Meetings are famous for being wastes of time, boring, or unproductive. The title of Patrick Lencioni’s entertaining book, Death by Meeting, rightly summarizes many people’s feelings about them. As a media to movements initiative grows in size the importance and challenge of staying in sync increases. A few years ago a media to movement team in North Africa launched an Accelerate meeting to address this challenge.
An Accelerate meeting is a regular time for Multipliers to gather to discuss what is and isn’t working in multiplying disciples with contacts generated through media. The group gathers around the shared vision of fulfilling their target people group’s part of the Great Commission in this generation.
Though many people might be interested in attending a meeting like this, to increase vulnerability and engagement of Multipliers, the meeting should primarily be attended by practitioners – disciple makers who are actively meeting with and discipling contacts generated from the media initiative. The Visionary Leader and at least one representative from the media team should be present to help ensure that communication channels remain open between media and field and vice versa. Additionally, the Dispatcher should attend since he/she is one of the primary contact points for all multipliers. Ideally a Visionary Leader, Marketer, Digital Responder, and Dispatchers should have at least some experience as a Multiplier.
The length and frequency of an Accelerate meeting will depend on several factors. One such factor might be distance Multipliers have to travel in order to attend the meeting. The team in North Africa meets quarterly and carves out about 4 hours.
As Multipliers (disciple makers) begin to reach out to and follow up with seekers and/or believers from media efforts, they begin to face challenges unique to the culture, religious background, and circumstances of the contact. Similarly, as online relationships transition to offline disciple making and church multiplication efforts, more unique challenges emerge. Experienced Multipliers will often find that they can accelerate fellow Multipliers in some aspects and need to be accelerated in others. Though outside experienced movement leaders can provide excellent coaching, troubleshooting, and advice, no one will understand the unique challenges better than a fellow ‘boots on the ground’ worker.
A typical Accelerate meeting agenda includes a clear vision/purpose statement, time in the Word, and prayer. The team in North Africa typically picks a passage from the Book of Acts to do a Discovery Bible Study on, viewing Acts as the Church’s playbook for today. The team often spends 20-30 minutes in group prayer, breaking out in small groups as needed based on overall size.
The bulk of the meeting centers around two questions: 1) Who can accelerate? 2) Who needs accelerated?
Who can accelerate?
The groups get to hear the ‘wins’ or from those who have seen the greatest breakthrough first. Often the time will start with the group being asked, “Has anyone been a part of any second generation churches being started since we last met?”, “First generation churches?”, “Generational baptisms?”, “New baptism?”, etc. Whoever has the best case scenario shares first and other Multipliers can then ask questions to learn what they can from what precipitated the breakthrough and to think through what they could implement from this case study.
Who needs accelerated?
The group then spends time addressing ‘barriers’ or challenges members of the group are facing that other Multipliers might be able to weigh in on and prayerfully share ideas or experience.
During an Accelerate meeting, it is helpful to look at the year-to-date stats to see the big picture of the impact the media to movement initiative. A few minutes can be given to the representative from the media team to share upcoming campaigns so that Multipliers will be aware of what to expect from new contacts. Additionally, the media representative should have been listening for themes or ideas for topics that the media team could address based on the wins and barriers Multipliers are facing in making disciples on the ground. Multipliers can give feedback on the quality of the contacts they received in the last quarter to help Marketers adjust their strategies and improve digital response.
Finally, consider sharing a special meal together. Paul encourages the Philippians to “honor such men” [Epaphroditus] for he nearly died for the work of Christ (Philippians 2:29). In much of the world, Multipliers risk their comfort, reputation, and even life for the sake of sharing Christ with contacts that come from a media page. It is good and fitting to honor these brothers and sisters in a culturally appropriate way.