Posts

Transition Thursday Part 3: Leadership Transition

Over the past few weeks I’ve been filling in for a pastor on sabbatical. I’m in Juneau, Alaska as part of a team of five pastors who’ve served this church (and their pastor) for the past several months. Each of us brings a different style and area of ministry focus.

It’s a healthy church body and my role is primarily working with discipleship and developing leaders. In my opinion, I’ve got the gravy job. Most of the nuts and bolts ministry work was done before I got here. So I’m thankful for my fellow Poimen Ministries pastors, including those serving in other places.

This third and final post, in a series on leadership transition, is a combination of questions and thoughts to help you look toward and plan for a good transition of leadership.

Leadership Transition—part 3

If you’ve followed along, this is the 3rd post related to the story of leadership transition from King Solomon to his son Rehoboam, as told in 2 Chronicles 10. If not, you might want to review the previous two posts in this series. The first is– The Importance of Passing the Baton Well, and the second is– Leadership Transition and the Value of a Team.

As with part 2, this will mostly be questions to consider, and these will focus more on the one coming into a leadership role or position. Although it can be looked at from a younger leader’s (pastor’s) perspective, there are good things to ponder for those of us who’ve been in leadership for quite a while.

Do you cast a shadow, or are you in the shadow?

A couple things to keep in mind…
It’s always tough to follow in the footsteps of a founding leader or pastor, especially if they were a very charismatic personality type of leader, who is popular and well-liked. It is especially difficult when they remain nearby—it’s hard to get out from under their shadow.
Can you imagine what it was like to follow someone like Solomon? Solomon did very well, but his dad (King David) set things up very well for him. That favor was not returned for Rehoboam—a lesson to be learned!
Some questions and thoughts to consider:
  • If you’re a founding leader or pastor– What are you doing now to provide for a smooth transition for whoever will follow you?

We have the example of King David setting things up for Solomon, but we also have Jesus.

Once Jesus began His public ministry, He started grooming those who would become the leaders of the first church. He chose twelve men and trained them through teaching, example, and delegation. He told them and showed them, then sent them out.
I over-simplified Jesus’ training process, but a more thorough look at it can be found in many good books. One I always recommend is the classic, “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman.

And don’t forget the apostle Paul, who wrote most of the epistles of the New Testament, especially those called the Pastoral Epistles—1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul has much to say about discipling and raising up leaders!

  • If you’re a new leader or pastor– What model of leadership are you following? That of Jesus, or someone you’re trying to emulate?

I served as a missionary and pastor in the Philippines for fifteen years. Another pastor and I served as interim pastors at a local church, and my friend recruited a young Filipino pastor to serve at our church. I had the opportunity to help this young pastor get settled as the new senior pastor.

He was discipled well by another American missionary-pastor, so he was equipped to teach and he also led worship. But, I encouraged him to develop his own vision for the church, and with his own style of leading.

His mentor had a strong personality, so I was concerned the younger pastor would tend to emulate him. He followed that advice and developed into a strong pastoral leader and teacher. He is also committed to discipling other leaders within the church.

  • Are you following a founding pastor? If so, what are you doing to help the people of the organization or church adjust to a different leadership style and personality?
    • Are you starting out fresh with a new vision and direction?
    • What are you bringing along with you as a leader from your own experience, good or bad?

King David had a vision for the Kingdom of Israel while he was king, and saw beyond his own reign. Because of his passion for God he wanted to build a temple, but this was not God’s plan. So King David set things in place for the temple to be built by his son, as well as the transition of leadership (see 1 Chronicles 22).

  • Has God given you a fresh vision for leadership?
    • Can you articulate this vision clearly so others can see it with you?
    • Has God revealed His plan for how this vision is to be implemented and fulfilled?
    • Have you sought out counsel from more experienced leaders?
  • Or…
    • Are you moving forward with your own ideas as it seems best to you?
    • Are your plans based on borrowed ideas from someone who’s “successful”?

Some final thoughts

A leadership book I’ve found very helpful over the years is, “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make,” by Hans Finzel. I like it because it’s based on real experience, it’s concise and practical, and provides clear direction for how not to make these same mistakes. It is well worth the read.

Hopefully, along the path of leadership, we can learn how to make good transitions, so others may follow well. If you want the top 10 ways to lead, observe the master leader, Jesus! No one can improve on His methods, nor match His example.

With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.

Transition Thursday Pt 2: Leadership Transition and the Importance of a Team

What does good leadership transition look like? Should it be on a grand scale and made with great promises? How long should it take, and what’s the secret to a successful transition?

Last week I started a three-part series on leadership transition, using the illustration of passing the baton in a relay race. A relay race is composed of teams of four runners who must be quick, strategic, and smooth in running, pacing the handoff of the baton, and the handoff itself.

One critical element is often overlooked in our age of super-stardom. The four runners must work together as a team. No one runner is more important than the other. Each has a role to play. Yes, it’s great to get off to a good start, and have a strong kick at the finish. But, it’s also vital that the second and third runners gain, regain, or keep the lead, along with seamless handoffs so no precious seconds are lost.

Teamwork is critical for good transitions of leadership. But where and when does this teamwork start?

From great to not so great

Last installment (part 1) we looked at the story of Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles. It is a sad example of a transfer of leadership from one leader to another, from King Solomon to Rehoboam, his son. It can also illustrate a transition of leadership in most any organization, including a church.
One thing especially difficult is a transition from a founding pastor (or leader), to a younger, much less experienced leader, as in this story (2 Chronicles 10:1-19). “Filling the shoes” of someone who established the culture of a church (or organization) is very difficult, and is even more difficult under the shadow of the founder, if they stay within the organization or church.
Here are several questions that should help bring some healthy consideration towards a good leadership transition. Healthy leadership transition shouldn’t start as an afterthought, or in the last few months of a leader’s tenure, but needs to start early on. It should be embedded in the whole vision of the church or organization.
 
Self-accountability questions for leaders—
1) How is your relationship with the Lord? Are you going through a spiritual growth period or adry spell? Are your devotional times with the Lord somewhat hum-drum or are you experiencing some special times as well?
2) Who are you discipling? Are you investing any of your life and walk with the Lord in someone else? How are you transferring any of what the Lord has done in your life to bless others?
3) Who are you training up for positions of leadership? Who is able to take your place if you’re called to do something different someday? Will what you are doing outlast or survive your involvement and presence?
4) Are you accountable to anyone? Who? Do they know this? Do you make regular time to be held accountable? If not, who can you go to when you need guidance, help, or restoration?
5) What vision do you have for ministry now and the future? Do you have a sense of vision for the ministry you’re involved with now? Do you have vision for other ministry beyond what you’re doing now?

Now rather than later

That’s a bunch of questions all at one time, but these are not to be answered once and set aside. They should be looked at and considered from time to time within a given year—maybe 2 or 3 times a year.
Discipleship will naturally produce leaders. It worked well for Jesus, and it still works. It’s just a slow and deliberate process, which is why now is the best time to start doing it! Keep it simple, personal, and deliberate. It will spawn good spiritual growth for the discipler, as well as the one discipled.

Looking ahead

In the next installment I’d like to address some questions for younger leaders. But even young leaders can benefit from the above questions. If Rehoboam followed the advice of the team of advisors to his father (King Solomon), it would be a very different story. But he didn’t.

Trusted and proven advisors are a valuable asset to young leaders, any leaders for that matter. New and young leaders can bring fresh vision and energy to the table, but not know how to get things started or how to implement the vision.

Next week, we’ll look at a few ideas to prepare for leadership transition long before it needs to happen.
What is your experience with discipleship?
 
Are you investing any of your life and walk with the Lord in someone else?
 
Who are you training up for positions of leadership?
 

What vision do you have for ministry now and the future?

 

With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.

The Benefits of a Spiritual Exercise Plan

I’m no authority on the subject of physical exercise but it seems to me that the people who seem to benefit most have an exercise plan. Exercise in the physical or spiritual realm requires intentionality and tends to be more effective when done with another. People who want to develop in the physical realm determine the various options such as weight training, cardio, flexibility, etc. and then seek to create an exercise plan that is right for them. The plan is designed to help you grow from where you are to where you want to be. An exercise partner ideally encourages you and creates accountability in a way that helps you to implement your plan. Creating a culture of intentional growth is great for the individual and the community.

In the spiritual realm we need to be careful to avoid reducing a relationship with Christ to a spiritual workout or creating any impression that doing more spiritual exercise makes you more right with God. If you are in Christ you are right with God because of the work that Jesus did and by receiving that gift from God by faith when you submitted to Christ. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered through the years that a spiritual exercise plan and an accountability partner have helped me to grow in Christ. Similarly, I’ve seen that a spiritual exercise plan has been helpful for new believers, mature believers, and Christian leaders. So how do you create a spiritual exercise plan?

Consider the list below and set personal goals for your spiritual development. Don’t worry about comparing your list with someone else’s plan it is not a competition, but a personal spiritual growth plan.

1. Bible reading: for example consider a Bible reading plan to read through the Bible in a year. Perhaps you want to create a plan based on a certain amount of time (e.g. a half hour) for a certain number of days each week, or any plan that works for you.
2. Prayer: plan to set aside time to pray alone or with others. Consider a list of prayer requests to help you.
3. Reflection: Take time to journal or for some quiet time to reflect about God and your life with Christ.
4. Sharing your faith: How often would you like to share your faith with an unbeliever or unchurched person?
5. Authentic relationships [community]: What is your plan to be involved in a community group?
6. Serving others: How would you like to serve God by serving others in the church in this coming season?
7. Generosity: How do you plan to give of your financial resources to advance God’s kingdom through the church in the coming year?

Once you have a plan share it with a friend who will help to encourage you and keep you accountable. I try to meet with my spiritual exercise partner every couple of weeks to talk about life in general, any challenges we are facing and to encourage one another to keep growing in Christ. These times are far more than reviewing a checklist. Sometimes we don’t even talk about our spiritual exercise plans, and these meetings are some of my favorite times of life.

Remember the purpose of a spiritual exercise plan is to help you to grow in your relationship with Christ and others. It is a flexible plan and you can adjust it whenever and however you choose. I suspect that the last thing that Christ desires is you feeling guilty that you are not doing enough. Instead consider the plan as a tool to help you be intentional about your growth.

Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and the Church Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook and Twitter @BruceZacahry.

Book Review: What Makes A Leader Great

Russ Crosson is a committed follower of Christ and president and CEO of Ronald Blue and Co, LLC one of the largest financial advisory firms in the U.S. provides a fresh and Biblical perspective on leadership in the marketplace and ministry. There are a plethora of resources on “How to lead” or “What a leader should do.” There seem to be very few that focus on why we lead. 

In considering why we lead, Crosson suggests a rarely heard clarion cry: we lead in order to replace ourselves. At the end of the day we are not successful leaders unless we have successors. He challenges leaders who are not actively and intentionally preparing the next generation of leaders. The most effective leaders are those that realize their mission is not about them but those that come after them. Those leaders realize that they are dispensable, so they plan ahead by training those who will one day take their place. 

At the end of the day we are not successful leaders unless we have successors.

The book provides a humble narrative with a strong biblical foundation as Crosson describes his journey to discover what makes leaders great. I think it is a particularly helpful resource to our movement in our history. As relatively new movement we are now reaching an age where several leaders and pastors are contemplating leadership transitions. This is a great resource to discover some of the dangers of not being prepared; and a fantastic tool to discover how to be more effective in preparing. In a nutshell the author is recommending preparing today even when one does not anticipate the succession plan to unfold for many years to come. 

In the context of church planting it provides a paradigm for leadership that champions the development of next generation leaders from the organization’s inception. Thus leaders and followers who become future leaders not only discover why but will also be blessed to learn more effectively “How to.” 

I’ve ordered several copies for core leaders at our local church and highly recommend that you read this book as well.
 
Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and the Church Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook.

Why ReEngage 14 Is For You!

Pastor Bruce Zachary (CCPN Director) & Senior Pastor of Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA.


There are several reasons why you should invest your resources and time to attend this year’s conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa 9.29-30.14. To Equip — To Encourage — To Engage

To Equip: Starting a new churchis often the most difficult challenge that a church planter will experience in his life. This reality is a catalyst to ensure that we are responsible to invest resources to ensure that they are equipped for the task. Mentors need to be better equipped to train planters and planters need to receive training and resources that are consistent with our movement. We need to ensure the accurate and effective transmission of the Calvary Chapel DNA [our philosophy of ministry and theology] so that healthy CC churches are established. This year’s conference line-up of main session speakers and workshop leaders are well known, gifted, and leaders in our movement. Most importantly they will address practical and critical aspects of the equipping process. Furthermore, they will be available to those that attend to talk, equip, and encourage you in the process. You simply won’t get that experience by seeking resources on-line.

“We need to ensure the accurate and effective transmission of the Calvary Chapel DNA [our philosophy of ministry and theology] so that healthy CC churches are established.”

To Encourage: Gathering with other like-minded pastors, aspiring planters, and other leaders in various stages of the process of planting strengthens each participant. The opportunity to hear from others beyond our generally limited areas provides strength and comfort for the task at hand. The experience of gathering with familiar friends and making new friends who are passionate about church planting, the CC movement, and the greater Kingdom of God – people from all over the globe – is inspiring. You will discover that many of the concerns and fears: it is too complicated, too time consuming, too costly, or it will hurt the sending church were simply lies from the enemy of men’s souls. Until you hear it face to face from peers, and others in the trenches you are unlikely to take the necessary steps of faith to move forward in the process. You will be encouraged to be strong and of good courage and to cross the Jordan River and experience the Promised Land of church planting.

To Engage: There are potential mentors and prospective planters who have thought about the idea of church planting and been attracted to the concept. They have taken a peek at some resources or heard some exciting news and wondered, “God is this something that you are calling me (us) to?” They’ve been curious but have not engaged. Although they keep sensing, “Some day we are going to do that” they haven’t for months or even years. Committing resources for church planting is a catalyst to engage. By carving out time in your schedule and encouraging others to attend you begin to engage in the process and then it is only natural supernaturally to find yourself advancing God’s kingdom through church planting.

“By carving out time in your schedule and encouraging others to attend you begin to engage in the process and then it is only natural supernaturally to find yourself advancing God’s kingdom through church planting.”

So register, bring a team, invite prospective planters, mentors, and their wives, and be equipped, be encouraged and engage in church planting!


 Register for ReEngage 14 here!

Little Boy Soldiers

Pastor Bill Walden pastors Cornerstone Ministries of Napa Valley. You can find out more info about him on his blog at pastorbillwalden.com, and about his church at cmmv.org.

God calls His people to different tasks, and He gives them different gifts by which they may serve Him, but gifting is only one side of this equation.  God gives the calling and the gifting, but we must grow into these callings and develop the gifts He has given us. We must also grow in the grace of God.

Let me offer a hypothetical example.  A young man is called to be a leader in his church.  Even as a young teen, the sense of it is strong, and he is sure of it. But with that calling, the young man must grow spiritually.  He must respond appropriately.  There must be self discipline and growth.  Most importantly, he must learn to live in the grace of God for himself.  His victories must be tempered with the knowledge that God’s grace has enabled him.  His failures must be met with a sureness that God’s grace pardons him because of Jesus.

Let me offer an illustration.  A young boy wants to be a soldier.  He is intelligent, and a committed patriot.  He studies weaponry and battle tactics.  Because the army (church) is short on soldiers (servants), he is enlisted and outfitted.  He is committed, but he hasn’t grown enough (matured enough) to be effective.  His boots are too big; the gun is too heavy; and the fatigues make him stumble. Not only can he not do his job, but he endangers his fellow soldiers who have to constantly rescue him.  They may even begin to resent him; not because they don’t like him, but because instead of helping, he actually makes warfare (ministry) more dangerous (difficult).

The proof that he is not ready is that he is not effective in battle (ministry). He talks like a soldier, dresses like a soldier, thinks like a soldier, and likes to spend time with soldiers, but he is not ready to be a soldier.

What will he do next?  There are three possibilities.

1) He will go home, maintain his patriotism, eat well, exercise, and grow into manhood.  This will require patience, but he sees that it is essential.

2) He will try to force the issue by joining another platoon (church), and insist that he is ready for battle.  Because the warfare is intense, and the volunteers are few, the next platoon (church) readily welcomes him and puts him to work.  He feels approved of, and is proud of his uniform (ministry title), until he starts lagging behind in battle (service), and the scenario repeats itself, and the young man’s frustration builds. The cycle can continue to repeat itself many times over.  Either the young man will mature, or he will become so embittered that he loses his patriotism (Christian calling), and jettisons the whole idea of serving and leading.

3) He will start his own army of little boy soldiers.  They will dress like soldiers, talk like soldiers, and believe that they are on (a) mission, but will accomplish nothing, and mislead others.

In Christian service, there is no substitute for maturity.  In this instance, I define maturity as follows:  Having a healthy self image in regards to who and what you are and aren’t.  Knowing what gifts you do and don’t have.  Not needing ministry to validate your worth.

In Christian service, there is no substitute for maturity.

Christian service is indeed a type of warfare.  (2 Timothy 2:1-7).  The church desperately needs leaders who have grown into the stature required for the position.

It is a good thing to desire to serve and lead, but maturity is also needed.  May I suggest that you re-visit the comments of people that have released you from ministry.  Re-think the times when you have been ineffective, or made big mistakes. Don’t blame your fellow soldiers or officers. Take a personal inventory of your maturity.  Ask trusted friends to tell you the truth about yourself.  If there is criticism, and if growth is needed, be willing to grow into the position of leadership instead of just expecting or demanding it.

Someone has said that it takes a crucified man to serve a crucified Christ. Let God do more work in you, so that He may do more work through you.

Let God do more work in you, so that He may do more work through you.

Reflections on a Church Plant Pt. 1

Ed Compean pastors Calvary Chapel Githurai, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more info, go to the church website at calvarygithurai.org.

Last week was Calvary Chapel Githurai’s seventh anniversary of our launch service. It was also the Sunday I announced I was moving on and the role of lead pastor was being transitioned to Murigi Kariuki. In the days leading up to our final meeting on details and working through how to communicate this change to the saints in Githurai, I contemplated some of my challenges as a pastor. From that time of contemplation I gave Murigi a list that I plan to share in three parts. It was not a list of what he should do, because he will eventually have his own list of challenges. It was a list of my challenges and hopefully a list that will help him. They are not given in any particular order, and I could probably fill many more posts, but these are the points I considered important to pass on to Murigi and hope they help others.

Unjam and Unhook

Too many times in the the early days of the church, ministry would come to a stand still as people in a minor role of ministry oversight did not feel equipped and lacked ability to see the bigger picture of what God was doing in His local church. They only could see that they were doing chai ministry (think coffee ministry) and did not see their service as a point of hospitality and entry into the church. Looking back I wish I had begun a School of Ministry, or similar, to unify the leaders in vision and purpose. The first SoM (using a “Kenyanized” version of the SoM manual on this site) graduated only six students, but most of them ended up being key leaders in the next season of the church plant. All the graduates had a unified vision of the church and became agents of change and could be trusted to take ministry forward.

Follow up on Delegation

I have been told I’m an encourager and I can confidently say God has allowed me to stir up gifts (2 Tim 1:6) in the servants I’m honored to serve with. I’ve also been told I have a tendency to put people and ministry into action and then never follow up. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time not only developing people and ministry, but systematically following up so they would not grow weary of doing good.

Identify and Disciple Young Leaders

Calvary in Githurai has surely been used of God to develop leaders, but I wish I had particularly invested more, into faithful young men who would be able to teach others. Here in Kenya, more than 50% of the population are  considered youth, meaning post-circumcision, but pre-marriage (roughly 18 to 35-years), yet remain among the least reached and ministered to group. I identified too much with potential church planters and families, yet should have spent more time developing youth.

More points will come. My hope is that church planters, and those mentoring planters, will consider what they wish they would have done better. For Timothy types, who are called to stay and not move on to plant another work, I suggest considering how your list may be changed in 2014.

Relationally Challenged

Pastor Matthew Dragoun from Cambria Calvary Chapel in Cambria, CA, shares insight on training people up and sending them out…

——————————–

One thing that Calvary Chapel has always done well is train up disciples by investing in them spiritually. Of course, you can’t help this when you are teaching the Word of truth in the power of the Spirit.

As we continue to grow, the need for a thorough approach to train up practically while sending out has become evident. CCPN’s mission to equip men for church planting through mentoring utilizing the resource of the manual to help direct the planter is a great way to see this accomplished. The manual clearly depicts the pastoral ministry model and administration. I only wish it was around when I ventured out.

One area that I believe we lack in recognition and raising awareness is that of the relational aspect of church planting. I am by no means an authority on this subject but I would like to share my experience and observation.

How does a faithful servant who has taken personal possession of his ministry under the leadership of his pastor, upon hearing the call, handle the struggle of releasing those ministries and coming into a new identity without “checking out” before he leaves? The same way a sending pastor trudges through the transitions from offering “cart blanche” support to thinking “this is mutiny” and finally saying “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry” without compromising the fellowship.

In most cases the relationship between the mentor and the planter has developed through the years and continues to grow through the pains of planting, whether in a nearby community or on the other side of the World.

-The pastor/pupil relationship is one of investment and receiving

-The friendship is one of vulnerability that develops a greater intimacy

-The co-laboring relationship is one that celebrates being coheirs in fellowship

-The boss/employee relationship takes expectation and communication to a whole new level

-The mentor/planter relationship changes everything

When all is said and done, what we would like to remain in this miraculous relationship would be everything but the boss/employee relationship. But this isn’t always the case. Personalities, attitudes and emotions sometimes take the front seat and rob both men of a time of wondering together in what the Lord is doing.

The short answer in struggling through these fruitless frustrations is found in an awareness of the potentials, committing to prayer, enhanced communication and extending extra grace. It is going to be weird; it is going to get awkward and is probably going to have some points that aren’t too pretty; but it doesn’t have to be a season of grief and it doesn’t have to be defined as a “sending away” rather than a “sending out”. Remember the joy you have in serving together, the love that you have for one another and don’t let the enemy rip you off of seeing Jesus glorified as He takes your relationship to a whole new level.

…struggling through these fruitless frustrations is found in an awareness of the potentials, committing to prayer, enhanced communication and extending extra grace.

While we hit our bumps, however distant and independent we are, my pastor will always be my pastor, one of my best friends and one of my favorite co-laborers to serve with. I pray that anyone that I have the privilege of sending out would be able to say the same.

The Three Most Important Questions Every Church Planter and Pastor Must Address

Bruce Zachary pastors Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA, as well as serves as the Director of the Calvary Church Planting Network. Here, Bruce shares three vital questions for every church planter and pastor…

————————-

1. how will [or how does] your church most effectively connect with the lost?

As planters and pastors we need to consider how are we seeking to reach the lost. I presume that we all truly desire to advance the Kingdom and reach the lost rather than simply glean transfer growth from another local church. So, how do you and your local church actually do that [or plan to do it]? When calvary nexus was first planted I would often hang out at coffee houses to study. I’d seek to engage people in conversations about God and invite them to the Bible study (or later the church services). I would frequently share the stories with the church of reaching out to people and sharing the gospel. I’d share the successes, the less than perfect exchanges and also the times that I was prompted by God to share and failed to share the gospel. It gave a tangible example for people, and encouraged them to share their faith [btw – I still do this].

As the years went by and the church grew, we became very effective at large-scale outreach events. These likely became our most effective means of reaching the lost. It is a blessing to see God work in large-scale events and to have the resources to undertake them, but I also realized that we had become less effective in sharing our faith as individuals. So, during the next season we focused more on equipping and encouraging the church to engage in relational evangelism. Again, we saw God’s favor and we were effective in connecting with the lost. Presently, we seek to emphasize reaching the lost through our extensive community group ministry; and we will need to evaluate and ask, “Are we being effective in reaching the lost?” Regardless of the approach, whether it is focused primarily in one area or multiple approaches, the question to regularly evaluate is, “How will [or how does] your church most effectively connect with the lost?”

2. how will [or how does] your church most effectively make disciples?

What is the plan to make disciples? Again, the issue is effectiveness.  How are you going to equip believers to encourage maturity as disciples? As Calvary Chapels, we place a great emphasis on teaching the Bible and may presume that this will undoubtedly result in believers becoming disciples. Nevertheless, a passive lecture through the Scriptures is likely not the most effective way to encourage true maturity. Bible teaching is definitely part of the answer, but you must consider additional means of making disciples. Perhaps new believer or foundations of the faith type classes in a small group context or message series can provide essentials in theology. Consider offering a class, series, or group that focuses on the Calvary Chapel philosophy of ministry (what we believe and why we believe it). Finally, consider offering a School of Ministry [SoM] as the next step in spiritual leadership development [Btw – the free SoM curriculum on the CCPN site is easy to use, and designed for churches of any size – groups meet once a week for an hour and a half]. Again, you must think through how you are making disciples, and how effective is the approach. 

…a passive lecture through the Scriptures is likely not the most effective way to encourage true maturity. Bible teaching is definitely part of the answer, but you must consider additional means of making disciples.

3. how will [or how does] your church most effectively raise leaders who can make disciples? 

The keys to an effective plant or church are related to: reaching the lost [evangelism], equipping them to maturity [making disciples], and leadership development [raising leaders who can make disciples]. Those who do all three effectively are likely to be successful in advancing the kingdom through the local church. What is your plan to raise leaders who can make disciples? Again, consider the SoM manual as a resource to train leaders. Also, the internship resources on the CCPN site should be very helpful for you. 

The essential steps are:

a. prepare leaders – train,

b. delegate responsibility for them to make disciples – a clear description of their role,

c. evaluate effectiveness – are the leaders actually helping to develop mature disciples?

Conclusion: although it is undoubtedly challenging to actually consider theses questions and provide meaningful consideration, the process will provide extremely valuable insight and direction to be more effective for Christ in the coming season.