Book Review: “Spark: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication”

Exponential Director Todd Wilson has a passion for church planting and advancing God’s Kingdom. In “Spark: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication” he provides practical and inspirational insights to help shift the culture from addition to multiplication. Todd helps church leaders to better understand the tensions between their current culture and a desired reality of multiplication. Then we learn how to navigate those tensions to a desired destination.

Todd challenges us to discover what culture we are actually creating. Not the culture you want to develop but rather the real culture leaders create by the thinking, action, and models we pursue. Most new churches struggle to be viable and tend to create a culture that focuses on surviving and avoiding subtraction. The struggle to move from infancy to adolescence reinforces a culture that focuses on addition. The addition culture measures success by accumulating. The metrics include financial resources, attendance, facilities and the number of weekend services and scope of ministries offered. Todd presents a model to shift towards multiplication. We must develop a micro strategy that develops the local church (addition) and simultaneously a macro strategy for multiplying your impact beyond your local context.

The book documents the lack of present day churches focused on multiplication. Less than one half of one percent are actually engaged in multiplication Furthermore our church culture tends to celebrate the fastest growing and largest churches which simply reinforces the culture of addition rather than multiplication. Wilson cites the research of Warren Bird and Ed Stetzer in Viral Churches that there is presently no documented church planting movement that involves the rapid multiplication of churches rather than simple addition.

Wilson addresses eighteen [18] tensions that churches face to transition from addition to multiplication. It’s multiplication that carries the legacy of your church to future generations and beyond the accumulation you achieve in your micro strategy. Todd challenges us: “Bottom line is that we can’t establish a multiplication growth culture without bucking conventional thinking and making some radical decisions. How prepared are you? Are you willing to:

• Plant your first church before building or buying your first building;

• Send your first church planter before accumulating your first two to three staff members;

• Commit the first fruits of your financial resources, tithing 10 percent or more to church planting, even before paying other essentials like salaries;

• Plant your first church before starting your first multisite;

• Come alongside and coach other church planters in your area who can benefit from your encouragement and experience;

• Start or join a church planting network, locally or nationally, to collaborate with others, find accountability for multiplying and building a multiplication culture, and get involved in more than you otherwise could?”

I’d recommend this resource to all church leaders to help us transition from local to Kingdom leaders and ignite a culture of multiplication!

Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and the Church Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook.

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