Church Planting Essentials – Inside and Outside Leaders

Church Planting Essentials – Inside and Outside Leaders

If you want to see a Church Planting Movement (CPM) you must understand and maintain the different roles of Inside and Outside Leaders.  In traditional church planting the outsider who plants the church often becomes the pastor of the church.  The Outside Leader becomes the Inside Leader.  This makes church planting almost impossible to rapidly replicate, and there is no reason to reproduce leaders since the Outside Leader stays in charge.  For CPM to happen the Outside Leader stays outside and equips/teaches/trains/coaches/mentors the Inside Leader, who in turn does the same with his/her people.

The role of the Outside Leader is critical.  It is the Outside Leader who initiates the church planting process.  This begins with prayer, vision, and planning.  When the Outside Leader gains access to a community through relationships, service, and/or business; he or she begins to develop local relationships for the purpose of friendship, ministry, and discovering the Person of Peace (click to read).  The Person of Peace gives the Outside leader access to a family or affinity group (click to read).  As this access develops the Outside Leader introduces spiritual topics of discussion that eventually lead to regular Discovery Bible Studies (click to read).

Within the first month of the Discovery Bible Study it usually becomes obvious who the natural spiritual leader of the group is.  The Outside Leader begins to focus attention on this Inside Leader.  As soon as the Inside Leader is identified facilitation of the group shifts from the Outside Leader to the Inside Leader.  The Outside Leader equip/teaches/trains/coaches/mentors the Inside Leader over the next two years or so.

As the Inside Leader grows/matures, the Outside Leader’s visibility diminishes to the point of being unseen.  The Outside Leader’s role becomes primarily a mentoring role that has no direct leadership in the new potential church.  Leadership is projected through influence.  Influence is accomplished through maintaining the relationship and engaging in dialogue about leadership and group issues.  Part of this relationship is a mutual accountability for their lives including the spiritual, family, friends, community, church, business and personal dimensions.

The responsibility of the Outside Leader can be summed up in following mantra: Model, Equip, Watch, and Leave.  Church Planting truly begins with the life and character of the Outside leader.  In private and public the Outside Leader must be able to say with confidence, “Watch me and do what I do.”  Then the Outside Leader equips the Inside Leader in every area of life.  Equip means to help a person grow to capacity, not simply to learn job skills or knowledge.  The source information for this equipping is Scripture only.  As the Inside Leader learns, the Outside Leader coaches the Inside Leader to do what has been learned.  At this point the Outside Leader enters a “watch” role to ensure that what has been learned is accurately reproduced.  Then the Outside leader leaves.  This is not a sudden departure, but a gradual withdrawal from the process as lessons are learned and replicated in others.  In the early stages the interaction between Inside and Outside Leaders is frequent.  As the Inside Leader matures the frequency decreases.

The Outside/Inside Leader relationship goes through many stages – Teacher/Student, Knower/Learner, Trainer/Trainee, Coach/Player, Mentor/Mentoree, Friends for Life.  These stages are fluid, but somewhat in order based on task, event, and roles.  It is important to understand that sometimes the Inside Leader takes on the role of Teacher, Knower, Trainer, Coach, and Mentor in situations where the Outside Leader is engaged in learning about the local Inside Leader’s culture, customs, family, work, and etc.  This is a true give and take relationship.

The Outside Leader measures success by how quickly and how often the Inside Leader passes on what is learned.  The final measure of success is when the Inside Leader becomes an Outside Leader for others, helping them to become Inside Leaders in their own situations.


David Watson
Irving, Texas

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