Testimonials of the Acts 29 Assessment Process

I simply want to say thank you to all involved in the development and implantation of this process. I felt so cared for, honored, encouraged, and challenged throughout the entire process. Its 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.

Nathan Hornback
Lead Planter of Living Stones Church | Elko, NV


 

One major fail in the pastoral ministry is to neglect or waste any opportunity we have to be shepherded. While I know that this is not the primary objective of the assessment, my wife Mariana and I felt care for the brothers who conducted the interview. Even with a few limitations on the conversation, because English is not our primary language, the assessment served to expose our weaknesses without any condemnation or embarrassing approach, and to emphasize the good aspects in our journey planting a new church in our city. In the culture of the Brazilian church, this type of process is sometimes mistakenly seen as merely applicable in a business context. In addition to disagree with that attitude, I say with absolute certainty that if we invested more in initiatives like these in our churches, we would have more lasting and effective ministries in our country. As a church planter, I was deeply influenced by this methodology and the inclusion of future leaders in the staff of the Igreja Vineyard Central, we will use all this application and assessment process as a reference. Our family is grateful to the respectful treatment and for the year 2015 we will frame several actions in our home based on the recommendations we received.

Joao Costa
Lead Planter of Igreja Vineyard Central | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


 

I cannot express how grateful I am for the honesty, encouragement, and mostly, the Spirit-filled leadership that God has provided for me as I have sought membership within the Acts 29 network.  I am much better equipped to lead, pastor, and serve my family and those who God brings under my care at Mission Community Church.  Although this has been challenging, I would recommend this network to anyone and everyone in order to be properly prepared for church leadership.

Ryan Carson
Lead Planter of Mission Community Church | Matthews, NC


 

Prior to exposure to Acts29, I searched for someone to provide me with a clear and strong assessment. Far to many people seemed eager to pat me on the back and say “go for it.” I needed someone to tell me what it was going to require and take a serious look at my life to see if I was ready. Acts29 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 their recommendations. I cannot express how thankful I am for God providing the needed direction and leadership with this network.

Todd Perkins
Lead Planter of East North Church | Greenville, SC


 

I am grateful for the Acts 29 Application and Assessment. It is a thorough process that is helpful for a person who feels called into church planting. A calling to ministry in general, and specifically to church planting, shouldn’t be left unexamined or entered into carelessly. Taking the time to think and pray through things along the way is critical.

We were especially encouraged by our assessment interview. Our assessors demonstrated love and concern by asking tough questions and providing guidance. Along the way I have come to see that Acts 29 cares about me as a pastor more than just adding another church to the network. The coaching and friendships have been vital through the planting process.

Eric Baldwin

Lead Planter of River City Church | Pittsburgh, PA


 

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 in getting to the here and now. 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. Having gone 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 of calling and a confirming 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. Working at my own pace 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 pastors 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 that’s involved. Thanks Tyler and the A29 staff who put this process together, it’s a great tool and I’m thankful for being able to have used it!

Chris Moran

Lead Planter of Eternal City Church | Pittsburgh, PA


 

When Stephanie and I went through the assessment process, we believed that good things were going to come from our time together. I do not think we knew the great degree, and life changing events that would take place from just a few hours with a few godly men. In the process of the assessment, we made some serious overhauls in our life and in the life of LifeHouse. We have seen the providence of Jesus affirm those decisions, and greatly bless us with His presence in times of despair. I went from full-time planter, to coaching PE so that my wife could stay home, with our two year old and eight year old. It was very difficult, but the strong recommendation to find outsourced work, to allow for her to stay home was extremely beneficial. Within a few months after our assessment, we found out we were pregnant. Unfortunately, later in the year we found out that our son was going to be stillborn, resulting from a rare chromosome disorder. We thank Jesus for the insight the assessors had, and His leadership for her to be at home during the hardest season of our lives. I am thankful for men who love Jesus and are bold enough to share, and recommend great insights into His great plans for my church and family.

We also, through their strong recommendation, decided to re-launch the church and start from scratch again. This decision proved to be a majorly beneficial for the longevity of LifeHouse Community Church. We were able to save money, and invest in new leaders. I am thankful for A29 and their investment into guys like me!

Josh Arnett

Lead Planter of Lifehouse Community Church | Houston, TX


 

As Rachel and I plant Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, we have sought to be a part of the Acts 29 Network. 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 Network 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 fit for church planting. After passing the written application stage, I had two hour phone interview with someone from the Network. The interview provided followup on areas from the written application. After I passed the phone interview, we were invited an in person interview with 3 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 the Acts 29 Network. 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 be assessed. God will use the process for your sanctification and for His glory.

Tom Schmidt

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 ended up being such a helpful foundation for getting on the ground and starting our church.  Going through the assessment served as a confirmation to 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 coaching advice.  I would recommend the process to anyone looking to plant and can say that we have been nothing but benefited by our experience.

Austin Lawrence

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 have 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 personal feedback about my marriage and my leadership. This has helped me see things I never would’ve have seen otherwise and since, the gospel has been able to be applied and continues 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, we’ve been encouraged, we’ve been supported and we’ve been 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 churches position on theological areas. It’s helped clarify our view of mission – discipleship and church planting. It’s just all round excited us for what God wants to, can do and we’re believing will do through us as a family and a 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.

Kyllum Lewis
Lead Planter of Life Centre Church | Brisbane, QLD


 

My experience with the A29 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 of an emphasis on loving your wife and your 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 towards 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 that assessed us during the assessment process.  The men and women assessing made it a point to address Andrea’s needs as a church planters wife, and really dug into how she was handling church planting as a whole. For me, the brotherhood alone would be motivation to pursue A29. Everyone has been more than helpful during the application/assessment process, and they have continued to be helpful even after the application/assessment process is completed. All-in-all, I don’t think we could ask for a better network that puts as great of an emphasis on loving Jesus and the Gospel first and foremost, Loving your wife and family, having solid doctrine, and being apart of a brotherhood.

Corey Johnston
Lead Planter of Heights Church | Collinsville, IL


 

Stephani and I are grateful for the Acts 29 assessment process. As God began to affirm our calling to Bryan, TX, it was good to sit face to face and talk with pastors within the network who could affirm this calling, exhort and speak into our lives. The process is thorough and rigorous. It required me to really process through many things: theology, calling, personal and family life and more. I’m grateful for the emphasis on family life and marriage. In my brief 12 years of ministry, I’ve already seen a number of men sacrifice their marriages and families on the altar of “ministry”. I would rather our boys know, love and walk with Jesus and be used greatly for the kingdom than I carve out a name and reputation as a pastor and great church leader. The same goes for my marriage. It is nice to be a part of a network that shares these convictions. Our assessors did a great job of picking up on both strengths and growth areas for us moving forward.

Since our initial assessment, I have kept in contact with one of the assessors who has been a source of encouragement. Their church even took a Sunday to pray for Restoration Church Bryan as we were launching in our home. Overall, I was pleased with the Acts 29 assessment process. In an era when so many unqualified pastors are serving in churches, they are working hard to ensure the men who are a part of their network have been well vetted to lead the gospel charge.

Jonathan Brooks

Lead Planter of Restoration Church | Bryan, TX


 

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.

Jamey Vizzini

Lead Planter of Crosspointe Winter Springs | Winter Springs, FL


 

For several years I have observed and enjoyed Acts 29 teachings and books from afar. But when the Lord began to stir church planting in me, the vision and mission of Acts 29 began to resonate with my heart. Being new to Acts 29, I didn’t know anyone or what to expect. The application seemed really long, the process seemed extensive and the thought of being assessed at the end (if I made it that far) by men I had never met before was intimidating. But I knew God was calling me to plant and I knew I wanted to partner with these gospel center, mission minded dudes.

As I got into the application I found that I was right, it was long…very long. But the process was a grace in my life that God used to begin preparing me for what was to come. It made me think about my spiritual life, my marriage, parenting, current ministry mindset and philosophy; it helped to confirm many of my theological convictions but also challenged me to reconsider and defend others. It brought to light many of the practical and logistical aspects of church planting that a first time church planter (like me) is probably not thinking about and forced me to think, and therefore prepare, for them (or at least know what I don’t know).

I didn’t really know what to expect at our assessment interview but my wife and I quickly realized that the men sitting with us were friends. It wasn’t an interview, it was a conversation. They weren’t checking me against a list, they were getting to know us. We left feeling cared for not inspected. What I began to feel from early on in the application process is that these guys really care. They care about me. They care about my wife. They care about my family. They care about my future church and the people that I will be charged with shepherding. They care so much because they love about Jesus and His gospel.

For me, this process has only confirmed the fact that these are men that I want to link arms with in our mission to take the gospel and make disciples in Sarasota, FL and throughout the earth!

Matt Slack
Lead Planter of Bridgeway Sarasota | Sarasota, FL


 

I went through the assessment process in 2008 hoping that a sense of call to church planting would be confirmed. The assessors were gracious and helpful in pointing us towards areas we need to grow, and put us on the long-term track of “maybe some day”. 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, and yet their assessment and recommendations were what allowed us to be ready for these changes. We had moved, adopted three kids and 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, it truly was the “wounds of a friend”.

Our experience in going through the application/assessment process was difficult, but I’m convinced that being willing to subject ourselves to the scrutiny involved has made me a better husband, father, pastor, and leader. It’s paid dividends already as our leadership has seen the importance that A29 places on the character of its pastors–a quality that is often overlooked, so long as competency is present. Furthermore, the relationships that we’ve developed with our fellow A29 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 towards the goal to which we have been called in Christ Jesus as we lead our churches in the power of the Gospel.

Jeremy Mulder
Lead Planter of Restore Church | North Haledon, NJ


 

I have been thrilled with the process that Acts 29 has for potential members. Every step has been challenging, engaging, and personal. Acts 29 leaves no doubt that they are serious about not only planting churches, but also the spiritual health of the pastors and families we work with. I have been blessed by many of the pastors of Acts 29 through their teaching and preaching for years and assumed that, when the time came to plant, I would certainly apply to be part of the organization that I had gained so much for respect of for their passion for the gospel and planting gospel centered churches that plant gospel centered churches.

When the time to plant did in fact come, though, I worried that I would be too concerned with carrying the banner of A29 and not concerned enough with carrying the banner of Jesus through the process. It took a single meeting with one of our regional pastors to clear up any misgivings I had about what this process would be like. The men of Acts 29 are brothers who care about the truth of the gospel being shared through the great commission. They have confirmed our families call to plant while convicting us of possible idols we might carry. There is no doubt that  this process challenges your own process and compels you to be closer with Jesus in your own life, not simply an organization.

The most significant truth of this assessment process has been that A29 and it’s pastors truly care for you and your family, not to mention the flock you have been called to shepherd. This experience has been more about people and less about process. The men of A29 will move you by how much they are genuinely concerned for relationships with you as you go through the planting experience and beyond. Acts 29 really is a band of brothers, not simply an organization. The A29 members, at least in my region, truly are the church described in Acts 2:

[42] And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers….

[44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45] And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46] And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 ESV)

Joshua Proctor
Lead Planter of Redeemed Church | Cartersville, GA


 

The assessment process for me was a part of discerning my calling. I knew what I wanted to do, and what I felt that 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.

Justin Valiquette
Lead Planter of Salerno City Church | Salerno Italy


 

The application process for Acts 29 is thorough, efficient, and biblical. The testing, assessment, and coaching truly evaluates essential things. Things like my love of Jesus, priority 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 faciliated in my wife and I an unparalleled time of unity and depth. It is clear they are most concerned with the gospel and my marriage rather than methods and styles. Thank you Acts 29! You’ve served to love Jesus and my wife more and to serve and lead my church better.

Josh Perry
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 that I will never forget, not because it was terrible or the assessors ‘beat me up’ in anyway 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 that I received as a result of the assessment interview has been invaluable to us as a family and a church.

Steve Robinson
Lead Planter of Ramilies Road Church | Liverpool UK


 

As a planter that is part of a couple of different church planting networks, I have now been through a few different assessments. My wife and I have both remarked, both during the assessment process and since, that the thing that makes the Acts 29 assessment stand out was the emphasis on the healthy marriage and family of the planter. We have taken several different entrepreneurial profiles over the last few years, and they certainly have value, but to know that there are a group of men out there that care about my marriage and the health my family is really special, and it made my wife feel really comfortable with the direction that God was leading us in planting with Acts 29. The biggest blessing has been that the men who did our assessment continue to meet with us and talk with us and show that they still care about and are praying for a healthy family as we plant our church.

Eric Loyer
Lead Planter of Remedy Church | Toms River, NJ


 

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 whom we serve with, and we expected our A29 interview to look a lot like those. In other words, we anticipated being probed, prodded, and pushed on until we were exhausted and left saying, “Well, we’re glad that hoop is jumped through.” Our experience with the network 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 encouraged: 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 have 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 the 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.

Jerry
International Church Planter


 

After much preparation for assessment–trying to figure out what the “right answers” were going to be, Becky and I resolved (through much prayer and tears) to go into the process and be completely transparent about past sin in our marriage, my relatively new call to plant, and where we needed help theologically. We knew the gospel and we knew what the gospel was doing in our lives. We were met in the assessment by 4 gospel men who asked us some very hard questions. We shared our heart about our sin, our calling, our family, we said “I don’t know” in some areas regarding theology and vision. At the end of the assessment these 4 men affirmed the work of the gospel in our marriage and the call on our life. They did not however give us an immediate green light to plant a church. We needed time to work on things- Becky and I knew this. So we worked hard…One year later after moving to Nashville and working with The Axis Church as a resident, we were regionally re-assessed and given the go ahead to plant Resonate Church. Our assessment was an experience that is dear to us. I am so very confident in the gospel men that are in the Acts 29 Network. They are bold enough to ask hard questions, tender enough to shed tears over another couple’s sin, and caring enough to say “NOT YET” if the time isn’t right to plant a church. Thankful to be part of this brotherhood.

Shane England
Lead Planter of Resonate Church | Nashville, TN


 

The A29 application/assessment process was brutal and traumatic for me; a three hour grueling interview followed by a dozen prerequisites spread over 10 months. As I reflect on it now I praise God for the work he did in me and my wife through this time. My anger has turned into compassion through the grace of God. Although personally humbled throughout the process I now stand more confident in what God has called me to be… a church planter not needing to be ashamed but qualified for the work and hits which are to come.

This process is not for the faint hearted. Put your hope in Jesus not your own strength and let him use this process for yours (and your ministry’s) ultimate good.

Pete Cavanagh
Lead Planter of Rope Factory Church | Warragul, Australia


 

First off, the whole assessment for A29 is well worth it. The assessment interview was definitely the icing on the cake. It was a privilege for my wife and I to sit around a table with talented, God-fearing men and share our passion and vision for God’s church and the church we feel He wants us to plant in Katy. These men spoke into our lives, giving correction and encouragement equally, providing a game plan for the best way to continue on and be successful. Each of these men were friends prior but became brothers afterward.

Ryan Prater
Lead Planter of Cross Community Church | Katy, TX


 

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 A29 valued my need to be a noble husband and father even over a church planter. I knew that A29 would be unsatisfied with a large church and an unhealthy family. My wife felt honored and protected and I felt the weight to a whole new level, appreciating so much A29 testing the fences of our home before they endorsed our vision to plant. I still want a do-over on the phone interview.

Luke Thomas
Lead Planter of Legacy Church | Knoxville, TN


 

My wife and I are glad that the leadership of A29 takes God seriously as He commands all new leaders “be tested first” (1Tim3.10). We found the group interview assessment not only helped us to 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 his 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.

Matt Klingler
Lead Planter of Community Rising | Silver Springs, MD


 

Not knowing what to expect, my wife and I were a little nervous before our assessment. But within minutes of meeting with the pastors who interviewed us, we realized it was not as much of a grilling as we thought it would be. The questions were direct and challenging but it became obvious the motivation was from a ’let’s get to know who you really are’, not a ‘put ’em on the hot seat and see what happens’ one. We left feeling as if we had bared our souls to men who cared. So even if they decided we were not ready, what went on around that table was fruitful and encouraging. The whole Acts 29 experience has been great and we look forward to forging great friendships among them as we partner to forward the gospel.

Scott Wallace
Lead Planter of Christ Alone | Palmdale, CA


 

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 year, 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 my experience of the application process was that it was really helpful. The questionnaires forced me to crystallise my thinking and plans and meant that I learnt 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 am 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 pasturing 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 then 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.

John Hindley
Lead Planter of BroadGrace Church | Hoveton, Norfolk, UK