Doing Church as a Team

A radically simple model of discipleship for churches and small groups

Note: This article has been excerpted from the training tool called Building a Culture of Discipleship.

In 1994, Wayne Cordeiro founded New Hope Christian Fellowship on the un-extraordinary notion of people putting their natural gifts and passions to work for the kingdom of God. But the results have been extraordinary. Using the concept of "fractals," Cordeiro has devised a radical yet simple model of discipleship—he calls it "doing church as a team." Leadership Journal editors Marshall Shelley and Ed Gilbreath spoke to Cordeiro about his vision for building churches and disciples.

A core aspect of making disciples at New Hope is doing church as "fractal teams." Where did that come from?

I had been to many seminars on organizing church leadership, and much of it was borrowed from the marketplace, which generally implies you work with organizations until they run like a machine. The only problem, I found, is that machines don't grow; they operate. They require grease, but they don't mature. I wanted to have a church that I could grow with, that would grow beyond me, and that I did not have to worry about, because it would be in order.

The Lord uses the body as a metaphor for the church. And if he chose that as a metaphor, I think it behooves us to study that carefully. It's a brilliant metaphor. As I looked at human anatomy more closely, I noticed something: from brain cells down to your fingernails, the DNA structure is the same throughout your body. There are repeating patterns in certain cells that, if you look at them under a microscope, look like little triangular shapes or oblong rectangles that just continue to repeat again and again, up to infinity.

When I ...

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