Developing Kingdom-focused, open-handed, strength-from-weakness church planters – ongoing training for trainers – with Jeff Christopherson

Jeff Christopherson is an author and Chief Missiologist of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). He also serves as Co-Executive Director of Send Institute, a partnership of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and NAMB. Jeff is the author of the books “Kingdom Matrix” and “Kingdom First.” He writes for Christianity Today’s “Missio Mondays.”

Before you listen to the podcast, take a simple self-assessment. Give yourself a score on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest.

___ As a trainer of planters who wants to lead by example, I have taken a vow that is similar, in a way, to a marriage vow: “Every dollar we have, and every person God gives us are His. As a church, we will live with open hands because we see our church as a vehicle for something bigger than ourselves— to multiply disciples everywhere.”

___ I know how to make sure that the planters I train don’t plant churches that become the dead-end link on the Great Commission chain or the cul-de-sac on the gospel highway.

___ As a trainer, I want to influence the character of the planter and the culture around the planter. So, I tell personal stories that illustrate the short-sighted fruitlessness of church-growth/corporate-influenced methodologies. I also tell personal stories that illustrate the long-range fruitfulness of Kingdom-focused, Spirit-influenced strategies.

___ Total

Where did you score highest? Lowest? What does this score tell you about your ability to help the planters you are training to be kingdom-focused and open-handed? What steps might you take to help your planters better create a culture of kingdom focus?

Now, listen to the podcast with Jeff Christopherson. Afterwards, answer the following questions.

  1. Jeff mentioned that he has seen diminishing results from planters who start congregations focused on establishing an attractive weekend service to draw lost people, and those planters are often not connecting with secular people. He said, “They didn’t check out of church and they are not looking to check back into church any more than we are looking for join an Elk’s Hall or a Moose Lodge.”What are some ways that you could train a planter to learn to connect with what God may be doing in the heart of someone who is not a Christian and is not looking to connect with a church?
  1. Jeff told the story of how he and his wife gathered 60 socially and emotionally healthy lost people for a meal. He asked them to describe their ideal spiritual community. They said, “1) God would be important every day of the week, [and] not just on one day a week. 2) The spiritual community would look after one another and take care of one another’s emotional and financial needs. 3) The spiritual community would take responsibility to care for the surrounding community.” Jeff said they gave a better definition and had a healthier view of the church than we get in most seminary classrooms.How can you help planters focus less on establishing a Sunday service and more on helping his people model the kingdom of God? What stories could you tell? What examples will you give? What challenging questions might you ask?
  1. Jeff talks about the influence of Ralph Moore, the “least-known, most productive church planter in North America.” Jeff said that Ralph has planted 2 churches that has resulted in 2,400 others. “Yet,” Jeff said, “if you get past 2 discipled generations, the people won’t know who Ralph is.” Jeff said that Ralph exemplifies the type of church planters we need: planters who are willing to be in the shadows, so Jesus is in the spotlight.What steps do you need to take to become more of that kind of leader? How will you make sure your training helps to produce kingdom-focused planters?

After listening to this podcast, what is God saying to you about how you might create a culture of multiplication in your own church? What is God saying to you about how you can help planters become more kingdom-minded multipliers? What are your next steps? When will you start? Who will help you?


To get a copy of Ralph Moore’s book “You Can Multiply Your Church,” click here:

You can follow Jeff Christopherson on Twitter at @Christopherson3.

Published June 26, 2019