In 2012 my wife, Katie, and I went through a Discovery Lab, our assessment event for potential church planters. Since then I’ve learned some about how other networks assess planters. It’s been interesting to see how much we have in common.Most assessment processes start with Chuck Ridley’s Church Planter Profile. He pinpointed 13 characteristics of successful church planters. He refers to the first six as “knock out factors,” or non negotiable.
I’ve always been drawn to church planting even though my training and most of my experience is in campus ministry. Really, it’s amazing how much overlap there is between the two. You see it when you get into Ridley’s competencies.
Church planters are missionaries. Campus ministers should approach their work with the same mentality. In fact, I think the six non-negotiables for church planters exist for campus ministers as well.
1. Visioning CapacityIf you’re a church planter you’re an entrepreneur. You’re creating something new from scratch. You have to be able to see it before it exists.
If you’re a campus minister you’re an entrepreneur. You may not be creating from scratch. But, if you’re going to reach an entire campus you’ll have to create some new things.
It all starts as a dream in the leader’s heart.
2. Personal MotivationNo one tells an entrepreneur when to go to work. They motivate themselves. In fact, getting church planters to work isn’t the problem. It’s often getting them to stop.
Since campus ministers function like missionaries they need to be able to motivate themselves. They need to be driven by their God given calling to reach the campus. You don’t have to tell someone with a calling to work.
3. Creating Ownership of Ministry/Building a Core TeamYou reach the many by impacting a few. Jesus modeled this. He spent three years with twelve men and really focused on three. It changed the world.
You don’t have to have a big personality to reach a city or a campus. But, you do need to invest deeply in the lives of others. You have to be able to build a team. This is the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-13)!
4. Reaching the UnchurchedChurch planting is an evangelism strategy. Plain and simple: it’s a way to reach the lost and expand the borders of God’s kingdom. Yes, it takes a core of committed disciples to do this. But, too many churches drift from this mission.
It’s the same with campus ministry. We want to help Christian students grow in their walk with Christ. But, we’re also called to penetrate the darkness of our campuses.
5. Spousal CooperationThis one applies to church planting, campus ministry, or any other type of ministry. If you’re married, ministry is a team effort. None of us will maximize our impact without the support of our spouses.
In the case of church planting, or any kind of ministry for that matter, if your spouse isn’t on board, don’t do it.
6. Relationship BuildingMinistry is people work. It’s all about relationships. This is true in church planting, campus ministry, or any other type of ministry. Long term effectiveness is tied to building healthy relationships.
Campus ministry is an important part of the church planting process. I love what Tim Keller said about church planting movements...
You have to have a leadership pipeline developing and that usually happens through campus work. You have to have really dynamic college ministry...you have to have a campus leadership pipeline other wise the church planting doesn't continue.