Q4: How can planters further develop? (Developing)
''But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.'' 2 Tim. 3:5
After planters receive their basic training and begin planting the new church or preparing to plant the new church, they can benefit from additional training and development. Providing them with additional training will almost always improve results, especially if coaching accompanies the training, encouraging planters to apply their learning to their ministry context. Consider the following examples for how to develop your church planters:
1. Redeemer: One of the world’s best known church planting networks, Redeemer City to City, has introduced a two year program to develop planters through studying and putting into practice the following modules: (Year One) 1: Gospel theology: Understanding the gospel; 2: Personal Life of the Leader; 3: Culture and contextualization; 4: Evangelistic networking; 5: Missional ecclesiology; 6: Grace renewal: Experiencing the gospel; 7: Discipleship-Leadership development; 8: Kingdom-centered prayer; (Year Two) 9: Leading the Church with the right people; 10: Leading the Church through others; 11: Gospel Preaching: Finding and proclaiming Christ; 12: Gospel Preaching: Applying Christ to the heart; 13: Leading the church through difficulty; 14: Corporate renewal dynamics; 15: Leading your church to the next level; 16: Leadership through the organization
2. Organizing church planters into “learning communities” that meet regularly (monthly?) allows them to learn from each other as well as from more experienced teachers and mentors. Coaches can further help the church planters put these lessons into practice in their ministries. A learning community focuses on teaching, discussion, and interaction. It is more informal than most seminary classes and teachers work hard to encourage the planters to think for themselves and to learn from each other. Teachers for learning communities can be catalysts, experienced planters, or specialists in certain areas (evangelism, preaching, etc). Some organizations create monthly 'Church Planter Resource Days' in which there is learning, prayer, peer coaching (3 planters coach each other), and fellowship. Some resource days also provide opportunities for church planters' wives to meet together.
3. Mobile Training: In order to respond to training needs and multiply more churches, Hindustan Bible Institute initiated “On Site Training” in 1991 and Mobile Bible Institutes (90 days of training over 3 yrs., resulting in the equivalent of a Bible college diploma) in 1993. These additional training and development methods enabled their planters to go from 1.5 churches per planter to 4.5 churches per planter over 12 years.
4. Virtual training: Where church planters have access to the internet, it is possible to provide additional training and support virtually, using cell phones, tablets, or computers. Some platforms offer the possibility of creating small groups as well as large groups of up to 100 planters at a time. With practice and good planning, effective church planter training and development can be done virtually, enabling many church planters to profit from support and development without taking significant time for travel.