The ideal training of a Gospel Planter is a multi-step process that requires time and commitment on the mentor’s part and the learner’s part.
Step 1: Begin Gospel Planting in a near-cultural environment that does not require language or extensive culture learning. The new worker should be paired with an experience successful worker who understands Gospel Planting to establish culturally appropriate local churches.
Step 2: As the new worker gains experience and coaches a Person of Peace (click here for another article on Person of Peace) in establishing a new church, and then it is time for the new worker to graduate and begin mentoring other near-cultural Gospel Planting coaches.
Step 3: As the worker has coached others to success in finding Persons of Peace and coaching them to start their own churches in near cultural settings, it is now time to begin cross-cultural Gospel Planting in a near-geographic area. This means learning language and culture in order to find Persons of Peace among cross-cultural peoples who live near in order to start new work. This may be done with a mentor who has succeeded in cross-cultural work, but this can also be done alone with the aid of a language and culture coach who may not be a Believer.
Step 4: Mentor another person in cross-cultural church planting in a near geographic area.
Step 5: Move to the homeland or major diaspora area of the language and culture that you have been learning. Further language and culture study may be necessary. Begin looking for the Persons of Peace who will be coached in starting local churches. If a mentor is available, then spent time with this person. If not, then build a team using the skills and knowledge that have been gained through previous experiences.
We don’t live in an ideal world, so some of the above may have to be gained through education, finding good consultants, making lots of errors, or partnering with people who know what they
are doing. Knowing the process is a major part of the battle in learning this system. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but always be ready to learn from mistakes. Bless the local people who let you learn from them in the midst of making many mistakes.
Church planting is a lifestyle, not a job. The successful Gsopel Planters I know don’t work at church planting. They live out obedient lives that cause church planting.