Earlier this fall, all four churches of the ACTS Network came together for worship at Brazos Hall in downtown Austin. With united voice, they praised God for His plan and purpose, recognizing that both insiders and outsiders are “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
At this one-of-a-kind celebration, it was announced that ACTS Church Lakeway had made Outreach magazine’s list of the top 100 “Reproducing Churches in America.” ACTS had been recommended for this honor by the leaders of Exponential, a national church-planting organization (exponential.org). ACTS was being honored for their rapid reproduction of churches in the greater Austin area and its commitment to multiply kingdom impact.
For more than ten years, Outreach magazine has been publishing a list of the country’s fastest-growing and largest churches. This year, for the first time, Outreach is recognizing reproducing churches: “Congregations that have limited their growth at their home site because they are intentionally investing in new churches.” (See all three lists at outreach100.com)
It is sometimes assumed that a church has to get big before it begins reproducing. This hypothesis does not line up with the ACTS experience. ACTS Church Lakeway, for instance, records a worship attendance of about 150 per weekend. Yet the members of ACTS have given themselves away, again and again, believing that more people in more areas will be reached with the Gospel through intentional disciple-making and church planting.
We are grateful that, in partnership with the Exponential organization, Outreach is now challenging churches “to consider their legacy—not just building their local church, but expanding the kingdom in other parts of their city, their region, the world.” Congregations of all sizes can make the strategic commitment to reproduce and to multiply their impact!
How might you be a part of this movement? ACTS is only one among many congregations and networks that share the district-wide goal of seeing 100 new Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod churches planted in Texas over the next decade; and 50 new local evangelistic outreach ministries started.
Please feel free to contact me or any one of our Texas District mission and ministry facilitators to explore the power of multiplication through the Gospel.
By Rev. Pete Mueller
Mission Strategist, Area C