Developing Kingdom-focused, open-handed, strength-from-weakness church planters – ongoing training for trainers – with Jeff Christopherson-part 2

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

Before you listen to the podcast, take a simple self-assessment. Give yourself a score on a scale of 0 – 3: 0 – Never, 1 – Sometimes, 2 – Often, and 3 – Almost always.

___ I train my planters not to start complex, unreproducible behemoth-like churches. Instead, I train my planters to simplify their definition of church so that multiplication becomes more and more reproducible and sustainable.

___ When I train planters, I make sure that they have 1) a passion for kingdom-advancing multiplication, 2) a pipeline in place to develop church planting teams from within their local church congregation and 3) a commitment to be productive in missional church planting that will impact their city.

___ As a trainer, I resist the urge to project myself, my experiences and my preferences onto the planters that I am training. Instead, I make every effort to tease out of them the uniqueness of themselves, their team and their community.

___ 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-focused church planting?

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

  1. Jeff mentioned three problems “big box” planters face that can keep them from multiplication:
  2. a) The already-churched people who will be drawn to attend –because the church started with a “big splash”—have fickle tastes and needs. If it’s easy to gain them, it will be easy to lose them. Keeping them happy is burdensome for the planter.
  3. b) The people the new church attracts often don’t truly believe in evangelism. They might invite someone to church on Easter, but they don’t know many lost people. You likely will not have a “John 4 phenomenon” take place.
  4. c) The already-churched people often have language and preferences the unchurched in the harvest won’t understand. The unchurched will feel like kindergarteners in a college class.

What are some other multiplication problems that “big box, attractional” planters might face? What steps could you take as a trainer to help a planter mitigate these problems?

  1. The definition of a multiplying church that Jeff helped us develop at Send Network is “discovering, developing and deploying church planting teams from within.” In your experience, which of the three is the most challenging task and why is it challenging?:
    1. Discovering church planting teams from within.
    2. Developing church planting teams from within.
    3. Deploying church planting teams from within.

As a trainer, what are ways you can help a planter set the DNA at the very beginning to make sure he’s planting a church that “discovers, develops and deploys church planting teams from within”?

  1. Jeff talks about two initial practices that would be helpful for planting kingdom-focused, multiplying churches:
    1. Setting a culture and DNA of multiplication from the beginning– from the preview services. For example, a planter could say at the first offering, “We are not keeping this money. We are setting this aside for our first church plant.”
    2. Priming the pump. Since it takes time to raise up a planter from the harvest, in year two or three the new church plant could bring someone in from the outside to plant the first plant that would be closely tethered to the new Sending Church. What are some additional practices you have seen planters use to establish a multiplying DNA into a new church plant? As a trainer, how will you help your planters establish and maintain a multiplying DNA?

After listening to this podcast, what is God saying to you about how you might better train your planters toward planting more open-handed, multiplying communities? 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 Jeff’s book “Kingdom First,” click here.

You can follow Jeff Christopherson on Twitter at @Christopherson3. You can find Jeff’s writings for Missio Mondays here.

Published August 28, 2019