In this post, I return to the series on how The Church at Brook Hills is sending and training church planting teams. If you have missed any of the posts in this series, check out the links below:
I recommend a review of the last post in this series before reading today’s post.
Our training process is guided by the following principles:
- Scripture provides the best path to follow
- form teams from the church
- train teams together with general level training
- train teams together with customized training
- training involves development in matters of Head (knowledge), Heart (emotions), and Hands (skills)
- training is less about the classroom experience and more about practical experience
- simple approach
- aggressive evaluation
Practically, the process takes about 12 months after a team comes together. Teams that train together before arriving on the field get to know their strengths and limitations. They experience conflict early and in a “safe” environment. They learn to like one another, depend on one another, grow in support of one another, and how to encourage and play together.
General training has particular emphases each quarter and involves the development of Head, Heart, and Hands related to the following:
- Months 1-3: understanding and applying basic disciple-making and ecclesiology to apostolic church planting
- Months 4-6: functioning and growing as a team
- Months 7-9: crossing cultures with healthy contextualization
- Months 10-12: developing strategy
The team is trained through discussions, classroom time, reading material, and hands-on objectives to be accomplished in Birmingham. Mentoring and coaching are part of the process as the team works together and evaluates their development.
Customized training is unique to each team. This training is based on the results of members’ assessments, future location of ministry, and unreached people group they will serve.
Our training process does not end in Birmingham but continues while the team is on the field. Here is where just-in-time training is most beneficial. It is on the field that the team needs additional assistance from either church leaders or other ministry partners with whom we work. Matters develop on the field that cannot be anticipated before the team is sent to the field. A strategy developed in Birmingham is to be held loosely and will need revision as the team engages their new community.
Throughout the process (pre-field training and on-the-field training), aggressive evaluation is necessary to know how best to train the team. While there are some baseline matters that should be part of your process, every team is unique with unique experiences. Flexibility and adjustment as needed is both good stewardship and most helpful to your team.
These are some of the things that we are working through when it comes to training. We are still growing and developing when it comes to where we need to be; we have not arrived and still have “bugs” to work out of the system outlined here. Reality is not as smooth as its description in a blog post. But the Lord is always gracious!