Church planting assistance from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions focuses on coming alongside the planter to help in the process of an effective church start.
Ed Stetzer recently reminded me of what we learned from my friend and one of my mentors, Joe Hernandez: that we do not have church planting systems, but we have church planter systems. Our investment is in the planter.
After all, as goes the leader, so goes the church plant.
Leadership is the most predictable element of whether a plant will be effective or not.
Let me further introduce to you the three major systems that we seek to develop to accomplish this task:
- Assessment examines the “why” of planting. We at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions would never put ourselves in the position to decide whether someone is supposed to plant a church or not. However, we can hold a mirror up to the planter to help him examine whether he is really ready to plant at this time. One way of looking at this segment of our process is to think of it as the readiness examination. The need may get us there, but only the call of God will keep us there when the going gets tough.
- Training answers the “what” of planting a church. Alabama Church Planting Basics will equip the planter with what to do to plant a church. For instance, we will begin with the biblical foundation and prayer and move to vision, values, focus group, etc. There are many elements to this three-day boot camp that are basic to serving a church as pastor or planting a church from scratch. I remember when I first went through a training similar to this one. After being a pastor for 30 years, I said, “Where has this training been all my life?” It would have helped me as a pastor. There are 15 sessions, and they each build on the other to form a solid structure on which to build the church. Participants will come away with a structure on which to hang the vision, values, strategy and mileposts/next steps necessary to see this church birthed.
- Coaching deals with the “how” to implement the learnings in real world situations.Coaching networks are put in place following the Alabama Church Planting Basics in most locations. These are 12 monthly in-person coaching sessions (four hours each) led by an experienced and competent church planter coach. These sessions are made up of approximately two hours of training and two hours of dealing with real world needs. Lifelong relationships are formed through these sessions.