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View Assessment Centers for Church Planters

Assessment Centers for Church Planters

Key Question:
The Covenant Assessment Center is geared to answer one question: “Can this person develop a church plant to healthy self-sufficiency in a 3-year period of time?”

Key Assumption:
With the assumption of a full-time compensated pastor plus facility costs, this typically implies a congregation with a worship attendance of 150-200. 

- In contexts where there may be a higher cost of living or lower per capita giving, that figure may be more like 200-250.

- In contexts where there may be a lower cost of living or higher per capita giving, that figure may be closer to 100-150.

Common Components in Successful Church Planters:
In analyzing church plants that develop into healthy, self-sufficient congregations, there are common components of:
- Spiritual Foundation
- Leadership
- Gathering and Evangelistic Gifts
- Organizational Ability
- Pastoral Gifts
- and the ability of this planter to contribute to a Movement.

Layering of the Components:
- Foundation: in Spiritual, Character and Family areas.
Church planting can be one of the most stressful and rewarding ministries.  However, if these foundations are not strong the planter will collapse and the plant as well.

- Pastor to Person: The Pastoral and Evangelistic Gifts
A good evangelist can gather 40-70 people by themselves.
A good pastor can shepherd 40-70 people by themselves.
Unless the planter has additional abilities and gifts, the church will generally not exceed an attendance of 75, which is less than what is needed for viability.

- Public Ministry Gifts: Large group communication gifts, Vision-casting, Leadership.
Successful church planters are not just good pastors-to-persons, they have large group gifting.  They can build a corporate experience in a healthy, growing church. 
When solid public ministry gifts are layered on top of the pastoral gifts, a congregation can grow to 125 – 200.  This is the minimal size for viability.

- Movement Leadership: Leader of Leaders, Developer of Systems, Adaptation through various stages of growth.

The most-successful church planters not only lead large groups, they can deploy teams that can do ministry.  They can lead staff, organize a growing number of people, and adapt the organization so it can effectively grow larger and have increasing impact.  The best of these leaders are very adaptive of methodology while being focused on the Gospel-impact in their community and beyond.
When this layer is added to the first three, a congregation of 200+ is likely, with some moving to 500 and beyond.  This is where the church can become a church-planting-church and contribute to the movement.

Assessment Process:

Phase 1: Pre-Assessment
- The Pre-Assessment starts with an interview of the prospective church planter (and spouse, if married).  This interview is typically conducted by a Director of Church Planting (DCP).

- Pre-assessment tools.  Various DCPs use questionairres, references, ministry site visits, and other tools as part of this discernment process.

If the DCP feels that this candidate has a good chance of passing the Assessment Center, an invitation is extended to attend.  Pastor and Spouse are both required to attend.
See the ECC Google Calendar for dates of upcoming Assessment Centers.
Phase 2: Assessment Center
- On-line testing instruments and profiles.
Prior to attending the Assessment Center, candidates and spouses fill out the “Church Planter Profile,” the Meirs-Briggs, the Disc, the Strength-finder, and fill out the Covenant Minister’s Profile.

- The Assessment Center generally lasts 4 days and 3 nights (Wednesday noon until Saturday noon).

- There is a ratio of 1 Assessor to each couple – so multiple eyes will be able to discern.  There is always a good mix of assessors and includes a professional counselor, DCPs, experienced church planters, has both men and women, and has contextual representatives (e.g. for Hispanic planters, urban planters, etc)

- Those being assessed will go have a variety of experiences that will address the “Components” listed for Successful Church Planters.

- Some elements include: case studies, a 10 minute sample message that you may preach at a church plant, team-building, and interviews.

- Cost: those who are invited by a Covenant DCP will have all costs paid for.  Those from outside can contract with the ECC to provide the Assessment.  This is available on a space-available basis.

Assessment Results:
On the final day of the Assessment Center, you will receive a report summarizing the results of the on-line instruments, comments from the Assessors on your Strengths and Growth-areas, recommendations, and whether you are:
- Recommended for Church Planting – ready to plant now.
- Conditionally Recommended for Church Planting – after addressing personal or professional issues, you could be ready to plant in 6 – 24 months.  Note: if conditionally recommended, those conditions will be clearly delineated.
- Not Recommended for Church Planting – your pastoral aspirations are better used in another type of ministry than planting.

Note: being recommended to plant a church is not a “job offer.”  It simply means that we believe you can plant a church.  It is the first-step in a healthy planting process since it identifies the planter.  Subsequent steps are the “Process of Planting” and include the steps of ACTS:

Process of Planting:
1. Assessment – covered above.
2. Coaching – a commitment to provide a coach for every planter for up to 5 years.
      The first step is to put together a “well-conceived” project or Launch Plan.
3. Training – a 4 day experience. 
See the ECC Google Calendar for Church Plant Training.
4. Support – this includes several elements (coach help you plan this)
      - Gathering the right launch team of mission-minded believers. 
      - Having a parent church, or several partnering churches.
        * These send people, finances, resources, and give prayer support.
      - Putting together the streams for the Appropriation support.
        * This is like a 3-year grant to the new church, given monthly, and decreased by 1/3 each year.
        * We like to see 3-streams contribute to the Appropriation, with
        1/3 from the ECC, 1/3 from the Conference, and 1/3 from the parent church or partnering
        churches (or organizations)
      - In addition, many of our planters engage in personal fund-raising over and above the appropriation for things like Launch expenses, advertising, staff, etc.

Once these things are in place, then contributing parties sign a “Covenant Agreement” where the details will be spelled out, with a common commitment to plant a new Covenant Church.


Category:Seeding - Preparation for Church Planting