Church Planter’s Checklist To
remind one of things to do
This checklist is too
‘lean’ to use to train church planters. Rather, use it to recall what
to do while gathering a flock or cell group. Airplane pilots check vital
items off a similar list before takeoff, to avoid forgetting a vital detail.
INVADE SATAN’S TERRITORY
1.Definethetask: start churches that reproduce in their
own culture without outsiders’ help. Help with dynamics
of church reproduction—Church Multiplication Guide, Patterson
and Scoggins, William Carey Library, Pasadena. E-mail Publishing@wclbooks.com
2.Define and pray for the field: gather people from only one culture in
Pray to Lord of the Harvest for workers and for the Holy Spirit’s power. Reminder—New churches that mix two cultures normally cancel one out;
one dies. Pray for workers: Luke 10:2. Pray for power to witness: Acts 1:8.
3.Form a temporary task force: work with others, preferably of the
same or a very close culture. Reminder—Jesus and
the apostles never worked alone. Nor did they form permanent teams; they
formed temporary task forces for the job at hand. People constantly joined
and left them. Successful church planting task forces normally have people of
the same culture. An expatriate with more experience disciples the others
behind the scenes, as Aquila and Priscilla did for Apollos (Acts 18).
4.PresentChrist in a way that is easy to imitate
and pass on: relate the Gospel and other key Bible events in story form. Reminder—A wise
church planter in another culture develops a repertoire of Bible stories, at
least one for each major doctrine and Christian activity.
5.Workwithentirefamilies: start with heads of
households. Reminder—Work with
entire families: Acts ; -15; 16:29-34; 18:8. Look for a ‘man of peace’--a
hospitable person to help you fit into a new community and make good
contacts: Luke 10:5-7.
6.Confirmrepentance with water Baptism:count converts only when added to a church by
baptism (Acts ). Caution—Merely counting hands or ‘decisions’ creates fog: it makes it
hard to evaluate sound evangelistic methods and leads to dishonest use of statistics
for fundraising. The apostles counted converts after baptism.
‘Shake the dust’ if people
seek a more responsive community or segment of population (Luke .) Reminder—Most
workers who do this do not have to change their place of residence; they
merely shift their focus to a poorer, more receptive segment of society.
KIND OF CHURCH THAT IS APPROPRIATE TO LOCAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Select a church model that
can reproduce easily in your field: HouseChurches
(building too costly for small group, secrecy required or people simply
prefer small church cluster) Cells (same as house church except
cells meet regularly for united celebration) Conventional (aim to rent or build
facilities when growth warrants it, where authorities allow it) Caution—Do
not transfer external structures, methods, values and forms of your home
church to other cultures. Use the New Testament as a filter to leave
behind anything too heavy, costly or too Western to reproduce there.
Avoid Western emphasis on entertainment, individualism,
institutionalism, worship of bigness, materialism.
BIRTHCHURCH BY TEACHING NEW
DISCIPLES TO OBEY JESUS’ COMMANDS IN LOVE (Matt. 28:18-20)
9.Repent, believe and receive the Holy
let God begin the eternal process of transformation. Caution—Avoid mere ‘decision making rituals.’ They are not biblical and
seldom results in strong churches. Call converts to repentance as Jesus and
the apostles did: Mark 1:15; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 2:38
10.Be baptized and live the new, holy life
in Christ: baptize bad folks who repent--don’t delay it; let God’s
grace flow! Caution—To delay baptism because of our doubts or legalism discourages
converts; these new-born babes need the warmth of the body; the apostles always
baptized right away; they did extensive teaching afterward. The purpose of
baptism: Romans 6:1-4
11.Celebrate the Lord’s Supper:cultivate deep fellowship with God (confess
sins first) and fellow believers. Caution—There is danger in failing to discern and respect Christ’s body
in the Lord’s Supper: 1 Cor. 11:27-34. The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to
participate in the very body and blood of Christ—a serious experience: 1 Cor.
12.Love God, fellow disciples, family, enemies (forgive), needy
neighbors (mercy ministry). Biblical support—Love for God: Mark 12:28-30. Fellow disciples: John 13:34-35.
Family: Eph. through 6:4. Enemies (forgive): Matt. 5:44; Eph. 4:32. Needy
neighbor (love in a practical way): Luke 10:25-37
13.Pray daily:cultivate personal and family devotional life, listen to God’s
voice, live by faith. Reminder—Workers are to pray daily: Matt. 7:7 ,without ceasing: 1 Thess.
14.Give generously of all that God has entrusted to you (time, talent and
treasure). Caution—A major cause of mission failure is building dependency among
poor people by giving to them when they should be giving to others.
Historically, God lifts Christians out of their poverty when they give in
their poverty to others, as He promises in 2 Cor. 9:6-11. Give generously:
15.Make disciples: witness for Jesus,
teach and apply the Word, train (model for others) to serve and lead. Reminder—We make disciples on four levels: it begins with pagan peoples, then
new believers, growing believers and leaders (Jesus spent most of His time
discipling top level leaders--apostles). In Scripture discipling was seldom
‘one on one.’ All discipling builds on obedience to Jesus’ commands (Matt.
28:18-20); before Acts chapter two is finished the 3,000 converts of the
first New Testament church are obeying all of His commands.
MINISTRIES REQUIRED BY NEW TESTAMENT FOR CHURCHES
16.Give spiritual care and strengthen
family life: Counsel persons with personal or family
support—Spiritual counseling: 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
17.Worship in a way that ensures
participation by all the believers who gather; include the Lord’s Supper and enable
all ages to participate actively. Caution—Wise
church planters do not introduce Western music in other cultures; it attracts
mainly young people and brands the church as foreign. Let nationals use their
own music, poetry and other art forms. Worship in the New Testament had as
its center the Lord’s Supper (Acts , 46;
18.Start daughter churches that reproduce after their own kind: apprentice faithful, mature shepherds
for them as Paul did. Reminder—Church reproduction requires selection
and training of good leaders: look out for immaturity, the hidden agenda.
Find what their gifts are, their sense of calling, what they feel God wants
them to do.
19.Send missionaries to unreached fields:include bi-vocational workers when and where necessary. Caution—Do not require poor churches to imitate Western mission agencies’
procedures: they are too expensive for them, require too many degrees and are
often ineffective in deploying bi-vocational (self-supported) workers in
fields with hostile authorities. Send true tentmakers who really earn their
living as Aquila and Priscilla did--not just fully
supported workers who merely pretend to be ‘tentmakers.’
members to carry out gift-based ministries, including the activities on this chart. Reminder—Spiritual
gifts and their ministry purposes are listed in Romans 12, 1 Cor.
Chapters 12 though 14 and Eph. 4:11-16. Mobilize members for all
gift-based ministries required by the New Testament (all activities in
this Guide). One person may have several gifts. God gives different
gifts to different people. One gift may yield several ministries; one
ministry may require several gifts.
21.Evaluate periodically all activities on this chart. Caution—Persevere in all essential activities; discern spiritual-sounding
activities that are really distractions. Use this Guide as a check list for
periodically evaluating your churches’ effectiveness in ministry.
LEADERS ON THE JOB: model all vital
22.Oversee and organize in a way that lets all members put to the
test and freely use their spiritual gifts in ministry. Reminder—Good servant leaders open doors for people to try different
gifts. Bad leaders demand perfection and control too much. The proper
attitude for leaders: 1 Peter 5:1-4.
23.Watch over the flock:detect straying lambs and lurking
wolves; heal the hurting, correct the unruly. Biblical
support—Watching over the flock: Acts 20:28-31;
Matt. 7:15-23. Correcting the unruly: Matt. 15-18; Gal. 6:1.
24.Feed the flock: study, interpret and apply the Word of
God. Reminder—How to use the Word: 2 Tim. 3:16-17
25.Commission and train shepherds to marry, bury, dedicate children, lead meetings, serve
Communion and baptize. Lay hands on pastoral trainees when they have proven
themselves with those whom they disciple: 1 Tim. 4:14. Celebrate holidays,
weddings, burials, wakes, dedications, etc. In a way that is appropriate to
the culture (find these things out first).
Rightly handle the Word of
God: provide tools for
studying inductively and applying it at once to believers’ lives. Recommendation—Teach
workers to interpret the Word by taking into account the grammar,
meaning of words, context (written and historical) and discerning what
the writer wanted readers to do about it. Compare Acts .
multiply them in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:2
27.In each mentoring session do these
things (meet every two weeks if
possible): 1) Listen
to each trainee’s report on what his people are doing (never
start planning, coaching or assigning tasks before you have done this)
2) Help each trainee to plan his and his people’s ministry: what to do before
the next session, recording specific plans (names, dates, places)
3) Look over, or listen to, studies done (assigned last time)
4) Assign new studies, including reading that supports trainees’ plans
5) Pray (any time during the session) For help—To disciple leaders, use the Church Multiplication Guide
28.Use materials geared to trainees’ flocks’ education level and
culture. For help—Pastoral training materials proven effective for pioneer fields
and church multiplication: Train and Multiplywww.TrainAndMultiply.com, Paul-Timothy studies www.Paul-Timothy.net, Shepherd’s Storybook www.Paul-Timothy.net. These all are in several languages and
are easy to translate.
29.Use a ‘menu’ to select teaching content (find what the churchis hungry for--listen!). Reminder—The ‘menu’ approach was Christ’s and Paul’s only method. Like a
waiter in a restaurant, they listened first (or read letters) to know what
their trainees and their churches needed; then they responded accordingly.
Paul-Timothy studies, Train and Multiply (#28) use a menu.
way of teaching that fits the culture, degree of secrecy needed and level of
education. Reminder—If church planters’ methods fit
the culture and follow New Testament principles, churches will multiply. A
mature church is fully planted when it reproduces within its culture
without outsiders’ help. Do not aim at just one church in a field; it will
become ingrown. Aim at a cluster.