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A friend of mine—a pastor—says, “God doesn’t move quickly, but He moves all of a sudden.”

Ryan Oddo

That statement describes the experience of our congregation. In the past 18 months, we negotiated the merger of two sizable churches, combining them into one; we sent out a youth pastor to take a senior pastorate at another Foursquare church; we sent out an associate pastor and more than 50 people to plant an independent work; and we are now launching our first extension campus.

We did not intend for this to happen as suddenly as it did, and we have navigated significant challenges along the way. Some have been financial, some personal and some structural. It hasn’t been an easy season, but God has been faithful to lead us, and we have moved forward with His grace and wisdom.

I knew our day to multiply would come, but the season never seemed right. I heard statistics indicating that churches that failed to multiply within three to five years would never multiply. I felt like I was confronting the weight of those concepts regularly as I continued to cultivate a healthy culture, manage growth and build relationship in our community. Suddenly, 10 years after we planted a church, the multiplication ball started rolling. A decade of cultivating and planting had prepared us for that moment.

You may relate to the internal pressure and desire to multiply, but find that you are plowing and planting a healthy culture, managing growth and building relationship with your community instead. Keep cultivating people who are willing to follow wherever God leads and sow seeds of kingdom priority. Keep cultivating people who are willing to fight for reconciliation and sow seeds of love and goodwill into your community.

Then, whenever God tells you that the time is right, people will be more concerned about obeying God’s voice than protecting their comfort. The church will be healthy enough to manage the relational tensions that accompany change. They will be courageous enough to move into uncharted waters.

We answered three questions with every challenge and decision we encountered:

  • Is this the Lord’s idea?
  • What benefits the kingdom most?
  • What is the healthiest way to lead people through this change?

As God prepares you to be sent out this year, ask the Lord for wisdom in what He wants to cultivate and plant in your church culture. Ask Him for an ever-increasing desire to multiply disciples, leaders and churches for the sake of kingdom impact. Discover how you can sow love and goodwill into your community.

I’m grateful to be a part of this family that is focused on the Great Commission! 

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is senior pastor of The Bridge (Rancho Santa Margarita South Foursquare Church) in Santa Margarita, Calif.

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