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JOIN ACTS 29

Acts 29 offers church leaders decades of field-tested training and guidance for planting healthy, multiplying churches around the globe.

Why Apply

The call to make disciples is answered most effectively through gospel-centered churches. We support church planters and their families with effective tools, deep relationships, and sage guidance to help your church grow, thrive and glorify God.

What’s Involved

Our four-stage assessment process is the primary way we help potential planters determine their readiness to plant a church. After the initial application, online assignments, and a phone interview, a planter/pastor and his wife are invited to attend an assessment conference.

Who Should Apply

Church planting is a challenging but rewarding task, and not everyone is called to it. We help potential planters, existing pastors, and interested church leaders explore church planting and set them up on a stage-appropriate track.

Competencies

Acts 29 has identified 11 core competencies essential to planting a church. Use our gospel-centered assessment to help you answer the big question: am I a church planter?

How to Apply

Fill out our online application to start the process. Once completed, you’ll be invited to meet with an Acts 29 leader.

Committed and United

Members of Acts 29 enter into a covenant together to plant new churches, maintain theological integrity, and support the leaders of Acts 29 as they grow our diverse, global network of healthy, multiplying churches.

CORE IDEA

Spiritual vitality is the gift, given to us by the Holy Spirit who unites us to Christ, specifically in his death and resurrection: ‘For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’ Romans 6:5. Spiritual vitality is the life of those raised with Christ. It is a free gift to us, although costly to God. When God raised Christ on the third day, we were raised with him. Church planters must display this fruit and plant churches that proclaim this to all.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Are you born again? Do not simply shrug and remember that you have a testimony or dismiss this question as obvious. Not every church planter is saved, and to attempt this work without Christ is ruin and misery.
  2. How is your prayer life? This is the first key indicator of your spiritual vitality. If you love and trust God, you will be prayerful. If you are not prayerful, the solution is not to work on your prayer life, but look to Christ. Meditate on him, and you will find yourself praying.
  3. How is your Bible study? This is the second key indicator of your spiritual vitality. If you love and trust God, you will want to hear his word. If you are not reading the Bible often and with desire, again, do not work on your Bible reading, but look to Christ. Meditate on him, and you will find yourself reading scripture.
  4. How important to your church planting plans is love? A spiritually alive church will love the Lord and love her neighbour. Everything else will spring from this source. Would an outsider say that love is the heart-beat of your church family, core team or plans?
  5. Ask your wife, parents, children, church elders and friends if you live for Christ. Maybe ask them to read this and then speak into your life. This could be hard; it will be humbling, but it is a useful way to assess who you are.

CORE IDEA

Church planting is a theological enterprise. At the great commission the disciples are told to make theologically formed disciples (Matthew 28:18–20).  A church planter must be able to rightfully handle the scriptures with clarity and insight, so that they may equip the saints for every good work. Theological clarity enables planters to engage with their culture, to protect the church from false doctrine and to bring the gospel message to all.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Are you confident in articulating your position on the following doctrines: God, Church, Salvation, Word, Man and Creation?
  2. Are you drawn to the study of, and have a natural appetite for thinking deeply about theology?
  3. Can you see clearly which doctrines are under attack in your society and within the church?
  4. Does theological study lead you to worship, discipleship and mission?
  5. In evangelism, are you able to engage in other world views with a Christian apologetic?

CORE IDEA

Ministry is not for the faint of heart. Paul said, ‘I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.’ 2 Corinthians 11:27-28. Conviction and Commendation bring together both the work of God in the life of the planter and the recognition from the wider church that this planter should be set apart for the task of starting a new church.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. From the Conviction & Commendation eBook, which of the three aspects of conviction do you need to grow most in? What can you do to improve in this area?
  2. Have you asked family, friends, and respected leaders to evaluate you in these areas? How will you steward their responses?
  3. What thing or things do you tend to bow down to most?
  4. What can you do to cultivate a “habitual vision of greatness”?
  5. What one or two things is the Spirit asking you to do in response to this paper?

CORE IDEA

Church planting is a task that all are called to regardless of being married or single. Paul speaks very highly of marriage, ‘This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.’ Ephesians 5:32. Marriage begins in creation with God and is ultimately fulfilled in the new creation when the bride of Christ is united with her husband. Church planters who are married must have a gospel understanding of marriage, so that their marriage, and that of others, may thrive in the context of a church plant.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. How do you specifically practice a Christ-like mutual submission toward one another?
  2. Are you equipping, listening and working with your spouse on gospel projects?
  3. If single or married, how are you finding your identity in Christ and not in the idea of marriage or in the marriage itself?
  4. As it relates to the conviction to plant a church, is your spouse in full agreement and do you both share the burden to see a church planted?
  5. Given the importance the Bible places on marriage, how are you nurturing and strengthening it?

CORE IDEA

‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ John 13:34-35. Godly character is at the heart of an Acts 29 church planter assessment, and this is most clearly reflected in healthy relationships. If believers cannot live in unity, humility and love, then the truth and power of Christ will be undermined and questioned.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Would people describe you as a hospitable and warm person or would they say you are distant and detached? You might want to ask some people.
  2. During conflict, do you engage with the people and issues involved, or do you draw back and avoid getting drawn in?
  3. Are you a man pleaser? If so, are you being discipled in this area?
  4. Do others around you come to you for advice and respect your counsel?
  5. Are you praying for specific people and are aware of the various ways you can encourage, challenge and serve them?

CORE IDEA

Church planting can be one of the greatest tests of a person’s leadership qualities. Planters will be tried in multiple ways during a church’s infancy and will need to show proficiency in a range of different areas. However, their character is of greater importance. Their nature should reflect their Lord and their example should be worthy of imitation. ‘Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account’ (Hebrews 13:17). Christian leaders must be careful to allow leadership theory and practice to emerge from good theology.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Can you say there is a definite pattern in your life of having natural influence over other people that can be attested by others?
  2. Are you known for naturally using your initiative to start something or solve a problem while others willingly follow your lead?
  3. Have your thoughts on how you exercise your leadership focused mainly on preaching and teaching to the neglect of oversight responsibilities?
  4. Be honest, who do you find more attractive: naturally gifted leaders with character blemishes or moderately gifted leaders with impeccable character?
  5. In speaking about leadership development, Geiger and Peck write about conviction (passion that fuels the leader), culture (shared beliefs that drives the group) and constructs (processes and systems that develop leaders). Would you say you pay little or no attention to any of these three because you lack proficiency in them?

CORE IDEA

Maturity is increasingly finding your identity in Christ and being grounded in the gospel so that our behavior is Christlike and our ministry has gospel priorities whatever is going on around you. Ephesians 4:13 says ‘become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’, and verse 15 goes on to say ‘speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.’ Nurturing Christlikeness within the heart of a church planter leads to church plants that are built on the right foundation.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Christian maturity is seen not in arrival, but in progress (1 Timothy 4:15). So the mature remain soft to the gospel and open to growth. Reflect on how God has been changing you over the past twelve months.
  2. List the ways in which you serve Christ unseen. A short list may indicate your primary concern is your glory rather than Christ’s glory.
  3. Think about the last time you were criticized. How did you react? Does your reaction suggest you find your identity in your performance?
  4. Who speaks the truth in love to you? This will show whether you are creating a truth-speaking community which is committed to everyone’s maturity, including yours.
  5. Think about the people you look for when you recruit a team, identify potential leaders or hire staff. Which matters more – skills or character?

CORE IDEA

Christians are given a wonderful identity. In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says: ‘you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light’. The church, in Christ, has become God’s priestly people, whose life together commends the goodness of his kingdom. Church planters must model this and be able to cultivate a missional mindset within the church.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Review Tim Keller’s six characteristics of a missional church (See Missional Lifestyle eBook). For each one, how would you score yourself out of ten?
  2. Calculate the ‘footfall’ of unbelievers through your home. How often are they in your home? Hardly ever, once a month, once a week or more than once a week?
  3. How often do you spend time with unbelievers in places where they feel comfortable? Hardly ever, once a month, once a week or more than once a week?
  4. How often do you speak of Christ with unbelievers or offer to pray for them or with them? Hardly ever, once a month, once a week or more than once a week?
  5. How many people in your missional community or church planting team do your most significant unbelieving friends know by name? None of them, one or two, about half of them or most of them?

CORE IDEA

Jesus said: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ Matthew 28:18-20. This is our mandate – to make disciples. A planter’s ability to set a culture of discipleship in everyday life will have a significant impact on the long-term health of a church plant.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Is the gospel central in your efforts to both make, and mature disciples?
  2. Is your discipleship of others holistic, i.e. are you making disciples by helping others to listen to Jesus, and love others?
  3. Would Dietrich Bonhoeffer have accused you of being a dispenser of “cheap grace”? (See Disciple Making eBook)
  4. What place does ‘the Church’ (local and global) hold in your efforts to obey the Great Commission?
  5. Where would you plot your ‘cultural engagement’ on the spectrum between ’total separation’ and ’total assimilation’?

CORE IDEA

In 1 Timothy 3:2-7, Paul gives a list of qualities that ought to describe those in church leadership. Most of the qualifications pertain to the man leading himself in holiness and leading his home with honor, but there is one key qualification that extends his leadership to the outside world: the ability to teach. Church planting is supernatural work. There is only one message that saves. Church planters, therefore, must be ‘able’ teachers, and must protect the ministry of the word above all other ministries.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. When you have opportunity to teach, do you seek out constructive feedback from others and do they see growth in your teaching over time?
  2. Is your desire to teach based more in your perception of your ability or in your theological conviction of the need for teaching and preaching? In which area do you need to grow more?
  3. When you teach or preach do you sense the Holy Spirit carrying you along? Is the task life-giving to you or fraught with stress and tension?
  4. Has there been fruit from your teaching in the past that shows your audience is understanding and applying what you bring to them from scripture?
  5. Had you previously considered the link between the conviction to plant and the need to be able to teach? Does that excite or intimidate you?

CORE IDEA

In 1 Corinthians 9:22, Paul says ‘I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.’ At the very heart of a planter’s entrepreneurial aptitude, is the desire and ability to engage new cultures in a way that is theologically driven, with missional innovation and cultural engagement. It is pioneering something new for the sake of communicating the unchanging truths of the gospel.

MICRO SKILLS

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

  1. Do you have a track record of establishing new creative ventures?
  2. Do you have a burning affinity to see a Gospel impact in an area that is currently unreached?
  3. Are you able to critique cultures through the lense of the Gospel?
  4. Are you able to gather/enlist others around a common vision for a new venture?
  5. Are you able to innovate and improvise when facing new challenges, difficulties and adversities?