Training Planters with Excellence

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

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. Evaluate yourself as a trainer on a scale of 1-10, 10 being high. (10 – Always. 7 – Usually. 5 – Sometimes. 3 – Rarely. 1 – Never.)

___ I can succinctly and clearly describe the characteristics that make a church planter an excellent learner.

___ The planters I train know that I am leading from a place of humility.

___ I consistently share content with my cohort in simple, strategic, tweetable applications.

___ I typically train with a co-trainer, and we play off each other’s strengths.

___ When I train, I intentionally seek to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leadership.

___ As we seek to establish a Multiplying Church movement in our community, we discourage sarcasm and focus on fostering a culture of honor among our trainers and planters.

___ After a training cohort, my co-trainer and I make a point to share with one another what we each did well.

___ As a trainer, I seek to live out and apply the values of brotherhood, multiplication and restoration.

___ 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.

Jason and Rayden listed several qualities that make Mike an excellent learner. His teachable posture has inspired them as trainers. They mentioned these traits about Mike’s hunger to learn…

  • Asks questions
  • Puts what’s he’s learning into practice
  • Works in humility and love
  • Jots down notes
  • Wants to be there
  • Puts work into his homework
  • Is eminently coachable
  • Takes the training to heart

Knowing that some planters can display what might be called “church planter swagger,” what are some ways that you can help planters in your cohorts embrace and embody these characteristics that Mike displays?

Mike says that as Jason shares his wisdom, he leads from a place of humility. Mike points out that Jason’s approach is a very priestly approach. That means that Jason is a joy to be around. What are some changes you could make in your training that would cause the planters you are training to make similar observations about you?

Rayden mentioned that church planting puts all our insecurities on display. That’s especially true when a planter is serving as a trainer of other planters. To help overcome their insecurities, Jason and Rayden spend time after each cohort talking about things that went well. Rayden said, “I know that Jason has a heart to honor me as a brother, especially when I am taking a risk in training. His encouragement gives me more confidence.” What might be 3-5 positive outcomes that will happen for you and your co-trainers if you intentionally carve out a time for debrief after each cohort?

Some trainers just don’t want to put in the time and effort to collaborate and coordinate with another trainer. When asked about that, Rayden pointedly said that training planters alone is “dumb” and “foolish.” He said, “You are cheating those guys in your cohort of another perspective and another voice.” What are 3-5 reasons why having another perspective in a cohort is so very valuable?

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 January 29, 2019