Church Planters’ Five Checklists


Airplane pilots check items off a list before takeoff to avoid overlooking any vital detail. Similarly, these five lists are not to be used to train church planters, but to remind them of actions required by the New Testament, after their training.

  1. Preparing to invade Satan’s territory
  2. Starting to present Jesus in the new field
  3. Starting churches that lovingly obey Jesus’ commands
  4. Church activity required by the New Testament when practicing
  5. Expanding leadership training and installing area coordinators

1.  Check off these items when preparing to invade Satan’s territory

__Define the task.

Start churches that reproduce in their own culture without outsiders’ help.

__See the fields that are ready to reap.

Discern who the receptive people are, and stick to that field, just as Naomi told Ruth to remain in Boaz’ fields. You should usually avoid mixing cultures in one flock. Avoid trying to push “camels” (wealthy folk) through the needle’s eye; most movements start with the working class.

__Pray to Lord of the Harvest to send workers, includingthose from the harvest field.

__Prayfor the power that Jesus promised, power to win many to Christ.

__Form a temporary task force, preferable from the harvest field.

Follow the example of Jesus and His apostles.They never worked alone, and their teams were never permanent.The apostles focused on the job at hand and brought local workersonto temporary teams.

__Define the kind of church that can reproduce easily in your field.

This might be a home-based church or a cell church. Avoid adopting your home church values and procedures, unless it is of the same culture and is already multiplying. Also, avoid excess individualism, entertainment, institutionalism, worship of bigness and materialism.

2.  Check off these items when starting to present Jesus in a new field

__Present Christ in a manner that is easy to imitate and pass on.

Relate the Gospel as the apostles did, recounting its historical events: Jesus’ death, resurrection and promise to forgive the sins of all who repent, Luke 24:46-48. The apostles also healed in the Name of Jesus as they witnessed for Him, and never used the Western doctrinal approach.

__Relate key Bible events in story form.

Develop a repertoire of Bible stories, at least one for each major doctrine and duty.

__Work with “persons of peace” and their entire family.]

Seekpersonswho will host Christ’s servants and introduce them to their social network. Evangelize heads of households first, or as soon as possible, as the apostles did.

__Confirm repentance with baptism.

Count converts only after they have been added to a church by baptism, as the apostles did, Acts 2:41.

__‘Shake the dust’if people continue to reject Christ.

Most workers who leave a non-receptive community do not have to change their place of residence; they merely shift their focus to a poorer segment of society. Most folk who receive Christ do so after hearing the Gospel at least three to or six times.

3.  Check off these items when starting churches that obey Jesus’ commands

__Repent, believe and receive the Holy Spirit.

Call converts to repent as Jesus and the apostles did. Avoid mere decision-making rituals that seldom lead to being born again by the Holy Spirit.

__Be baptized and live the new, holy life in Christ that it initiates.

Baptize bad people who repent; donot delay; keep God’s grace flowing. Start a church as soon as folk are baptized. Avoid setting up “preaching points” or “missions” that do not baptize or serve Communion.

__Celebrate the Lord’s Supper, following a time of self-examination.

Discern and respect Christ’s body in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:27-34). Its purpose is to participate in the very body and blood of Christ, a serious experience (1 Cor. 10:16-17).

__Love God, fellow disciples, family,enemies (forgive them), needy neighbors (mercy work).


Have personal and family devotions. Listen to God’s voice, live by faith.

__Givegenerously of the time, talents and treasure that God has entrusted to you.

Avoid making the poor depend on you by giving to them when they should be giving to others. Let all believers become good stewards.God lifts out of harsh poverty those who give sacrificially (2 Cor. 9:6-11).

__Make disciples.

The apostles made disciples on four levels: pagans, new believers, growing believers and leaders; Jesus spent much time with leaders. Avoid defining discipleship or coaching as done “one-on-one.” It is normally done best with a small group, as Jesus and the apostles did. All discipling builds on obeying to Jesus’ commands (Matt. 28:18-20).

4.  Check off an activity when a church has begun practicing it

__Do prayer-related activities.

Heal the sick. Intercede for the needy. Wage spiritual warfare. Show  believers how to hold daily personal and family devotions.

__Evangelize the lost.

Relate the gospel events: Jesus’ death, resurrection, His promise to forgive all who repent, and His sending the Holy Spirit. The apostles’ evangelism often included healing and baptizing.

__Make disciples at all levels.

The apostles made disciples offriends, new believers, leaders and neglected communities. Disciple-making in most cases is more effective in a family setting or in small, closely-knit groups.

__Give sacrificially of time and treasure

__Teach God’s Word, to equip believers to serve

__Enhance family life and marriage.

Help persons or families forgive and develop healthy relationships. Coach persons or families that have problems.

__Show mercy to the hurting and needy.

__Cultivate loving fellowship, providing free time for spontaneous interaction.

__Oversee and organize so that all believers use their spiritual gifts.

Serve one another in groups that incorporate diverse gifts. Serve other churches or cell groups.

__Correct and restore the erring; watch for “wolves” and protect weak lambs.

__Worship in ways that let all believers take an active part, including children.

Let older children help prepare younger ones to participate. Use local music and other art forms.

__Celebratethe Lord’s Supper regularly, in a heartfelt way

__Multiply churches or cell groups

__Prepare and send workers to other neglected fields.


5.  Check off these when expanding leadership training and installing area coordinators

__Model all vital shepherding skills for apprentice leaders.

__Train leaders on the job as much as possible, while they work with people.

__Share pastoral responsibilities with apprentices.

__Provide advanced biblical studies for those able to complete them.

__Commission shepherds to lead biblical ceremonies.

Marry, bury, dedicate children, lead meetings, serve Communion, baptize, commission new leaders with laying on of hands.

__In coaching sessions, at least biweekly if possible, pray and do four actions:

1)  Listen to fieldwork reports.
Trainees report what their people are doing, progress and problems.

2)  Plan fieldwork.
Trainees state what they and their flocks will do during the next two weeks or so, and record plans with names, dates and places, on maps if practical.

3)  Listen to learning reports.
Trainees recap what they have learned.

4)  Plan learning.
Assign studies to trainees that 1) fit their different plans, and 2) enrich spiritually.

__Use materials, such as most of those offered by POY!, that areeasily geared to trainees’ flocks’ education level and culture.

__Choose from a menu, such as the POY! Dashboard, to select currently relevant training materials.

Christ and Paul taught with a “menu” approach. Like restaurant waiters, they listened firstor read lettersto know what people orchurches  needed, and responded accordingly.

__Educate in a way that fits culture, need for secrecy and education level.

In most of today’s neglected fields security requires non-institutional training.



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