7 Issues that Church Planters Face: Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture

Report Prepared by Exponential and Ed Stetzer

This report is adapted from a series of blog posts from edstetzer.com, based on a research report from the Exponential. Introduction

I have partnered with my friend Todd Wilson, Director of Exponential, to do quantitative research alongside a group of well-known church planting leaders/experts who share their insights.

We listened to more than thirty national leaders with over 500 years of cumulative experience planting and working with hundreds of planters. Individual planter interviews, online surveys, and volumes of real world experience were also included in the discovery process.

Almost all of those who responded were connected to Exponential, which in many ways describes the sample: most (though not all) were planting contemporary churches in the way that is often described at the Exponential Conference. That means the report is influenced and shaped by its sample. So, this report won’t be applicable to everyone in every context, but it will be helpful to many.

Although it is not a scientific study, it is a helpful one—filled with advice that every church planter should consider. This information will help you plant, or help you help others plant for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. As you see the names quoted in the report, you will see hundreds of years of church planting experience represented. Such wisdom is worth considering.

I planted my first church in Buffalo, New York in 1988. Ready for a blazing flash of the obvious? The world has changed since then and so has church planting. Michael Rowe would likely classify church planting as a "dirty job".

I did not have much support back then. I was young and confident at a delusional level. I had little to read and no significant experiences or research from which to draw. I was left alone to try desperately to figure it out. God was there and blessed beyond what I knew or deserved. Yet I can't help to wonder how things could have been different... better for the Kingdom's sake... for the men, women, and children in inner city Buffalo where I planted.

Today, I am amazed at what solid help (coaching, websites, books, networks, training, etc.) a motivated church planter can find. Conferences like Exponential continue to provide environments for God to shape a new breed of planter-- equipped and prepared to make a difference for His Kingdom without losing family and sanity in the process.

Don't get me wrong, the job is still dirty-- very dirty. Leadership, finances, volunteers, systems, vision, evangelism, discipleship, and health of the planter and his family are jugular issues. The church planter graveyard remains ominously over crowed. Yet things are changing for the better.

Over the next two weeks you will see some priceless information. No matter your role in the world of church planting you will want to grab hold of this research. I have partnered with my friend Todd Wilson, Director of Exponential, to do quantitative research alongside some of the better-known church planting practitioners in America.

With input from BattersonBloyeLovejoyManciniPatrick, Nebel, Rohrmayer,SurrattSylvia and others.

You get the picture, I hope. We listened to over 500 years of cumulative experience planting and working with 100's of planters with the over 30 national leaders involved in this project. Individual planter interviews, online surveys, and volumes of real world experience were also included in the discovery process. This information will help you plant or help you help others plant for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

There are limitations to a study like this-- more on that later-- but there is also much to learn.

God has the world on His heart-- we will post information and insights from the 7 Top Issues church planters face based on the research. I will unpack the following "top" issues as a result of our research over the days to come:

1.     Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture

2.     Financial Self-Sufficiency and Viability

3.     Launch Team Development and Mobilizing Volunteers

4.     Systems, Processes and Cultures

5.     Casting Vision and Avoiding Mission Drift

6.     Evangelism and Discipleship

7.     Spiritual, Physical and Mental Health of the Planter and Family

Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture

I have partnered with my friend Todd Wilson, Director of Exponential, to do quantitative research alongside a group of well-known church planting leaders/experts who share their insights.

Planters face incredible pressure to find quality leaders quickly. Yet the limitations of money, critical mass, and spiritual maturity in new churches create an under-stocked leadership fishing pond. Planters can make critical mistakes as a result.

Think about the person who shows up on launch Sunday due to a postcard they just received in the mail. Your hope is that your first attendees will be seekers and people open to the first-time consideration of the gospel. And, that means people who are asking questions and starting their spiritual journey-- they are often not ready to be spiritual leaders since they are just considering things of faith.

This Sunday we had our first preview service at Grace Church, where I am serving as lead pastor. (I am not leaving my LifeWay Research job, this is a volunteer role working alongside a full-time team.) We saw a couple hundred people come Sunday. Many of them are new, seeking, and sometimes hurting on that first Sunday.

Simply put, many church planters find many open people but often have few prepared leaders.

Leadership development is the most frequently cited challenge of planters according to our research in this survey of church planting leaders and thinkers. Leadership issues included recruiting and developing leaders; implementing teams; creating a reproducible leadership development approach; developing a leader/oversight/elder board; hiring and leading staff; discerning changes required to facilitate growth; healthy decision making; and delegating and empowering volunteers.

So, based on our conversations and observations from those who responded to our qualitative survey of experts and planters, here are six key considerations church planters should consider and/or make in the process of developing new leaders:

1.     Lack of Experience -- Many planters come from previous roles where a more established leadership development and volunteer mobilization processes are in place. As planters, they are now responsible for implementing a new process from scratch, often with little help. They are responsible for creating momentum where none exists versus maintaining existing momentum. They need to be aware of their own lack of experience and the lack of experience on the typical team. Our church planting leaders were concerned that they often lacked that awareness.

2.     Feeling the Need for Speed (Volunteers) -- My friend, Stephen Gray said, "Every plant is a new adventure full of excitement and potential doom... they need to have nerves of steel and thick skin" [Stephen Gray with Trent Short,Planting Fast Growing Churches, St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 2007 p. 23]. Planting can be lonely and messy. Amid the long hours and hard work, it is easy for planters to conclude that any "warm body" interested in helping is an answer to prayer. Planters tend to put leaders in place prematurely based on availability. More established churches are slower, vetting potential leaders before delegating responsibility.

3.     No Core Leaders -- Many planters lack a strong leadership team, leader/staff/elder team, or other structure early in the church's life. Thus, they can lack an accountability team for the first few years. This can result in an increased burden of responsibility, a lack of ongoing encouragement, no one to "watch their back," a lack of advice on key decisions, and a lack of peer fellowship.

4.     Feeling the Need for Speed (Paid Staff) -- In the absence of experience and a proven staff selection process, planters tend to hire too quickly (similar to consideration #2). Planters also lack the experience to fully understand the pitfalls of hiring family members and friends. Dealing with bad hires adds further strain and discouragement, creating setbacks in momentum. (Keep in mind that we recognize that we are talking about a specific kind of church plant there and this will not apply in all cases.)

5.     Need for Resources -- Volunteers and financial resources are critical resources in the early days. The senior pastor of the average U.S. church (about 85 people) is at staff capacity. If a church waits until they can afford a second staff person they face the prospect of losing momentum due to a senior pastor working beyond capacity. Then leadership barriers prevent them from growing and hiring more staff. Studies show the average new church has about 40 people at the first year, placing a huge financial strain on the planter and delaying additional staff hires. When planting the type of church plant we are discussing here, this is a major challenge. (Note: other models, like a house church, would not have the same issues here, but that is for another study.)

6.     Realities of Reproduction -- Planters have probably heard that if a church does not plant another church in their first three years the likely never will. Many have a vision for being a reproducing church and developing a reproducing culture. But the realities of implementation are discouraging. The same barriers (experience, budget, leadership shortage, spiritual maturity, and momentum, etc.) can cause the reproduction vision to move from vision to pipe dream.

Why We Should be Thankful for the Gift of Gratitude

Why We Should be Thankful for the Gift of Gratitude

Originally Posted by Joe Carter / November 19, 2016

Of all the heavenly gifts we have to be thankful for, the most frequently overlooked is the gift of gratitude. From the ants to the elephants, God has poured out his blessings on all his creatures. But to man alone is reserved the ability to combine reason and imagination to express his thankfulness. G. K. Chesterton even claimed that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

There are dozens of virtues that a Christian should acquire, many of which are extremely important to our spiritual growth. What then, is so special about gratitude? Why should it be considered a discipline worthy of particular attention, and why is it necessary for communion with God?

Because the regular practice of gratitude is a means by which we become rightly oriented toward God. Only when we become truly grateful for what God has done—when thankfulness has seeped into the marrow of our soul—can we fully appreciate who God is and understand who we are as his children.

Why Gratitude is an Essential Virtue

Here are three reasons gratitude is an essential virtue for spiritual formation:

1. God requires our thanksgiving

The most important reason we express gratitude is because God requires we offer him our thanks. In Psalm 50:22, God says, “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me.” God takes our gratitude—or lack thereof—extremely seriously. We are always required to give God what he is due—including our thankfulness.

2. Gratitude keeps our focus on God (and off ourselves)

When we develop a habit of gratitude we are constantly asking two questions: “For what should I be grateful?” and “To whom do I owe thanks?” The more we express our gratitude the more our eyes are opened to the magnanimity of God and his generosity in bestowing us with goodness and blessings. When we see how much we owe to God it helps to reduce our own self-centeredness. 

3. Gratitude develops endurance and trust in God

As we grow in gratitude, we learn to be thankful not only for the good gifts God gives us but for everything in our life, including trials and sufferings. We learn that even in grief and pain we can be grateful since we still have the greatest gift we could ever want: God himself. This type of gratitude helps us to deepen our trust in the goodness of God and helps us to be humble in whatever circumstance we may be called upon to endure.

How to Grow in Gratitude

How then do we grow in gratitude? Here are three practices to help develop this God-given ability to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18):

1. Count your blessings

Honing our skill of thanksgiving requires that we expand our capacity to pay attention. As pastor M. Craig Barnes writes in The Pastor as Minor Poet,

I doubt that there is such a thing as a measure of spirituality, but if there is, gratitude would be it. Only the grateful are paying attention. They are grateful because they pay attention, and they pay attention because they are so grateful.

Make a list every week of five to ten blessings you’ve noticed in your life, numbering each item and only listing them only once. Review your list and say a prayer of thanksgiving for each item.

2. Say grace

Throughout history, Christians have made a habit of “saying grace,” a short prayer recited before a meal to give thanks for our food. While we should continue that discipline (or take it up anew) we should expand the range of when we “say grace.” To quote Chesterton again,

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

Develop a habit of stopping and saying grace before your daily activities.

3. Say thanks for your neighbor

Make a habit of contacting someone each week—in person, by phone, or through email or social media—and let them know that you are grateful they are in your life.

Gratitude is fuel for the soul. Without a regular infusion of gratitude we become self-involved, believing that we are the ones responsible for all that we have in our lives. Only by developing the discipline of gratitude can we ensure that we are cognizant of God’s goodness and reliant on him for our daily existence.

10 Principles of Church Planting and Expanding

10 Principles of Church Planting and Expanding

by: Brian Houston

It was in 1999 when Bobbie and I were given the opportunity to do something – which for us at that time was a bold and innovative step. We were asked to take on the leadership of my parents’ inner-city church in ADDITION to the church we were already pastoring in the Northwest of Sydney –Hillsong Church.

Bold and innovative because although today in 2013 there are countless models of incredible multi-site churches, back in 1999 it was totally new territory in which we knew of few, if any, role models to look to for guidance.

Fourteen years on, our City Campus is a thriving and integral part of Hillsong Church and along the way we have learned a great deal about multi-site expansion and global church planting; as Hillsong has spread to some of the worlds most influential cities. I am not called to plant churches everywhere, but where we do, my hope and prayer is that we can build significant churches whose impact for the Cause of Christ spreads far beyond their own walls. When we started Hillsong London many years ago, impact and influence seemed like a far away fantasy –and yet that is exactly what has and is unfolding through a healthy local church congregation in that city.

I’m no expert, but I have been asked many times what are some of the keys to successful expansion, and so here are ten principles for church planting that I have learned on our own journey:


Church planting is a GRACE and if you stay “within the sphere of the grace God has given you,” His favor and blessing will be on your endeavors. Not every opportunity is a GOD opportunity and I find that people struggle when they don’t recognize this. It is important to stay in your lane and run your own race.


Church planting is PIONEERING and that means you have to recognize the old adage that “you can’t run be before you can walk”. The first time I was at one of our ‘Heart and Soul’ nights at Hillsong New York City, the worship team had a mid-song train crash. Perhaps I made them nervous, as apparently it had never happened before, but we had to start the song all over again. That is just one of the examples from some of the great memories that just two years on, we can all look back on and laugh about. Since then, the worship team in New York City has taken giant strides forward and even in those early days the services were electric. But just like when your baby starts to walk, those ‘crashes’ are the precious memories in pioneering that we should always cherish, learn from and laugh about.

Even when Hillsong churches have started with great crowds (such as in Cape Town and New York City), it has taken time for leadership to emerge – to find out who really is ‘in it for the long haul’ and for the crowd to become a family who carry the heart and vision of our church.


Church planting must be INTEGROUS and though we might all have varying ethics and values, it is important to be true to God, true to ourselves and considerate of others in our approach to church planting. It really is a case of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

For example, when expanding Hillsong Church Australia into Brisbane and Melbourne, we have been very deliberate in our early communications and gatherings, to encourage those from other congregations to stay in their own local church. We gave people opportunity to register their interest in being part of our church online and we have limited our communications to that group of people. The foundations on which we start our churches are critical if we intend to establish healthy and life-giving campuses long-term.


Church planting is CHALLENGING, in fact sometimes starting something new is the easy part. Building and progress depends on momentum. Planting or expanding is an exciting idea, but don’t underestimate the challenge of planting well AND keeping home strong. The extra pressure on your greatest resource can be underestimated and your greatest resource is not facilities or finances – it’s PEOPLE.

Starting another service, opening another campus, or planting another church will test the quantity and quality of your leadership in most areas of church life. Don’t weaken your home base by expanding too quickly. Because weakening your base is not a momentum builder – it’s a momentum stopper. Lost momentum is very difficult to regain and wise church planting is not done prematurely.


Church planting is COSTLY and can be very difficult if you are unable to invest sacrificially into the work you are starting. Faith is essential in any new venture and there is no doubt that dependence on God and His miraculous supply is part of the adventure. However, many years of pain and heartache can be avoided if you have counted the cost and sacrificially invested into the new ground you are claiming.


Church planting involves LEADERSHIP and it will be more successful when you sow some of your best people. If you are solving a problem by repositioning someone who is causing frustration, you are only transferring the problem. It is when you give your best that you can expect the best outcome – which is again why planting or expanding should be done from a position of strength and not vulnerability.


Church planting is STRATEGIC and for Hillsong that has rarely meant going to the ‘easy’ places. We have prospered by planting in Europe – a continent steeped in church history yet in many respects, so Godless.

When I first spoke at Hillsong Paris, I remembered numbers of conversations where people simply couldn’t get their heads around us preaching about Jesus as someone other than just a historical figure. Today, I love seeing so many young churches beginning to flourish in various European cities. Its easy to think that perhaps ‘Bible belt cities’ would be easier than the heart of Manhattan; but with the right people, in the right place, at the right time, it’s amazing what God can do!

Likewise, when my parents started their ministry in the city of Sydney, it was regarded by some people as a ‘preachers graveyard.’ But that ‘preachers graveyard’ has become home to Hillsong Church – Hillsong College -Conferences and Music; influencing more people than we could have ever have imagined over the last three decades. God is faithful and I believe that the best is still yet to come!


Church planting is TEAMWORK, which means building a leadership team who are there for the long haul. My experience is that often the people who promise the most, don’t always come through with the most. Great churches are built with people who are faithful in the little things. I’d take a group of ordinary people devoted to an extraordinary God, over a charismatic someone that talks a big game, but hasn’t proven faithful in the ‘day of small beginnings’.

We have had some amazing miracles with land and buildings in our history, but we have also said no to numbers of opportunities and partnerships because there were ‘strings attached’. If it looks too good to be true, it probably…………………..!”


Church planting is LONELY, and many a church planter has perished through isolation.

Proverbs 18:1 says, “The man who isolates himself is not wise” and if you disregard your friendships and relationships when planting churches, your world can get small very quickly. Perhaps you can start churches anywhere, but wisdom is sensitive to relationships – while still refusing to be ruled by the insecurities of others.

Our mandate is “to champion the cause of local churches everywhere”, and the greatest way we can do that is exemplifying what God can do, by partnering and being in good relationship with other churches in our city, and without building on other people’s foundations.


Church planting is TRENDY and in the twenty first century, technology and opportunity enable us to expand in ways that were unthinkable to generations past. Does the world need more churches? The short answer is yes, but the world doesn’t need more mediocre churches. The world needs healthy and vibrant churches that are genuinely fulfilling the Great Commission in their cities, towns, villages and nations. Churches that are filled with life, worship, biblical teaching and healthy, accepting community – churches that point people to JESUS.

I pray that together, we can ‘champion the cause of local churches everywhere,’ and stay committed to the building of what Jesus Christ said He would build – His Church!


What Makes a Great Campus Pastor

What Makes a Great Campus Pastor?

Guest Post by Jim Tomberlin

Originally Posted: http://leadnet.org/what-makes-a-great-campus-pastor/

Ask any multisite church leader today what the most important component is in multisiting and the overwhelming answer is the campus pastor. 

When I went to Willow Creek in the year 2000 to pioneer the multisite strategy I was the startup campus pastor for the first site, second site, third and fourth sites while leading the whole multisite effort. Why? No one wanted to leave the mothership for a role that had never been done for a strategy that had never been tried. Today Willow Creek gathers in seven locations across greater Chicago with much better campus pastors!

We have come a long way from the early days of the multisite movement when no one knew what a campus was, or if they did, wasn’t interested in being one. Once seen as just an emcee for a video service, the campus pastor role has become one of the most strategic and sought-after staff positions in the Church.

At the end of the day successful multisiting is not about sermon delivery (video vs in-person teaching), location, facility, technology or funding. All of these are important components in multisiting, but the critical success factor is the campus pastor. Why? Everything rises or falls on leadership. Did I mention that the campus pastor role is the most important factor in the success of a multisite campus?

What Does a Campus Pastor Do?

The answer to that question will depend upon the church’s purpose for multisiting, but the basic premise of a multisite church is to consistently reproduce the ministry best practices and DNA of the sending church. Therefore the primary responsibility of a campus pastor is to ensure that transfer—to be one church in multiple locations. This involves leading local site staff and volunteer teams to extend the reach and impact of the sending church.

What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Campus Pastor?

Having assisted many multisite churches across the nation, here are the characteristics I see in effective campus pastors. Assuming that this individual is a spiritually mature person of character with a proven track record, an ideal campus or site pastor is the face with the place who is a:

  1. High capacity leader: a high energy,catalytic, self-starter who not only gets things done, but makes things happen!
  2. Team player: someone who people will follow, but who can also follow the senior leadership of the church. Not a lone ranger maverick, but someone who is able to work on a team and within the church structure.
  3. People magnet: a relational “animal” that draws people like flies to honey. They love people and people love being around them. They have a high “fun factor.”
  4. Mobilizer: this person not only attracts followers but can turn them into volunteers, volunteer teams and volunteer leaders. The key to success in any pastoral position!
  5. Multi-tasker: shows high capacity to juggle a lot of balls simultaneously and loves the juggling act.
  6. Communicator: doesn’t have to be a bible teacher unless on the teaching team, but is capable and articulate speaking to a room full of people.
  7. DNA Carrier:  bleeds and defaults to the mission, vision, values, and senior leadership of the church.

The two traits that repeatedly come to the top in all of our surveys about campus pastors is that this person needs to be a high capacity leader who possesses the DNA of the church.

What Are the Challenges of Campus Pastoring?

Multisite works best with empowered and centrally-supported campus pastors who are committed to and united around the mission and central leadership of the sending church.

The typical challenges to navigate revolve around the preaching strategy, mission-alignment and reporting structure.

Most multisite churches utilize a matrix-style organizational strategy that involves a solid-line (authority) and dotted-line (influence) reporting structure between the campuses. Lack of mission and organizational clarity or buy-in handicaps and frustrates multisite church leaders and their campus pastors.

The third multisite campus is typically a game-changer because it usually requires a multisite director on the senior leadership team to manage the tensions between the central team and the multiple campuses. It’s at this stage that a campus pastor is needed for the original campus so the senior pastor can focus on leading all the campuses through the campus pastors.

Where Do You Find Campus Pastors?

The first place to look is internally.  Leadership Network reports that 87% of all campus pastors are internal hires.

Who is on your staff right now with your church’s DNA? Someone who has proven themselves and is ready for a new challenge?  Who is the best person on your team?  Lead out with that person.

If not on the staff, who is in your congregation that could transition into this role?  There are many high-capacity marketplace individuals sitting in your church who have the leadership capacity and your church DNA looking for a place to have a significant kingdom play.

The next best place to look is within the network of your own staff team.  Who do they know around the country who could be good campus pastor candidate for your church? Bring them on the team and incubate them.  Take a year to train and acclimate them at home base before launching them into their own campus.

Lastly, you can contact the various staff search companies like The Vanderbloemen Search Group, The Slingshot Group and Agora or place ads online at Church Staffing, Minister Search and denominational websites.

What’s a makes a great campus pastor? Here’s how one church leader described the campus pastors in their church, “Our campus pastors have an unwavering loyalty to the lead pastorbelieve in the mission of our church, connect with their congregation and develop leaders.”  May their tribe increase!

Developing Leadership Character (Pt. 3)

Originally posted: http://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/developing-leadership-character/

Character Development

Individuals can develop their own character strengths, leaders can help followers develop their character, and organizations can and should enable character development to take place.

How Character Develops

Some dimensions of character, specifically some traits, are inherited.  Virtues, values and many other traits are developed during early childhood, and modified as a result of education, family influences, early role models, work and social experiences, and other life events.

The early philosophers viewed character as something that is formed, subconsciously, through repetitive behavior that is either rewarded or by finding what works through experience.  The habit of character is formed along with a myriad of other habits which both enable and constrain us, and that can be both productive and counterproductive.  The interesting thing about habits is that we are often unaware of them.  There’s a famous saying that illustrates this point rather well – “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny” (author unknown).

As Robert Kegan, a developmental psychologist, said, we need “to resist our tendencies to make right or true that which is merely familiar and wrong or false that which is only strange.”[9]  At the core of this capacity is character; hence, character shapes thoughts, words, actions, and so on.  Yet, habits may prevent the development of character.  For example, a strong ego that has been built to defend one’s identity makes it difficult to develop humility and thus be open to learning experiences.  So, when people believe that character is developed at an early age, they are in part correct, since there comes a time when habits are difficult to break.  It is not surprising then that it often takes profound life events to liberate us from the cages we have constructed for ourselves.

These “crucible” events have a significant influence on the traits and values that are part of character.  Some of these events force people to confront the impact of their trait-and value-driven behaviors, and their self-concept of virtuosity.  Being fired, having your work praised or criticized, being passed over for a promotion or being promoted when you didn’t think you were ready for it, finding yourself disadvantaged through a boss’s unfair assessment, or being accused of harassment, plagiarism or other forms of unethical behavior are all examples of events that can shape character.

Less dramatic but no less important are those events that reinforce good character.  The acknowledgement, praise, recognition or reward that come to people for doing the right thing or acting in the right way are critical to character development, especially when offered during an individual’s formative years.  Selection for a valued assignment or a promotion further reinforces such behaviors and hence, the development of character.

Even normal everyday occurrences offer the opportunity for character development, since it is not something separate from one’s job or life, but rather a part of them.  Reflection about why you might be impatient, excessive, stubborn or careless provides the raw material for examining and developing character.

Senior Leadership and Organizational Commitment to Character Development

There is much that senior leaders in organizations can do to develop leadership character in others.

Simply talking about character, making it a legitimate and valued topic of conversation, stimulates discussion and facilitates individual reflection.  When organizations develop leadership profiles and address leadership character in those profiles, they emphasize the importance of leadership and promote discussion of it, especially in the context of developmental coaching.  Conversely, when leadership profiles only address competencies and commitment, they implicitly, if unintentionally, suggest that character is not important.

Even explicit values statements in organizations often turn out to be nothing more than posters or plaques on the wall.  Unless they are formulated in the context of the work that people are doing, and in a meaningful way, they tend to be ignored.  Anything that senior management attends to is considered important; anything ignored is marginalized.  For the most part, people do not learn values and virtues by osmosis.  Values need to be addressed explicitly in the organization’s coaching and mentoring, reinforced through training and development, and actively used in recruitment, selection and succession management.

Personal Commitment to Character Building

Warren Bennis addressed the role of individual responsibility in becoming a better leader when he said:  “The leader never lies to himself, especially about himself, knows his flaws as well as his assets, and deals with them directly.  You are your own raw material.  When you know what you consist of and what you want to make of it, then you can invent yourself.”[10]  This is relevant to leadership character as much as it is to competencies and commitment.  It requires a degree of self-awareness, a preparedness to examine habitual behaviors and consider whether there may not be better ways of leading than the ones that have worked, more or less, for you in the past.  We limit our development as leaders by not having the discipline and courage to assess ourselves honestly.


Why Character Really Matters!

When it comes to leadership, competencies determine what a person can do. Commitment determines what they want to do, and character determines what they will do.

Character is foundational for effective decision-making.  Clearly, mistakes are made because of a leader’s shortcomings in his or her competencies.  More often, the root cause is a failing of character.  For example, not recognizing or not willing to admit that you don’t have the requisite competencies to succeed in the leadership role is rooted in character.  Not willing to listen to those who can do well because of the perception that it would undermine your leadership is a problem rooted in character.  Challenging decisions being made by others but which you feel are wrong requires character.  Dealing with discriminatory behaviors by others requires character.  Creating a culture of constructive dissent so that others may challenge your decisions without fear of consequences requires character.

The question is not really why character matters, but why it does not get the attention and respect it warrants.  For character to find the spotlight it deserves, leaders need to illuminate it.  We can see some light shed in organizational statements of values and leadership competencies, but the practice is not widespread.  We believe organizations should move beyond statements of organizational values to anchor leadership development in profiles that define what makes a leader good, in addition to defining what good leaders do and how they can lead better.

Character is not something that you have or don’t have.  All of us have character, but the key is the depth of development of each facet of character that enables us to lead in a holistic way.  Character is not a light switch that can be turned on and off.  There are degrees, and every situation presents a different experience and opportunity to learn and deepen character.  In particular, and for better or for worse, character comes to the fore when managing a crisis.  No one is perfect when it comes to character, and given that its development is a lifelong journey, we will rise to the occasion in some situations and disappoint ourselves and those around us in others.

Numerous examples come to mind where good people do inappropriate things!  They get derailed because they stop listening; they become overconfident in their decision-making skills; they become blind to important contextual variables; their emotions hijack their self-control, and so forth.  Even good people are fallible.  But since we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior it is easy to become jaded about character.  How could someone preach one thing and do another?   The point is that in this lifelong journey, we need to appreciate what it takes to develop the habits around character, and to enable the conversations within ourselves and with others that strengthen rather than undermine character.


Competencies count, character matters and commitment to the leadership role is critical to the leader’s success.  Our experience is that a renewed focus on character sparks the best in people and fuels them in their personal journeys to become better leaders.  We see the process of learning to lead as a journey that enables people to bring the best of themselves to support and enable others, ensure that the organizations they work with perform at the highest level, and in doing so, contribute to the society in which they operate.

[9] From the speech by Matthew Taylor on 21st century enlightenment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC7ANGMy0yo

[10] Bennis, Warren (1989). On becoming a leader.  New York, NY: Random House Business Books.

Developing Leadership Character (Pt. 2)

Originally Posted: http://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/developing-leadership-character/

Defining Character

There is no consensus on a definition of character.  In fact there seems to be as many definitions as there are scholars whose research and writing focus on character.[4]  In our discussion of character, we focus on personality traits, values and virtues.


Traits are defined as habitual patterns of thought, behavior and emotion that are considered to be relatively stable in individuals across situations and over time.  Traits are not fixed.  For example, introverts may be able to learn how to behave in a less introverted way, while extroverts may learn how to control and moderate their extroverted behaviors when situations require it.

There are, literally, hundreds of personality traits from A (ambition) to Z (zealousness) that have been described in the psychology literature.  However, through statistical techniques such as factor analysis, five broad domains, or dimensions, of personality have emerged, and are now widely used in various forms in employee selection and assessment.[5]  The “Big-Five” traits are:

  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to experience
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness, and
  • Neuroticism

These five traits feature prominently in tests or inventories and they have come to be known as the FFM, or the five-factor model, a robust model of personality.  Although the Big Five dominate the personality literature, there are various other traits that warrant consideration and measurement, such as self-confidence, ambition, perfectionism, dominance, rigidity, persistence and impulsivity.

Some personality traits can be inherited.  For example, studies have shown that identical twins that have the same genes show more traits that are similar than non-identical twins.  Traits, of course, also evolve through life experiences and deliberate developmental exercises such as coaching.


Values are beliefs that people have about what is important or worthwhile to them.  Values influence behavior because people seek more of what they value.  If they can get more net value by behaving in certain ways, they will.  Values therefore can be seen as the guideposts for behavior.  Some people value their autonomy very highly, some value social interaction, some value the opportunity to be creative, some value work-life balance, and so on.  Values may change with life stages and according to the extent to which a particular value has already been realized.  For example, a new graduate strapped by student loans may value a high starting salary.  That same person 30 years later may well pass up a high-paying job for one that paid less, but allowed him to live close to his grandchildren or somewhere with greater access to recreational activities.

An individual’s values are in large part derived from the social environment in which he or she lives.[6]  In Western democracies, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are some of the things we value.  Other societies value order, harmony, non-violence and equality.  If we are brought up with strong religious traditions, some of us develop values based on the teachings of those religions.  Similarly, our value frameworks may be influenced by our home life, fraternal societies we join, experiences obtaining an education, the companies we work for, our friends, and many other social influences.

An important sub-set of values consists of those with ethical or social dimensions, such as honesty, integrity, compassion, fairness, charity and social responsibility.  Such moral values may be strongly or weakly held and influence behavior accordingly.

Values may be espoused though they may not necessarily be manifested.  For example, it’s not unusual for people to experience value conflicts in certain situations.  When loyalty conflicts with honesty, when fairness conflicts with pragmatism, or when social responsibility conflicts with obligation to shareholders, people become conflicted.  And when their actions are inconsistent with their values, they either experience guilt, anger and embarrassment.  People try to minimize such cognitive dissonance by rationalizing or even denying their behavior, discounting the consequences of it or simply blaming others.


From the time of the ancient Greeks, philosophers have defined certain clusters of traits, values and behaviors as “good,” and referred to them as virtues.  Virtues are like behavioral habits – something that is exhibited fairly consistently.  For example, Aristotle wrote that: “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle identified and defined twelve virtues: Courage, Temperance, Generosity, Magnificence, Magnanimity, Right ambition, Good temper, Friendliness, Truthfulness, Wit, and Justice.  The twelfth virtue is Practical Wisdom, which is necessary to live the “good life” and thus achieve happiness or well being.

Consider the virtue of Courage.  Traits such as openness to experience, self-confidence and persistence contribute to individuals acting in distinctive ways – for example, putting themselves on the line and acting in a courageous fashion.  Having values such as integrity, treating individuals with respect and achievement predisposes individuals to demonstrate courageous behavior.  Furthermore, a person with integrity tends to act in a different way than a person who lacks integrity, even if both individuals find themselves in the same situation.  Then there is a set of actual behaviors that individuals engage in – on a fairly consistent basis (meaning across situations and over time) – and that friends, colleagues and observers characterize or describe as courageous.  These behaviors may have become societal expectations.

The ten virtues of a cross-enterprise leader

We propose that cross-enterprise leaders who focus on the long-term performance of their organizations must demonstrate ten virtues (as shown in Figure 2)[7].

  • Humility is essential to learning and becoming a better leader
  • Integrity is essential to building trust and encouraging others to collaborate
  • Collaboration enables teamwork
  • Justice yields decisions that are accepted as legitimate and reasonable by others
  • Courage helps leaders make difficult decisions and challenge the decisions or actions of others
  • Temperance ensures that leaders take reasonable risks
  • Accountability ensures that leaders own and commit to the decisions they make and encourages the same in others
  • Humanity builds empathy and understanding of others
  • Transcendence equips the leader with a sense of optimism and purpose
  • Judgment allows leaders to balance and integrate these virtues in ways that serve the needs of multiple stakeholders in and outside their organizations.



Figure 2: Ten Leadership Virtues

But if you consider what may happen when leaders lack these virtues, the effects become more obvious (see Table 1 below).

  • Without Judgment leaders make flawed decisions, especially when they must act quickly in ambiguous situations, namely when faced with the many paradoxes that confront all leaders from time to time.
  • Without Humanity leaders are unable to relate to others, see situations from their followers’ perspectives or take into account the impact of their decisions on others.  Without humanity leaders will not act in socially responsible ways – they will alienate people.
  • Without a Sense of Justice leaders are unable to understand the issues of social inequality and the challenges associated with fairness.  Such leaders act in unfair ways and reap negative consequences in the form of poor employee relations or reactions by customers, governments and regulators.  People will rebel and find ways to undermine the leader.
  • Without Courage leaders will not stand up to poor decisions made by others and will lack the perseverance and tenacity required to work through difficult issues.  They will also back down in the face of adversity and choose the easy route.  But in doing so they only postpone the inevitable.
  • Without Collaboration leaders will fail to achieve those worthwhile goals that require more than individual effort and skills.  They don’t use the diversity of others’ knowledge, experience, perceptions, judgments and skills to make better decisions and to execute them better.  Friction among different stakeholders results and relations deteriorate.
  • Without Accountability leaders don’t commit to, or own, the decisions they make, and cannot get others to do so.  They blame others for poor outcomes and in doing so create a culture of fear and disengagement.  People stop caring, with potentially disastrous consequences.
  • Without Humility leaders cannot be open-minded, and solicit and consider the views of others.  They can’t learn from others, they can’t reflect critically on their failures and become better leaders as a result of those reflections.  They become caricatures of themselves.  Isolation results.
  • Without Integrity leaders cannot build good relationships with followers, with their organizational superiors, with allies or partners.  Every promise has to be guaranteed and the resulting mistrust slows down decisions and actions.
  • Without Temperance leaders take uncalculated risks, rush to judgment, fail to gather relevant facts, have no sense of proportion, and make frequent and damaging changes or even reverse important decisions.  Their credibility suffers.
  • Without Transcendence leaders’ goals become narrow and they fail to elevate discussions to higher-order goals.  They don’t see the bigger picture and hence their decisions may reflect opportunism only.  They don’t think outside the box or encourage others to do so.

Aristotle was clear in stating that virtues become vices in their excess or deficiency.[8] Courage in its excess is recklessness while in its deficiency it is cowardice.  Collaboration in excess, ungoverned by judgment as to when it will result in benefits, leads to numerous unproductive meetings and organizational inefficiency.  But without it, teamwork is difficult or impossible.  Too much humility may lead followers to question the leader’s toughness, resulting in a lack of confidence.  But without it, leaders make ill-advised decisions and are unable to learn.  Transcendence in excess can result in leaders becoming vacuous visionaries, unable to focus on the here and now and the more mundane decisions that need to be made.  But without transcendence, leaders focus on narrow, short-term goals.



Table 1:  Good and Bad Outcomes of Presence or Absence of Virtues

Temperance or Justice in excess may lead to extreme risk aversion and paralysis in decision-making; without them, reckless or grossly unfair decisions are made.  Even extreme Accountability may subvert required actions when the penalties for failure are unreasonable or extreme; but without it, empowerment and delegation are not possible.  Humanity in excess may lead to the neglect of shareholders’ interests; but in its absence, employee loyalty and commitment will suffer.  Judgment under conditions of uncertainty or ambiguity is the essential requirement of organizational leadership; but excessive judgment may lead to indecisiveness or dithering.  Even an excess of integrity can lead to self-righteousness and total inflexibility; but organizations could not function without rules and regulations that set boundaries.  The challenge for leaders, therefore, is to deepen or strengthen a virtue through reflection, and hence avoid turning a virtue such as Courage into the vice of excess (Recklessness) or a lack of it (Cowardice).

Psychologists, sociologists, organizational theorists and others who study behavior in organizations have been interested in traits, values and virtues associated with good leadership.  Virtuous leaders are influenced by their traits and values but they balance and integrate them in ways that are appropriate to the situations in which they operate.  For example, while leaders may be transparent by nature, they are able to keep a confidence or secret when it is appropriate to do so.  While they may be courageous, they will understand which battles to fight and which to avoid.

[4] This conclusion was reached by Jay Conger and George P. Hollenbeck in a special issue of Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2010, 62, 4, 311-316) on defining and measuring character in leadership.

[5] Examples of such tests include the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Test, the 16 Personality Factors, the Personal Style Indicator and many others.

[6] Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York, NY: Free Press.  Schwartz, S. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 25: 1–66.

[7] Our thinking draws heavily on work by Peterson and Seligman “Character strengths and virtues” (2004) who identified six virtues (Wisdom, Transcendence, Humanity, Temperance, Transcendence and Courage) after extensive consideration of traits and behaviors empirically identified among leaders.  We have added four others that we feel reflect virtues considered to be important in cross-enterprise leaders (Collaboration, Confidence, Humility and Accountability) and modified Wisdom to the more commonly used Judgment.

[8] This follows the argument of Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, Book 3, Chapter 1.   While he was describing a limited number of virtues, we believe that his reasoning applies to our extended set.




Developing Leadership Character (Pt. 1)

Originally Posted:  http://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/developing-leadership-character/

In assessing leaders at any level in an organization, we must always ask three questions:

  • Do they have the competencies to be a leader?  Do they have the knowledge, the understanding of key concepts, facts, and relationships that they need to do the job effectively?
  • Do they have the commitment to be a leader?  Yes, they aspire to be a leader, but are they prepared to do the hard work of leadership, engage with others in fulfilling the organizational mission, achieve the vision and deliver on the goals?
  • Do they have the character to be a good leader and strive to be an even better one?  Do they have the values, traits and virtues that others – shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, regulators and the broader society within which they operate – will use to determine if they are good leaders?

Figure 1:  Leadership Competencies, Character and Commitment

We have documented previously the types of knowledge, skills, understanding and judgment that leaders need, grouping them into four competencies – strategic, business, organizational and people[1].  Underpinning these competencies is general intellect (see Figure 1).  We have also talked elsewhere about the importance of leaders having the commitment to lead and the problems that are caused when people in leadership roles no longer want to do the hard work of leadership and become disengaged from what is happening in the organization, while they still enjoy the status, privileges and perks of office.  In this article, we want to focus on leadership character, not because it is necessarily more important than competencies and commitment, but because it is the most difficult to define, measure, assess and develop.  Our intent is to define those dimensions of leadership character that are most important in today’s rapidly changing and turbulent business environment, and suggest how character can be developed.


Why Character Matters

In any bookstore you will find dozens of books on leadership style, far fewer on leadership competencies, and fewer still that address leadership character.[2]  For some reason we have lost sight of character.  Perhaps this is because our educational system and organizations are so competency focused; perhaps because we just don’t know what to think about character; perhaps because character seems such an old-fashioned word; perhaps because we are reluctant to discuss examples of poor character with our colleagues in the workplace, or because we believe we cannot assess character objectively.

Yet character is such a central, important element of leadership — particularly for the kind of cross-enterprise leadership that is essential in complex, global business organizations — which it should not and cannot be ignored.  Character fundamentally shapes how we engage the world around us, what we notice, what we reinforce, who we engage in conversation, what we value, what we choose to act on, how we decide…and the list goes on.

Our own research on the failures of leadership points to issues around character as a central theme[3].  Nowhere was this more obvious than in the financial crisis of 2008 – 2009, in which boldness or instant gratification triumphed over temperance.  People who knew that bad risks were being taken did not have the courage and/or confidence to speak up, and people without integrity sold mortgages to those who could not pay them.  They then bundled these mortgages into securities that were fraudulent and sold to others.  People with large egos, lacking in humility, oblivious to the harm they may have been be doing to others or the societies in which they operated, became very rich at the expense of millions who were the victims of the financial crisis and subsequent recession.  Yet, to this day, these same people seem unable or unwilling to accept any degree of responsibility for their actions.  Leaders of large, global companies knew about these types of practices yet did nothing to stop them.  Still others were unable to create the honest, transparent corporate culture that would enable them to be in touch with what was happening deep down in the organization.  All these behaviors and activities were, essentially, failings of character.

[1] For further information on these leadership competencies see “The cross-enterprise leader” by Mary Crossan, Jeffrey Gandz and Gerard Seijts, Ivey Business Journal, July/August 2008.

[2]Titles of books on leadership and character include Questions of character: Illuminating the heart of leadership through literature; The character of leadership: Nine qualities that define great leaders; and Inspiring leadership: Character and ethics matter.

[3] For more information see “Leadership on trial: A manifesto for leadership development” by Jeffrey Gandz, Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts and Carol Stephenson with Daina Mazutis, 2010. http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/research/leadership/research/books-and-reports.htm.

Why Churches Should Plant Churches

By Daniel Im

Originally Posted on October 1st, 2016 (https://newchurches.com/blogs/why-churches-should-plant-churches/) 

After the disciples received the Great Commission before Jesus’ ascension, they began to preach the gospel, first in Jerusalem and eventually expanding into other cultures. The book of Acts details early efforts to obey Jesus’ command. The letters of the New Testament give us an inside view of the establishment of Christianity in new territory. It may seem obvious to us now, but we should continue to contemplate the fact that everywhere Christians have gone to share the gospel churches were formed.

Church planting should not end with the establishment of one church. The process can repeat itself when a new church matures to the point of becoming a sponsoring church. The kingdom is best advanced through multiplication and not just addition. Reproduction is in the biblical DNA of churches.

Percentage of Churches that Multiply

In Viral ChurchesEd Stetzer and Warren Bird shared research from an interview of senior pastors in various denominations in the United States. In that research project, they discovered that 28% of those they surveyed indicated that they had directly participated in helping a new church. While that number may sound good, upon further investigation, they discovered that only 12% of that 28% were actually churches that acted as a mother church or accepted direct financial responsibility for a new church as a primary sponsor.

Compare that to the most recent research report on church planting that we at NewChurches.com and LifeWay Research conducted on 17 different denominational and church planting network organizations.[1]In this State of Church Planting in the U.S. report, we discovered that 22% of churches—that started in 2012 or earlier—started at least one daughter church within their first five years of existence. Although we wish that number were higher, amongst those we surveyed, we are in fact seeing a higher percentage of new churches multiply today, than they did during the Viral Churches study close to 10 years ago. You can read the results of this research and download a specific book on our multiplication research for free at newchurches.com/register.

Many readers of this article will become church planters who will work hard at planting and growing their first church from inception to maturity. Then God will nudge them to plant another, and they may think: It’s taking everything in me to make this church plant work. I don’t see how we can help start another church. But a daughter church is the best way to expand your zeal for church planting and to put into practice what you’ve learned from planting the mother church. Churches of all sizes and ages can take part in church planting.

Church of the Highlands and Pillar Church

Church planters who lead their churches to plant new works usually sense a call to reach their city and beyond, not just plant a church. For example, Chris Hodges, pastor of Church of the Highlands, Birmingham, Alabama, believed he was called to a city. Chris’ family moved from Baton Rouge to Birmingham with the goal of planting a church focused on “the simplicity of the gospel and the power of an intimate relationship with a loving God.” The church’s first gathering was held in 2001 and has since grown to one of the largest churches in the country. But Chris and his team didn’t kick back and consider their work done. They almost immediately started planning to plant more churches, and they’ve started many more.

Pillar Church has the same vision, but their focus is not just to reach their city; it’s to reach and plant a church in every US Marine Corps (USMC) base in the world. When Clint Clifton planted Pillar in 2005, he planted in Quantico, Virginia, which is the crossroads and hub of the USMC. As a result this church has always had a burden to minister to both active and retired marines and their families. This love for the marines, coupled with a passion for church planting, is what led to their current vision to train marines to plant churches when they get reassigned to another USMC base. They are calling this the Praetorian Project. They’ve planted six churches so far with future plans to focus first on four of the major USMC base regions and then eventually on every USMC location across the world.


Church planters need to be the best advocates and sponsors of next-generation churches. If you don’t have in your mind and heart the plan and desire to start another church early on, by the fifth year of your church plant’s existence, then you have already forgotten how important church planting is to the kingdom of God.

* Learn more about multiplication and church planting in Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. This is a modified excerpt from the book. Learn more about this book and start reading the first three chapters, as well as download 30+ exclusive resources here, NewChurches.com/PMC.

[1] Denominations and networks which participated in the survey include: Assemblies of God, Baptist Missionary Association of America, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of the Nazarene, Converge, Evangelical Free Church of America, Free Methodists, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Missionary Church, New Thing Network, Presbyterian Church of America, Project Jerusalem, Southern Baptists, United Methodist Church, Vineyard Church of America and The Wesleyan Church.

Why the Church can Rescue us from our Smartphones

By Russell Moore

Originally Published: September 21, 2016 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/09/21/jesus-doesnt-care-how-many-twitter-followers-you-have/)

Andrew Sullivan confesses that he “used to be a human being.” In a provocative essay in New York magazine, Sullivan writes about the ways smartphone technology and its constant connectedness have disconnected us from our sense of our humanity and from one another.

I was most intrigued by Sullivan’s proposals for the church to be a haven in a digitally exhausted world.

“If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation,” Sullivan writes. “’Christian leaders seem to think that they need more distraction to counter the distraction. Their services have degenerated into emotional spasm, their spaces drowned with light and noise and locked shut throughout the day, when their darkness and silence might actually draw those whose minds and souls have grown web-weary.”

He is exactly right.

Sullivan, a Roman Catholic, calls for the rediscovery of the monastic traditions, of contemplative prayer in the Catholic tradition. But I think the problem he identifies must be addressed more broadly within the Christian ecosystem, including within the sectors of evangelical Protestantism.

The digital revolution has made visible a spiritual problem that has rocked our churches for a very long time — the idea that identity is found in frenzied activity.

Years ago, one would sometimes see a sign advertising a church — usually an evangelical or Protestant congregation — with the words, “The Church Alive Is Worth the Drive.” Apart from the commodification of the worship of God implied in such advertising, there’s an even deeper problem: the definition of what it means to be “alive.” In most contexts, the “alive” church is one with bustling ministries, a cornucopia of activities, and a worship service choreographed so that there is no “dead space” — no silence — between singing and talking, talking and singing.

The church justifies its existence, in this way, by the bustle of its business, the obviousness of its “aliveness.”

Perhaps this is one reason why — one after the other — young pastors in the fastest-growing segments of evangelical Christianity seem to be falling apart at midlife. Pastors and leaders who soared through their twenties and thirties are hitting their forties, and spiraling often into burnout, depression and even the self-sabotage of addiction. Some of this, of course, is the sort of human weakness that is always with us. But some of it, no doubt, is the sort of entrepreneurial vision of Christian ministry that causes leaders to “justify” their existence by ceaseless activity.

We have learned to find our identity in our velocity. And that’s not just physically dangerous, but spiritually devastating.

This peril exists now not only for Christian leaders, but for everyone, religious or not. Even for those who are not workaholics, the smartphone gives us an illusion of always being “active.” We don’t just eat; we must post pictures of our meals to Instagram. We don’t just have to care about where our children are; we must respond to some thread on Facebook.

We don’t just have people who are grumpy in line at the supermarket; we have to respond to anonymous critics — or even cyber-bullies — on social media. And we are always just a text message away from the words “I just want to give you a heads-up” upending an entire day or night — no matter if it’s a Sabbath or a vacation or a family dinner.

This can be exhausting.

Churches cannot undo technology, or the cultural moves behind it. Churches can, though, reclaim the distinctiveness as the institution that sees the human being as a creature, not a machine.

Churches can teach that our identity is found in Christ, and Jesus doesn’t care how many Twitter followers we have.

Our churches can rekindle times of silent prayer, of guided confession of sin, of quiet before God. That is not merely for the most liturgically structured “high church” communions. If “low church” evangelicals would merely restart the practice of inviting people to kneel together in the church sanctuary, to quietly pray together, that would be a start.

In our wired world, times of silence and inactivity will feel “awkward.” Such times will disorient us, just as we find ourselves nervous when on a long plane ride with no Internet connection. We will wonder what we’re missing out on. But that’s just the point. Churches should be places to remind us that what we’re in danger of missing isn’t really communicated by devices.

Churches can see what our smartphones are doing to us, and say to an exhausted world what Jesus once told us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” That’s a good word for a web-weary world.

Why Plant Churches

by Dr. Timothy Killer

A vigorous and continuous approach to church planting is the only way to guarantee an increase in the number of believers, and is one of the best ways to renew the whole body of Christ. 

The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the con- sistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow-raising statement, but to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.

The normal response to discussions about church planting is something like this.
A. “We already have plenty of churches that have lots and lots of room for all the new people who have

come to the area. Let’s get them lled before we start building any new ones.”

B.“Every church in this community used to be more full than it is now. The churchgoing public is a shrinking pie. A new church here will just take people from churches that are already hurting and will weaken everyone.”

C.“Help the churches that are struggling rst. A new church doesn’t help the existing ones that are just keeping their noses above water. We need better churches, not more churches.”

These statements appear to be common sense to many people, but they rest on several wrong as- sumptions. The error of this thinking will become clear if we ask, “Why is church planting so crucially important?”

Read more here