By guest blogger Dave White
Part of a week-long series
In yesterday’s blog entry I gave I big picture view of how we run our networks. Today we’re going in for a close-up to see what a typical network meeting for church planting looks like in our setting. I’m sure it will be need to look different in other contexts, but hopefully this glimpse will provide you with some helpful ideas for your own ministry context.
In the morning we begin with skill training. We select a topic such as how to conduct an outreach Bible study or how to identify a target village or how to meet local leaders. We provide the principles, allow the participants time to pray, shape the directive, and create an action plan for how each of the churches accomplish it over the next month. We also build in time for learning from one another, discuss problems and successes from last month’s efforts, distill learnings from their experiences, and pray for one another.
Then we devote the afternoon to spiritual life development. There we focus on crucial areas of people’s spiritual life. One example might be “Who you are in Christ.” We have some teaching and discussion on the topic, and an action plan for application for the next month. At the next network meeting, we’d come back to the previous topic to see how it has helped, or to try to work difficulties we encountered.
Who participates in these networks? We have four levels of involvement:
- team members—these are laypeople on a core team of a church plant
- team leaders—also known as church planters, but they often resist that title as they are lay people
- coaches—these are experienced pastors or planters who coach the team leaders. They have limited on site involvement in the plant.
- network facilitators – They coordinate the network, usually composed of teams from about 10 churches
Our goal with these four levels of involvement is to graduate each person up to the next level for the following year. For example, a team member who participates in a successful church plant one year may become a team leader for a new initiative the next year. Not everyone goes on to the next level, but many do. And of course what fuels the whole system is new team members. These come from new believers from the harvest, from the new church plants—a huge, inexhaustible source.
new believers > team members > team leaders > coaches > network facilitators
Currently in the Philippines, we are in need of people with experience in coaching church planters and leading church planting networks. Because we continually have more opportunities, we are looking for someone with a big vision for broader ministry to come in and oversee equipping and encouraging for the mobilizing of hundreds of networks in the Philippines. This could be a gigantic expanding of your borders. What an opportunity! Interested? If you are, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.