The Value Of Lowering Your Leadership Threshold

The following is an excerpt from a talk given at Exponential West in 2015 by Richie Shaw, Lead Coach at Real Life Spokane in Spokane, WA. Richie and his wife Katy, along with another family, planted the Spokane church on 10/10/10. RLM Spokane has now grown to a size of over 1000 members, and has baptized 650 people in the last 5 years.

I will be talking today about the need for a reproducible process when it comes to being a disciple making church.

Many people in America that are ‘churched’ or even ‘de-churched’,  have ideas and expectations about what church should look like. When we got ready to plant a church in Spokane Washington, we decided that we needed to start by learning how to be Jesus’ church before we even began to have church services. So we began with one home group. It grew, and soon became two home groups, then three, six, nine, twelve. Before we ever had our first church service we had over 150 people connected in home groups. Let me tell you that was an adventure!

We knew that we had to begin with something that could be

replicated before it would be multiplied.

We began with one men’s group, and our conversation every week for about 3 months was: “What does it mean to be Jesus’ Church?” We began to look at scripture to see God’s heart and try to understand what he desired for the church. How did Jesus set his church up? What did he want from it? What did he want us to be about? What did he want us to care about?

In that process, we started looking at Jesus’s disciples and the type of men that he used. We soon recognized that if we were going to make what we were doing reproducible, we were going to have to lower our leadership threshold. One of the things church leaders battle, is the fact that there is an expectation put on us to lead everything and do everything ourselves. Lowering our leadership threshold would help us include everyone in the process of becoming who God made them to be.

If you want to create a system that reproduces disciples, you have to think like Jesus thought. You have to look around and ask yourself, “Who are the men and women around me that I can include at the very ground level to help expand the kingdom?” One of my favorite verses in Acts 4:13 – where it says they saw the courage of Peter and John and were amazed that these were clearly unschooled, ordinary men who had spent time with Jesus.

We could be those people! We are ordinary people in Spokane – very middle American. The city is around half a million people – it is not extraordinary in the least. With that example from scripture in front of us, we began working to help our people believe that they could step out and be one of those guys – one of the disciples. We began to tell them that they could always disciple someone as far as they have come! You may only be taking a step or two, but you can take someone as far as you have come. This is so important, because if you are going to have a process or a system that reproduces beyond the lead pastor, the staff, or the key leadership, you need everyone to have ownership, and to believe they can be a part of things.

Because of this, average ordinary people in our city who have busted, broken lives – started to believe that Jesus could use them, and that they had the potential of God inside them. Because of this, they began to pursue their co-workers for Jesus. Began to get them connected into real authentic relationships in home groups. They began to lead others because they were empowered to be leaders. And disciples of Jesus began to multiply.

If you want to multiply disciple making in your church you have to get more people into the game. Culturally, you may have to lower the leadership threshold and start everything with the multiplication in mind. When you do that, you will start to empower people and help them experience who God has called them to be.

To view the full video of this talk, go to our Vimeo site at RDNVideo

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Richie Shaw is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Spokane in Spokane, Wa. Prior to moving his family to Spokane and planting RLM Spokane in 2010, Richie served as a Community Pastor at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, ID. He has a degree from Northwest University. Before planting RLM Spokane, Richie never thought he wanted to be a church planter; now there is nothing else he would rather be part of than planting churches to reach people for Jesus! His passion is to multiply disciples and churches in real relationship. Richie and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Faith and Ruby.