I got the letter below a while back from Dave White, who serves in Philippines.
Training for Trainers (T4T) is really working well for us. I’ve made good progress in contextualizing, am having great results in my own personal use in church planting, have trained one local church, and am now training a group of 30 pastors. These pastors are seeing astounding fruit. After three months, they have seen a 71% increase, ON THE AVERAGE, over their baseline of average worship service attendance.
If you expect your church plant to grow beyond your own personal capacity to lead others, you absolutely need to develop leadership in your church. There are two elements to this challenge: developing people and developing the organization.
The people development side focuses on coaching relationships. Coaching relationships are the means to come alongside others and develop them in their ministry skills and personal life. If we’re going to continue to grow and expand the ministry, more leaders are a must. Our role is not to recruit from the outside, but to take each of the people already within our ministry as far as we are able to take them. If someone can lead a group well, could they lead a ministry area? If someone can lead a ministry area, can they start a new church plant? Whatever your categories, keep challenging and stretching people while providing the relational support they need through coaching.
Jesus never called us to plant churches. He called us to make disciples. The very last words Jesus spoke to his disciples were these: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Many years ago I was asked to lead a retreat with leaders of a parent church and leaders of a soon-to-be-formed daughter church. They wanted to address “the emotional dimensions of church planting,” specifically between a mother church and a daughter church. I thought that was an interesting topic, so I agreed. Then after giving some thought to the topic and praying about it, I realized I wasn’t sure what to say about this topic and couldn’t find any resources on it. I kept mentioning my concern to Joan, my executive assistant at the time.
The entry below is a story from a church planter.
I am an elementary school teacher by profession, but God was calling me to plant a church. I was partway into the planting process, and had decided that this year would substitute teach so I could focus more of my time on ministry. I had developed a good relationship with the principal of the school where my new church was holding services, so I told him I would be interested in subbing. I got a call to sub on the second day of school.
If you can reach people for Jesus and multiply them into three groups, then you’re 80% of the way to being a church planter. Potential planters start a missional community that multiplies to three functioning communities– and that’s the core of a church plant.
After that some planters may want to move on to plan somewhere else, leaving those groups to be led by others. Or they may choose to stay on and organize those communities. Either way, the skills involved in getting those first three groups up and running are what demonstrates you’re a church planter.