Training Planters with Excellence – Part 2

Send Network Ongoing Training of Trainers podcast with Jason Zellmer, Rayden Hollis, and Mike Whittymore

This podcast features an interview with three guests. Rick Duncan and Peyton Jones interview Send Network Trainers, Jason Zellmer and Rayden Hollis, along with a planter they recently trained, Mike Whittymore.

Jason Zellmer: Jason attended Lindenwood University. In 2004, the Zellmers joined Marc and Heidi Sikma to help plant Matthias’ Lot Church. In the fall of 2009, the Zellmers were sent from Matthias’ Lot Church to plant Peine Ridge Church in Wentzville. Jason was also hired to a part-time role as a church planting catalyst for the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association. Through identifying, assessing and coaching new church planters, the Zellmers have partnered to plant several new churches across the St. Louis region. In February of 2017, Jason and Heather began a new adventure as Directors of Redemption Ranch. Jason serves as the Executive Director, providing vision and leadership to the team.

Rayden Hollis: Rayden attended Southwest Baptist University. Rayden has led and participated in mission trips to several countries and five continents. God used Rayden to grow student ministries, preach the gospel and revitalize a dying church. In 2014, God called Rayden to Edwardsville, Illinois, as a church planting missionary. He now serves as the lead pastor at Red Hill Church. Rayden is primarily responsible for the vision, the preaching and pastoral care at Red Hill.

Mike Whittymore: Mike has been in fulltime ministry for over 15 years. He’s originally from the Cincinnati area. He is Pastor of Teaching and Preaching for Redemption Community Church, a new Send Network church plant in Belleville, Missouri. Mike has a passion for teaching, preaching and church planting. He is an outspoken advocate for adoption and foster care.

Before listening to this podcast, please take the following self-assessment. How would you grade yourself on the use of our 12 techniques on a scale of 1-10, 10 being high. (10 – Used powerfully. 7 – Used meaningfully. 5 – Used effectively. 3 – Used clumsily. 1 – Used ineffectually.)

___ Strategic Narrative

___ Field Expert Interview

___ Directive Teaching

___ Demonstration

___ Brainstorming

___ Self-assessment

___ Guided Debrief

___ Design Analysis

___ Group Coaching

___ Strategy Development

___ Scenario

___ Practice

___ Your score.

What does this tell you about changes you could make to train planters with greater excellence?

Now listen to the podcast featuring Jason, Rayden and Mike. After listening, work through the following questions.

On this podcast, we learned why it’s important not to be overly tied to the Send Network Training script when doing a Directive Teaching. What are some practices/habits you can develop in order to maintain the spirit and content of the Directive Teaching while communicating the truths in your own words?

We also learned the value of not making yourself the hero of your Strategic Narratives. Your credibility actually increases when you speak about your won failures, brokenness and struggles. Give yourself a grade (A–F). How comfortable are you making yourself the “anti-hero” of a Strategic Narrative? What might you do to become more comfortable with sharing your blunders and missteps?

Jason used a tournament bracket to help his cohort identify the worst thing that could happen on a planter’s launch Sunday. This was an unscripted approach to the training, but it really helped Mike, the planter, get in touch with his gospel identity as a beloved child of God as he faced the uncertainty of launch Sunday. In your opinion, which of the 12 techniques does the tournament bracket idea belong to? What creative approach might you use in your next training session with your cohort?

Jason and Rayden were asked, “What keeps you growing as trainers?” They responded:

  1. Feel the weight of the call to train.
  2. Observe other trainers as they train at 2 levels – content and techniques.
  3. Improve your skills by taking online courses (i.e., hand-lettering).
  4. Ask for coaching from experienced trainers who can observe you as you train.
  5. Apply the content of your training to your own ministry context.

Which of these five is a strength for you? How might that strength become even stronger? Which of these five is a growth area for you? How will you grow in this area?

Take some time to reflect on the experience of listening to this interview. Ask yourself, “What have I learned? What is one personal practice that I need to implement?” Write down your answers. Tell someone—a team member, a fellow trainer or your Regional Send Network Trainer—about the changes you want to make. Ask them to pray with you and encourage you. Now, develop a strategy—next steps—to make those changes a reality.


Follow Jason on Twitter @jasonzellmer. Follow Rayden on Twitter @raydenh. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikewhittymore.


Published February 26, 2019