A Collaborative and Relational Approach to Training Church Planters

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Written by: Pete Rennie

Pete Rennie is the pastor of Living Hope Church in Inverness, Scotland, and is the lead for Acts 29 in Scotland. He is married to Anne, and they have a daughter. You can follow him on Twitter. 

This following content was originally published on Acts 29’s website, linked HERE.


Editor’s Note: This post is part two of a series adapted from a talk on recruitment and training, given at the Acts 29 Great Britain & Ireland Equip event in Edinburgh. You can find part one here.

In the medical world, many students are trained using the “see one, do one, teach one” method. The idea was developed by William Stewart Halstead in the late 19th century to assist in training surgeons. Halstead had students watch surgical procedures in real-time, which allowed them to visualize their studies in a way not offered by books. Once they had witnessed it, the students would try the technique under the watchful eye of an experienced surgeon. Next, the students were tasked with teaching the procedure to someone else. This relational and hands-on approach to training has proven highly effective.

Experience is an essential part of the learning process. If we want to see church planters and pastors launch and lead healthy churches, our approach to training them should be both collaborative and relational. 

Collaborative Approach to Training 

We want to be skilled ministers of the gospel so we may effectively pastor those in our churches and reach the people in our communities. As we partner across our network to plant churches worldwide, opportunities for the hands-on style of training develop naturally.Gathering wisdom from trusted people is important, but it’s equally important we impart this same wisdom to others.CLICK TO TWEET

Professional organizations employ this collaborative approach to training, too. A great example is the ARCH Project, a global initiative involving Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. They host meetings multiple times a year aimed at equipping, informing, and inspiring the mission of local churches. Another example is Acts 29’s involvement with Grimké Seminary and Crosslands, each providing excellent training opportunities for church planters, pastors, and ministry leaders.  

Relational Approach to Training

Programs are great and helpful, but one of our greatest assets for training church planters is one another. We’re practitioners who have experience with planting churches. We’ve felt the highs and lows of ministry. Many of us know the doubt and frustration that comes with leadership. We also know the joy of celebrating milestones. We can offer accountability and guidance to one another in beneficial, emphatic ways.

Our collective experience means we all have something to offer those in the early stages of church planting. If you want to know what it takes to plant a church in a rural context, some men have done it and would happily offer guidance. If you’re interested in planting in an urban context, we have plenty of mentors who can also share their experiences. Whether rural, city, island, or even suburban—we have a network full of men and women with a wealth of ministry knowledge and experience. 

An essential part of church planter training is offering relational, lived experience. Our greatest asset is found in one another. If we long to plant healthy churches in Great Britain, Ireland, and beyond, we must draw on the knowledge of our colleagues and friends. No matter your stage in ministry, there’s always opportunity to learn and grow.  

Training Benefits Your Church

I’ve directly benefited from this collaborative and relational approach to training. Over the last six months, I’ve been coached by another Acts 29 pastor who has helped me visualize my ministry with greater clarity. His wisdom has shaped how I’ve developed our leadership team and helped me grow in other areas of discernment. Our church is in the early stages of a building project, and his guidance in this endeavor has been very helpful. Over the last six months, I’ve been coached by another Acts 29 pastor who has helped me visualize my ministry with greater clarity.CLICK TO TWEET

Our training has taken place on the job, so I’m working on daily ministry tasks while learning and being supported by a mentor. It’s clear to me this experience is preparing me to, one day, help another church planter grow and lead better, too. Gathering wisdom from trusted people is important, but it’s equally important we impart this same wisdom to others. 

This pastor has helped me professionally, but we’ve also cultivated a friendship. I can call him for training, support, and general wisdom. That makes me a better pastor, and our church a better witness. I hope and pray that this relational, collaborative approach to training will result in seeing healthy churches planted worldwide.

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