?
Full Disclosure? I’m a fan of both. I love the idea of a missional community. I’m trying to come up with a way that I can start a Sunday afternoon, hangout with a bunch of great friends and bring your friends…to Mark and Debbie’s. I absolutely LOVE the idea that Gabe Lyon’s presented in The Next Christians. That is totally me. But…I am resolute in my conviction that the easiest way to connect the largest number of people to an environment where they can experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ…is to leverage the power of crowd’s edge.
What do you think? Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.