Friday, February 12, 2010

Basic Training Journey for Church Planting

Tina and I just returned from spending four days learning how to plant a church. Even though we are well into the process of beginning this new journey of church planting, we learned a great deal. Much of what we experienced will be passed along to our church family as we continue forward. Overall, the experience was very good. There were, of course, stronger units and weaker units contained in the entire process. We had our favorites. We met some great new friends and we were grateful to get to spend some time with some old friends as well.

There were fourteen units of material that we covered between Sunday and Wednesday. I list the main emphasis just to allow you to understand in a small way the enormity of what was covered during the training.
#1--Biblical Foundations - the biblical basis for planting new churches.
#2--Vision - discovering God's preferred future as revealed by the Holy Spirit.
#3--Core Values - why we do what we do.
#4--Ministry Area and Focus Group - who is it that we are actually trying to reach?
#5--Evangelism Strategy - How will we reach people with the Gospel?
#6--Discipleship and Leadership Strategy - How will leaders be raised up?
#7--Gathering Strategy - related to evangelism--how do we reach new people?
#8--Small Group Strategy - creating biblical community within the church.
#9--Stewardship Strategy - the wise use of resources: time, talent, & treasure.
#10--Worship Strategy - What does worship look like in our church?
#11--Administrative Strategy - all the stuff that I don't like to think about .
#12--Church Master Design - understanding our church as a system.
#13--Developing Team - recognizing and growing the leadership that God has provided.
#14--Mileposts - a strategic planning strategy.

I don't really consider myself a true church planter. The "real" planters, in my opinion, start from scratch with nothing but a sense of calling and perhaps a few others who buy into their vision early on. They often, it seems, work through some very difficult days with little to show for their labor. A family here--a family there--a handful--then maybe a dozen. Growth can be slow and difficult. That is not my experience and if I can be honest--I hope that it never is. There is such a thing as an apostolic gifting--a Spirit-driven passion to start something new in a new place. That's not really me... I met a roomful of church planters this week who have labored to gather support, who have or are relocating their families to a strange land (beautiful--yet strange), and who are believing that God will work through them to grow a new church. These men and women really are heroes. I don't think that I have ever completely appreciated the task until I got to hear some of their stories, to see their faith, to see their passion, and to understand their love for Jesus and His church.

You can watch the entire "Basic Training Journey for Church Planting" webcast here. You will need to register for an account and then you will have access to the entire course.

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