Influence

 the shape of leadership

Developing a Vision for Multiplication

How Seed Network in Oklahoma is growing new churches

Influence Magazine on January 11, 2018

As lead pastor of City Church (Assemblies of God) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Matt Nelson has his sights set high. He’s cast a compelling vision for multiplication as his church enters its ninth year of existence. Coming from church planting roots himself, that vision is sensitive to the needs of church planters like Nelson.

INFLUENCE: Matt, where did this vision of your church becoming a pipeline for church planters come from?
MATT NELSON:
It started with our “One Fund” we launched in early 2017. We had a need for more space as we were outgrowing the current building we rent. But this wasn’t just a capital campaign to buy a building. We asked, “What’s the one amount we need to fund our entire vision?” That question had to start with, “What is our vision?”

We put a big emphasis on church planting. Our goal is to plant 40 churches in the next 10 years. In January, we launched the Seed Network, focusing on developing, training and resourcing church planters. You can learn more at our website: Seed.Network.

“I’ve always believed the greatest impact is through multiplication, not just addition.”        — Matt Nelson

What are some of the things that make the Seed Network so special?
It starts with an on-site, nine-month residency for select church planters. They come on board with us to see how we’ve done what we’ve done. They become part of our staff before moving on to start their own work.

The key to successful church planting, in my opinion, is to have a team that works well together and a network that resources and prepares you well. I’ve seen too many pastors try to do it on their own. I want them to know they’ve got a team on their side because it can be hard.

What made this the right time to launch the Seed Network?
In the past, we’ve offered financial help and resources to new church planters, and we’ve made our staff available to them for coaching and guidance. But as God increased our reach, we decided to make it intentional and systematic.

It’s so important to put your vision in front of your people as often as you can. We talk about what God is doing in other church plants all the time. As we shared this vision and passion with our people, we’ve been able to onboard non-givers, increase the generosity of our current givers, and fund our vision in whole.

Has training and resourcing church planters been on your heart for a long time?
I’ve always known that it was part of my calling to train and resource church planters, even when I was a church planter myself. I’ve always believed the greatest impact is through multiplication, not just addition. It produces an exponential impact.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 edition of Influence magazine.

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