Home > Blog > Repositioning the Church

May 18, 2017

Repositioning the Church

By Daniel Im

Q&A Webinar with Mark DeYmaz

Our Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment designed for Plus Members to hear from leading experts in church planting, multisite, leadership, and multiplication. For this month’s segment, Ed and I talk with Mark DeYmaz, Pastor at Mosaic Church in Little Rock, AR, and author of several books including his latest, Disruption: Repurposing the Church to Redeem the Community.

Repositioning the Church

I remember when satellite dishes first came out. They weren’t the size of an oversized cooking bowl but the size that you see surrounding news and weather stations. They were ginormous and took up a large chunk of real estate—unlike the dishes today. And what was interesting about them is that they would move to pick up the station you had selected. In other words, if I was currently watching ESPN and clicked to watch a movie station, the satellite dish would rotate, repositioning itself to receive that station’s signal.

Recently, Ed and I chatted with Mark DeYmaz, Founding and Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church in Little Rock, AR, about how the 21st Century church can reposition herself on a more God-desired, gospel-centric station. But what would this look like?

During our time with Mark, he shared at least four principles that could, if implemented, aid the church in repositioning herself on a more God-desired, gospel-centric station.

1. Don’t exploit the homogeneous unit principle for expediency in speed and size.

Donald McGavran was a pioneer for the church growth movement who wrote about the homogeneous unit principle. According to Mark, what McGavran described as the homogenous unit principle has been distorted over the last couple of decades. In fact, after doing some research, Mark came across the following statement that McGavran penned in response to Martin Marty’s critique of the HU principle,

Do I beg of you, think of [the homogeneous unit principle] primarily as a missionary and an evangelistic principle. … There is danger, of course, that congregations (whether established according to the HU principle or not) become exclusive, arrogant, and racist. That danger must be resolutely combated.

It seems that pastors, leaders, planters, and practitioners have somewhat abused the HU principle by expediting the speed and size for which a church would grow through the targeting of a specific people within a diverse demographic. For instance, Bill Hybels understood how he and Willow Creek exploited the HU principle to target a certain subset demographic. According to J.D. Greear in his book, Gaining by Losing, Bill Hybels said, “If I could do it over again, I would pursue a racially diverse church even if it meant Willow Creek became only half the size it is today” (Gaining by Losing, Ch. 10). Thus, if the church is to reposition herself on a more God-desired, gospel-centric station, she will need to focus on whole communities and cities rather than specific target groups within.

2. The brightness of a church’s witness is contingent upon diverse people walking, working, and worshiping God together.

In the same environment where J.D. Greear heard Bill Hybels make the above statement, Hybels also went on to state, “The corporate witness of racially diverse churches in America would be more powerful, and result in greater total number of conversions, than a numbers surge in any one congregation.” In other words, what Hybels gets at is what Mark heralds: a church that embraces diversity—where people walk, work, and worship God together—illuminates the brightness of the gospel more so than those who have a more uniform presence.

If the church really wants to have a strong, powerful, and bright presence in a community or city, then they will need to live out the reality of John 17:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one … that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Thus, by being a living embodiment of John 17—unity in diversity—churches reposition themselves to a more God-desired, gospel-centric station.

To read the final two points, and to watch the full video, click here

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.

Tweetables:

  • Don’t exploit the homogeneous unit principle for expediency in speed and size.
  • “The church should focus on whole communities and cities rather than specific target groups within.” –@markdeymaz
  • If the church wants to have a strong, powerful, & bright presence in a community or city, they will need to live out John 17.
  • “When a church begins to reflect the diversity of its community, mission no longer becomes a program, it is who you are.” –@markdeymaz
  • A church that’s more homogeneous may find their people struggling to engage and evangelize those unlike them.
  • As churches reposition they’ll repurpose their efforts toward redeeming the cities and communities in which they reside.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Founder of NewChurches.com and the Director of Church Multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.

CATEGORIES