CNLP 415: Dave Ferguson on the Future of the Micro-Church, Red Light, Green Light and Yellow Light People, and the Future of Networking

Dave Ferguson peers into the future to talk about the future of the micro-church, networks and how red light, green light and yellow light thinking will change the future.

Plus, he talks about how to be resilient in the face of constant change and instability.

Welcome to Episode 415 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about how you can position your organization to do its mission outside the building.

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CNLP 334: Mark Sayers on Leading Through the COVID Crisis, the Deconstruction of Consumer Christianity and Secular Salvation, and What the New World Might Look Like

Rebuilders Podcast

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Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

The Church Has Left the Building: 5 Truths About Future Church Attendance and Commitment by Carey Nieuwhof

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Insights From Dave

1. In times of crisis, focus on the 5%

There’s no doubt that this year has been an extremely difficult year for most leaders. You’re more exhausted than ever, working longer hours and probably reaching the end of your rope at home.

Some of the best advice Dave has heard this year has been, “In times of crisis, focus on the 5% of things you can control.” Focus on taking care of your health, your sleep and your responsibilities. This will produce far better returns than focusing on the 95% of things you cannot control.

2. Your church’s greatest opportunity online is Monday through Saturday, not Sunday

This last year has caused almost every church to start broadcasting their services online. This is great, but broadcasting services and using your Instagram and Facebook accounts for announcements isn’t enough to have a successful online presence.

If you want to have a thriving online presence, you should intentionally engage your online community Monday through Saturday. If you don’t, don’t expect your online presence to help you reach more people.

3. One difference leaders can make toward racial equality is moving money into a black-owned bank

During the interview, Dave talked about how he and the other churches in his network are helping fight racial inequality. Here’s a really practical thing any church can do for free:

In the U.S., the average net worth of a white family is $170,000, and the average net worth of black families is $17,000. One of the biggest contributing factors to this is home ownership.

So, how are churches responding to this? Dave’s church has moved a portion of their savings from sitting in a white-owned bank to a black-owned bank that is much more likely to lend money to African American families to buy a home.

If you would like to find more information and get some help on how you can do this, Dave and his team have set up a website to help churches.

Quotes from Episode 415

Digital is the new future. Micro is the new future. The thing that stays the same is relationships. @daveferguson Click To Tweet What we have with the internet is an opportunity for churches to be truly platform organizations. @daveferguson Click To Tweet If the restaurants are filling up and the churches aren't filling up, that's a signal to the church that there's a problem here. @daveferguson Click To Tweet In the Western world, we've had a launch large strategy, which costs a lot of money and isn't really very scalable. @daveferguson Click To Tweet Networking is crucial to movement. @daveferguson Click To Tweet We're stuck in certain ruts and we keep going back to those same ruts. We've got to do something to get out of it. @daveferguson Click To Tweet Engagement will be the new church attendance. Click To Tweet As culture changes, so does the paradigm. Click To Tweet In the future, churches that equip Christians will eclipse churches that gather them. Click To Tweet Make your stuff available on demand, and away you go. You'll give your content a much longer life. Click To Tweet

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Next Episode: Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke has produced TV and film programs in more than 100 countries and has been featured on NBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, Wired and Fast Company. He shares pro tips on maximizing your influence on social media, how to handle critics and crisis, and why gimmicks don’t work if you’re trying to grow your reach.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 416.

CNLP 415: Dave Ferguson on the Future of the Micro-Church, Red Light, Green Light and Yellow Light People, and the Future of Networking


  1. Steven Ibbotson on May 19, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Part of the “blessing” of online church (or other virtual church activities) are that you can do them AT HOME and AT A PREFERRED TIME. So for a couple to join a mid-week prayer meeting online weekly is much easier and being able to take in the service… sermon &/or worship online at a non-prescribed time on Sunday morning is so beneficial. Churches who want to be family friendly need to realize the virtual church benefits and not “evaluate” people as uncommitted for not physically being present.

  2. Ben Matthews on May 11, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks Dave! Community Freedom is the one I didn’t catch. Loved the podcast and the mindset you are taking towards the the hybrid environment we are in. Our team here at Life.Church is cheering you on!

  3. Ben on May 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Hey Carey – Dave was talking about the four expressions of his church in the future – physical, online, micro were the first three, but then I didn’t he mentioned the fourth after you dug into the micro expressions. Do you know what the fourth is?

    • Dave Ferguson on May 11, 2021 at 10:52 pm

      Hey Ben! Our version of a Hybrid Church is “1 Church with 4 Expressions” which are as follows…
      1. COMMUNITY locations (9 physical locations in the city and suburbs of Chicago)
      2. (digital)
      3. Community Freedom (3 locations in local prisons)
      4. 3C Communities (micro sites and we just commissioned our first 5)

      Hope that is helpful!

      • Ben Matthews on May 11, 2021 at 11:01 pm

        Thanks Dave! Community Freedom is the one I didn’t catch. Loved the podcast and the mindset you are taking towards the the hybrid environment we are in. Our team here at Life.Church is cheering you on!

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