Once your church has decided to move forward in starting a replanting residency, what is next? Good question. There are three foundational questions that will guide you in this. These three questions will help tremendously as you seek clarity on what you want the replanting residency to look like. Let’s start with the first question, which gets at the heart of the kind of resident you desire to bring on.
1. What are we looking for in a replanting resident?
The first step in this process is becoming crystal clear on what exactly you are looking for in a potential replanting resident. There are several non-negotiables you are looking for in this individual. Here are five of them:
- A passion and hunger for God and His Word
A pastor cannot give to others what he does not own himself. The first thing you are looking for in a potential replanting resident is a deep love for God and his Word.
- A deep love and care for people
Ministry is all about people. Replanting a dying church is all about loving and caring for people. When you are looking for a replanting resident, you need to make sure, as best you can, that they love people. They don’t just put up with people, they love people!
- A humble, servant heart
A heart of humility is a non-negotiable when looking for a replanting resident. True humility before God and people is crucial, not only when serving as a resident, but when serving as a replanting pastor in a local church.
- A hard worker
Pastoral ministry is hard work. It is hard work that takes much sacrifice, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If a replanting resident is lazy or is constantly making excuses versus faithfully and joyfully working "as unto the Lord," not only will this create tension among other leaders, but the congregation as a whole will lose respect for him.
- A team player who encourages others
You want to find a team player. You want to find a resident who is not a Lone Ranger. Is this individual aligned with the vision, mission, doctrine, and values of your church? Does he seek to humbly work alongside and encourage others?
A fun, loving, encouraging, humble, hard-working, team-minded lover of Jesus and people is the kind of individual you want to bring on as a replanting resident. Pray hard that God would send a man marked by these five characteristics. And continue to lift him up in prayer as he lives into this call as replanting resident.
2. What do we want to develop in the resident?
Once we find a replanting resident that is marked by these five characteristics, the next question is, what do we want to develop in this individual? In other words, how do you want to help him grow? What specific areas do you want to help him focus on and mature in as he prepares to replant a dying church? You must be clear on this. As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” This is especially true when it comes to residencies in the local church. We must be crystal clear on what we are shooting for. There are three areas that you want to focus on:
- The Head
The head deals with how the resident is growing in their thinking, in their mind, in their intellect, and in their biblical and doctrinal formulation. In their time with your church, the replanting resident should develop greater biblical and theological conviction that will be critical once they are serving as the replanting pastor of a local congregation.
- The Heart
How are you going to help this resident grow in their heart? In other words, their character. I would say there are two primary areas to focus on: humility and love. Are we helping this resident grow as a humble leader who genuinely loves people?
- The Hands
This deals with skills and competency. This is the practical, equipping of a resident, helping him grow in ministry practice. There are many different areas of ministry skill where your resident will need to grow. These include: leadership strategy, preaching ability, pastoral visitation, handling conflict, leading a small group, connecting with individuals across generations, and many others. Your church is the perfect environment to help this resident gain hands-on ministry experience in these different areas.
As you consider what you want to develop in your replanting resident, the Head, the Heart, and the Hands are critical. The resident needs to grow in each of these as he prepares to replant a dying church. It is a joy to come alongside a resident, helping them to mature by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit. Of course, the next question that naturally arises then is:
3. How do we train him in these different ministry areas?
That's what we'll discuss in the next post.