Competencies

SPIRITUAL VITALITY

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.

THEOLOGICAL CLARITY

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.

CONVICTION & COMMENDATION

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.

HEALTHY MARRIAGE

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.

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

‘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.

GODLY LEADERSHIP

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.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

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.

MISSIONAL LIFESTYLE

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.

FAITHFUL DISCIPLE MAKING

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.

ABILITY TO TEACH

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.

ENTREPRENEURIAL APTITUDE

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.