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Church Planting Field Story North America USA - ISC

Series: What is Church? Part 1

"Buckingham asserts that a leader’s primary job is to provide clarity for those who are following. Leaders provide a definition of the end goal and a method for measuring progress toward the goal."
Avant seeks to glorify God by helping others enjoy His presence through planting and developing new churches in the unreached areas of the world. As we desire to be obedient to plant new churches, many times we are faced with questions such as; what is church? What are effective qualifications of a church? And many more. 
     We are beginning a series on our blog called What is Church? Kenn Oke, Vice President Field Ministries (Americas, Western Europe) at Avant, will share different segments from a larger article he wrote to lead us in this series. The first section in this series will be titled: Introduction: A Guide to Developing a Church-Planting Measurment Instrument.
     A few years ago I was part of a breakout group at a church-planting roundtable where we were discussing the question, “What is church?” The group was comprised of international and regional directors of church-planting organizations. About fifteen minutes into the discussion it became apparent that very few of the leaders had a working definition of church that was common to their entire organization. Taken together, these leaders represented hundreds of hands-on church planters. I began to wonder how church planters can be sent to the field without a clear concept of what they are commissioned to do? Would that be acceptable in any other setting? How successful would car manufacturers be if their leaders told factory workers, “Make cars!” and did not provide them with detailed specifications of what they were to build? Absurd! Yet it seemed like that was exactly what many church-planting organizations had done.

     When church planters don’t have a working definition of church, they are left with important questions they can’t answer: How do they know when they’ve finished the job? How do they give credible progress reports to supporters when there is no clear definition of what they are progressing toward? How do they know that what they are doing today is getting them to the goal? How do they decide where best to use their resources? Furthermore, from an organizational perspective, if leaders have not defined the end goal clearly, can they truly know whether the day-to-day activities of their church planters actually are fulfilling the organization’s mission?
     Buckingham asserts that a leader’s primary job is to provide clarity for those who are following. Leaders provide a definition of the end goal and a method for measuring progress toward the goal. For a church-planting organization, this means, at the most basic level, that the leadership provides a clear definition of what church is. Moreover, it implies that they must provide church planters with a way of measuring how well they are doing at getting the job done.
     In this article I present a method for developing a measurement instrument that guides leaders to define the end goal, i.e., “church” and provides church planters with a snapshot of their progress toward the goal. The instrument informs church-planting strategy by showing church planters what they have accomplished and what is left to be done. Consequently, it creates alignment between the organization’s mission and the day-to-day activities of its church planters. Before getting into the nuts and bolts of developing the tool, however, it will be helpful to review some of the methods of measurement that have been applied to church planting.

     In our next blog we will discuss topics such as: the problem of measurment inversion, defining "healthy church" and also try and answer the question, can church health be measured?

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