This week have been talking about the Vineyard’s new four step church planting process. Yesterday we chatted about the first two steps (“Get To Know Us” and “Let Us Get To Know You”), meaning that we are going to cover the last two steps today: “Get Some Training” and “Get Out There and Plant.”
This is a very, very, very, very important step as God typically does not call the equipped, but equips the called. Or in different terms, folks who are normally called to plant churches typically don’t have a clue how to go about planting one.
To help with this dilemma the Vineyard USA Church Planting Task force has partnered with local Vineyard churches across the nation to provide the following resources:
- Church Planting Weekend Intensives – This is a curriculum developed by the task force and taught by the local pastor every six months for two years. Topics covered included but are not limited to developing a team, getting and staying healthy as a lead planter, identifying and recruiting leaders.
- Local Church Training Templates – As you probably picked up on by now, the Vineyard places a HUGE value on the local church as that is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Accordingly there is no better place to train a new church planter than inside the local church. Knowing, however, that not all churches have the experience in training up new church planters, the task force is developing templates for the sending pastor to follow.
Now why the task force website does not mention it, I personally think that prospective leaders should enroll in Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) or Vineyard Bible Institute (VBI). The reason being is that both of these programs offer sound Bible training within the context of a local church, meaning that the prospective church planter can get graduate level Bible training without having to leave the day-to-day operations of a local church. As a graduate of VLI, I can say without a doubt that it was invaluable in my journey towards becoming a church planter and a pastor.
The last step is simply to go and do it. You can prepare and talk about it forever, but you don’t become a church planter until you step out your front door and move to the location that God has called you to. Granted, that action, while simple, is really scary as you don’t know what is going to happen…you may succeed and start a church or you might fail. Either way, you will not know until you go and try.
The nice thing is that when you go, you have some folks behind you helping you on the way. The national task force has recruited and trained church planting coaches who will help you discern what God is doing in the area you are planting.
It is worth noting that the recruitment and training of these coaches has trained over the past year. In the past, church planting coaches were assigned according to region and area – as in, there was one coach per area who all reported to a regional coordinator who in turn reported to the national church planting leader. With the doubling of the regions and all the changes in the national office, this system has been removed and now coaches are recruited across the nation regardless of what region and/or area they are in. This means that the coaches are folks who really, really love church planting and have a good track record in helping others.
The national task force has also teamed up with Bob Logan’s CoachNet organization to help give the recruited coaches the tools they need to better serve the new church planters. This includes training them on how to ask questions and then listen (a much needed skill!), how to help the church planter see the move of the Spirit in their community, etc….
Add all this together, and you have a kick-ass church planting system with some solid steps for folks to follow. Now all the need is for the local church to help identify and encourage new church planters to step up and start walking through the steps. After all, we, the Vineyard as a whole, has committed to planting 750 new churches in the USA within the next 10 years. It is a tough goal, but one that is doable if we all join together and join Jesus in His mission to bring all people unto Himself.