What if John Stott, John Wimber, Dallas Willard & Andy Stanley Planted a Church with Jon Thompson?

Welcome back to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today I have on Jon Thompson, pastor at C4 Church near Toronto, Canada.

What’s happening at C4 is really unique. C4 is over 35 years old, but there has been an increase in the membership in the last few years. In 2005 they were hovering around 1000 people. Now they have 3 sites and over 3000 people, and they’ll open the fourth site in October. Jon is with us today to talk about the growth C4 has been experiencing and how they make spiritual gifts a priority.

  • Start believing. // C4 is in a very multicultural environment, so the question they asked was, “In every generation of Christians that have been in a really tough situation where either culture is apathetic or hostile to faith, what are the key factors of resurgence that we saw in the local churches?” They found in their research that resurgence takes place when people of faith really start believing what the Bible says about guaranteed places of encountering God, and so C4 built their whole whole discipleship model around guaranteed places of encounter.
  • Spiritual gifts. // One of those places of guaranteed encounter is through believers exercising their spiritual gifts. Jon began speaking through all 21 spiritual gifts—what they look like, feel like, how they will function in the church. The Bible says spiritual gifts have more authority than natural gifts or acquired gifts. Natural or acquired gifts are good and significant, but they’re not guaranteed sources of ongoing supernatural power. However, many churches focus more on people using their natural gifts within the church rather than their spiritual ones.
  • Connect with people. // One of the things they did at C4 was build a common script to help people connect with each other, no matter their backgrounds. You first have to establish what the Bible says is a spiritual gift and then work hard on what it will look like and feel like in your context. After that, determine what each gift looks like on the ground for a period of time. And then set up programs and ministries that will allow these spiritual gifts to function and flourish. In setting up this sort of discipleship model, C4 Church creates a space for their people to encounter God where Jesus says in the scriptures He will be found by His Spirit. Ultimately Jon says, “I am trying to prepare C4 Church, though it is large and organized and western, to be ready for the moment that if they have to confess their faith under persecution, they could.”
  • Book and small group series. // Jon’s book Convergence: Why Jesus Needs to be More Than Our Lord and Savior to Thrive in a Post Christian World gives the narrative story of what’s happening at C4 Church, but deeper than that it is the full systematic theological underpinning of why they led it to where it is. The book talks about every spiritual discipline, every spiritual gift, how it functions in the community, how to work it out, and the difference between gifts, disciplines, and revival. Check out Jon’s website thrivewithconvergence.com for more information.

You can learn more about C4 Church at their website c4church.com. To learn more about Jon Thompson’s book Convergence, visit his website, and access the free video series available for your church here. You can find Jon on Instagram at pastorjon_t.

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1 Comment

  1. I wonder whether such a sharp distinction can really be made between “spirtual” and “natural/acquired” gifts. In particular, some of the gifts listed in Romans 12 seem to me to encompass what we would consider natural talents and abilities which are, nevertheless, turned to good (spiritual) use in the Body of Christ. Many of the intellectual gifts Paul used in his work derived from his early, pre-Christian training at the feet of a well-known rabbi, but were no less the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.