We identified seven challenges faced by most church planters.
Planting a church is hard enough. It is more difficult when the planter doesn’t have solid support and resources. And we’re not talking about money here. Church planter development is a crucial element to giving new churches a real chance to succeed.
I’m a big believer in facts and figures, not because they tell the whole story, but because they help the story make sense. Several years ago, I did a study to find out what successful church planters had in common. I surveyed over 600 seminary graduates who went on to plant churches. One of the most interesting things I found in this study had to do with the success rate among those who had extended training beyond seminary.
Everyone in my study had finished a three-year 90-credit hour Masters in Divinity. At the end of that, they could either participate in a three-day boot camp or not. About half did, and half did not. Four years later, those who did were leading churches that were substantially larger than those who did not.
So, yes, three days of church planting training made a huge difference after three years of seminary training.
Church planters greatly benefit from focused training
We can’t say that a boot camp is everything, but we can say that the difference between the groups was not theological schooling. Rather, it was focused training. What we discover from anecdotal experience is that people who go through some sort of boot camp find it to be an exceedingly helpful part of their process. Why? Because such training includes intensified instruction in areas that are more specific to church planters.
Years ago, as we were doing research to develop training, we identified seven challenges faced by most church planters. These seven areas are:
- Leadership development and reproducing culture