I FAILED TWO CHURCH PLANTING ASSESSMENTS

And Why I'm Not Bothered At All

clem-onojeghuo-146651

“How reliable are online tests?

I get this question a lot.

The first thing that you need to know about online tests is that it’s a product.

That means that as much as somebody tells you that the end game is to “help you” it’s really about somebody either getting your traffic, email, or money.

There’s always an agenda.

I’d probably trust a test that was free more than one that cost money.

Whenever it’s a product, the end was achieved when you gave them your credit card number.

End of story.

It doesn’t really matter whether or not it helped you.

That may sound very crass, cynical even, but so be it.

Let me put it to you this way, if I’d listened to the survey in high school regarding my ideal profession, I’d either be working in the service industry, or a chicken farmer.

I’m not making that up. Apparently, I like to be alone, and like to help people at the same time. So…there was truth to it, but I’m no chicken farmer!

Think about the spiritual gift test for a second. How can punching data into a computer tell you what the Spirit has gifted you with, especially if it’s counterintuitive to your personality/temperament? And mine definitely are. I’m a hardcore introvert who has the spiritual gifts of an extrovert.

Continue reading…

Paul and Church Planting Assessment

Part 1

ninja_logo6-1

Statistically speaking 70% of church planters fail. Those statistics turn around dramatically if the church planter has been assessed, trained, and coached competently and consistently.

 

Church planting organizations, networks, churches, and denominations have all worked out their own systems about how church planters should be assessed, trained and coached.

 

I wrote in my first book Church Zero about how Paul trained planters, but how did he assess them?

 

I believe that Paul had three separate stages of assessment, and this has always worked well for me on the field.


 

The first stage is the calling and character of the church planter.

 

In one sense, I began to feel that all believers were called to plant churches. Like the Mormons who devoted two years of their youth to become bicycle pedaling missionaries, I believe that every Christian should spend a few years involved in the early stages of a church plant. The amount of good it will do them, and any Christian to engage on the front lines of mission cannot be overemphasized. While theologians and professors argue about the right way to do it, I prefer to take Moody’s tact and say, “I prefer my way to doing it, to your way of not doing anything”.

 

Although I believe that everyone is called to be on a church planting team, I don’t believe that everyone is called to lead one.

 

This is where the first assessment comes in, and almost every team believes that this is crucial. The first assessment centers in on the calling and character of a planter. The call to plant a church is an apostolic call, and not all Christians have this calling. Therefore whenever Paul addresses a former church plant, he reminds them of his calling; “Paul, and apostle by the will of God” or similar language. Paul is letting his readers know that he didn’t take this calling upon himself, but was commissioned by God to do it. Not only that, in Acts 13, the propK.hetic word came to the believers as they prayed, “Set apart Paul and Barnabas to the work that I’ve called them.

 

Nobody should ever take it upon themselves to plant a church.

Nor does everyone have the character to do so. I believe that Paul emphasizes character for eldership for this very reason. Like a well-seasoned General, he’d been around all different kinds of men. Leaders vary in caliber, and Paul had served with the most encouraging, and discouraging varieties. He’d learned with Wesley that the only thing you should ever expect from people is to be disappointed. And this lesson landed hard when his second church planting partner, John-Mark turned back on the field of battle, abandoning them while the bullets were still flying.

 

He exhorted Timothy to endure hardship like a good soldier, and not to flinch in the face of opposition. Church planting isn’t for the weak of heart, or lilied of the liver. I believe that besides the moral character of the planter, Paul was assessing the moral fiber and fortitude of a planter because it played an equally important role.

 

When asked what the number one quality of a church planter should be, my usual response is “endurance”.

 

Once Paul assessed the calling and character of a young planter, and was ready to take them along on his missionary journeys, they’d passed the first assessment. They’d made it into the the training phase…the on the job training phase.

 

And that’s where the real assessment began…

Creating A Church Planting Hub

1st Century Style Training in the 21st Century

Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 2.57.18 PM

There are a few times that I share my consuming passion. I’m consumed with training church planters, as I know the Apostle Paul was. The thing is, he kept getting better and better at it. I know that we can too. On today’s podcast, I share about how to create an Ephesus style church planting hub in the 21st Century. I couldn’t be more excited about any topic. If you’re new to the Church Planter podcast, I’ll need to explain that we have about 20-30 minutes of banter, depending on our mood. Hope you enjoy it!

LISTEN HERE

16 Years From Now…Where Will you Be?

Your answer will determine the next 15 years

shutterstock_127645379_edited-1

So, I had a conversation with my mentor, Mac Lake.

Mac is a dynamo of all things leadership related. He’s probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know.

I was recently speaking with him on the phone when I had a conversation about some large opportunities looming on the horizon.

Mac spoke to me about the vision for my life.

“Where do you want to be 16 years from now?” he asked.

I was stumped. “I don’t know” was all that I could muster.

The conversation ended, but the question didn’t. Instead, it continued to haunt me.

I talked it over with God, with my wife, and with a couple of friends.

Sometimes there are questions that nobody can really help you with.

Continue reading…

A Preacher of Preachers

The life, and legacy of Peter Jeffery

teacher-836767_1280

My mentor of 25 years went home yesterday…

I stood on a balcony at a coffee shop in Atlanta crying like a baby after receiving the news from Wales.

When I was 19 years old, I ventured to Wales, the land of my Fathers with a backpack and a mountain bike. I deep dove into that country for 6 weeks, before cell phones, traveled hundreds of miles by bike, train, and truck. As I traveled the length and breadth of that great nation, I hosteled, slept outside, and stayed with families. Most importantly, I learned about revival.

I returned home, and drove to the girl I had a major crush on, now my wife, Andrea. While at her house, her brother told me that a speaker from Wales “who took over for Lloyd-Jones” would be at his Men’s study in Aliso Viejo on Saturday morning. As he said it he was laughing. There was a catch. The Men’s study met at 6am. Having wicked jet lag from a transcontinental flight, knowing I’d need an hour, and assuming this was a practical joke, I decided to chance it and go anyway.

It’s funny how our lives are often hinged upon a minute decision.

That morning I heard something that changed the trajectory of my life forever.

Continue reading…