5 Steps to becoming a church planting church
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The Assessment Process
One of the greatest responsibilities of any church planting organization is the evaluation and development of potential church planters. Church planting organizations who take seriously the stewardship of church planters, their families, and church planting resources understand the need for a formal assessment processes for these candidates. When we look at assessment for paid church planters, we see five basic phases: recruitment, initial screening, initial assessment, in-depth screening (theology, character, chemistry), assessment meeting (1-4 hours), and assessment center (3-4 days).
Good assessment is a question of stewardship on several levels:
- The Assessment Process stewards the life and ministry of the planter--helping the planter gain clarity of life and mission. Vocational church planting is not something to embark on without great consideration.
- Initial Screening provides the early conversations to help set and direct the potential planter on the right path.
- Initial Assessment stewards the resources of the organization. If every potential planter has a four-hour interview (or a four-day assessment at a center!), too many resources are poorly expended.
- In-Depth Screening helps your organization go deeper--to be sure that the initial indicators are correct and that there is theological alignment with the organization.
- Assessment Interviews are the first step where a greater amount of time is spent with the candidate--prior steps should have screened some out. At this point, you are looking at screened and eager candidates.
- Assessment Center Experience --this is the final step to be sure that vocational planters have the ministry skills, planting wiring, and interpersonal ability to plant a church.
It is important to note that we are talking about paid church planters with a plan toward vocational ministry. It would be counterproductive to apply all of these to, for example, house church planters; where ordinary people lead small and reproducing churches in their home. In that case, we would leave out the assessment center, but the other steps would, with modification in some cases, be appropriate.