By Daniel Im: When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was to go to a local 7-Eleven to buy a Slurpee, nachos with cheese, and some chewy soda bottle candies. Since 7-Eleven’s were everywhere in Vancouver, I could multiply the times of doing this— whether it was after school, before softball practice, or with my friends on the weekend. Obviously, I loved that 7-Elevens saturated Vancouver. But, little did I know that their saturated presence and large market share were the result of an intentional strategy.
The funny thing about 7-Eleven’s, and other convenient stores like them, is that they have a strategy for multiplication. They don’t haphazardly place stores wherever there’s cheap rent, nor do they wait for entrepreneurial leaders to show up at their doorstep. They are intentional— incredibly intentional. They do their research on the best location for future stores and they have an intentional leadership development process because they know that the success of their stores rises and falls on leadership. For companies like 7-Eleven, intentionality is the birthplace of multiplication.
The same is true for church planting. Intentionality—the deliberate, purposeful, and strategic thinking about something—is the oxygen of multiplication. Intentionality allows multiplication to breathe. Therefore, without intentionality, multiplication is stifled. Some may push back and wonder where’s the Spirit in all of this? As Ed Stetzer’s mentor John Mark Terry comments, “Certainly we believe that the Holy Spirit does guide Christians today; however we firmly believe that the Holy Spirit can guide our planning [including our intentionality] as well as our work” (Terry 2013, vii).