I love training and coaching church planters!
Honestly, helping church planters navigate the challenges of starting new churches is a big part of what gets me up each day!
Recently I proposed a process to help church planters start churches by making disciples!
12 Month Development Process to Start New Churches:
1. Preparation (Lifetime! – 2-3 months)
Practically speaking, preparation takes a lifetime because God develops a leader over a lifetime. However, to prepare for what’s ahead in planting a church, I’d recommend that a potential church planter focus on three areas: Knowing, Being and Doing. Preparation to start a new church includes reading and personal reflection, character development, and gaining specific disciplemaking skills. Every church planter must lead the church in making disciples who make disciples!
2. Training (3-5 Days)
Initial on-the-job training is important, but it’s also helpful to attend a training workshop. Many organizations have developed Church Planter Bootcamps over the past 20 years. I’ve been privileged to partner with the Church Multiplication Training Center and highly recommend church planters participated in the CMTC’s Church Planters Bootcamp. In addition to training with the CMTC, I’ve also partnered with denominations to deliver The Multiplication Workshop – a 3-day training focused on preparing church planters to start churches by making disciples.
Training alone is never enough. It’s highly beneficial for a church planter and spouse to attend training together with their coach and additional team members. Training events, however, can often be little more than an orientation to key concepts and behaviors. Many church planters benefit from additional followup in a cohort with other church planters and personal coaching. (see below)
3. Multiplication Cohorts (8 months)
To enhance implementation of the training, the learning must continue beyond the event. A powerful way to accomplish this and to increase effectiveness in implementing key principles is through monthly conference calls with other church planters coordinated by a trained facilitator. I recommend eight monthly 90-minute conference calls (or face-to-face gatherings) that reinforce the training sessions over time. Cohorts can provide peer support and encouragement in the midst of significant challenges.
4. Multiplication Coaching (12 months)
One study showed that follow-up coaching produced a 300% improvement in performance over training alone. My experience as a church planter over twenty years ago was much more focused as a result of coaching. Many of the denominations I work with require that every church planter has a coach. In fact, I wouldn’t encourage church planters to attempt so challenging a task as starting a church without the support of a coach. Regularly coaching conversations for the first two years of a church planting project will increase focus and effectivenss!
Ed Stetzer notes, “Church planters who met weekly with a coach led churches that averaged twice the size of those with no coach.”
5. Team Practicum (6-9 months)
As the church planter develops the initial Missional Team, it’s important to provide ongoing training and implementation of disciplemaking principles. The church planter must be living on mission himself, then training others to live on mission together in community! Church planters have to develop a team; they must never attempt to start a church without a team.
If you are starting a church, I hope you won’t rush to start worship services. Many church plants experience a premature birth because they try to start worshipping before they’ve laid a foundation of disciplemaking. Don’t do that! Take the time over the next 12 months to…
1. Prepare Effectively
2. Be Trained
3. Learn in Community
4. Work with a Coach
5. Develop your Team
If you are setting out to start a church, consider implementing this 12-month process!