• Individual Churches
  • Networks/Associations
  • Para-church or intentionally established Non-Profits

Multiple Disciples

  • From outside the “environment” or community
  • From within the “environment” (Indigenous)
  • Disciples that will lead or be a part of church planting teams


  • There is a process that can be communicated
  • Clear Criteria for Inclusion into the center’s system
  • Clear Objectives & Mile Markers for measuring progress
  • Disciple making that results in church planting is the stated outcome for the planter

Four Types of Centers Identified (See Appendix, Page 17)

  • Church Planting School – EBI in California
  • Church Planting Church – Fellowship Associates in Arkansas
  • Partnering Church Network – DCN in Alabama
  • Disciple Making Church – Soma Community

Roles of a Church Planting Center

  • Cultivation of Leaders & Partners
  • Selection of Planters
  • Development of Church Planters & Planting Teams
  • Provision of Support for Planter, His Family & Planting Team

Four Missional Foundations (See Appendix, page 27)

  • Spirit-Led, Empowered and Dependent Ministry
  • Disciple Making Movements & Multiplication
  • Missionary Practices for Engaging a Community
  • The Kingdom of God & Transformation

The Interaction of the Missional Foundations and CPC Roles

Contrasting Philosophies within Church Planting Centers (See Appendix, page 25)

  • City Reaching Vision vs. Planter Deployment
  • Leader Focus vs. Planter Focus
  • Raising up Disciples vs. Finding Planters
  • Cohorts vs. Residency Program
  • Missional Foundations vs. Skill Development
  • Missionary Patterns vs. Launching Large
  • Systematic Equipping vs. Training Events
  • Recognition vs. Assessment

CPC Values

  • A dedication to Biblical authority
  • A dedication to developing & sustaining the entire family ahead of the plant
  • A dedication to the multiplication of disciples, small groups, leaders, churches, & centers
  • A dedication to simplicity and clarity of purpose
  • A dedication to accountability through coaching
  • A dedication to “open hands” servant leadership
  • A dedication to collaboration with Kingdom minded partners
  • A dedication to customized learning plans and contextualized strategies
  • A dedication to fostering self-awareness in the life of a leader
  • A dedication to being highly relational & maintaining ongoing connectivity
  • A dedication to continual development

Seven Components of a Church Planting Center

  • A Compelling Vision for Fulfilling the Great Commission through disciple making and church planting and practical experience in both
  • A Center Director to Implement a Reproducible Church Planting Strategy
  • A System for raising up Leaders & Partnering Churches
  • A Selection Process
  • A Development Process
  • A Support System
  • Support for CPC Director through Consultation & CPC Network Involvement

Skills & Attributes Required of a CPC Director (From CPC Directors)

  • Group Facilitation
  • Coaching
  • Strategy Development
  • Planter and Team Member Assessment
  • Team Building
  • Community Assessment
  • Leader Development
  • Experienced in all facets of church planting
  • Process thinker & systems development
  • Able to teach with emphasis upon application
  • Administration
  • Proven disciple maker
  • Ability to identify and equip leaders

Character Traits of a CPC Director (From CPC Directors)

  • Person of Integrity
  • Flexible & Mobile
  • Truth Teller
  • Constant learner
  • People person/Networker
  • Spiritually mature
  • Collaborator
  • Committed to ministry objectives that are local, regional, national and global

There are three streams from which candidates flow into the centers: recruitment, referral, and raising them up. Some centers try to get candidates by going outside of their environment and finding qualified and gifted church planters (recruitment or referral). While this may be a good place to start, it is only a temporary fix and should not be the end goal for developing church planters. The end goal should be to increase the pool of church planters, not diminish the existing pool. Therefore, the raising up, or cultivation, of indigenous leaders from within the church planting center and her partners is the most desirable method and most likely to guarantee the multiplication of disciples and churches. When your church has an effective means for making disciples, the selection process becomes more about recognizing those called by God and who are already doing the things that will make them an effective church planter.

In this role there are also activities to enlist partners who will collaborate with the center to select, develop and send planters with the necessary support. In our research we noted that many of centers surrounded themselves with strong ministry partners to help not only raise support, but participate in their selection process, assist with the development of planters and the provision of support. It’s important to consider the recruitment of community and business leaders to be a part of your team – their contributions will prove to be of great value.

The objectives, relating to the role of Cultivation in a CPC, should be to…

  1. Implement the four missional foundations as a means of raising up indigenous leaders.
  2. Increase the awareness of, and a burden for, the lost in their community/nation.
  3. Create experiences that foster the enlistment of disciples, leaders, coaches and churches to collaborate together to fulfill the Great Commission.
  4. Identify/create multiple candidate streams for leaders and partners.

Cultivation Activities

  • Recruitment
  • Connecting with seminary students and more importantly, professors
  • Visiting national and regional conferences
  • Web site
  • One day enlistment events like “Discover Church Planting Day”
  • Vision Tours
  • Calling out the Called events
  • One day event to introduce missional foundations and center
  • Partnering Church Networks
  • Emphasis upon college students with processes like “Parachute”
  • Referrals
  • From planters who have gone through your system
  • From seminary and college professors
  • From denominational partners
  • Raise Up
  • A disciple making process that recognizes indigenous leaders
  • Calling out The Called events
  • “Luke 10:2b Prayer Strategy”
  • Leader Development Network
  • Cultivation starts as early as in the Nursery
  • Leaders identified in Small Groups
  • Emphasis upon college students with processes like “Parachute”

Depending upon the type of center you create, determining who your center will partner with may very well be the most critical decision you will make. If you believe that everything rises and falls upon leadership, what type of leaders are you looking for? Are you seeking to identify men with strong pastoral gifts and ministry experience? Are you looking for entrepreneurs – men who have had success in the business world with a calling from God to plant a church? Are you seeking men who exhibit certain skills or guys who you believe have potential – men you can equip?

For some centers their selection process needs to be very thorough. They are investing a great deal of their resources in this man and have a limited number of spots available. For others it may be as simple as answering just a few questions. Low funding and resourcing beyond the development services offered would seem to indicate minimal entrance requirements. The type of center you will create, the level of expectations you will have for your planters, and the level of support you will provide, will determine the extent of your selection process.

The objectives, relating to the role of Selection in a CPC, should be to…

  1. Establish clear criteria for inclusion based upon calling, biblical character, and competency.
  2. Establish an extensive process (Time & Relational) to guide in the assessment of potential leaders and their families.
  3. Develop contextualized development plans for the leaders with whom you partner based upon what you discovered in the assessment process.
  4. Connect a coach with the candidate who is involved in the process
  5. Create a covenant between the planter and the center which outlines the process, expectations, and the relationship between the two parties.

Selection (See Appendix for Example)

  • Selection Process: Self-Assessment – Application – Formal Assessment – Covenant
  • Emphasis upon Calling, Character and Competency with growing emphasis upon Character
  • Assessing for Affirmation of the Four Missional Foundations
  • Extended Process with an emphasis upon recognizing God’s hand/Calling
  • Use of Assessment Centers
  • Using a team approach to assessing the candidate. The team includes business leaders, church planters, etc.
  • High priority given to an assessment that enhances/maximizes leadership capacity
  • Assess early for non-negotiables (Theology, Ecclesiology & Denominational loyalty)
  • Heavy emphasis upon family dynamics and & strength of their marriage if applicable

Today, with millions of un-churched people living in North America, the need for healthy, reproducing churches is greater than ever. Couple the enormous number of people needing Christ with the reality that we live in a rapidly changing world, more diverse than ever before, and you can see the challenge we face in the area of developing those called by God to plant churches. What works on the east coast may not work in the west. What works in a rural setting may not work in an urban environment. Developing an Anglo church planter to serve in a suburban environment will require a different approach than that needed by a Hispanic planter serving in an urban environment.

A comprehensive development plan through a residency program, that includes hands-on experience and coaching, gives the church planter a better chance of planting a healthy reproducing church than those who are not part of a residency program. The North American Mission Board’s Survivability Study of Church Planters supports a link between planters who have gone through internship programs and higher baptisms and attendance rates in their first years of planting.

The objectives, relating to the role of Development in a CPC, should be to…

  1. Help leaders gain a greater awareness of themselves, including leadership and learning styles, decision-making processes, and personality tendencies.
  2. Build your development process upon the four missional foundations.
  3. Aid your leaders in gaining a better understanding of the gospel and in the development of contextualized strategies for reaching the lost.
  4. Provide a developmental process that is contextual, personal and timely.
  5. Collaborate with other ministry partners in order to provide the best developmental processes for your leaders.
  6. Develop the leader and his family.

Development (See Appendix for Examples)

  • Major emphasis upon fostering “Self-Awareness” within the leader
  • Focus on the development of the leader as a person and the development of his leadership skills.
  • Completed in Phases (Possibly 2 – 3 Years in Length)
  • Balance between learning and field experience
  • “Learning Styles” identified & used to develop planter
  • Very specific learning plans with metrics for segments & washout from system possible
  • Just In Time Training
  • Exegete chosen community & strategy development work is done as they learn
  • Coaching continues
  • Use of technology, laity & people from outside of the center for training
  • Family Prepared

Delivery Systems for Planter Development

  • Residency Programs
  • Cohorts
  • Coaching Networks
  • One Day Intensives/Equipping Modules
  • National Conferences
  • Coaching
  • On Demand Training via Video

Training Provided by Existing Centers (From Interviews)

  • Strategy Development
  • Exegete a Community
  • “Training for Missionary Behavior”
  • Building a Ministry Team
  • Raising Support
  • Money Management
  • Evangelism & Disciple Making
  • Basic Training in partnership with local denomination
  • Character & Family Development
  • Theology
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Church Polity and Ecclesiology

Skills Needed By Planters Prior to Launch (From Planters)

  • Communication Skills
  • Relational – Strong People Skills
  • Vision Development/Casting
  • Evangelism/Disciple Making
  • Leadership
  • Vibrant Spiritual Life
  • Organization
  • Self Starter/Good Work Ethic
  • Enlist/Equip/Coach Leaders
  • Administration
  • Fundraising
  • Team Building

Skills Needed By Planters Prior to Launch (From CPC Directors)

  • Communication Skills
  • Relational – Strong People Skills
  • Leadership
  • Evangelism
  • Gathering People
  • Strategy Development
  • Team Building
  • Fund Raising

Skills Needed By Planters Post Launch (From Planters)

  • Communication Skills
  • Evangelism/Disciple Making
  • Leader Development
  • Perseverance
  • Vision Development/Casting
  • Leadership
  • People Skills/Relational
  • Delegation
  • Strategy Development
  • Spiritual Life
  • Flexible/Adaptability
  • Shepherding
  • Stewardship/Financial Management

The role of the Church Planting Center does not end with the development of the planter. In many cases, what occurs after the development phase has been completed is the most important part of the relationship with the center for the church planter. Research by the North American Mission Board validates the need for coaching, church planter networks and other means of support for the planter, his family and his team.

The objectives, relating to the role of Sending with Support in a CPC, should be to…

  1. Provide an ongoing coaching relationship.
  2. Provide support for the leader, his family and his church planting team.
  3. Continue developing their leaders beyond the developmental phase outlined earlier via network involvement.
  4. Create a covenant for holding leaders accountable to agreed upon ministry objectives and that defines the relationship between the two parties.

Sent with Support

  • Regular coaching conversations
  • Monthly Planter Network gatherings
  • Financial & Resourcing support
  • Continued development…as needed… Just-in-time
  • Building a support team of professionals to resource planters
  • Sending people with the planter
  • Clearly defined expectations with accountability through coaching
  • One day coaching conversation with entire church planting team
  • Team sent to evaluate worship environment and facilities if appropriate (Fresh pair of eyes)
  • Family support is a priority
  • Administrative & logistical support

Online Self-Assessment

  • Quick Test (NAMB)
  • Gallup Strength Finders Assessment
  • 360 Feedback


  • ()
  • Christian Life Profile (Beliefs, practices and virtues)
  • Sermon DVDs
  • References Interviewed
  • Learning Style Identified
  • Non-negotiables Assessed

Formal Assessment

  • Ridley’s Assessment is only the beginning
  • Multiple Interviews
  • While under pressure
  • While serving together
  • Conducted with a diverse team, including business men and women
  • With Spouse and family

Covenant Created

  • Development plan created
  • 3 Areas of Agreement Needed
  • Values & Theology
  • Organizational Accountability
  • Separation

What Are You Assessing For?

  • Calling
  • Evidence of Calling to the ministry
  • Man of Faith
  • Called to and Passionate About Church Planting
  • Doctrinal Agreement
  • Denominational Values Embraced and Evidence of Participation
  • Commitment to Kingdom Advancement, Being Spirit-led, Disciple Making and Incarnational Church
  • Character
  • 1 Timothy Character
  • Interactive Relationship With God
  • Healthy Marriage and Unified about Church Planting
  • Humble, Teachable, Servant and Team Player
  • Small Group Member
  • Strong Financial Situation
  • Self-Denial and Willing to Sacrifice
  • Physically and Emotionally Healthy
  • Good Work Ethic
  • Competence
  • Active Disciple Maker
  • Developer of Leaders
  • Proven Ability to Lead and Shepherd
  • Proven Communicator and Bible Teacher
  • Visionary

Phase One: (Done at the CP Center as a resident)

  • 6-7 Months
  • Training Provided
  • Missional Foundations Identified and Embraced
  • Self-Awareness Discovery with Introduction Processes for assessing lay leaders (Example: PLACE)
  • Strategy Development Training
  • Building a Powerful Ministry Team
  • Support Raising School
  • Training for Missional Behavior
  • Assessing Your Community
  • Sowing the Gospel
  • Engaging Your Community
  • Disciple Making
  • Community (Small Group) Formation
  • Leader Identification, Development and Sustaining
  • Money Management
  • Maintaining a Healthy Family
  • Initial Field Visits Conducted (Minimum of three)
  • Phase Two Objectives Established
  • Coaching Relationship Begun

Phase Two: (Done on Site with Planting Team)

  • 6 – 7 Months in length
  • Monthly Cohort Meeting
  • Disciple Making and Faith Community Development Begins
  • Community Assessment Completed
  • Strategy Developed
  • Partners Enlisted
  • Certification in Assessing an individual (Example: PLACE)
  • Community Engagement Begun
  • Training Provided in One Day Intensives in Most Cases
  • Systems Design for the Church
  • Communication (Preaching and Teaching)
  • Coaching
  • Spiritual Warfare and Conflict Management
  • Stewardship Development
  • Training Provided at National Church Planting and/or Leadership Conference
  • Phase Three Objectives Established
  • Coaching Relationship Continues

Phase Three: (1 – 2 Years)

  • Monthly Cohort Meetings Continue
  • Strategy Evaluation and Adjustment Occurs
  • Coaching Relationship Continues
  • Annual Team Coaching Clinic Conducted
  • Just-in-time Training Provided via Vodcast or Web based videos
  • National Church Planting and/or Leadership Conference Attendance
  • Multiplication Strategy Developed and Implementation Begun

A network is an environment where no more than twelve leaders gather together once a month for up to ten months to allow God to shape them into leaders who have a heart for transforming their friends, community and churches. Networks are typically facilitated by an individual who has a positive reputation and achieved some level of success.

Network Components include

  • Monthly gatherings typically lasting from 9:30 to 3:30
  • Monthly Coaching Conversations with experienced coaches
  • Monthly assignments aimed at moving planters through critical phases of planting and/or becoming more missional wherever they are.
  • Monthly cohort meetings for processing the principles discovered
  • Guest Speakers who speak from current experience

Typical Structure for Monthly Gathering

  • First Hour: Spiritual Development including prayer and reflection
  • Hours Two and Three: Foundational Principles (One each month)
  • Nature of a Movement
  • Nature of the Kingdom
  • Nature of the Church
  • Nature of the Harvest
  • Nature of the Disciple
  • Nature of Transformation
  • Nature of Leadership
  • Nature of healthy systems and structures
  • Lunch: Guest Speaker who focuses on the day’s central theme
  • Afternoon: Missional Practices and Pressure Points
  • Cultivation: Building a Missionary Team.
  • Landscaping: Engaging the Community.
  • Environment: Creating a Transformational Culture.
  • The List: (timelines; location; legal issues; funding and fund raising; etc.)