By guest blogger Dave White

Part of a week-long series

In our ministry in the Philippines we’ve changed the way we conduct our training of church planters. We used to gather planers for a four-day seminar and give them enough material to take them through the whole year-long planting process. When we came back to follow-up later we’d usually find that they had gotten through the beginning steps, and then had forgotten the training received to take them to the end of the first church plant. Many of the trainees requested that we come back for a follow-up training once per month. That request seemed inconceivable to me at the time. Our trainings were scattered all over the Philippines. How would we be able to come back to each of them once a month?

Everything changed when we began using monthly church planting networks rather than the traditional four-day data dump. When the tools used by trainers were sufficiently reproducible, we could mobilize many trainers, making it possible to do monthly trainings simultaneously all over the country.

Now with more trainers, we could gather our networks once a month and give them a little training at a time. Instead of a big data dump, we’d give them step one in one day, building in plenty of time for interaction, sharing, prayer, and strategic planning for how to implement this step. Then we’d give them a month to put it into practice before we came back with step two. We spread the material out over a year. We wouldn’t give them anything too soon… sometimes we’d even give it a bit late. It became true just-in-time training—training when you needed it. It was amazing how often we heard, “Oh, this was so timely! This is just what we needed!”  The success rate of planting a church over the course of this year was much higher using this new method.

Years later, we implemented Natural Church Development (NCD) in the Philippines. We began thinking about what the delivery system would be for this training. Of course, the best way would be through networks, using reproducible tools, mobilizing many trainers, and using just-in-time training. Our NCD training is patterned after our church planting training. The content is totally different. But the principles for training are the same.