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Newsletter December 2019

Preparing For The Coming Future

Dale Spaulding, Director, Passion for PlantingI recently heard a sermon that encouraged and challenged me about the difference between the succession plans of Moses and King Saul. Moses loved, equipped, and empowered Joshua to succeed him as Israel’s main leader, but Saul tried to kill his successor, David.

The message got me thinking about what older leaders like myself are doing to invest in future leaders who will be leading the church when I’m in a nursing home or at home with the Lord. Am I investing in the next generation of leaders? Am I empowering them to adapt their leadership and ministry to fit the changing landscape of our nation and the world?

The fact of the matter is we can’t afford to continue to plant churches exactly the way we’ve been planting them over the last 20 years. Our world is changing! In the United States our population is growing and so are the number of people who have no church background or who are no longer attracted to the programs and ministries of a church. This means we need to develop young leaders that are ready to reach our world with the gospel.

What will the future church planting landscape look like and how does that affect the way we’re investing in planters? Keep reading to find out.

-Dale Spaulding, Director

December 2019 – Contents

  • Understanding Your Calling
  • Ignite Discipleship
  • Ephesiology Podcast 
  • The Future Church Planter

Understanding Your Calling

Could God be calling you to plant a church to reach future generations? If so, gain clarity on next steps you can take to prepare yourself to start a new church. Our Passion for Planting Assessment Center combines a pre-screening process with a formal 2.5 day onsite assessment to affirm the calling of a potential planter and their spouse. We do this by examining their health, gifts, passions, strengths, weaknesses and readiness.

Our next assessment is scheduled for April 20-22, 2020 in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information on the assessment process and to register, visit Church Planter Assessment

Not quite ready for a formal church planter assessment? Take an initial step in discerning your church planting call via an online pre-assessment like Gateway Leader’s Church Planting Profiles or Lifeway’s Church Planter Candidate Assessment. This is a good place to start when exploring your church planting call.

Ignite Discipleship

What comes to mind when you think about a new church? For many people, talk about a new church conjures up images of a rented facility filled with smiling people worshipping God and listening to an engaging sermon. What comes to mind is a church service, but not necessarily a church. 

If we’re honest with ourselves, the strategy many evangelical denominations and networks have been using to plant churches over the last 20 years has been a strategy focused on drawing a crowd and then turning that crowd into a church. While that strategy has had great success in the past, we are seeing a decline in its effectiveness today. We’re going to need to find new strategies and ministry models to reach the coming generations.

We believe this strategy will be fueled by everyday believers learning to trust and obey Jesus and help others do the same. The church plants of the future will need to be fueled by the disciple-making efforts of a new church’s launch/core team. While there are many resources available to help church leaders equip and empower their people, one that we’ll highlight this month is Dan Grider’s Ignite training. Dan’s written several books, developed training materials, and hosted seminars to help church planters make disciple makers who plant churches. To learn more about Dan’s resources, visit Ignite Discipleship.

Ephesiology Podcast

As the population of the world increases, so does the need for new churches. According to research done by our friends at LifeWay Research and the Send Network, we need to net 1,900 churches every year in order to maintain the current ratio of 1 church for every 1,000 people. Currently, we’re planting about 4,000 but netting only 300 churches every year. This means some drastic change is needed if we’re going to plant the number of churches necessary to reach the growing population.

How are we going to do this? Not by the way we’ve been doing it. That would be insanity – you know, doing the same thing we’ve been doing but expecting different results. So what’s the solution? We wish we had all the answers. We don’t, but we did have the privilege of attending a think tank organized by the Send Institute recently to explore solutions. What did we discover? Listen to the Ephesiology podcast to hear a recap of what was discussed at the think tank. 

The Future Church Planter

For many years we’ve had a pretty clear understanding of the characteristics of an effective church planter. These characteristics include: entrepreneurial thinking, intrinsically motivated, resilient nature, a charismatic personality, and solid preaching gifts. However, a new breed of church planters will be needed if we’re going to reach future generations with the gospel. 

According to Jeff Christopherson, church planter and missiologist at the Send Institute, church planters of the future will need to have a different vision, calling, and gift set from what we currently look for in church planters.  This means churches, networks, and denominations will need to figure out how to identify and equip these leaders to be sent out to catalyze disciple-making and church planting movements in their cities. 

Interested in learning what Jeff believes the future church planter will look like? Read his The Road Ahead: 10 Characteristics of a Future Church Planter, Part 1 and Part 2 and consider his predictions.

Photos from Octavian Rosca, Oliver Roos, Elia Mazzaro, Jennifer Martin, and Jake Ingle from Unsplash.