The Multiplication Conversation Continues in San Jose
Approximately 40 people joined the “multiplication conversation” at the IBC’s fall MULTIPLY Conference. The conference was held in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 27 October following the IBC’s Annual Convention Meeting. The purpose of the conference is to invite every IBC church, as well as friends of the IBC, into the conversation about multiplying English-language international churches around the world. The conference is a venue for discussing the many facets of international church planting, generating ideas, and discovering opportunities to inform our church multiplication efforts.
The topic for this conference was “recruiting church planters.” The participants tackled three primary questions. “What is recruitment?” “What does a church planter look like?” and “Where can we find potential church planters?”
The dialogue began in large group discussion around three basic points concerning the question, “What is recruitment?”
First, recruitment is a work of God, not man. The starting point is asking God to raise up the needed workers for the harvest. Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2). If we have not spent time before God asking for planters then the result of our efforts will be minimal at best. James 4:2 says we do not have because we do not ask. Praying for our church multiplication efforts, especially asking God for church planters, is the most important thing we can do and something that everyone can do.
Second, recruitment is a relationship, not an event. Relationships take time. As each of us relate with potential church planters we need to take the time to:
- listen for the individual’s spiritual commitment and calling
- hear his vision for church planting and multiplication
- meet and get to know his family
- check his character through references
- assess his competency for church planting
Third, Recruitment is a team effort, not a job description. A shared responsibility for recruitment increases the number of potential contacts. We need every member of every IBC church on the team. Because of our international and transient nature, IBCers tend to have large networks of friends and colleagues. Start a list of prospective church planters and keep it updated. Pass names on to your pastor, an IBC LEAD team member, or the IBC Church Multiplication office. We can do so much more together, with God, than any of us could do on our own.
Next, participants huddled up in teams to tackle the question, “What does a church planter look like?” After a significant time of brainstorming, discussion, and prioritizing, each team presented their top 10 attributes of the ideal English-language international church planter. Here is the consolidated list developed from the conference (in no particular order):
- Relational evangelist and disciple-maker with a missionary heart
- Faith-filled prayer warrior
- Healthy and supportive marriage and family
- Theologically sound and spiritually tolerant
- Strong public ministry skills – good preacher and communicator
- Leader – strategic, visionary, and effective team builder
- Energetic, perseverant, and resilient
- Culturally sensitive and competent
- Generalist – good at many ministry tasks
- Spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy
- Self-starting entrepreneur with a pioneer spirit
- Humble and teachable learner
Our final task of the day was to consider the question, “Where can we find potential church planters?” Again, teams huddled up and brainstormed ideas and discussed possibilities, and then each team shared what they came up with. Here are the results:
- Our current churches – small groups, church leaders
- Our previous churches
- Pastors, leaders, or missions conferences
- Our social groups
- Social media
- Friends and family
- Online classified advertisements
- Church visits
- Second career individuals
- Early retirement missionaries
- Former chaplains (English-speaking) – military chaplains, etc.
- Other conventions or Christian organizations we’re connected to
- International schools – high schools, universities, etc.
- IBC gatherings – Connect Conference, EuroVenture, Men’s Conference
- Job fairs
- Missionaries in our churches
- Christian universities
Again, as Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” If we go to the Lord of the harvest together, recruit church planters together, and multiply churches together, then together we will become the movement we dream of being.
Our next MULTIPLY Conference is schedule for 28 March 2017 following the IBC Ministry Leadership Conference in Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece.
Darryl Evetts, Director of Church Multiplication
Website – http://www.internationalchurchplanting.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/catalystinternationalchurchplanting/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/internationalchurchplanting/
“It builds excitement among those that attend about church planting and helps the participants to feel that they are part of the planting process. It also shows the importance/significance of church planting to our group of churches.”
“Keeps the vision alive. Ensuring ownership by all, rather than a select few.”
“It keeps church planting as a primary focus of the IBC. It regularly invites all IBCers to be involved in church planting.”