In part one, we saw the importance of Christ-like character and commitment. Here we focus on Christ confident and capable.
Christ confident: Does the planter seem to depend on the power of Christ rather than his own ability? Sooner or later [preferably sooner] planters discover, that apart from Christ, they can do nothing of true spiritual value [John 15:5]. How is the planter discovering his inadequacy and Christ’s sufficiency? How is the planter being emptied of self-confidence?
Moses was chosen by God to lead His people and he sensed the call of God upon his life. Moses began with a lot of self-confidence that the Lord systematically removed. Moses initially expected the people would see his ability and calling as a deliverer, as a prince and follow [Ac. 7; Ex. 2]. In his own abilities he was ineffective, but after spending 40 years of being emptied in the desert Moses was called as a humble and humbled shepherd. As God called from the burning bush, Moses responded, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt” [Ex. 3:11]. Moses came to the place where he realized that his own ability was incapable of bringing forth success.
In a similar way, Peter was emptied of self-confidence at Gethsemane [Matt. 26:33] before he could be restored at the Galilee, [John.21:1-17] and be used by God as a leader. Self-confidence hinders effectiveness because we fail to avail ourselves of the power of Christ and His Spirit to advance His kingdom. Christ confidence and dependence is a process.
Self-confidence hinders effectiveness because we fail to avail ourselves of the power of Christ and His Spirit to advance His kingdom. Christ confidence and dependence is a process.
Coaches help leaders to discover the process. Failures are revealed to be part of the process of sifting the planter’s self-confidence and forging Christ-confidence. Every planter assumes they will be the exception, and their church plant won’t have struggles. Often, despite affirmations to the contrary, the planter assumes he is so talented that the new work will experience exponential rapid growth. When the reality doesn’t align with the dream, it is a great opportunity for a coach to help the planter consider and discover where his confidence has really been, and where it needs to be – in Christ.
When the reality doesn’t align with the dream, it is a great opportunity for a coach to help the planter consider and discover where his confidence has really been, and where it needs to be – in Christ.
On the other hand, when a new plant does exceptionally well, the planter is likely to assume some of the credit. When the coach begins to discern issues of pride and ego it is imperative to remind the planter that all of the success flows from God so there is no reason to boast [1Cor. 4:7]. Furthermore, it would be wise to remind the planter of Satan’s fall resulting from pride [Is. 14:12-15]. It’s also appropriate to encourage the planter to humble himself in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord shall lift him up [Ja. 4:10]. If he refuses to humble himself then God will humble him.
Christ capable: Does the planter demonstrate that he is capable of not only planting, but leading an established church? There are five primary areas to assess: leadership, teaching, shepherding, evangelism, and Bible teaching. It is important to remember that God’s gifting is stirred up in a planter as the process of development unfolds. As a coach you are seeking to identify and develop that God-given potential. In considering the five spheres of leading, teaching, shepherding, evangelism, and Bible teaching where is the planter strongest? Where does the planter feel that he is strongest? Does it align with your assessment? If not, discuss the planter’s perspective, and your reasons, in an effort to most accurately discern strengths that can be leveraged for the kingdom.
Perhaps the planter has very strong gifts as a Bible teacher and is very capable in articulating a compelling vision and leading a team towards that attractive future, but he is not nearly as capable in the sphere of caring for people. Here, it may be wise for the coach to help the planter to focus on his strengths and develop other team members with a common passion for the vision and complimentary gifts to shepherd people.
Another common situation is the planter who has truly God-inspired vision as a leader, but lacks the administrative gifts to create the infrastructure to support the vision and enhance successful implementation. Again, it may be wise for the coach to help the planter to focus on his strengths and find and develop other team members with a common passion for the vision and complimentary gifts to address the administration and infrastructure.
Consider the scenario where the planter’s strength in the shepherding spheres is clearly manifest, but his lack of visionary leadership capacity is also clearly revealed. This planter may be perfectly suited for ministry in a smaller church where his gifts as a shepherd are likely to be highly valued and esteemed. The planter may be frustrated by the rate or lack of numerical growth. The coach should not only seek to develop leadership skills, but also affirm the noble call of leading a smaller church, and developing and replicating those shepherd gifts among other leaders. What could be better than planting a church that is characterized by genuine love for God and one another [John 13:34-35]?
In regard to evangelism, a planter ideally effectively engages his community in relational evangelism, service evangelism, and large-scale evangelism efforts. The planter may be stronger in one aspect rather than equally capable in all three. Nevertheless, the planter must have capacity for evangelism or develop other team members with those gifts. The planter, who lacks capacity for evangelism, personally or on his team, will only generate transfer growth. Steve Ogne, a personal coach of mine and a coach to CCPN, suggested planters and established pastors devote ten percent [10%] of their time to evangelism. We consider this to be a helpful guideline.
And finally, the Bible teaching capacity must be assessed. In the CC movement we place a premium on Bible teaching! It is a cornerstone of our philosophy of ministry and tends to distinguish CC churches in their various communities. This “brand distinction” of our tribe is generally very attractive to those seeking to discover a relationship with Christ or grow in that relationship. Therefore, it is critical the coach and planter spend time to ascertain current capacity and develop God-given potential as a Bible teacher. The coach needs to obtain video, if possible or at least audio recordings, of the planters teaching. Similarly, a review of the sermon notes [manuscript or outline] is very valuable. Although Pastor Chuck frequently reminded us, “to simply teach the Bible simply” we don’t want to mistake equating simple with poor or ineffective.
The coach must provide meaningful critique to help the planter grow as a Bible teacher. It may be helpful to a coach to review the critique process described in the church planter training manual appendix as a potential resource to develop God-given teaching talents. Celebrate progress, and be sensitive not to hold the planter to an unreasonable standard of a very experienced and accomplished Bible teacher.
Summary: in addition to the individual planter’s sense of calling, a general call for a planter will require Christ-like character, Christ-commitment, Christ-confidence, and evidence they are Christ capable.