Journey Toward Maturity
This list, with measurable objectives for each stage, is used in the following ways:
- As a tool for the church planter to use for planning and prayer.
- As a tool for the church planter to use with his leadership team and his coach to track progress.
- As a tool for reporting progress to the Partner Advisory Team and EFC-MAYM on a regular basis and whenever the Partner Advisory Team meets. (NOTE: This is required.)
- As a reminder to celebrate the achievement of objectives.
This is a general guide to the phases of a plant to help produce a healthy, reproducing missional-incarnational network. It is not meant to be seen as an all-inclusive list or to be used as a strict, sequential, step-by-step, A+B=C process. Many times steps will be worked out of order or at the same time as other steps.
Candidate Assessment Phase
How do you know if you are a missional-incarnational network planter? There is not a magical test that answers that question. However, EFC-MAYM uses a series of essential self-assessment tests that helps you objectively evaluate your potential as a future network planter. We suggest that you start with the Network Planter Profile, a free downloadable self-assessment, to help you gage whether or not you want to continue with the other assessments. Most of these instruments have a Spanish version. All of the instruments together will cost you right around $75 and will take four to five hours to complete. Since this may be the most important decision you will make in ministry, it is well worth the investment. Let’s get started.
- Candidate Resume submitted to EFC-MAYM
- Candidate completed consent form and background check completed by EFC-MAYM
- Candidate submitted five references with contact info to EFC-MAYM
- Self-assessments completed (Network Planter Profile, Myers-Briggs, Spiritual Gifts, APEST, Pre-assessment Questionnaire)
- Spousal support essay submitted to EFC-MAYM
- Church Plant Commitment Covenant and “What it Means to be a Friends Church in EFC-MAYM” agreed, signed, and submitted to EFC-MAYM
- Behavioral interview completed
- EFC-MAYM leadership and planter(s) completed “The Expectations” Interview
- EFC-MAYM Church Multiplication Team (CMT) sanctioned network planter(s).
Network Preparation Phase
During this phase, the network leadership team will prepare for the planting journey. Several of these steps can be worked at once, and they may not necessarily be completed sequentially. This phase culminates with the approval of the New Planting Project.
- CMT appointed network coach/coach mentor
- Network planter(s) and network coach signed coaching covenant
- Coaches training attended by network planters
- At least 3 M/I community leaders recruited and signed covenant
- Church planting boot camp attended by network planters, M/I community leaders, and network coach
- 100 prayer supporters identified and published
- Network planters and M/I community leaders interviewed by Supt. and staff/elder
- CMT sanctioned new planting project
During this beginning stage (which may have begun even before the network Planter Assessment phase of this process) the Holy Spirit begins the process of planting by giving the initial vision and mission of a new church to a planter, a church planting team, a partner church, a regional or area organization, or an M/I community. God lays the foundation for a new church in this stage. Planter and M/I community leaders begin meeting for vision alignment, mentoring, and preparation for leading a M/I community. This stage typically takes three to six months. This stage culminates with completion of the Network Planting Proposal.
- The PAT (Partner Advisory Team) is formed and operational
- Network planter(s) begun meeting with M/I community leaders – TK Primer begun
- Network planter(s) and M/I community leaders signed coaching covenant
- Church Planting Proposal developed and approved by PAT
- Church Planting Proposal completed and approved by CMT
- Cultural/sub-cultural targets identified by M/I community leaders
Pre-natal Development Phase
In the prenatal development stage the new network begins to form early plans and structures of the network. For missional-incarnational churches, this is the longest and most critical phase. The core team, comprised of the network leader(s), M/I community leaders, and M/I community group members (missional people) spend the majority of their time engaging the culture and focusing on forming meaningful relationships with pre-Christians and the un-churched. The network leader(s) spends much of their time coaching and developing the M/I community leaders. For a missional-incarnational network, this stage typically takes six to twelve months.
- First year ministry planned
- Working draft of Mission, Vision, Habits/Practices Statements written and practiced
- Missional/Incarnational community meetings begun with apprentice leaders
- Adequate meeting facility acquired for network gatherings
- Incorporation, bank account, Giving & Finances plan in place
- Leadership development / M/I community leaders apprenticing new leaders
With the multiplication of M/I communities, the birth stage represents launch of the network gathering and the preparation and planning that are needed. This stage typically lasts three to six months.
- Network gatherings begun
- Network web page published
- New M/I community leaders identified and apprenticed
- M/I Communities multiplied
Growth Toward Maturity
During this stage of development in a healthy church network, growth continues. The multiplication of leadership occurs and there are clear indications that the new church is fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. This stage typically lasts six to twelve months.
- M/I communities continue to grow and be multiplied
- Full church membership status requested in writing to EFC-MAYM
- Church health survey conducted
Maturity and Reproduction
This stage is achieved when the new church is mature enough to be self-governing and self-supporting. It is also healthy enough to help other new churches get started or plans are in place to become a partner church.
- Plans in place to become a Partner Church
- Full church membership approved by EFC-MAYM