The Ralph Moore Podcast

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Want to make a difference in the world? Who doesn't?You can, and should make a difference but ministry can feel like trying to push water uphill.If you're reading this you've probably invested your life in making discipl... More
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Season 1, Ep. 50062

Your Church as a Launch Platform for Ministry

Season 1, Ep. 5004

Your Church as a Launch Platform

Platform vs Portal-------Two Operating Systems

·        Partition your “hard-drive”

·        Run two operating systems at once—one as “normal,” the other as an experiment

Graduating from Level 3 is more about evolution than revolution.

I want to introduce an operating system that we’ve used, successfully, in the United States. However, I learned it on a teaching trip to a developing nation.

Often, we discover that the world outside the United States is forced to act more like the first century church due to persecution and poverty. Their discoveries make good lessons. Look at this example of a multiplication movement instigated by a single church operating among a fairly hostile population.

So, here goes the story:

It was late. My ride to the airport hadn’t shown up… (you’ll need to listen to the podcast to hear the story.

Five Elements to this Operating System

Here are 5 takeways from this story. They constitute a new operating system that you could use while doing business as usual with the other 99 percent of congregation:

1. A megachurch operating as a launch platform for church multiplication.

2. A career-holding pastor who leads a church (actually two of them) as a freelance church planter.

3. Autonomous microchurches planted by “lay pastors.”

4. Church planters who remain in fellowship (and tithing to) their home church.

5. Penetration of corners of society that would otherwise not interact with the gospel.

These five elements, taken together, present you with a new tool for experimenting your way into becoming a church multiplier—at limited cost of money, manpower or momentum.

Success At Home and Abroad

26 YEARS LATER this strategy has multiplied more than 2,060 churches (with just under half meeting in homes). Starting with just 28 people the group has baptized more than 22,000 people since 1983. More than 18,000 people attend their churches. Persecution restricts the churches to evangelism through disciplemaking—they don’t rely on “altar calls” or an attractional model. This is a country where they systematically persecute Christ-followers.

By the way, the group has planted reproducing churches in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain, the Emirates, India and Bangladesh. I currently work with one of their pastors in the United Kingdom he re-ignited an aging movement of sixteen churches, taking them to 46 autonomous churches in just six years. He moved there as an IT professional and then planted a reproducing church. The keys to these stories are the twin concepts of microchurch and freelance pastors.

Career & Freelance Pastor… What’s impressed me the most about the guy in this story is that they view their careers as providers of financial capital which sponsor ministry away from the marketplace. This is important, for us, because most of what American churches do, off campus, is focused on the marketplace. These guys are taking new territory—we can learn from them.

Defining Microchurch

By now, you know that what I’m calling microchurch figures big in my ideas about the future. It is the backbone of the operating system I observed in Sri Lanka. I also believe that such a vehicle fits into the near future of a church multiplication movement in the United States.

A microchurch is different from a bible-study in five ways:

1. It is semi-autonomous from the platform church that gave it birth. While answering to an elder board in a sending church, microchurch elders are the “troops on the ground.” They make decisions necessary to expand the kingdom in their unique turf.

2. It responds to the “go” of the Great Commission rather than the “come” of Level 3 churches. Bible studies and marketplace missionaries both operate in close conjunction with a central church. “Come join us” is a subtle subtext to their message.

3. The idea is to take the gospel to people who would not fit easily into the sending church. Again, the motive is “go” rather than “come.” Missionaries who remain planted geographically.

It brings church into cultures where people are not likely to identify with the cultural majority. Cultural similarities are part of the glue binding any congregation. People worship and play with people much like themselves. Microchurches utilize “bridge people” who are comfortable in more than one culture to penetrate unreached people groups.

4. Its elders are endorsed by the sending church as pastors, rather than marketplace missionaries. This generates a huge motivational difference. When a group can self-identify as a church its leaders carry the weight of spiritual authority and the responsibilities attendant to it.

5. It is authorized to celebrate the sacraments and reproduce itself as its leaders see fit. More than any other distinguishing factor, handling of the sacraments denotes a spiritual reality not found in Bible studies or marketplace ministries. This may be the determining factor in turning out a movement of culture-penetrating microchurches.

Next Time: Five Direct Benefits of Making Disciples and Multiplying Churches


Three Reasons Why Your Church Can & Should Multiply Itself

Ep. 5003

THREE Reasons Why Your Church Can And Should Multiply Itself In At Least One New Congregation In The Next 3-5 Years

#1 CHURCH Multiplication is as Biblical as Church Growth

The primary explanation for why we should shift from forms and strategies which produce addition to those resulting in multiplication is that it is biblical.

Form follows function---Values beget vision

The great function of the church is the Great Commission: “… to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). You might summarize this as everyone on earth praying, “Thy will be done …”

Regardless of the forms we choose, we must be faithfully committed to, and be good stewards of, Jesus’ command to “go”, “make” and “teach” in the Great Commission. The bulls-eye of these action words is a surrender to the Lordship of Jesus that produces transformed lives.

The Great Commission provides me with a framework for understanding my own life: I’ve always assumed that making disciples and teaching them to obey includes a mandate to plant churches.

A church with “add and grow” mentality will have less impact on the world than a church possessing an “add and grow so we can multiply” mentality. 

Many churches seek to optimize the teaching dimension while falling short on the “go and make disciples” bit.

The Level 5 multiplying church must seek the holistic intersection of all 3 commands.

Back to the Great Commission

In the Greek, “go” communicates, “as you are going”—suggesting that being a follower of Jesus is something we do naturally, on a regular basis. While the fruit of our faithfulness to this command produces fruit geographically to the ends of earth, it’s not referring to a special “missionary mode” reserved for a few select saints. Instead, Jesus expressed this part of the Great Commission to define a way of life for His followers, a mindset to inform their understanding of what it means to be His disciples. Disciples are always in a state of readiness to engage in this mission.4

Jerusalem as a Level 3 Addition Model

In its early days in Jerusalem, the Church functioned at Level 3, locally. It became a megachurch in one day and remained that way until persecution forced change. It took on Level 4 reproduction attributes (adding preaching points) only after Saul’s persecution (Acts 8:1; 11:19- 20). From Antioch outwards, it looks like Level 5 multiplication.

Antioch as a Pointer toward Level 4 Reproduction

Intentional multiplication and commissioning

The Jerusalem church was a megachurch that almost accidentally planted churches due to persecution. The first church planters were those who ran away due to the threats of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 7:57-8:4). Philip got something going in Samaria and if it lasted, it became a church, though Acts mentions no Samaritan follow-through. Others spread the gospel in Cyprus, Cyrene and Antioch because of the same mistreatment. There seems to have been little motivation for intentional church planting in Jerusalem.

Antioch, however, sent missionaries who planted churches. Antioch was a substantial church that intentionally commissioned some of its best leaders to take the gospel to other locations. This single congregation generated the movement in the West that we enjoy today.

Real multiplication is found, not only in the wider travels of Barnabas and Saul, but specifically after Paul was stoned and left for dead in Derbe.

Derby and Asia Minor as Setups for Level 5 Multiplication

Paul and Barnabas snuck back into that city and went on preaching “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith…. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed” (Acts 14:21-23 ESV). When they appointed select disciples as elders they, themselves, became Level 5 church multipliers.

The choice is never to grow or to plant. It is always to do both. They should naturally happen together. The power is in the AND, not the tyranny of the OR.

Adding AND Multiplying

Addition and multiplication should walk hand-in-hand. All churches should attempt growth, and all should reproduce themselves toward new congregations. There is little merit in size for size sake. And there is nothing gained by keeping a church small. This is not an argument for small over large. In fact, using a multi/micro approach, a church of 30 can reproduce as easily as a church of 3,000 (and smaller might actually make it easier).

The bottom line: Let your church grow as big as it can, but whatever its size, seek to value multiplication as the intentional and natural outcome of healthy, Biblical disciple making. Do this Jesus’ way, as you seek to “make” and “teach” don’t leave out the “go.”

#2 It works Where it Works

The second reason why we should multiply our congregations is that we have lots of room to grow and evangelize our country.

By 200 A.D., the Church had grown from zero to about 1.8 million out of the earth’s population of 250 million people, or about 7/10ths of one percent of the world. That incredible growth came mostly through multiplication.

Eighteen centuries later, roughly 33 percent of the people in the world call themselves Christians. That’s good, but two-thirds of the people on earth remain estranged from Christ.

Christianity currently grows faster in Nepal than anywhere. Nigeria boasts the highest rate of Christ followers per capita. Asia, Africa and Latin America see serious church growth in the macro sense. Church multiplication is a primary cause for success in these nations.

#3 We’re a shrinking minority with a DEMAND NEED to multiply for SURVIVAL

Between 1990 and 2006 the number of people born in the United States equaled the size of the church in 1990. The downside to this is that the church was almost exactly the same size in 2006 as it was in 1990. Sixteen years and many more large churches brought no measurable growth to Christianity in America.

Evangelicals numbers are growing. But compared to the overall population, our share of the pie is now smaller. Between 2007 and 2014, the evangelical segment of the U.S. population fell by 0.9 percent.6

It is possible for your church to grow rapidly while falling behind the growth curve in your own community. More people attend U.S. churches than ever before but when measured against the larger population, but we’re still a shrinking minority. We need to stop measuring church growth and begin measuring cultural penetration.

Moreover, church attendance doesn’t always translate into cultural “lift.” We focus on evangelism while neglecting poverty, crime and oppression. To combat this, churches have coined terms like “missional church,” or “missional Christians.”

A. Every church should reflect Jesus’ calling, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD's favor has come” (Luke 4:18-19, NLT). Our mission expects true spiritual transformation of communities, not just individuals.

B. Every church & every Christ-Follower should reflect Jesus’ commandment—great commission.

C. Every disciplemaker should reflect Paul’s admonition in 2 Timothy 2:2

NEXT TIME: Your Church as a Launch Platform rather than a Content Portal

Remember to share this podcast if you find it meaningful—sharing is caring!


Maximizing Everything God Gave You

Ep. 5002


“He maximized all he had!”

 These are the words I want to see on my tombstone. Every one of us hopes that we will someday hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” For me, getting there means leveraging every one of my spiritual gifts, skills and resources for the Kingdom of God.

If you’re reading this, I bet you feel the same way.


I’m hoping to help you along your way. My purpose is to help you satisfy both the investments and callings that God put in you. I want you to die happy, knowing you did all you could with what you had.

What would it take for you to be part of God’s work in bringing a million people to faith in Jesus Christ?


                230,000 total estimated people in church while I never pastored more than 2,000 people.

               Direct Disciplemaking

               Church of less than 100 magnified by multiplication–teaching disciples to make disciples.


Let’s start with three assumptions that might help move us along a natural pathway from mega to multisite to multiplication. They show that repeating the forms of the recent past will only hinder the kind of multiplication enjoyed by the first century church. Understanding these assumptions will help us build new forms of ministry that better service the function of the Great Commission.

Assumption 1: Most megachurch pastors are apostolic (e.g. pioneering, entrepreneurial, activators, etc.), but not all apostolic pastors lead megachurches. You may be apostolic and lead a smaller (MORE NORMAL-SIZE) congregation.

Assumption 2: You don’t need to lead a large church to make a large impact.

               Barnabas/Antioch/Paul/John Mark

Assumption 3: Every church contains the DNA for a movement.

·        Churches around the world have morphed from single congregations into fast-growing movements. This is the history of Europe dating back to Barnabas, Paul and the folks in Antioch.

·        Most American denominations got their start in the same way. The Methodist movement traces its strength back to Francis Asbury.

Baptists became the largest segment of American Christianity by rapid church multiplication, spawned from local churches.

·        Calvary Chapel (Costa Mesa, California)

·        The Vineyard (Yorba Linda, California)

·        Hope Chapel (Hermosa Beach, California)

. Calvary, The Vineyard and Hope Chapel all morphed into movements (chronicled by University of Southern California professor Donald Miller in his book, Reinventing American Protestantism).

The key is leadership. If you’re dissatisfied with the status quo, you are a potential catalyzing movement maker. My goal is to get you there.

Assumption 4: EVERY church should multiply.

The rise of the American megachurch is both inspiring and disappointing.

The megachurch movement in the US is a recent phenomenon, dating back to the 1970s. The number of these churches has grown quickly, and they are effective in evangelism. Their rise is positive, but congregations exceeding 1,000 members still account for only about 10 percent of all evangelical churchgoers. We cannot expect them to shoulder the load of cultural change alone.

Megachurches grow faster than mid-size or smaller congregations but that does not make them better. In fact, smaller congregations are better at evangelism and disciplemaking. Their relative poverty and/or isolation forces them to be more relational.


Pulling together the above assumptions points to a singular problem: Our focus on building bigger, addition focused “come and see” churches, without a balanced “go and be” dimension, does inhibit most pastors from experiencing multiplication.

Our forms tend to restrict the methods Jesus gave to us for accomplishing the Great Commission. The Great Commission remains unfulfilled as potentially apostolic leaders focus on single congregations (large and small) instead of multiplying in other locations and few local churches reach the potential that lies dormant within them. We need new scorecards for success that will allow us to embrace new wineskins for action.

Multiplication then appears more complicated and inaccessible because our addition paradigms get in the way.

But what about you? If you enjoyed the podcast, please subscribe. You may also want to connect via and .To read more about the Hope Chapel churches, check