I was recently teaching a church planter assessment course in Phoenix, and it reminded me of how timeless the role of church planter really is.
How the Church Planter Behavioral Assessment Profile Began
Dr. Charles Ridley spearheaded a qualitative research project in the mid-1980s to try to identify the qualities needed in a successful church planter. Many people hear 1980s and assume whatever findings there were must be outdated by now. Yet I’ve been surprised at how well the competencies identified have stood the test of time.
Why it endures…
Even though context has changed, the key qualities endure… even across cultures. They may look different in rural Honduras than they do in Beijing, but resilience and faith are still resilience and faith. They may be worked out differently in a mega-church than in a network of house churches, but creating ownership of ministry and commitment to reaching the unchurched are still essential core competencies. All 13 competencies work across cultures and across models. Planters need to build toward mastery of these competencies no matter what their ministry model looks like. No matter what kind of church you’re planting and no matter what culture you’re planting in, you’ll need to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. You’ll need to reproduce leaders. That’s the core mission that all of these competencies point towards.
For that reason, I strongly recommend that all potential church planters take a comprehensive behavioral assessment. The results can help pinpoint the areas where candidates are already strong and the areas they need to develop.
For those of you not familiar with the 13 core competencies of a church planter, they are listed below—the same over 30 years later. The definitions have been updated to increase clarity. And if you’re interested in seeing them in context of the whole journey of church planting, I’d direct you to page 33 of my recently released book The Church Planting Journey.
The 13 Behavioral Competencies for a Church Planter:
- Personal motivation—demonstrates the ability to be a self‐starter who works with diligence and excellence
- Visionizing capacity—pictures a preferred future, initiates plans, and builds significant projects from the ground up to realize that preferred future
- Creating ownership of ministry—passes on the baton of ministry by making disciples who make disciples and reproducing leaders who raise up other leaders
- Spousal cooperation—works together effectively in both marriage and in ministry, maintaining individual and family health
- Reaching the unchurched—connects with and influences people toward a closer relationship with Christ and the church
- Relationship‐building—initiates connections with new people and authentically engages them in deepening relationships
- Commitment to church growth—understands, embraces, and effectively implements principles of church planting and growth
- Responsiveness to community—discerns the culture of the local context and implements redemptive ministries that meet the needs of people
- Gift utilization—discerns, develops, and deploys others to serve in their area of giftedness
- Flexibility and adaptability—negotiates change and manages multiple tasks while staying centered on the overall vision
- Building body cohesiveness—orchestrates widely differing people to function as a unified group
- Resilience—stays the course in the face of major setbacks, disappointments, and opposition
- Exercises faith—evidences a strong, vital relationship with God and willingly takes significant risks to pursue God’s calling
More on Church Planting…
The Church Planting Journey- This newly released book is a comprehensive guide for the church planter. It is the culmination of experience that includes being a church planter myself, and coaching and consulting church planters for more than 40 years. Within the pages of The Church Planting Journey, you will find wisdom, systems, and processes that can help you launch well as well as sustain your unique vision and call.
The Church Planter Assessment- Whether you are thinking about church planting, are already in the process the Church Planter Behavioral Assessment is a valuable tool. To learn more about how you can be assessed email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.