Have You Been Assessed? Don’t you love it? Only in church planting can we turn the fine art of a calling into a science. It’s not that I’m against assessments. In my own personal experience I came along at a time when all you had to do to plant was be crazy enough to sign up for a job at the lowest rung in the food change. In the mid-nineties I worked with an organization that took Charles Ridley’s research and forged it into one of the most prolific church planting assessment machines on the planet.
I remember thinking this is really good and I could have greatly benefited from it. The challenge came later when we actually started doing assessments. One thing we failed to take into consideration is the subjective nature of an assessment. At the end of the day in most cases we are asking someone desperate for warm bodies, with a limited understanding of what it takes to plant a church (unless you are actually a church planter), and with a heart as big as Mount Everest to make the call. Having said this, there are some really good assessors and assessment centers out there. Before you settle for one do your homework. Checkout their track record. It’s not hard to do. Those that are good will have a history of choosing really good church planters who plant really good churches. The proof is in the pudding.
Here’s What I Look For…
Don’t ask me to do an assessment. There is something about four hour interviews that make me want to throw up. It has something to do with my ADD having ADHD. However, if you want me to size up a potential church planter I would be glad to. With tons of experience choosing church planters and a pretty good track record there are three things I look for in a church planter.
• Can they cast vision? Okay you are right! This question is about objective as the whole assessment thing, but you have to begin somewhere. Can you cast a vision that is clear enough and compelling enough to get you an audience with the people you are going to need to get in front of if you are to plant the church you have in your heart?
• Can you attract team members? Who is going to plant with you? Have you been successful in recruiting one, two, three, or more team members? Are there those who are willing to resign their current job, and move half way around the country, get a job, raise support, or do whatever it takes to be part of the vision that God has put in your heart? If the answer is yes, yes, and yes you are starting to get my attention.
• Can you raise financial support? I met with a potential church planter this past week that has a track record of raising support. His comment to Shawn Lovejoy and myself was, “I have several people who have been blessed by the Lord that are committed to supporting us.” Our response to him was “then go get it.” Before you start asking people who don’t know you to support you bring some support to the table from those who do know you. Ten years ago I had a similar conversation with a young planter by the name of Shawn Lovejoy. I will never forget him telling me that he had a church that was going to commit about $100,000 to his church plant. I immediately knew that people believed in him and he was going to make a good church planter.
Assessments are good. I do recommend them, but they are only as good as the assessor and the greatest indicator of future success is in pudding.