I simply want to say thank you to all involved in the development and implementation of this process. I felt so cared for, honored, encouraged, and challenged. It’s an honor and joy to begin ministry as part of such a wonderful group of godly men who desire to see Jesus glorified in our lives and in the lives of those we minister to. God bless you all.
Lead Planter of Living Stones Church | Elko, NV
Prior to exposure to Acts 29, I searched for someone to provide me with a clear and strong assessment. Far too many people seemed eager to pat me on the back and say “go for it.” I needed someone to tell me what it would require and take a serious look at my life to see if I was ready. Acts 29 was the only organization I could find that took church planting assessment seriously. After our assessment, I realized I had a lot of growing to do and submitted myself to the recommendations. I cannot express how thankful I am for God providing needed direction and leadership through this network.
Lead Planter of East North Church | Greenville, SC
This application and assessment process has been super helpful for me and my wife. It has caused us to look back, reflect, document, and give thanks to the Lord for the road he has led us on to get here. It’s easy to forget how much you’ve grown and to miss how you’ve been providentially led by the Lord without being forced to clearly write out your story and convictions, question after question. Going through all these great questions forced me to look honestly at my life, biblical convictions, character, marriage, family, and what I perceived to be a calling. This led to clarity and a confirmation of calling. With the help of this application and assessment I can see how God has weaved different seasons of our lives and blended many spiritual gifts into a call to plant “Eternal City Church.” I had numerous questions about timing and details about church planting that were answered through this process.
One thing I loved about the application process was that I was able to work through all the questions at my own pace; sometimes I took weeks or even months on a certain section of the application. This allowed for deep reflection and created some good discussions between my wife and me as we worked together on certain questions. Our assessment interview was very encouraging and confirming. Our assessment team pastorally cared for us during the interview and asked great clarifying questions. One of the pastor’s wives came as well, which really helped put my wife at ease. The assessment report we received from our team was very encouraging and contained several helpful suggestions. The team gave us helpful direction as well as more confirmation of calling. I would highly recommend this process to anyone who thinks God is calling them to plant a church. It’s well worth the time and any money involved. Thanks Tyler and the Acts 29 staff who put this process together; it’s a great tool, and I’m thankful for it!
Lead Planter of Eternal City Church | Pittsburgh, PA
As Rachel and I plant Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, we have sought to be a part of Acts 29. This network of churches is united in several core convictions (gospel centrality, reformed theology, complementarian leadership, empowered by the Spirit, commitment to church planting) and serves to train, equip, and encourage men and their families as they undertake the impossible task of church planting. Our home church, Redeemer Fellowship, is part of this network, as are Redeemer’s other two church plants (The Church of Dekalb and Ransom City).
My assessment with Acts 29 began with a lengthy written application, which took over 30 hours to complete. The application covered areas of ministry experience, theology, personal holiness, and overall fitness for church planting. After passing the written application stage, I had a two-hour phone interview with someone from the network. The interview provided follow-up on areas from the written application. After I passed the phone interview, we were invited to an in-person interview with three regional Acts 29 pastors.
The group interview was the most intimidating and difficult aspect of our assessment. Rachel and I were asked questions and pressed on our answers for a good part of the two-hour segment. The interviewers asked us about our marriage, our walk with the Lord, and our calling to church planting and ministry. At the end of our time we did not know whether or not we passed, and we were forced to trust the Lord with the results. We knew that ultimately God was sovereign and was going to use the process for our good and for his glory. This was a very sanctifying experience and exposed areas of unbelief, idolatry, and pride in our hearts. Yet God was gracious in helping us to repent and rest in his grace.
A couple weeks later we heard the official results: we passed! This was a huge encouragement and affirmation for us that God is calling us to plant a church in Naperville. The assessors gave us a detailed report, which listed our strengths and weaknesses and also provided a helpful plan for moving forward to plant a church. Overall, we were really encouraged that we passed our assessment and are excited to partner with Acts 29. We have much to learn about church planting and are eager to learn from others who have gone before us.
God is raising up a new generation of church planters to proclaim his gospel in our increasingly post-Christian country. If you’re a church planter, I encourage you to consider joining the Acts 29 network and being assessed. God will use the process for your sanctification and his glory.
Lead Planter of Cross of Christ Fellowship | Naperville, IL
The Acts 29 application process was a huge blessing for me and my family. Taking the time to think through and write down our theological positions, leadership structure, philosophy of ministry, strategies, and timeframes was such a helpful foundation for getting on the ground and starting our church. Going through assessment served as a confirmation of what we believed was a call to plant and connected us with seasoned men who were years down the line from us. The pastors from our assessment have become mentors and guys I contact on a regular bases with questions and for coaching advice. I would recommend the process to anyone looking to plant and can say that we have been nothing but helped by our experience.
Lead Planter of The Well | Abilene, TX
I am eternally grateful for the assessment process. Growing up, my parents were in ministry and I saw many people with the desire for ministry and planting, however, there was no assessment process. Many who went out weren’t called or weren’t ready and I saw many fall over the years. So I personally love the process as it helps clarify call and timing. I’ve especially enjoyed the panel assessments and receiving feedback about my marriage and leadership. This has helped me see things I never would’ve have seen otherwise, allowing the gospel to be applied.
My wife and I are so much better off for it. My church is better off for it and I, personally, am better off for it. As hard as it was to accept the truth of things in my life needing growth, the joy of going through the process has completely outweighed the pain. Brothers and sisters have spoken into our lives for our good and God’s glory. We’ve been challenged, encouraged, supported, and befriended. Idols were revealed and crushed, fears have been overcome, and the gospel continues to lead us to the truth so that we continue to smash those idols and live by faith rather than fear of man.
I found the online tool very helpful in terms of clarifying our church’s position on theological areas. It’s helped clarify our view of mission—discipleship and church planting. It’s just all-around excited us for what God wants to and can do and, we’re believing, will do through us as a family and church family.
My encouragement to everyone is to embrace the process because it’s what God uses to sanctify you and call you. It’s worth it.
Lead Planter of Life Centre Church | Brisbane, QLD
My experience with Acts 29 application and assessment has been more than beneficial for both my wife (Andrea) and myself. The application process did a great job of testing my calling as a church planter, theological understanding, philosophy of ministry, strategy, etc. There is no other network that puts as strong an emphasis on loving your wife and family more than you love planting a church. If you can’t lead your wife, you can’t lead a church. There were a few sections on the application that were specifically geared toward Andrea, and as a result she voiced that she felt valued and appreciated. Not only did she enjoy the opportunity to be heard during the application, but she also really enjoyed the grace and comfort of sitting and talking with the church planters who assessed us. The men and women assessing made it a point to address Andrea’s needs as a church planter’s wife and really dug into how she was handling church planting. For me, the brotherhood alone would be motivation to pursue Acts 29. Everyone has been more than helpful during the application and assessment process and have continued to be helpful even after it’s completed. All-in-all, I don’t think we could ask for a better network that puts as great an emphasis on loving Jesus and the gospel first and foremost, loving your wife and family, having solid doctrine, and being part of a brotherhood.
Lead Planter of Heights Church | Collinsville, IL
My wife and I are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have gone through the application and assessment process. It was a rigorous, difficult process. But it was so very rewarding in the end. Our love for Jesus increased as a result of the process, and our love for one another increased, as well. If we had it to do all over again, we’d do it in a heartbeat.
Lead Planter of Crosspointe Winter Springs | Winter Springs, FL
I went through the assessment process in 2008, hoping that a sense of calling to church planting would be confirmed. The assessors were gracious and helpful in pointing us toward areas in which we needed to grow and put us on the long-term track of “maybe someday.” We were confused for several months after receiving the assessment report as we tried to figure out how to reconcile the high-level “areas we need to work on” from the assessment with the boots-on-the-ground “what now” question we needed to answer. We resolved to keep our eyes open for the right opportunities, work on the areas of growth, and prepare ourselves for when the door was eventually opened to church planting.
Four years later, we reapplied to Acts 29. Our lives had changed significantly in ways that our initial assessors could never have foreseen, yet their assessment and recommendations were what allowed us to be ready for these changes. We had moved, adopted three kids, birthed two, and ended up leading a church plant after all. The second time around, the assessment was much different—and in a way, much more difficult—as the assessors wanted to ensure that previous conditions had been satisfied as well as highlighting continued areas of growth. As our assessment report the second time around stated, they truly were the “wounds of a friend.”
Our experience in going through the application and assessment process was difficult, but I’m convinced that being willing to subject ourselves to the scrutiny has made me a better husband, father, pastor, and leader. It’s paid dividends already as our leadership has seen the importance that Acts 29 places on the character of its pastors—a quality often overlooked so long as competency is present. Furthermore, the relationships we’ve developed with our fellow Acts 29 regional churches has been instrumental in our development as a church and for myself. The assessment set the stage for the type of relationships we would have with one another: not willing that a brother should languish in sin or apathy, but would be encouraged and exhorted to press on toward the goal to which we have been called in Christ Jesus as we lead our churches in the power of the gospel.
Lead Planter of Restore Church | North Haledon, NJ
The assessment process for me was a part of discerning my calling. I knew what I wanted to do and what I felt God was calling me to do, but I needed to be affirmed in the process. There is no doubt that the assessment was thorough and intense, but it is also life-giving and nurturing. God used that time to speak gospel truths into my life and to affirm what he was indeed calling me to do. It also exposed the heart of Acts 29 to be a network that cares for, equips, and encourages its planters. My wife and I were very thankful for both the application and assessment process.
Lead Planter of Salerno City Church | Salerno, IT
The application process for Acts 29 is thorough, efficient, and biblical. The testing, assessment, and coaching truly evaluates essential things. Things like my love for Jesus, the priority of leadership in my marriage and parenting, my Reformed theology, and my missional ministry philosophy. Acts 29 is deeply concerned that I love Jesus, my wife, and then the church. The process has facilitated, in my wife and me, an unparalleled time of unity and depth. It is clear that Acts 29 is most concerned with the gospel and my marriage rather than methods and styles. Thank you Acts 29! You’ve served me to love Jesus and my wife more and to serve and lead my church better.
Lead Planter of Crew Church | Huntington, WV
Sian and I really enjoyed our assessment interview. Obviously, we were a little apprehensive to what was going to happen, but once we arrived and started we found it a real joy. The experience is one I will never forget, not because it was terrible or the assessors ‘beat me up’ in any way, but rather the fact that it was my wife and I together sharing our heart for Jesus, the lost, and planting churches with people who have the same heart. The wisdom, encouragement, and advice I received as a result of the assessment interview has been invaluable to us as a family and a church.
Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church | Liverpool, UK
I’ve sat through too many interviews: job interviews, pastoral interviews, scholarship interviews, medical interviews. Because of the tone and subject matter of most of those, I’ve developed a real aversion to interviews in general.
My wife and I have both been through rounds of personnel interviews with the mission board with whom we serve and we expected our Acts 29 interview to look a lot like those. In other words, we anticipated being probed, prodded, and pushed until we were exhausted and left saying, “Well, we’re glad that hoop is jumped through.” Our experience with the Acts 29 assessment process was exactly the opposite.
Our assessment interview was pastoral: the men and lady in that room really cared for our souls. They pushed us toward Jesus and the gospel and helped us see how we can love him and each other more. It was encouraging: I really believe that the team who assessed us believe in us and care for us as members of the body of Christ. It was beneficial: I’ve often come back to the wisdom that our assessors shared with us during our time. And it was worshipful: Sarah and I walked out of the building praising and thanking Jesus for allowing us to associate with this network.
Thank you for a different kind of interview. Thank you for teaching your assessors to embody what the network stands for—the gospel fleshed out in all of life.
We’re proud to be associated with Acts 29.
International Church Planter
I have to admit that I was incredibly intimidated regarding the assessment. I think I even asked for a do-over on the phone interview half-way through it all. What made me feel safe, valued, and honored, however, was the very first question the assessment panel asked my wife: “What does Luke do on a daily basis to disciple you and the kids?” Wow! I knew immediately that Acts 29 valued my need to be a noble husband and father even before a church planter. I knew that Acts 29 would be unsatisfied with a large church and an unhealthy family. My wife felt honored and protected and I felt the weight on a whole new level—I so appreciate that Acts 29 tested the fences of our home before they endorsed our vision to plant. I still want a do-over on the phone interview.
Lead Planter of Legacy Church | Knoxville, TN
My wife and I are glad that the leadership of Acts 29 takes God seriously as he commands all new leaders “be tested first” (1 Tim. 3:10). The group interview assessment not only helped us figure out if we should be in or out, but was eye-opening for our sanctification as we entered into the planting process together.
The team of assessors were thorough and often unrelenting. Why not? If you love someone, you want to make sure they are ready for the task before them and aware of the issues they will personally face on the journey. We felt God’s love, and the team’s, as they challenged our gifting, marriage, personal life with Christ, and overall call to the task. Thanks for taking the time to walk with us in the process; we have seen the fruit of your labor already.
Lead Planter of Community Rising | Silver Springs, MD
I began to explore assessment with Acts 29 after the London bootcamp in 2009. I had been part of the leadership of a church plant in Manchester for several years, but was following a calling (endorsed by the church in Manchester) to move to Norfolk and plant a church there. So the timing was very good.
The amount of questionnaires and tests that I needed to complete was quite daunting initially, but in my experience the application process was really helpful. The questionnaires forced me to crystallize my thinking and plans, and meant that I learned lessons from my previous church planting experience and thought issues through more thoroughly. Although it did take time to complete the tasks, it was an enjoyable, creative process. I’m convinced that BroadGrace got off on a firmer footing because of the way the Lord used this process.
The phone interview was a useful chance from my end to consolidate this. Then Flick (my wife) and I had our assessment interview in Sheffield in May 2010. I was and continue to be impressed by the biblical wisdom of interviewing a couple rather than just the planter. The interview was thorough, godly and affirming. It was divided into two halves, with a break for us to grab some lunch while the assessment team considered how they wanted to use the second half of the time. This is a very good structure as it means the interview covers everything necessary as the team can regroup. The stress was very much on pastoring us and seeking the Lord’s will and calling. It didn’t feel at all like a job interview—more a meeting with friends who love you enough to speak truthfully into your life.
I have now been on the team for a couple of assessments and my admiration for the process has only been increased by this experience. If you are considering church planting and reading this, I recommend you submit to the Acts 29 assessment. If you do so humbly, I cannot see how the Lord would not use it to bless you and clarify what he is calling you to.
Lead Planter of BroadGrace Church | Hoveton, Norfolk, UK