Home Church Planting Church Planter Assessment, Ridleys 13 Characteristics and Test

Church Planter Assessment, Ridleys 13 Characteristics and Test

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What does it take to be an effective church planter?

Dr. Charles Ridley conducted a study of church planters in the United States and Canada. Based on his research and subsequent field testing, he developed a list of thirteen characteristics that define effective church planters.

For over a decade, these characteristics have been used to select church planters.

Here is his list of characteristics, their definitions as well as an assessment.

 

Other than yourself have a friend, your supervisor, and a person with whom you work in ministry fill out the following:

1. Visioning capacity

  • being a person who projects into the future beyond the present
  • developing a theme which highlights the vision and philosophy of ministry
  • persuasively selling the vision to the people
  • approaching challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles
  • coping effectively with non-visioning elements
  • not erecting artificial walls or limits either overtly or subconsciously
  • establishing a clear church identity related to the theme and vision
  • believing in God’s capacity to do great things
Visioning Capacity Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

2. Intrinsically motivated

  • having a desire to do well and a commitment to excellence
  • stick-to-itiveness and persistence
  • having initiative and aggressiveness without the negative connotations
  • having a willingness to work long and hard
  • being a self-starter with a willingness to build from nothing
  • having a high energy and vitality level; physical stamina
Intrinsic Motivation Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

3. Creates ownership of ministry

  • helping people to “buy in” and feel responsible for the growth and success of the church
  • gaining commitment of the people to the vision
  • establishing a congregational identity
  • avoiding stereotyping of congregation by imposing unrealistic goals for which it cannot claim ownership
Empowerment Ability Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

4. Relates to the unchurched

  • communicating in a style that is understood by the unchurched
  • understanding the “psychology” or mentality of the unchurched
  • moving and functioning in the “personal space” of the unchurched without fear
  • quickly getting to know the unchurched on a personal level
  • breaking through the barriers erected by the unchurched
  • handling crises faced by the unchurched
Relating to the Unchurched Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

5. Spousal cooperation

  • having an explicit agreement regarding each partner’s respective role and involvement in ministry
  • having explicit rules regarding the use of home as an office
  • evaluating the consequences of ministry demands upon the children
  • functioning as a team through individual and collective action
  • having a strategy for dealing with strangers
  • modeling wholesome family life before church and community
  • agreeing upon and sharing the ministry vision
  • deliberately planning and protecting private family life
Spousal Cooperation Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

6. Effectively builds relationships

  • responding with urgency to expressed needs and concerns of people
  • displaying Godly love and compassion to people
  • getting to know people on a personal basis
  • making others feel secure and comfortable in one’s presence
  • not responding judgmentally or prejudicially to new people
  • appreciating and accepting a variety of persons
  • spending quality time with present parishioners without overstepping them for new people
Relationship Building Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

7. Committed to church growth

  • believing in church growth as a theological principle
  • appreciating steady and consistent growth without preoccupation with the quick success factor
  • committing to numerical growth within the context of spiritual and relational growth (more and better disciples)
  • recognizing that non-growth is threatening and self-defeating
  • establishing the goal of becoming a financially self-supporting church within a specific period
  • not prematurely falling into a ministry of maintenance
  • seeing the church project within the larger context of God’s kingdom
Church Growth Commitment Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

8. Responsive to community

  • understanding the culture of the community
  • identifying and assessing community needs
  • responding to community needs on a priority basis such that resources are most efficiently used
  • determining successes and failures of other organized religious attempts to respond to community needs
  • not confusing what the community needs with what the church wants to offer
  • acquiring and understanding of the character and “pulse” of the community
  • adapting the philosophy of ministry to the character of the community
Community Responsiveness Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

9. Utilizes giftedness of others

  • releasing and equipping people to do the task of ministry
  • discerning of spiritual gifts in others
  • matching the gifts of people with ministry needs and opportunities
  • delegating effectively in areas of personal limitation
  • avoiding personal overload by delegating effectively
  • not prematurely assigning ministry assignments before people are adequately equipped
  • not placing unwarranted restrictions on other’s spiritual giftedness
Gift Utilization Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

10. Flexible and adaptable

  • coping effectively with ambiguity
  • coping effectively with constant and abrupt change
  • adapting oneself and one’s methods to the uniqueness of the particular church planting project
  • shifting priorities and emphasis during various stages of church growth
  • doing “whatever” is necessary “whenever” necessary
Adaptability Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

11. Builds group cohesiveness

  • developing a nucleus group or groups as a foundation
  • quickly incorporating newcomers into a network of relationships
  • engaging others in meaningful church activity
  • monitoring the morale of people
  • utilizing groups effectively
  • dealing with conflict assertively, constructively and tactfully
Networking Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

12. Resilience

  • experiencing setbacks without defeat
  • riding the ups and downs (i.e. attendance)
  • expecting the unexpected
  • rebounding from loss, disappointments and failure
Resilience Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

13. Exercises faith

  • possessing a conviction regarding one’s call to church planting ministry
  • believing in God’s action
  • having expectation and hope
  • having a willingness to wait for answers to specific prayer requests
Faith Score: ______

1= rarely exhibited
2= sometimes exhibited
3= most of the time exhibited
4= passionately exhibited

Readiness to Plant

Gather the scores from the four sources and add them up.

Self-Analysis:                ________

Friend:                         ________

Supervisor:                  ________

Ministry Recipient:        ________

Total:                        ________

  • Score above 180 = Ready to Plant
  • Score between 180 and 161 = Can be ready to plant after working on weak areas
  • Score above 160 and 141 = Proceed with caution and after serious examination of weak areas.
  • Score 140 and below = probably not ready to plant. Find the lowest scores and reexamine your life. Look for specific discrepancies among the four results.

Dr. Charles Ridley (A leading pioneer in church planting assessment), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN)