JOSH HOWARD, Practices, Pitfalls and Principles for multiplying movements

Regular readers or anyone who’s been to LAUNCH in recent years (and why wouldn’t you?) will already be familiar with my friend Josh Howard, who’s work through NewThing and Central India Christian Mission has now becoming increasingly well known as he inspires and equips thousands of leaders to plant multiple thousands of churches.

I’m on sabbatical but heard he was in London with another friend, Steve Addison, so Emma and I went down there today to catch up and hang out. As always I benefitted from the wisdom of both -so here goes with blog one of two from my notes.

Josh entertains with his invisible balloon blowing making invisible animals..

Practices, Pitfalls and Principles for multiplication

When we try to shift from traditional models of ministry toward movement we find… it’s hard!

It’s not up and to the right like we want or hope it to be, it’s a J curve. There’s a downward movement first that’s tough, and to get through the dip you need others. 

Maybe that’s why Jesus sent them out in at least twos. 


Perhaps if it’s just me, but when I’m planning an outreach alone, when the day comes to actually do it I can find all kinds of reasons to put it off today! But if I’m with others, with those others in our corner, if they’re all waiting and prayed up we will at least turn up.

And also we find the gold is in one another from our shared experience. We will learn and share our: 

PRACTICES, PITFALLS and PRINCIPLES (that work anywhere – as his old Professor used to say;

“methods are many, principles few, methods change often, principles never do”

We then discussed and shared as a group on


You don’t have to be best practices. Just be okay with ‘good enough’ to do something. Then practice! Innovation means it doesn’t have to be perfect yet –

To reach out to a new people group

To share the gospel: 3 circles? 4 points? (the best gospel tool is the one you actually use!) 

To plant a church

To train up new leaders – ‘Don’t try to train everyone. Don’t give everyone a spanner if they don’t want to be a plumber. Create a training funnel. Coach those who are on the edge of their seat, the doers – who get it and want to grow.’

411 – WHY should I do this? 

           WHO should I talk to (oikos, list) 

           WHAT should I say (testimony, gospel share) 

           WHEN am I going to do this (set goals) 

PITFALLS – what slows or stops movements? 

Finding others who want to do it – the labourers are few!

Apathy toward lostness 

More concern about paying the bills of the church 

Broken people take a lot of time! 



Lack of confidence in the gospel. (We know the problem is not the seed!) 

Church leaders (Often new believers who connect with existing churches slow right down really quick). 


“The bad news is – every movement across the world is facing these barriers, but that’s also the good news! And there are people who have already got through over or around them.”



We have moved from a knowledge based to an obedience based form of following.

Delayed obedience is often disobedience. If I ask you to bring me a coffee and you walk in with it a week from now – not great! Do we obey the King on his terms or ours?

If he is King and Lord of our lives, his word is law to us. 

Don’t marry the methods. There are hundreds of ways to reach millions of people. 

You have to cast vision for this, tell the stories, celebrate the harvest, over and over until you’re nearly sick of it. Then they are just starting to get it.

Many people are late adopters who need local, contextualised social proof. (An inspiring story from refugees somewhere else in the world won’t work for them, you have to get the small thing, what’s working where you are celebrated. That will inspire and recruit more! 

Then after casting the vision, tell them ‘Here’s your next step’ and show them what and where to do something about it. 

SO… Your next step? if you’re excited rather than terrified that the church of the future could look different, come and dream with us what that might look like at LAUNCH this year – go to LAUNCHCATALYST.ORG for the best deal NOW.