Saturday, September 23, 2006

Church Planter Characteristics

Dr Ridley's 13 Essential Characteristics of a Successful Church Planter

1. Visioning capacity
being a person who projects into the future beyond the present
developing a theme which highlights the vision and philosophy of ministry
persuasively selling the vision to the people
approaching challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles
coping effectively with non-visioning elements
not erecting artificial walls or limits either overtly or subconsciously
establishing a clear church identity related to the theme and vision
believing in God's capacity to do great things

2. Intrinsically motivated
having a desire to do well and a commitment to excellence
stick-to-itiveness and persistence
having initiative and aggressiveness without the negative connotations
having a willingness to work long and hard
being a self-starter with a willingness to build from nothing
having a high energy and vitality level; physical stamina

3. Creates ownership of ministry
helping people to "buy in" and feel responsible for the growth and success of the church
gaining commitment of the people to the vision
establishing a congregational identity
avoiding stereotyping of congregation by imposing unrealistic goals for which it cannot claim ownership

4. Relates to the unchurched
communicating in style that is understood by the unchurched
understanding the "psychology" or mentality of the unchurched
moving and functioning in the "personal space" of the unchurched without fear
quickly getting to know the unchurched on a personal level
breaking through the barriers erected by the unchurched
handling crises faced by the unchurched

5. Spousal cooperation
having an explicit agreement regarding each partner's respective role and involvement in ministry
having explicit rules regarding the use of home as an office
evaluating the consequences of ministry demands upon the children
functioning as a team through individual and collective action
having a strategy for dealing with strangers
modeling wholesome family life before church and community
agreeing upon and sharing the ministry vision
deliberately planning and protecting private family life

6. Effectively builds relationships
responding with urgency to expressed needs and concerns of people
displaying Godly love and compassion to people
getting to know people on a personal basis
making others feel secure and comfortable in one's presence
not responding judgmentally or prejudicially to new people
appreciating and accepting a variety of persons
spending quality time with present parishioners without overstepping them for new people

7. Committed to church growth
believing in church growth as a theological principle
appreciating steady and consistent growth without preoccupation with the quick success factor
committing to numerical growth within the context of spiritual and relational growth (more and better disciples)
recognizing that non-growth is threatening and self-defeating
establishing the goal of becoming a financially self-supporting church within a specific period of time
not prematurely falling into a ministry of maintenance
seeing the church project within the larger context of God's kingdom

8. Responsive to community
understanding the culture of the community
identifying and assessing community needs
responding to community needs on a priority basis such that resources are most efficiently used
determining successes and failures of other organized religious attempts to respond to community needs
not confusing what the community needs with what the church wants to offer
acquiring and understanding of the character and "pulse" of the community
adapting the philosophy of ministry to the character of the community

9. Utilizes giftedness of others
releasing and equipping people to do the task of ministry
discerning of spiritual gifts in others
matching the gifts of people with ministry needs and opportunities
delegating effectively in areas of personal limitation
avoiding personal overload by delegating effectively
not prematurely assigning ministry assignments before people are adequately equipped
not placing unwarranted restrictions on other's spiritual giftedness

10. Flexible and adaptable
coping effectively with ambiguity
coping effectively with constant and abrupt change
adapting oneself and one's methods to the uniqueness of the particular church planting project
shifting priorities and emphasis during various stages of church growth
doing "whatever" is necessary "whenever" necessary

11. Builds group cohesiveness
developing a nucleus group or groups as a foundation
quickly incorporating newcomers into a network of relationships
engaging others in meaningful church activity
monitoring the morale of people
utilizing groups effectively
dealing with conflict assertively, constructively and tactfully

12. Resilience
experiencing setbacks without defeat
riding the ups and downs (i.e. attendance)
expecting the unexpected
rebounding from loss, disappointments and failure

13. Exercises faith
possessing a conviction regarding one's call to church planting ministry
believing in God's action
having expectation and hope
having a willingness to wait for answers to specific prayer requests

Dr. Charles Ridley (A leading pioneer in church planting assessment), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

1 comment:

Roger G said...

Why is there no mention of seeking God? God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him and we seek him because we want his will and we want his will because we seek him. Its really not as profound as we make it out to be. Its work followed by more work and then we may need to work some more. Part of that work is to seek God. We could plant lots of churches but if we are just placing bodies in an empty space we are accomplishing nothing. We could use many fancy words and phrases and sound very intelligent and accomplish nothing. We can impress people and achieve nothing. I hear a lot of statistics and % of whats what and who's who. Why do we get so hung up on these numbers and never speak to people in Church? We play at being people of God and thats scary because this is not a game. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.