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Gods Secret Commandos

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Church Planter, I want to congratulate you for the journey that you’re about to go on. You’re about to enlist yourself as a soldier in God’s frontline kingdom advance.

 

In WW2, Dwight Eisenhower, along with our European allies were faced with the daunting task of taking Europe back from the Nazis. The largest problem that they faced was the challenge of transporting an entire army across a large body of water in order to form the tip of the spear thrust, and drive Hitler’s forces back. Eisenhower organized the largest amphibious land assault that the world had ever seen.

 

But they didn’t think they could really pull it off.

 

Not really.

 

It all seemed doomed to failure from the start.

 

But Eisenhower had a secret weapon…

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Paul and Church Planting Assessment

Part 1

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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…

The Culture In The Middle

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The church planter called me up from Salt Lake City, Utah.

He needed to talk about his culture.

99% of the nice side of town was affluent mormons, while the other side of the tracks was a shame based culture of failed mormons.

He had been spinning his wheels for three years, trying to make a dent, and not getting any clearer on what to do.

I told him that the #1 problem he was facing was that he was in a culture that defined itself by religion.

As a church planter, he was struggling against trying to get people from a bigger culture of religion to join a smaller subculture of religion.

He wanted to reach both people I described, so I explained to him that the city’s shame based culture of religion was the big culture represented by a large circle. His church’s subculture was a smaller circle of religion. Trying to get people to leave one big circle to join a smaller circle was problematic if you were relying on attractional methods like door hangers and the like.

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Creating A Church Planting Hub

1st Century Style Training in the 21st Century

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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!

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16 Years From Now…Where Will you Be?

Your answer will determine the next 15 years

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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.

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